31Jan

    Dealing with Depression

    Depression is bound to lower your emotional and physical energy levels. While it can definitely feel like overcoming depression is close to impossible, it’s not. Even though you may not feel it now, you still have some control. Here are a some self-help tips you can use to overcome depression.

    Cultivate Supportive Relationships

    Support will go a long way when it comes to dealing with depression. Being alone can actually worsen depression. You need to surround yourself with people who will provide positivity, hope, and light in your life. Naturally, these relationships need to be emotionally stable; keeping close contact with toxic dynamics will also worsen depression.

    Keep in mind that reaching out for support and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. The moment that thought comes into your head, remind yourself that that is just the depression talking. Depression is a natural thing to experience. Many of us go through it at some point in our lifetime.

    So turn to your loved ones and give the opportunity to build a solid support system. Some of the people you may consider contacting are friends, family members, and depression support groups. You can also consider getting involved in miscellaneous social activities. While you won’t necessarily dive into personal conversations during these events, you can still run into people who can lighten your mood.

    positivity

    Get Moving

    Depression can make it really hard for someone to get out of bed, but making the effort to do it will totally be worth it. Many studies show that physical activity can act as an antidepressant as increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins. It also reduces stress and relieves muscle tension. In other words, physical activity will increase your energy levels and decrease your feelings of fatigue. Some activities you may consider are: going for a walk (if you have a pet this can be even easier to accomplish), going for a jog, going to the gym, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and even better, finding an exercising partner who can keep you motivated.

    Challenge Negative Thinking

    Depression will make you look at everything from a negative point of view. This includes the way you see yourself, the way you perceive others around you, and the way you see your future. Forcing yourself to “think positive” or “think happy thoughts” won’t do the trick. Breaking free from negative thinking is no easy task, perhaps one of the hardest when battling depression.

    Instead shifting from one end of the spectrum to the other, consider replacing those negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts. For example, allow yourself to be less than perfect. Instead of damning yourself for not fulfilling your own expectations, cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to realize that you are not perfect, and that’s okay. Another thing you can try is when you catch yourself obsessing over something you weren’t able to, try to think outside yourself.

    book on the grass

    Ask yourself what would you say to someone who is going through what you’re going through. Would you be that tough on them? Would everything be so gloomy when you look at it from outside? Lastly, keep a “negative thoughts log.” Sometimes, when you are able to externalize your looming internal thoughts, you are able to put things into perspective. When you’re in a good mood, re-evaluate those recorded thoughts on the log, and see if there was a better, more healthier way of coping with the issue.

    When dealing with depression, you will have your good days and you will have your bad days – and that’s totally okay. Just keep in mind that coping with depression takes time, but you can and you will make it.

    22May

    Smaller Portions in America Could End World Hunger

    This portion control cheat sheet can help you eat and waste less food.

    This portion control cheat sheet can help you eat and waste less food.

    According to an article recently completed for Chef 2 Chef, most professional chefs are far more focused on feeding people and forget all too frequently the prevalence of world hunger.  Members of any branch of the food service industry cannot deny that, on the path from the delivery dock to the customer’s plate, a lot of aspects of foods and products go to waste.  For further proof of this, the article references a study completed by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States, which indicated that approximately one third of the food that gets produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.  In the United States, this statistic increases to one half of the food created.  The amount of food wasted could go towards feeding the millions in the world who have far too little food.

    The first issue addressed by the article is why the United States is particularly guilty on this offense.  According to Civil Eats, a blog completed by Amber Turpin, the food grown and farmed in the United States is done in massive quantities and trucked all over the country.  This process naturally leads to surplus and spoilage due to travel constraints; often the food is thrown out before it could have been safely consumed.  In addition to this, in relative terms to the rest of the world, food is cheap in the United States.  When the consumer can upgrade to the large fry for only one dollar more, they are inclined to do so; however, buying more doesn’t increase what we can eat and often results in more thrown away food.  Alternatively, in nations where food is expensive, waste is a far less common problem on the consumer level.

    The article also offers up its own explanations for the heavy reliance on waste in the United States.  Often, consumers seek to make recipes that involve odd ingredients.  The ingredient is purchased and only used rarely to repeat the recipe.  This process results in the rest of the product being thrown away once the expiration date has come and gone.  There is also a cultural expectation that food must be visually appealing to be consumed; the slightest sign of imperfection results in further unnecessary waste.

    Several solutions are presented, most of which are to be taken on the part of chefs.  Developing relationships with local farmers could work symbiotically, with fresh produce no longer going to waste.  Reasonable proportions should be presented in every meal; or, as an alternative, allow customers to choose their own portion sizes.  Composting should be engaged and education should be sought on how to store food to get the maximum usage out of it.  Solutions are offered from the Environmental Protection Agency, where sustainable practices are encouraged.  Feed hungry humans and animals with any leftover or unnecessary food.  Compost can also be sought, to meet the needs of soil.

    21Apr

    No Exact Definition or Science for Clean Eating

    Eat clean food and you are bound to live a healthier lifestyle!

    Eat clean food and you are bound to live a healthier lifestyle!

    The phenomenon of clean eating has overtaken social media, in hashtags and pictures posted to Facebook and Instagram.  But none of these limited platforms definitively declare what the term means—is it a diet or a lifestyle?  Therefore, Lauren Torrisi recently felt compelled to complete a post on the concept for ABC News.

    Torrisi discovered that there are some variations amongst what the term should officially mean; specific experts have specifications they chose to follow.  However, one directive seems definitive—hone your diet in on whole foods and avoid packaged meals and items.  According to David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, clean eating truly focuses on the consumption of “real foods,” otherwise known as items that are not cluttered with things that compromise the healthy values, such as artificial flavorings, colorings and sugar substitutes.  A general rule of thumb, by Katz’s standards, is to live by the ingredients list; shorter lists equate to “real food.”

    Katz does specify that this isn’t necessarily a diet; it doesn’t eliminate any one specific ingredient or food, such as bread or sugars.  In fact, he insists that sugar does not equate to an unclean food.  Therefore, by Katz’s mindset, adding sugar to a healthy and “real” food, such as fruit, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, by the concept of clean eating.

    Chef Ric Orlando, creator of clean eating and author of We Want Clean Food, has a slightly more organic and local approach to the concept of clean eating than Katz.  He emphasizes that local shopping is crucial, as local grown produce has suffered less expense via the environment.  However, he does specify that clean eating does not eliminate protein or fried foods.  Orlando believes natural chicken and milk from grass-fed cows can be just as clean as fruits and vegetables.

    Where the term originated is a bit of a debate.  The general concept emerged as a result of the inclination towards overeating in the United States.  Research shows that heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes can all be tied to the consumer’s lifestyle choices.  Therefore, the concept of clean eating was created as a means of cutting back on the nation’s curb towards eating beyond necessity; the idea encourages consumers to eat only until full and never beyond that mark.  As a result, the program can result in weight loss and other various positive side effects.  Ivy Larson, co-author of Clean Cuisine, finds that’s her multiple sclerosis symptoms are lessened when she follows the clean eating program closely.