In my opinion, psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for antipsychotics, like Zyprexa. Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages. There are times when people do need antidepressants. However, other times spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression. Think Popeye.
If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.
According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source. My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU a day. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily. Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.
I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty. They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium. Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women. Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression.
Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.
The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.
People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.
Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.
Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.
This one is SO important! Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.
Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.
Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.
Dallas was one of the lucky cities that had a front row seat last night as the blood moon began to change from its silvery shade into a beautiful rose color. We had about 10 minutes of clarity here in Portland, when the heavy cloud cover slid aside to afford us photographers a moment of glory. The phenomenon would have been more aptly named “Rose Moon” but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic. Right? Just goes to show you how powerful words are.
Just before the moon began to slide into the shadow of the earth, my friend and I were talking on the phone, half way across the USA from one another. We both looked at the moon at the same time. “In stereo…” he said, and that was nice. He “gets it”.
Some Christians attribute prophetic significance to the Blood Moon of April 15, because it was the first of a lunar “tetrad” — four total lunar eclipses in a row, that will occur in 2014 and 2015 — and because each of those eclipses falls on an important Jewish holiday, Passover or Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). The phenomenon will repeat itself three more times in six-month intervals ending in September 2015. Miss those, and you’ll have to wait until 2032–33. What caused this beautiful phenomenon? In a total lunar eclipse, the moon gets a red sheen as it passes behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).
“Since Earth’s umbral shadow is darker in the center than at the edge, the moon’s appearance will likely change dramatically with time as the total phase progresses,” NASA said in a statement.
Could this be a sign of the Apocalypse? Most Blood Moon prophecy advocates — Texas megachurch Pastor John Hagee, for one — won’t commit to specifics, preferring instead to speak in terms of a “world-shaking event” or “the end of an age.” Other Christians aren’t so sure the Blood Moon tetrad has any biblical significance at all. I just thought it was pretty. I’m shallow that way. 🙂
I have just returned from my morning walk where the apple, cherry and magnolia blossoms left a delicate carpet along my path. Springtime in Portland is indescribably beautiful. However, this is not another post about Portland. As I walked, I reflected upon the trip I took to Seattle a couple of days ago, and I smiled. I had finished my school term (officially) on Thursday morning. Anticipating the beginning of the next term, which starts today, my daughter, Sarah, her daughter, Ingrid, and my puppy, Beatrix and I, all piled into her new car and headed for the Emerald City.
It rained hard both going there and coming back, but we had sporadic spots of sunshine that made it all worth it. (Besides, it takes more than a little rain to slow me down!) My daughter is a college professor. Between her job and mine, and my being in grad school, we have little or no time for recreation together (or apart), so this trip meant the world to me. To be able to share it with my dear friend, Sheryl, and another of my granddaughters, Maya, will cause this trip to go down in my personal history as a most memorable occasion.
We stayed with my friends, Sheryl and Dylan and their two gigantic boxers, Ella and Abel. Our first stop was at their big metal shop where they create the most incredible artisan furniture and artwork! Sheryl specializes in patinas and Dylan bends steel and welds it. The work they do is absolutely beautiful! The above photo is of Ingrid greeting Abel as Dylan looks on. It was love at first sight.
Our next stop was to pick up Maya. Oh, how I love that girl! I was so happy to see her! This is a picture of Ingrid with Maya’s dog, Louise.
We went to dinner at The Hi Life in Ballard. It is a nice restaurant that is situated in what used to be a fire station. The makeover respected the integrity of the original architecture and really turned out nicely.
The food was delicious and the strawberry jalapeno margaritas were even better! My only complaint was that the noise levels were a little high. Other than that, I really enjoyed it, and I think everyone else did, too.
This trip, we did a lot of the more tourist-y things for the benefit of Ingrid, but we also spent some quality time with Sheryl who was a superior hostess. She is always such a kind and generous friend. All of us are crazy about her. For instance, she got up early the next morning and made us an amazing breakfast. It was fantastic!
This is Ingrid and Maya, having an early morning chat. Maya, at age 17, towers over us at almost 6′ tall!
We went out and about to a number of different places in Seattle, including a trip to the piers where we rode the old carousel in the noisy indoor arcade that had a creaky wooden floor. This was the fastest carousel I’d ever seen. I think it freaked Ingrid out a little bit. I was happy for the rain because this place is usually so jam-packed with people that it can be a real drag. This was actually pleasant.
I had taken Maya to the top of the space needle when she was 4, so I was determined to take Ingrid as well. She was a good sport, even though she was a little bit worried about the height. This picture was taken on the outer deck where she insisted upon looking for the “day moon”.
We rode the mammoth Ferris wheel that went out over the ocean.
Ingrid was a brave 4 year old!
Her teenaged cousin, Maya, was very patient as Ingrid asked question after question after question. I love it that Ingrid is so inquisitive, and I love it that she can talk so freely to her older cousin. They were comfortable together. That made my heart soar.
I’m not sure I was as brave as my granddaughters….but I truly did enjoy myself.
At night, the Ferris wheel helps transform Seattle into a magical wonderland! Ok…that might be a stretch, but it is very pretty….majestic.
The view was spectacular from every direction!
The best part of the trip was our all simply hanging out together. My heart is still happy from the experience. It was so much fun.
I went with Maya to a talent show at her high school. There were belly dancers and singers and poets. All very talented young people.
Seattle is a beautiful and exciting city with a lot of fun things to do. It has a “faster” vibe than Portland, and is decidedly more cosmopolitan. I love it there!
Of course, the pirates and Trekies were out in full force! What else would one expect?!
My heartfelt thanks to my darling friend, Sheryl, without whom this trip would not have been possible. Friends like Sheryl are rare. I am so grateful to her for everything she is and for everything that she does for my family . Much love to you, Sheryl, from all of us. Thank you for the perfect 2-day vacation! xoxo
As many of you know, I am currently working on a vegetarian cookbook. My angle is to take traditional recipes and turn them into more healthful vegetarian versions. This is easier said than done. Back when I ate meat, there is no denying that I was an excellent cook. I knew all of the traditional Italian, French and even Chinese dishes and could knock your socks off with some dynamic and dramatically delicious meals. Today? It is not a given that whatever I cook will turn out well. I have drastically reduced the amount of fat, salt and sugar that I cook with. I seldom use dairy. I never use meat or meat by-products such as chicken broth or beef broth, so I have had to find ways to compensate for this. Sometimes they work. At other times, they do not.
Lately, I have been experimenting with pizza. My kids used to make fun of my pizzas because I was never much into the red sauce and piles of meats and cheeses on top. I’ve always gone the gourmet route. They used to call them my “Yuppie Scum Pizzas”. The other night, I was experimenting with this one:
This isn’t a great photo, but it is shiitake mushrooms, organic baby greens (kale, chard, spinach), garlic and chèvre on a light, herbed crust with pesto. This was a delicious pizza. When I was cooking it, I had the windows open to air out the house, when I heard a knock on the door. It was my friend, Dave, homemade root beer in hand.
“I couldn’t help but notice that delicious aroma coming from your house when I walked by, so I thought I’d bring you some of my homemade root beer. Whatever you are cooking will probably taste pretty good with this!” and he was right. This root beer was spectacular, and the perfect compliment for my pizza. He joined me for pizza and root beer and we had a lovely evening watching, “The Last Waltz” together.
Sassafras, sarsaparilla and wintergreen, the herbs use to make root beer, are surrounded by a bit of controversy. All of them contain safrole, which was once thought to be a carcinogen. Then again, this article from Nourished Kitchen explains why there is nothing to fear.
“Wintergreen leaf, though almost always an ingredient in most traditional root beer recipes, replaced sassafras as the prominent flavor in root beer during the 1960s when a study conducted on lab animals implicated safrole, a naturally occurring polyphenol, in liver cancer. Of course, the lab rats were fed massive quantities of safrole – the human equivalent of consuming about 32 twelve-ounce bottles of root beer a day. After the study was released, the FDA required commercial soft drink makers to remove sassafras from their brews. Of course, cinnamon, nutmeg and basil also contain safrole but this seemed to escape the attention of the FDA.
Interestingly, while massive quantities of safrole caused liver cancer in lab animals, it seems that small doses may actually play a protective role for humans. Some studies indicate that safrole may actually stimulate the death of cancer cells, particularly oral cancers though it may also do so in lung and prostrate cancers.
Wintergreen, already an ingredient in root beer, offered a flavor profile strikingly similar to that of sassafras, and made a ready replacement. Most root beers made today contain neither sassafras nor wintergreen and are instead made with artificial flavors. Even wintergreen extract, the preferred flavoring for many home brewers, is difficult to attain and typically is made with propylene glycol – a petrochemical.”
One should consult with a doctor, health care practitioner or herbalist before consuming any herb, especially if pregnant, nursing or have some kind of medical condition that requires medication. There is always the possibility of danger when mixing herbs with medications.
Homemade Root Beer:
A variety of other herbs have also been used in traditional root beer recipes (including sarsaparilla, burdock, anise, licorice, astragalus and others). Dave’s simplified version is much more budget friendly as many of these herbs are hard to source and expensive.
Before beginning, it is important to have the culture ready to go. Dave uses a homemade ginger bug in this recipe as it gives both the flavor and carbonation, though any type of natural culture could be used.
- ½ cup Sassafras Root Bark
- ½ teaspoon wintergreen leaf (or more- try this to taste but start with a little as it has a very strong flavor)
- 1 cup unrefined organic cane sugar like rapadura
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tiny dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
- dash each of coriander and allspice (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
- 3 quarts filtered water
- ¼ cup lime juice (optional but good for flavor)
- ¾ cup homemade ginger bug or other starter culture like whey or vegetable starter
- Put the sassafras root bark and wintergreen leaf in a large pot. Add cinnamon, coriander and allspice if using.
- Add 3 quarts of filtered water and turn on high heat.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove herbs.
- While still warm, add the sugar and molasses and stir until dissolved.
- Let cool until warm but not hot and add the lime juice and then then ginger bug or other culture and stir well.
- Transfer to grolsch style bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and allow to ferment for several days at room temperature.
- Check after two days for carbonation and when desired carbonation is reached, transfer to refrigerator and store until use.
-1 tablespoon licorice root
-1 tablespoon grated ginger root
-1 tablespoon hops flowers
-1 teaspoon of anise or fennel
This year. I have an exercise for you. This is about self loathing. And self-acceptance.
Take a plain white sheet of paper. Fresh paper. No lines. And get a really good ink pen…whatever kind you like. Then….make a list. Write the numbers 1 – 10 in a line down the page.
Next, list the top ten things that you loathe about yourself. It could be anything. Your hair. Your inability to come up with a clever witticism when needed. Your inability to perform mathematical calculations. You’re a lousy cook. You think you’re too fat. You hate the sound of your own voice. Whatever you don’t like about yourself….Write it down.
BURN IT!!! René Best guitarist
That’s right. Take the list outside and set that mo-fo on fire! Burn up every single negative, self-loathing thing you said about yourself…and when the fire goes out and you are left with ash….send it up to the sky! Let the breeze carry it away!
Then….Make a new list.
Make a bunch of lists. Put them up all over your house. List the things you love about your life. List the things you love about yourself. List those things you are grateful for. List the people and things that make you happy.
There is nothing wrong with you. Everything is as it should be for now. Everything is going to be alright.
At this time yesterday, I could honestly claim that I was still in my 50’s. Today? Nope. It was the big 6-oh….and it wasn’t bad at all! I had a great birthday, in fact. Got lots of attention and great gifts from friends and family, and was surprised with tickets to see Margaret Cho this evening. It was fun.
I kept joking with Ingrid about wanting a pony for my birthday, so this is what she gave me. I love it! Couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
My love gave me these beautiful ruby earrings, and my cousin, Daina sent me two, beautiful cashmere scarves. I got some other wonderful gifts as well, and many cool and funny cards and letters and phone calls. I am very grateful and humbled by the kindness of my friends and family….but birthdays aren’t really about the presents. Are they?
The best part of my birthday was getting spend time with the people I love most. It was reading the cards and hearing voices over the telephone. It was a little four year old who snuggled close at nap time. It was that special treat at Lauretta Jeans. It was my friend’s smile, and it was the security of knowing that I am loved. I’m pretty lucky to have lived the life that I have lived thus far. I can’t wait to see what happens next! 🙂
To intentionally lie and hurt those to whom we profess love, is wrong. Yet, to intentionally hurt and lie to *anyone*….not just the people we love…but *anyone* is wrong. Perhaps the people that do this come into our lives so that the universe can test our strength and cause us to question ourselves .
Perhaps they are here to teach us lessons about the true nature of love, because if someone mistreats you in that way, lies to you…takes advantage of you…misleads you….and you still love them after it is all over, you know that what you feel for them is real love…barring unhealthy dependency issues and the rest of it.
In contrast, these things can highlight our drive to cherish those who are sincere and loving, and cause us to have a deeper appreciation for them…. OR, we might cross paths with these people so we can reach out and touch the hearts and souls of those that choose to malign us. Perhaps we are being called upon to gently help them find their loving paths to make this a better, more loving planet.
They say love is blind…but it isn’t. Love is perfect sight. Love is the ability to see a person, I mean really see him-his strengths, his weaknesses, his flaws, all his past triumphs and mistakes-and view that person not as the world says you’re supposed to see him, but as you see him…..as that special someone you know you will always embrace, body and soul, no matter what anyone else says or thinks.
One of my favorite sounds.
René Best musician
No matter how you look at it, Portland is a beautiful city. Its distinct four seasons change her look dramatically from month to month, sometimes draping her in a swath of floral bouquets and, at other times, splashing her with rich, warm color that can rival any New England landscape.
No matter what the changes are, they are dramatic…..breathtaking, in fact, even after the leaves have fallen and the barren trees stretch their naked branches up to touch the weeping winter sky.
Not quite ready to say good bye, the last of the summer crocus peeks through the soil in a fanfare of color and charm.
The creamy white mushrooms hidden among the piñon pine needles calm the soul and lend an air of quiet solitude among the array of festive color.
…and next spring’s roses grow their protective armor in preparation for their own showcase that will occur after the winter thaw.
This is autumn in Portland, where my favorite pumpkins grow and thrive in the organic garden, bringing smiles to children’s faces and love within my heart. Living here is truly living, and it makes me feel so glad to be awake and alive. I feel fulfilled, and have intent and purpose…a reason to get up every morning and face the new day with happiness and joy.
Even the old feral cats that hide themselves among the bushes, know they are loved. They are cared for in this city, where people set out dishes of food for them and offer them shelter when the cold winds sweep through after the autumn gives way to the winter months.
The birds flock here as well, welcomed by the abundances of houses from which to choose….but beware of the cats!
There is always someplace safe to nest and get in out of the cold.
The little squirrels keep a watchful eye out for fallen chestnuts or popcorn from passers by.
Portland is a beautiful city. I think I might stay here for awhile. It is a place for family and friends. It is a place for art and culture, for good food and good times. Portland is a place for love and nature. It is a good place to be, no matter what the time of year.
I love Portland.
Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”
― Timothy Leary
Two of my all-time favorite singers….Ricki Lee Jones and Ben Harper, singing, “Old Enough”.
It’s not that I fear but
Maybe it’s that I took care of you
too many times,
And you grew weaker for a kindness
Sometimes kindness from a friend
can break a man
I can understand
You sit there like a child-man
I never meant to make you cry
I’d turn the clock but how can I?
You’re Old Enough to know
You’re Old Enough to know
Why do you shun me
when I treat you with respect?
You’ve been my best friend,
joy and happiness
But without a tender kiss sometimes,
We may as well say goodbye…
Cuz late at night, as the cars go by,
I lay here and watch you try
to pretend you’re not breaking inside
For someone to sing in your ear…
I can understand…
You sit there like a child and beg,
But if you want me to stay,
Baby has to cry sometime
Don’t be kind to me,
I wanna walk away…
You’re Old Enough to know
You’re Old Enough to know
You’re Old Enough to know
Ah, you’re Old Enough to know
Photo a Day – JULY
Day #21 – FAVORITE FOOD
© Stacy Alexander – 2013
I struggled with using this photo today. Apart from the fact that it is a good food photo and that the food itself was outstanding, the staff at the restaurant where we ate this delightful vegan cuisine was so rude that I really don’t feel like promoting their fare. I really don’t like to say negative things about restaurants unless they REALLY deserve it. I was in the restaurant business for many years, however, and know that a rude staff can ruin a dining experience. Leaving a negative review is an ethical dilemma, for sure. Harlow, located at 3632 SE Hawthorne Boulevard here in Portland, is a lovely venue with old Vs. new decor, comfortable seating….a light, airy space. Their food is absolutely heavenly…hands down, some of the best food we’ve ever eaten. However, their staff was so incompetent and downright rude that the 5 of us who ate there yesterday will probably never go back. Pity, that, because we spend a good deal of money eating out, and once we love a restaurant, we return time and again. I guess the people who run this place have not yet learned that good manners and good business go hand-in-hand….and that snobbery has NO place in the restaurant business. C’est la vie….
I know I keep raving about what a great neighborhood we live in….but it’s true! Virtually everything we could possibly want is within walking distance. Tonight, we are going to walk to our favorite jazz club to see Albare, am amazing guitar virtuoso.
The music of Albare is not for those charmed by triviality. This man is one class act! I have posted a video below, but this does not even begin to portray the depth and breadth of this man’s talents! The Australian convincingly imposes – in a modern jazz setting – the music of his heritage on sometimes languid, sometimes thrusting compositions for jazz guitar. He truly is fantastic!
By the time Albare’s first guitar was in his hands as a child, he had gathered life experiences that would help shape the man, and later his music, not that these stopped when he was eight. Speaking Spanish as part of an ancient family from northern Morocco, the boy known as Albert Dadon moved with his parents to Israel and then on to Lyon, in France, departing their homeland at a time of convulsive change. Albare later settled in Australia. The combination of that young country’s exuberance and the sobering history of the region of his birth can both be found in music that is sometimes bent with energy, but can also be almost mournfully reflective. Albare’s compositions might be seen as a musical Rosetta Stone through which we can interpret what may once have seen the impenetrable sounds of a distant elsewhere.