Food

A Review of a Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan

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My very informed son suggested I read this, and as I always do what my adult children tell me (because they are usually right!), I bought the book, listened to the podcast, got the T-shirt!

The book is written by an integrative psychiatrist (holistic approach to mental health issues) especially written for women who have depression and anxiety issues.  I was so blown away by it to the extent that I have been buying extra copies and giving them away.

The premise of the book is the best way to heal the mind is to heal the body.  With some serious changes to diet and lifestyle, depression and other mental health diagnoses cannot just be helped but cured.  That’s a bold statement but she has anecdotal evidence from years and years of patients successfully implementing her guidelines and resolving all their issues

Kelly states that it all begins in the gut, if the gut flora is off then there is an imbalance in the body, especially the brain affecting mood.  She recommends that you eliminate gluten and dairy (oh boy no more pizza!), drink filtered water, because the water table is full of drugs and bugs and the EPA know and are doing nothing about it (this I think is outrageous), stop taking synthetic hormones like the contraceptive pill and incorporate meditation and yoga into your schedule and stop wearing perfume - now that is going a little too far, I am really not willing to give up my Estee Lauder habit! And absolutely no alcohol.  She also recommends adding an Omega 3, Vitamin B6 and B12 and a multi vitamin. 

So as a lifelong sufferer of depression and anxiety and a spring where I unexpectedly was struggling with this I decided to give it a go.   

Week 1: I was miserable, no cheese or wine what is the point of going on!  I was not too hungry but was craving dairy and bread all week, but I valiantly soldiered on.

Week 2:  Much much better, getting in my stride, beginning to feel lighter and glowing (skin clear and bright).

Week 3:  Becoming a lifestyle.  I think adding the vitamins has been key, Omega 3 and the B6 vitamins are closely linked to mood disorders and most of us are deficient in these so no wonder we are sad.

One of the points that Kelly is quite insistent on is getting rid of all psych meds as soon as possible.  I knew this was a no-go for me as soon as I read it.  She may be right but I will never, never give up my meds, I think it could be potentially disaster for me and my family may well leave me on a top of a mountain with no supplies and no chance of escape if I did that.  It would not be a gift to me or my family.

Kelly sees patients in New York and will not even see you if you do not eat meat (meat is rich in B vitamins) so I am not going to see her anytime soon because I am quite happy being a vegetarian/vegan thank you.

She also recommends you get rid of all the chemicals in your house.  Now steady on, as a self-proclaimed OCD cleaner I would have a hard time giving up my Lysol and my Bleach, but I am willing to do in baby steps so the dishwasher cleaner just went organic as did hand soap and shampoo!

All in all, a very very interesting read. Most of all it gave me a plan to make some healthy lifestyle changes on my own which gives me some sense of destiny of a lifelong issue with depression that I can control with certain interventions.

STOP PRESS:  Just had the results of some routine blood tests.  After a month on this regime my A1C (indicator of blood sugar) dropped over a point which I have been battling for a couple of years and the doc also recommended a cut to my thyroid medicine (which has never happened) because my thyroid is beginning to function better – yeah for healthy living!

Still doing the raw diet as much as I can and pretty much vegan 90% of the time.  Does not suit everyone but my body does seem to like it so we will carry on.

Until the next time, 

Angie 

Food and Festivals

It’s been pretty quiet around here.  Hubby had a 3-week business adventure in Paris (I know, feel bad for him) and as a result, unintentionally, I stayed close to home.  But things have gotten a little more interesting since hubby got back stateside.

During the weekend, we decided to check out a Chinese Lantern Festival in Philly.  A couple of years ago we were in Seoul, Korea and their lantern festival was amazing so we were eager to get the experience again.

It was pretty cool, but a little small so I think we felt somewhat cheated for our $17 entrance fee, especially as the one in Korea was so much more elaborate. It was a nice night to be out and wander around China Town.

Shifting gears - Interesting fact, still doing the raw food thing and normally this time of year I am severely afflicted with Springtime allergies, but this year not so much as a moist eye.  The only difference I can think of is that I am eating so much raw local fruits and veggies, which is desensitizing my usual malady.

This time of year, there are so many yummy seasonal fruits and veggies it is not hard to get variety in my diet.

The rest of my life seems to be yoga, teaching yoga, teaching nurse education and if I have time, reading and cooking, not such a bad way to spend my time!

Until next time, 

Angie 

Thanksgiving in May

Thanksgiving is hands down our family's favorite holiday. We start talking about it in August. I start planning the menu and testing recipes in September.  However, last year we were all together in Thailand for Thanksgiving.  Even though this was the trip of a lifetime for all six of us, we did rather miss the turkey dinner.  I promised a full-on Thanksgiving dinner when everyone got back from their world travels.  That turned out to be May.

I had a good size turkey in the freezer, prepped all the sides, Joe and Chelsea arrived from New England, Elliot and Jenny are back from Indonesia and off we went.

It started with our traditional thanksgiving breakfast of smoked salmon and bagels.

Then we had to play Catan, a game of trading and strategy that we all nuts and very competitive about.  Winning scores were - Chelsea: 2 and Jenny: 1. 

Then it was time for the feast. There was no Catan playing after that, everyone had a food coma. All 3 dogs were very happy to be together.  Toby is ours, Lulu is Jenny and Elliot’s and Coco is Joe and Chelsea’s.  They asked if they could dress up for the occasion.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.  We may not be all together again for a while due to world travelers and work schedules, but I’ll take what I can get with these people - my most favorite people in the world!

Does your family celebrate any special traditions or have any favorite holidays? 

Until next time, 

Angie 

Raw Food Update

It’s been over 6 weeks since I started this 2-week Raw Food Diet experiment.  I kinda got into a groove and am enjoying it so much I just want to keep going.  I feel great, the eczema on my skin is completely cleared up and I have more energy and less brain fog than I did.

I am not being purist or rigid about being a raw foodie and do have cooked food (yes that includes cheese!) every now and again.  But when I do, I immediately feel bloated and uncomfortable and my skin gets very itchy, so that is a huge incentive not to stray.

The first 3 or so weeks as a raw foodie, I had this huge appetite, it seemed like every couple of hours my body yelled “more food please.”  However, that has calmed down now and I do not feel the need to eat a small horse to satisfy my hunger cravings.  Sometimes it is hard to get all the calories in.  On a raw food diet, for my gender, and weight I should be shooting for 2000 calories a day.  That’s an awful lot of bananas!  In addition, a lot of that intake is supposed to be leafy greens to get in all the nutrients and protein that your body needs.  I hate greens, I know silly, right?  So, I have added a daily vitamin and vegan protein shake to my daily intake to try and make up for what may be lacking in my diet.

This is what my breakfast usually looks like: 

This is what my lunch looks like: 

This is what my snacks look like: 

Also, on a recent trip to Vegas I wondered how much I would be able to eat raw food in a city where burgers and nachos are king. We actually saw a restaurant called Heart Attack Burger where people over 350 pounds ate free - there is something very wrong with that.  But it was not hard at all. The hotel had a marketplace downstairs with a cool fridge stocked with fresh watermelon, pineapple and grapes.  And of course, everywhere you go there was a famous Vegas Buffet so it really was not hard to make a beeline for the salad bar and load up.

You may be asking yourself, how much weight has she lost?  I am happy to report I have lost a whopping 4 pounds.  Let’s alert the media!  However, this whole exercise was not about weight loss but health. I have also lost almost 2 dress sizes and that makes me very happy.

So, I will keep going and I will continue to post updates.

Has anyone out there done a raw food diet?  What were your highs and lows?

An Update: Raw Food Diet

So, I have tried so many diets in my life.  As someone who has always struggled with her weight I have been the diet queen and most of them have only lasted for a little while, some as short as a few days, some a little longer.  But from the start, this Raw Food thing has been fun, filling and sustaining. I have never felt hungry, mainly because if you are hungry you eat! Salad, fruit, nuts - whatever takes your fancy as long as it is raw.  I have not missed bread at all and I am a breadaholic. I am getting lots of carbs from all the fruit I am eating so I think that is satisfying my body.  I am not sure if I have lost weight (which was not the goal anyways) but clothes are fitting much better and I have noticed I have lost that bloat in my belly and my face. 

My main reason for becoming a raw foodie was because the eczema on my body and my GI issues.  Within 5 days both things had completely resolved. Can you say, Amazing!

Here are the pros and cons I have come up with so far:

Pros

  • Health benefits of eating a pure diet, no toxins from processed foods going into my body.
  • GI system is very happy.  Regular pooping is good for everybody.
  • Never hungry, can eat when I want as much as I want as long as it is raw food.
  • Everything tastes so good; my palate has changed and the rainbow range of food I am eating just tastes wonderful and bright and pure. 

Cons

  • Having to shop for fresh produce every 3 days or so, but I only really go to the produce aisle and the toilet paper aisle (!) so it is super quick.
  • You have to be organized and do lots of food prep to set yourself up for success when you are starving and need something to eat NOW!  This may be a lot of work for someone who has a super busy job and life.
  • Easy to get in a rut with your go to veggie and fruit plate.  I solved this by buying a raw food cook book to give me some new ideas.
  • This book has lots of wonderful recipes for the fully raw diet so I can change up my salads and salad dressings every day.  Also, lots of yummy smoothie recipes. It has really helped!

This is my go to lunch: Rainbow salad with orange ginger and dill dressing. 

This is what my fruit bowl looks like now, this will last me about 3 days!

This is what my fridge looks like now, again about a 3 day supply.

Just in case you thought I am making hubby eat this way, I am not.  I really am the nicest vegetarian I know because I have no problem handling and cooking meat.  I usually make him a chicken sandwich for lunch, but I am amping it up a bit for him.  I love Ezekiel bread, it is fully sprouted and has no preservatives and as a result needs to be kept in the fridge, but it is full of nutty goodness. Also, I try not to buy cold cuts, they are full of nitrates and preservatives, so I buy organic grass fed chicken breast, roast and slice them and use them for sandwiches all week. 

I found raw trail mix at Trader Joes that I go through fast. It's yummy and filling and I know I am sticking to the raw food mantra. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe's, I feel pretty bad for you, they have amazing organic products at incredible prices!

I am also trying not to be too purist with this whole thing.  Being too rigid could derail me fast.  So, if I am desperate for something not raw, I will have it.  Hubby and I were out running errands last week and we ended up eating out for dinner. I could have had a salad but the pasta with spinach and artichoke was calling my name.  I ate it without guilt and really enjoyed it and got back on the wagon the next meal.

So far so good.  I am really enjoying this way of eating, it’s not a diet to me as I am not doing it for weight loss but for health.  My sense of well-being has risen so much and I am a big proponent for doing whatever you need to elevate your quality of life, so I am going to keep going for as long as I am having fun.  I committed to 2 weeks and that has come and gone and I do not see myself stopping anytime soon.  I will let you know how it goes!

Xo
Angie