Monthly Archives: February 2019

Better Food-Sweeter Dreams

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Did you know that the foods you eat can effect the quality of your sleep? It’s true. If you find yourself lying awake long into the night, it could have something to do with what you ate before you went to bed.

This article is being posted at the request of one of my followers, Miles Clements

This woman did NOT eat jalapenos before bed!

One of the worst culprits for keeping people awake at night is cheese. Hard cheese, especially, is higher in saturated fat, making it more challenging to digest. It also increases the risk of heartburn. If you do eat cheese before bedtime, try to delay going to bed to help reduce the chances of acid reflux.

Also, if it’s the calcium you’re craving, try a glass of warm milk instead. This will help you fall asleep pronto, thanks to its tryptophan content.

Chocolate will definitely keep you up at night! If you’re reaching for dessert and probably thinking that half a regular-size bar of dark chocolate is healthier than a slice of cheesecake—and it is. But that chocolate poses more of a threat at bedtime.

“Dark chocolate can be a polyphenol-rich treat, but it’s also a surprising source of caffeine,” says Moon. “It’s common to avoid beverages like coffee or caffeinated tea before bed, but it’s just as important to avoid food sources of this stimulant, which can make it hard to fall and stay asleep,” Moon explains.

A square or two of dark chocolate has about a quarter of the caffeine as a cup of coffee, and about half the caffeine as a cup of green or black tea, Moon says. “Keep in mind that some of us are genetically fast caffeine metabolizers, and others are slow metabolizers—meaning caffeine stays in the body longer and has more side effects. Unless you’re sure you’re a fast metabolizer, stay away from the dark chocolately stuff.

In general, it takes 6 to 10 hours to eliminate caffeine, so that means enjoy a dark chocolate treat no later than noon to four pm for a 10 pm bedtime, she advises. A good alternative is tart cherry juice with a few walnuts. Both provide melatonin to help regulate sleep and promote drowsiness.

Uh oh….

While you may argue that beef is an excellent source of protein and iron, its protein content and saturated fat can wreak havoc on the digestive system. If you eat a burger too close to bedtime, it is likely to make your stomach rumble and keep you awake for hours. Better option is to go with a veggie burger. The quality of the protein is arguably higher, and is much, much easier to digest.

Matcha


Matcha is one of my weaknesses. I drink it copiously, and use it in cooking such sweet delights as mochi balls or matcha cheesecake. The stuff is a green tea powder that is full of healthful antioxidents.

Matcha will definitely keep you awake at night, because a cup of it contains roughly the equivalent of a cup of coffee. Plus, if you eat processed matcha snacks, these can be full of sugar that will give you a wide-awake buzz for hours on end. Avoid it before you go to bed.

Cold Cuts…..(yuck!)


Personally, I don’t understand why ANYONE would eat processed meats. They are HORRIBLE for you. The World Health Organization says they cause cancer, too! These meats are extremely high in sodium, will raise your blood pressure, and will also keep you awake at night. Don’t eat them! Make yourself some garlic-avocado toast instead. Yum.

Citrus fruit

This is a hard one for me to avoid, because I love citrus fruit. I cook with it constantly, and always keep a sliced lemon in my refrigerator so I can squeeze it into my water before I drink it. However, citrus fruit should be avoided near bedtime because it is a diuretic, which will make you urinate more frequently. Just as you’re all snug and warm in your bed, you will have to get up to run to the bathroom if you eat citrus fruits prior to bedtime.

I hope you have found this information to be helpful. I am taking requests for future articles, so if you would like me to address a particular topic, please comment here, or drop me a line and I will be happy to see what I can do. Meanwhile, eat right and have sweet dreams…just like Patsy Cline!

Distorted Thinking

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Many of the automatic thoughts that pop into our minds are distorted in some way.  Perhaps they are unrealistically negative or leave out relevant information.  The result of these distorted cognitions is typically a negative shift in mood.  Can you think of a recent event that caused an automatic thought to pop into your mind (e.g., “Stupid” or “I’m a failure”)?

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

We have these automatic thoughts so frequently that it is easy not to notice them at all.  What we usually do notice is that we are suddenly feeling sad, angry, or anxious.  The challenge here is to learn how to identify common cognitive distortions, begin to challenge them appropriately, and start replacing them with thoughts more based in reality.

Common Distorted Thinking

According to Dr. Judith Beck, influential cognitive therapist (and daughter of the founder of cognitive therapy, Dr. Aaron T. Beck), identifies twelve typical errors in thinking in Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond (1995).

(1) All-or-nothing thinking

This type of thinking is polarizing or dichotomous – it locks us into believing that a situation can “only” be viewed in two categories (rather than in shades of gray).  Example: “If I’m not a total success, I am a failure.”

(2) Catastrophizing

This occurs when we believe that we can “magically” predict the future without considering other, more probable, outcomes.  Example: “I’ll be so upset, I won’t be able to function at all.”

(3) Discounting the positive

When we engage in this type of cognitive distortion, we unreasonably tell ourselves that positive events, attributes, or facts simply do not count.  Example: “I may have done that well, but that doesn’t mean I’m smart; I just got lucky.”

(4) Emotional reasoning

This is a common cognitive distortion wherein we believe in the validity of something because we “feel” it is true so strongly that we ignore evidence to the contrary.  Example: “I know I do a lot of things well, but I still feel like a failure.”

(5) Labeling

This distortion occurs when we put a fixed generalized label on ourselves or others without considering that available evidence may lead to a less disastrous conclusion.  Example: “I’m a loser” or “He’s a bad person.”

(6) Magnification / minimization

We engage in this distortion when we evaluate ourselves, others, or a situation while unreasonably magnifying or minimizing the positive.  Example: “Getting a low grade proves how stupid I am” or “Just because I did well, it doesn’t mean I’m smart.”

(7) Mental filter

This is also sometimes referred to as selective abstraction.  When we think this way, we pay undue attention to one negative detail rather than seeing the big picture.  Example: “Since that one part of the date didn’t go well, it means the whole thing was a failure.”

(8) Mind reading

We employ distorted thinking in this way when we believe that we somehow know what others are thinking – failing to consider other, more likely, possibilities.  Example: “I can tell she’s thinking that she doesn’t like me.”

(9) Overgeneralization

We overgeneralize when we make sweeping negative conclusions that extend far beyond the scope of the present situation.  Example: “Because I felt nervous at that party, I just don’t have what it takes to make friends.”

(10) Personalization

This is when we believe that others are acting negatively because of us, without considering other, more plausible, causes for their behavior.  Example: “She didn’t smile at me in the hallway because I did something wrong.”

(11) “Should” & “must” statements

This type of distortion is also referred to as imperatives.  It is when we have precise fixed ideas about how we or others should behave, overestimating how bad it would be if these expectations are not met.  Example: “It’s awful that I made a mistake.  I should always do my very best.”

(12) Tunnel vision

This common cognitive distortion occurs when we are only able to see the negative aspects of a situation.  Example: “He just can’t do anything right.  He’s so critical and insensitive.”

What do you see these common cognitive distortions as having in common?  Does it strike you that a common thread throughout these distorted automatic thoughts is their failure to take in all known information and to explore realistic outcomes based on evidence?  If you notice that you identify with some or many of these cognitive distortions, remember that we all think in these ways from time to time.  The trick is to begin to realize that there are other, more adaptive ways of thinking about ourselves, others, and events.

When we actually begin to consider the worst case scenario of events in our lives, we realize that the “worst” thing rarely comes true.  However, the fear of the worst case scenario can be paralyzing and debilitating.  Once we begin to identify patterns in our own cognitive distortions and recognize the possibility of more likely scenarios, we start to loosen the grip that these distortions take on our lives.  Try to “catch yourself” in these distorted automatic thoughts the next time you notice a sudden shift in how you are feeling.  What were you thinking just then?  What type of cognitive distortion might have just occurred to you?

Bye bye Black Strat….

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Kory Grow

David Gilmore to action guitar for charity.

david gilmour

This summer, David Gilmour will be auctioning more than 120 of his guitars, including many of his signature instruments. The most notable instrument in the lot is the Black Strat, the 1969 Fender that Gilmour bought at Manny’s in New York City and used to record everything from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to his recent solo recordings and touring, including his jaw-dropping performance in Pompeii. It’s expected to go for between $100,000 and $150,000. The instrument, with the many modifications Gilmour made to it, is so legendary that there’s a book devoted to it.

The auction will take place at Christie’s in New York, which is calling it the “largest and most comprehensive collection of guitars to be offered at auction,” on June 20th. Proceeds will benefit charitable causes.

Other notable instruments in what Christie’s has dubbed “The David Gilmour Guitar Collection” include a white Stratocaster, circa 1954, with the serial number #0001 (played on “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”) and a 1958 Gretsch Penguin. Both are expected to go for between $100,000 and $150,000. He’s also auctioning the red 1984 Strat he played during Eighties and Nineties ($15,000 – $25,000), a 1969 Martin D-35 ($10,000 – $20,000) and a 1955 goldtop Les Paul ($30,000 – $50,000). There are also a number of less famous guitars going to auction with estimates for as little as $300.

The collection will launch at Christie’s London showroom on King Street and be on view from March 27th to the 31st. It will then go to Los Angeles for a showing between May 7th and the 11th with a final chance for people to see the instruments in New York between June 14th and 19th.

gilmour guitars

“These guitars have been very good to me and many of them have gifted me pieces of music over the years,” Gilmour said in a statement. “They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on. Guitars were made to be played and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music. By auctioning these guitars, I hope that I can give some help where it is really needed and through my charitable foundation do some good in this world. It will be a wrench to see them go and perhaps one day I’ll have to track one or two of them down and buy them back!”

Sitting…..

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I’m sitting here waiting for our food delivery from Whole Foods. I’m making risotto for dinner tonight, with a nice tossed salad. Friends who, like me, are itching to get away from all things football related, will be here later. We’re going to watch , “Russian Dolls” which was recommended highly by my friend, Scott.

I’m feeling good today. Have been fence sitting about an issue that is very important to me, the details of which are not important here. Long story short is that I have resolved the issue in my own mind and heart, and feel totally at peace. Turning in a new, more exciting direction.

Things are incredibly good right now. I feel so awake and alive…..so damned healthy. I’m smiling most of the time. So happy. My career has just turned a corner. I am elated.

Drinking Vinegars for the Masses!

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I have always loved the variety offered by the addition of vinegar to a meal. In fact, when I had my own catering company (“Artichoke”) I developed my own line of herbed/spiced vinegar that I hand-crafted and sold to my customers. I sold it faster than I could make it, but I never did have it manufactured. Guess I should have, because people sure loved it.

Fast forward to our first stint living in Portland. One of the first things we did was try out Pok-Pok, a world renowned Thai/Vietnamese restaurant that serves and sells bottled drinking vinegar, also known as “shrubs”. The first flavor I tried was honey, and it was delicious. That was my first experience with the stuff, and I’ve never forgotten it. Now, we live 1/2 block from Pok-Pok, so I have them often.

Drinking vinegar. It doesn’t sound good. Does it? I mean, who relishes the thought of taking a big swig of sour vinegar on a hot day? Well…I do….because drinking vinegars are different.

You should understand that not all drinks that have a vinegar base are equal. Some are simply comprised of water, apple cider vinegar and sugar or fruit juice. Others add colony-forming probiotics. The SOM brand that I purchase at Pok-Pok is hand-crafted and contains many herbs, spices, probiotics and other things that make them special.

Our son-in-law, Nathan, made some incredible raspberry drinking vinegar last summer. He did a raspberry concentrate that he stirred into the vinegar after everything was fermented. It was light, refreshing and amazing! The flavors are so bright with these drinking vinegars. They quinch the thirst like nothing else, so why not give them a try. You can buy Som online, or here’s a recipe for you to make your own. They are fantastic!

Lavender Plum Drinking Vinegar

Ingredients:

8 red plums, chopped

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 (1-in.) fresh culinary lavender sprigs

1 vanilla bean, split

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 1/4 cups bourbon or rye whiskey

6 cups club soda

lavender sprigs and plum slices, for garnish

How to Make It

Toss together 8 red plums, chopped, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 fresh culinary lavender sprigs, and 1 vanilla bean, split, in a medium bowl. Cover tightly, and let stand at room temperature 2 days.

Discard lavender sprigs and vanilla bean, and stir in 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar. Cover and chill 24 hours. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small pitcher, discarding fruit.

For each serving, pour 1/4 cup of the syrup over ice in a 12-ounce glass and stir in 3 tablespoons bourbon or rye whiskey. Top each with 1/2 cup club soda. Garnish with lavender sprigs and plum slices.