Wednesday, February 8, 2017

8 Ways To Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder

8 Ways To Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder
By: Shandalla L.Rigby, MSA, LMP

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

SAD is a form of mild depression that is generally thought to be due to the decrease in light as the season changes and the days get shorter.  It is also known as the "winter blues."  It is characterized by moodiness, irritability, sadness, discontent, and excess sleepiness.  Less commonly, there can be more severe symptoms such as: loss of interest, appetite changes, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

In a state like WA, where the daylight hours are very short during the winter months, it is not uncommon to see this disorder cropping up.  However, there are some very easy ways to prevent this disorder.

Get your Vitamin D checked.  Vitamin D is generated by our bodies using the sun.  It is natural for this vitamin to decrease during the shorter days of winter.  Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are very similar to SAD.  Your primary care physician can do a blood test to check your levels for you.

Take a B-Complex that includes Folate/Folic acid, Vitamin B-6, Riboflavin, and B-12.  B-Vitamins help your cells function at their optimum level.  They are co-enzymes that support your body's ATP by helping you convert your food into usable energy.  This can give you a mood boost and increase your overall energy levels.

Take a Fish Oil supplement.  Fish oil is full of good essential fatty acids that nourish the brain and decrease inflammation. Further, research has shown that taking 1000 mg of Fish Oil can be effective in combatting mild cases of depression. See your healthcare provider for a dose that is right for you, especially if you're on prescription blood thinners.

Get outside and get some natural light.  Whether it's just taking a walk, going snow shoeing, or going skiing, this will have a positive dual effect on the body.  You'll reap the antidepressant effects of a little exercise, and you'll get some natural light to help boost your Vitamin D reserves.

Exercise! I can't say this enough. So many health related issues can be handled by adding a minimal toamount of exercise.  Research has shown that brisk exercise (about 20-30 min per day) can relieve depression and its related symptoms by up to 70%.

Light therapy.  Buy a light therapy box and sit in front of it.  It mimics natural sunlight and is very versatile.  You can use it while you're reading, sitting at your desk working, or watching TV.  You can purchase one at a health retailer like Pharmaca or order it online.

Use Aromatherapy.  Diffusing aromatherapy in the air can help lift the spirits and ease depression symptoms.  The most common oils used are: orange oil, grapefruit oil, lavender oil, or eucalyptus oil.  You can use an essential oil diffuser or if you just want to keep it simple, grab a pan, put 3 cups of water in it, and add 10 drops of your chosen essential oil. Simmer on low, adding water as needed.

Enjoy your friendships.  Usually after the holidays and parties,  many of us do little socializing while winter is passing.  Recovering from the busy holiday season is a good idea, but don't hibernate for 3 months.  Make sure to schedule dinners and happy hours with friends and family, attend a class you'll enjoy, volunteer at a charity, start a book club, or go to the theater.  Anything that will help you enjoy yourself and shake off the blues.  Remember, if you're feeling lonely and have the winter blues, there's likely someone else who feels the same way.  Don't forget, you can enjoy friendships and fun in the winter too

If your symptoms seem unmanageable, please see your primary care physician for help.  There are many other ways that you can treat SAD that may work better than those I listed above.

Original Article Published in The Points Living. Feb 2017. edited: 2/8/2017

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any disorder.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Easy No-Bake Protein Cookie Balls

These protein cookies are take less than 20 min to make and will placate your sweet tooth without derailing your healthy New Years goals.  They give you a good dose of energy from the complex carbs in the rolled oats; you get a substantial dose of fiber from the oats, chia seeds, and flax seeds; you'll gain extra protein from the protein powder and nut butters; and finally, you will add good fats to your diet with the nut butters and shredded coconut.  These ingredients combine well to boost long term energy without any added sugar.  They are a nutritious way to pack some extra nutrients into your body throughout the day. I eat them before my workout or for a quick breakfast.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

No-Bake Protein Cookie Balls

2 cups of Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
2 cups of no sugar added organic peanut butter or other nut butter of your choice (do NOT drain off the excess oil)
2/3 cup Organic Raw Honey
1 oz scoop of no sugar added chocolate protein powder
1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1Tablespoon of chia  seeds
1 teaspoon of ground flax seed
Sesame seeds (optional)*

Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  I find it easiest to combine the ingredients by hand instead of spatula because of how dense this cookie is. I also prefer to spray my hands with coconut oil to prevent the ingredients from sticking.  Once well combined, roll dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Continue to coat hands with oil as needed.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, serve chilled.

*For added variation, I will roll half my cookies in loose sesame seeds.  This adds a delicious, unique flavor.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Easy Flavorful Chicken Salad

Flavorful Chicken Salad

1 cup Whole Greek Yogurt
12 oz can of Cooked chicken
1/4 cup Sweet and Hot Jalapeños, minced
1 Stalk Organic Celery, minced
1/2 teaspoon Onion powder
1/2 Ground Mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinenuts, Walnuts, OR Slivered Almonds for Garnish

Mix all ingredients (except Nuts) together in a medium bowl.  Stirring until mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir.  Garnish with one of the above nuts.  Serve in Organic Lettuce leaves* or with sliced veges.  I usually eat my chicken salad with Organic Celery, Rainbow Baby carrots, and Sliced red/orange/yellow pepper.

*If serving in lettuce leaves, add a few slices of avocado for an added boost to the good fats.


Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year Cleanse

The new year is upon us and with that I am doing a New Year cleanse.  I start by weighing myself to see what I am working with.  I will just say, it's more than I need to way for my height, but I'm ok with that because I have lost 11 pounds over the last 6 months by making healthy nutrition choices and getting rid of many major stressors in my life. 

I'm hoping to continue that loss and jump start my metabolism by doing a Cleanse that involves getting rid of all process foods, sugar, alcohol, dairy, and simple carbs.  This is my goal for 1 month.  

Today is the first day.

The reason I find it important to do a cleanse a few times a year is to clean out my body of every toxin I put into it.  I know the liver does a very good job of doing this, but this is my way of assisting it. I am giving my body all the nutrition it needs in an easily digestible way, so that it can utilize all the nutrients in a fully functional, maximized way.  In addition, I am taking herbs that assist in the cleansing process... speak to your healthcare provider before starting any new herbs or changing your diet.

So this is what my cleanse looks like.

When I woke up, I started by drinking 8 oz of water and taking my cleansing herbs.

Then I had a cup of coffee sweetened with 1 Tablespoon of honey and a Tablespoon of whole coconut cream; the unprocessed stuff out of the can.  I chose to keep my coffee.  There are many health benefits, including it helping with elimination and having antioxidants. I cleaned it up to include a healthy fat and a healthy sweetener that boosts the immune system.  In addition, I also decided that keeping my coffee would keep me from feeling like everything enjoyable in my life was ending for 1 month, lol.

For breakfast I made a whole juice that included 4 cups of mixed organic greens, 3 organic carrots (each a different color), 2 stalks of organic celery, 1/2 an organic lemon, and 1organic apple.  It was delicious.  

My goal is to boost my nutrient load and give my body the antioxidants it needs to assist the liver in the clean up all the excess toxins from the previous year.  

Next,  I had 12 oz of water with a capful of raw, organic, apple cider vinegar added to it.  This alkalizes the body and provided good bacteria for the intestines.  FYI: You can taste the vinegar.  I don't mind the flavor, but it can take a bit to get used to.

In addition: 
For lunch, I had a chicken and ginger bone broth soup (see previous post on bone broth).

For a snack, I'm going to have 1 cup blueberries and raspberries,  a 1/4 cup of nuts, and a cup of green tea.

For dinner, I am making lemon pepper chicken, asparagus and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic, shallots, and lemon, and steamed kale.  The key to a filling dinner when removing simple starches is to use multiple fibrous vegetables. 

My final snack will be homemade protein balls. I will post the recipe in an upcoming blog.

I hope this inspires you as you move forward into a healthy new year.