Tuesday, December 20, 2011


These past several weeks have been a serious reflection time....I have developed new habits and I am so excited to share them! I feel this is the only place I can actually speak about what I do on a consistent basis, and secretly, perhaps people will get something out of my writings :) 

So, in the Healthy Bitch newsletter I received today, it talked about how what we eat has a huge impact on the way we feel. I agree with that. I also agree that what we eat make us  susceptible to catching the flu or making our skin breaks out. As I read the article below, I decided to jot down my thoughts because it reminds me that I am either on the right track or I need improvement (of course, I always read these articles with a grain of salt, but for the most part I like :) Here it goes...

Diet and Depression: The Link Between Food and The Blues May Be Stronger Than You Think

It’s full-blown holiday crunch time.
Do you deal with the discomfort of your dysfunctional family and shopping stress by calling upon cookies and wine?
Yeah. We've been there.

Food and the Blues
The holidays can be even more challenging for the one in 20 Americans that suffers from depression, a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment with medication and counseling. Researchers are always looking into the oh-so-many factors that may influence depression, such as biology, hormones, life events and childhood trauma. The scarcely-studied factor? Food.
Science and Stuff
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2009 showed that the future risk of depression was greater for participants that consumed a diet high in processed foods and lowest for those that consumed a whole-foods diet. Another recent study at the University of Melbourne suggested that eating a standard Western diet - one that is high in meat, dairy and preservatives - might increase the likelihood for depression by 50 percent. Step away from the cookie platter. Really.
Though further research is needed to understand why some foods may protect against or increase the risk of depression, most scientists agree that a healthy diet helps as part of an overall treatment.

Not Guilty, Your Honor
Food can significantly affect our moods, even if we're not clinically depressed. Unfortunately, most of us believe that the holidays give us a free pass to blow off our good-girl eating habits and exercise regimes. The delusion that our actions don’t have consequences (we're talking your diet, not that one-night stand with the cute bartender) can start off that vicious cycle of eating poorly and exercising less, which always leads to additional stress and more eating. Can’t a girl just enjoy her fruitcake?

Feel Good Foods
Luckily there are some foods that have been shown to help combat depression, including the following:

Coffee. Studies suggest that the risk of depression is lower for women who drink over two cups of coffee a day. I have 2 cups of coffee a day. It's organic and fair trade. http://www.jimsorganiccoffee.com/

Saffron. A golden spice that has been found to have antidepressant effects similar to Prozac. But there are a lot of “fakes” on the market, so buyer beware. To find out whether yours is the real deal, immerse a tiny piece of it in warm water. If the water colors immediately, then it's adulterated. Genuine saffron takes about 10-15 minutes of soaking before it turns a deep red color.
Chocolate. Antioxidants in chocolate may lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Choose organic brands with a cacao content of 70 percent or higher. I have never had it :-(

Blueberries, Oranges and Peppers. Good sources of the antioxidant vitamin C, your immune system's best friend. I haven't had them in a loong time! Since they're not in season they're expesive at the store. when I do buy them they're organic. I'd like to eat more blueberries and I need to buy them. Even though they're expensive my health is worth it!

Nuts and Seeds. Good source of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids - those hormone helpers that can fight fat and keep you sane during your cycle.
Carbs. Whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables help with the production of serotonin, the mood-boosting brain chemical. My favorite nuts include organic raw almonds and walnuts! I also add raw sunflower seeds to my everyday salads. I would like to start consuming chia seeds more often next year! Also, one of my goals is to eat all kinds of nuts, like cashews, brazil nuts, etc. 

Supplements. Get your B12 and D to help regulate your moods. B12 has also been shown to help out with alcohol and sugar cravings. Um, pass the pills. I have a daily multivitamin where I get my B12; I try to get sunshine (vitamin D) on my skin as most as possible, but I feel I may be deficient :-( I also take 2 caps of glucosamine (for joint support - since working out with weights puts a lot of stress on them), 2 fish oil caps (for my healthy and essential fats) and 2-3 caps of glutamine a day (a naturally occurring body in the body that is used to repair muscles). 

So my verdict: Natural and wholesome, plant-based foods make us feel good -- great, in fact! And processed, junk, fattening, loaded with sugar and  simple carbs, oh -- and MEAT -- make us feel like crap....I want to feel happy, energized and at peace so I chose to eat what God put on this green earth: plants, not animals, nor what man has created,packed, put on a box or claims that it will make me healthy  :)



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