Monthly Archives: December 2012

health versus hygiene

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Let’s talk teeth, shall we?

The majority of conversations about dental health are actually about dental hygiene.  Hygiene is a good thing, for sure, but so often we think we’re doing all the right things: brushing twice a day, flossing, even mouthwash! and a cavity bores its way through a tooth or we have to get a root canal.  Hygiene is not synonymous with health, not for the teeth and not for anything else, really. (I’m looking at you, chronic cleansers!)

In the 1930s a dentist named Weston A. Price traveled across the world and had the luxury that we no longer have in our homogenized world of meeting people who were living in the traditional ways of their ancestors.  This was truly a global expedition that he undertook and he photographed mouths from all across the racial spectrum (and we’re using racial lightly because we understand that race is quite the construct, right?).  In the vast majority of cases, dental hygiene was not exactly de rigueur.  (He reports on some older people who have tartar/plaque that is quite thick but perfectly health teeth and gums, exemplary, even. )

His interest was teeth.  But, his studies have shown to be some of the most valuable as far as health goes in the last couple centuries.  (note: that’s editorial, okay?  But, I dare you to find something more valuable.  In fact, comment below!)  What he discovered, among other things, was that teeth told quite the systemic story.  The inflammation of the gums or the rot of the teeth (still paying attention?) were the easily accessible image of what was happening under the skin.  In other words, healthy teeth and gums meant healthy people.

What can seem surprising to us on this end of the twice a year dental visit for free toothbrushes and lollipops (do they still do this?  Even at 8, I thought that was sending quite the mixed message.) and aisles of toothpaste choices is that the health of the teeth and gums had nearly nothing to do with hygiene.  What made healthy teeth, healthy gums, healthy people was diet.  Not enough nutrients, not enough absorption of nutrients and the teeth rotted.

Now, our dental health is a little harder to gauge accurately because we can so easily get cavities filled (even in porcelain so there isn’t even the telltale dark spot of mercury or whatever other strange thing they used to pour in the tooth holes), get new teeth, have surgery.  After a couple visits to the dentist (or crazier the orthodontist!  My generational story of bad nutrition is generally hidden because my teeth all fit in my mouth now.  Well, I have 4 less teeth and the others were pulled into place.), we can convince ourselves that we are in good dental health.

We’re not.

If our eyes are the window to our soul, then our teeth are windows into our bones.  Mostly because they’re, you know, bones.  Also, our gums tell us so much about the inflammation of our other tissues.  (For the incredible ease of teaching and learning, we’ve divided our body into systems, then tissues, then cells, etc.  It provides the illusion that our muscles kind of are glued to our bones.  Or that our organs are these sacs that are kind of floating in our abdominal cavity.  The truer truth is that our muscles become our ligaments become our bones become our tendons become our veins become our organs…like one unbroken morphing string.)  That is to say that what is happening in one place in our body tends to be happening everywhere.  Although the manifestation of rot in our teeth may not mean that our bones are rotting, it does mean that systemically we’ve got a malnutrition issue.

Are you still with me?

When the people that Price was studying left the traditional nutrient dense diets of their ancestors/culture and adopted the convenient foods of the “western diet” (you know what most of us grew up eating…mac n’ cheese, mayonnaise sandwiches, vegetable oils….) their teeth rotted.  Most surprising, when they had kids, their kids faces didn’t develop as they were supposed to and their grandkids had serious deficiencies.  (This mirrored a little of what Francis Pottenger was discovering with cats in his raw food studies.)  Not only were their offspring and grand-offspring’s teeth rotting, their bones weren’t developing appropriately and their faces were…pinching.

When your leg bones don’t grow quite right, those plastic sticks with synthetic bristles rubbed across your teeth seem a little….inadequate.

If you want shiny, white teeth, you can definitely pay for those and get them.  If you want healthy teeth that you don’t have to put in a cup at night, you may want to focus your energy and money on what you eat.

Okay, I hope I’ve convinced you.  Here comes the logical question:  Eat what?

Why, I’m so glad you asked.

These are some of the things that Price discovered were almost universal in traditional, nutrient dense diets.

1. Fermented things.  Fermented things are awesome because they practically make themselves.  My personal favorite to make is sauerkraut.  It’s basically a chop and wait proposition.  My favorite to eat?  Oh, honey!  Give me kimchi, give me old cheese, give me miso, give me herbal beers, give me cider, give me vinegar….give me fish sauce!  Basically, I’m of the “the more it reeks, the better it tastes” school of eating.

2. Raw dairy.  Where dairy was found to be consumed, it was eaten raw.  This is now illegal in most places.  If you can still get it, you’re lucky.  And you probably have better teeth than the rest of us.  You can still get cheeses made from raw milk in most places.  If you can tolerate cassein, have at it.  Most cheeses, fermented long enough (meaning hard) have much lower lactose levels, so this tends to be slightly less of an issue.

3. Organ meats.  Yes please!  Cow tongue, tripe, goat heart, chicken livers, ox balls…forget a multivitamin, eat an organ!  These are goldmines of nutrients.  I eat organ meat at least once a week.

4. Animal fat.  Here’s the thing.  Vitamins A, D, E, and K need fat in order for you to absorb them.  You can take all you want but with no fat in the diet, it’s kind of useless.  Yes, carrots have vitamin A and you can eat them until you’re orange in the face, but with no fat, no absorption.  And no absorption of these vitamins? (D is more a pre-hormone, btw.) Rickety bones and bad teeth.  And weird hormonal stuff.  And, oh, yeah, cancer.

5.  Bone broths.  Wealth can be measured to me by the jars of bone broth I have in my pantry or freezer.  I no longer have the jaw strength that my ancestors from way back had to break through at eat the bones, cartilage and marrow, but broth feels a lot better going down.

*Edited 12/20/2012:  In a gross and tragic oversight, I didn’t specifically mention BUTTER.  Oh, people, I’m wearing the hair shirt for this.  For some reason, I assumed (and you know what happens when we assume, right?) that raw dairy and animal fat combined would lead to the obvious conclusion that butter was implied.  HOWEVER, butter was not just implied in Price’s work, it was a golden, delicious, creamy cornerstone.  I apologize!  I LOVE butter.  I have fond memories of jars of it (yep, jars) being sent to my dad from his cousins who still lived in his home village.  It was different colors depending on the time of year and so….rich…so decadent.  We would eat it by the spoonful.  And it would dissolve and just go down smooth like….butter.  Yeah, there’s a reason we use that to explain how silky easy something is.  If you are still using margarine, please, please, please consider going back to the original health food.  When Price found the nearly universal use of butter in his work, he thought that there was a certain Activator X that it contained.  Yep, an X Factor.  (Visionary, this man.)  Come to find out, Activator X is vitamin K2.  K2 (other than that mountain face and really bad 90s movie about said mountain face) is one of the keys to strong dental health.  It works synergistically with A and D.  K2 is also a fat soluble vitamin, right?  Well butter is one of the best sources of K2 (foie gras is one of the VERY best!  Oh, lordissa..pleasure AND good teeth?  It’s almost like our tastebuds evolved in conjunction with our environment to enjoy the stuff that makes us healthy.  Weird, right?)   And Vitamin K2 in butter is wrapped up in satiny fat with a spreadable bow.  Three cheers to you nature!

You can read a more scholarly article about it (and be connected to a treasure trove of information!) here.http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2#dental (Again, apologies, my link button is NOT working this morning!  Finger push-ups?)

There are more things, but this is getting long and you can definitely do some legwork of your own.

There were zero vegan groups found and only a couple vegetarian groups, but they were not 100%.  They would have some fish or other meats occasionally, but they were not among those with the healthiest teeth and offspring.

In short (too late), for better dental health I rely on eggs quick cooked in butter over my toothbrush.  But, you all appreciate the hygiene, too, I’m sure.

Nourish yourself to freedom.

*If you enjoyed this, like me on the book of face.  Also, find me on Instagram while I’m still on there before they pull that nutso shenanigan.  And, comment away, people!

I’ll be answering reader questions on Friday in a new way that I’m totally stoked about!

Depression Dance Trois

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This is the last entry for this particular series.  However, rest assured that I will revisit this theme quite a bit.  It is important to me.  So many of us suffer with depression.  It is painfully common (I will be sharing my theories as to why that is) and too often fatal.

I promised that this time, I would be super practical and tell you the ways in which I keep the lead in my dance with depression.

In no particular order:

1. I don’t write in a journal when I feel sad.  This was the most counter-productive practice that I had.  When I would flip through old journals and diaries, they would always start the same way, almost verbatim: “I’m feeling so depressed and worthless again…”  Then, I would fill pages with just how horrible life was and how horrible I was.  I haven’t written about my depressive episodes anymore.  I don’t write while I’m in a depressive episode anymore.  It it so much easier for me to release and move through it without dwelling.

2. I eat a lot of fat.  Yep, I said it.  Olive oil, yes, but mostly coconut oil, palm oil, pork fat, beef lard, egg yolks, coconut milk, avocado, macadamia nuts and I see you over there, butter!  I eat fat at every meal.  Since I shifted to eating this way, my mood has been incredibly even.  Fat = happiness to me.

3.   I don’t eat sugar.  I am mostly consistent with this.  I will have days where I have more fruit than others, and every once in a while, I’ll have a slice of flourless chocolate torte, but in general, I don’t eat sugar.  I can’t pat myself on the back enough for taking this decision and changing my behavior.  For years, I was stuck on the feel low-eat sugar-feel high-crash lower-eat more sugar-feel not quite as high-crash even lower cycle.  It takes a while to break the cycle, but the steadiness I feel in myself is so worth it!

4.  I go outside.  Every day.  As much as I can.  I am a heliophile.  I, in a weird paradox, don’t like the heat, but bright sunlight?  Yes, please.  The light is important to my mood, certainly, but it’s so much more than that.  The corners and flatness of inside affect my mood.  I crave curving tree branches and the kisses of the breeze.  I need to smell grass and pines and other things that I can’t quite identify.  All of it.  There is something so ‘internal’ about staying inside that pushes me deeper inside my brain.  This is not a good thing for me.  I need to be reminded that life is going on all around me and that I am part of the world as a fleshy, sensory creature engaged in the beauty that is.

5.  I have learned to distinguish between listening to my depression and obeying my depression.  My depression and I no longer pretend the other doesn’t exist.  We discuss things.  This sounds a little cuckoo, but what I mean by this is that my depression is one part of me and the healthy adult that I now give the most permission to run the show, is another part of me.  When my depression rises up in any way, no matter how small, that is a sign that in some way, I’m not taking the best care of myself.  (This is how depression becomes an ally, by the way.  It signals that deeper, more comprehensive self-care is needed.)  But, I do not OBEY my depression.  Often, my depression will rise and tell me to isolate myself.  This usually means that I have not been caring for my relationships well enough and that that part of my life needs some nurturing.

6.  I express my anger.  One of my pet peeves is the delineation between “negative” emotions and “positive” emotions.  This is a horrible disservice that we do to ourselves.  You don’t have good emotions and bad emotions.  You just feel things.  Some are uncomfortable sometimes, but that’s okay.  (The discomfort comes more from what society deems appropriate for the occasion then the actual emotion, by the way.  Laughing at a funeral is just as uncomfortable as crying bitterly at a wedding.)  Anger is a wonderful emotion!  Here are the rules of anger: a) express it without hurting yourself and b) express it without hurting others.  The best way that I’ve found to express my anger is to say: “I’m angry.”  And, then, try to figure out why.  Nearly always, it is because a boundary of mine has been crossed somehow.  It is valuable information to deepen relationships, both with myself and with others.  Then, I use the energy  that anger gives me to do something about what made me angry.

7.  I have one religion and my god is sleep.  My dad always used to say, “Sleep is sacred.”  I inherited that belief.  It has taken me a long time to find the right amount of sleep.  When I don’t sleep enough, I am priming the pump for all sorts of depressing hormones to flush through me.  When I sleep too much, I disengage from life and the melatonin never gets a chance to get out of my system and all sorts of depressing hormones flush through me.  Right now that it is winter, I need a solid 9 hours to 9 1/2.  During the summer, I scale it down to 7 1/2 or 8.  That is where the goodness lives.

8. (How awkward…a list of eight things.  Why does that feel funny?)  I move.  Nothing has ever been as effective as a daily pick me up as movement has been for me. I don’t call it exercise because it doesn’t have to be structured training, I just need to move.  I usually combine the going outside and moving thing.  I’m efficient that way.  I walk or run or dance or do push ups or yoga or just pose like an elephant.  It doesn’t matter as long as its dynamic.  Again, this takes me out of the labyrinth of my brain and brings me back to the rest of me….the part that knows how to take the lead in the dance.

These are my methods of managing my depression.  If you are depressed, I would suggest that you go see a therapist or psychiatrist to make sure that you don’t need medication.  There’s NO shame in that.  It happens to the very best of us.  If you’ve found ways of your own to dance with your depression or your (fill in the blank with whatever your challenge is), I’d LOVE to hear about it and about you!

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Nourishing ourselves into freedom!

Reader Question-Meal management

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A while ago, I wanted to know what people were wanting to know.  This was my very first question that came back and I LOVE it.  So often, we pretty much know what to do, but the how can seem a bit mysterious and out of our point of reference.  How DO I nourish myself without being chained to the kitchen or grocery store?  For someone as busy as this (and who isn’t in one form or another these days?), I hope that my suggestions are helpful.

 What up Jenny?! I love reading your posts. I have been trying to grapple with time management in regard to meals. I want to eat fresh foods in abundance, but I work like 50 hours a week at least and walk everywhere. I don’t seem to be getting the calories I need because my energy level is kaput when it shouldn’t be.

 Also — f*$king grocery shopping. How to tackle gathering food from huge stores. I am okay in a market, but I can’t always go there. I hate that when I go to a grocery store, I am wandering through aisle of *boxes* and *bags* of food.  I want to emphasize how helpful I find your posts even if I don’t respond. Keep them coming!  -Jimmi

This is a two part question but they do overlap a little so I will do my best to answer them both.  

The first part is about time and meal management.  I am going to run on the assumption that I am writing for anyone who eats at least on the spectrum of ovo-lacto vegetarianism to full-on carnivory.  (For the record, I find veganism too dogmatic and too unhealthy a lifestyle to maintain for any length of time.)

Part One: Meal Management 

1. First to the organized individual who likes charts and graphs and routines, this will be a fun opportunity to get your spreadsheets out.  Plan your meals.  Set aside an hour a week and decide what you will eat that week while keeping an eye on the rest of your schedule.  If Monday you are running from the crack of dawn until the moon stretches into the sky, you will need to plan some portable food.  If you have a little time Wednesday night and want to actually cook, plan for something warm and simple.  

2. Learn to make things portable.  Muffin tins are useful to cook egg “cupcakes”. (Note: the recipe I linked to is a GUIDE. You can mix these puppies up any ol’ way you like.)  Make a batch on Sunday and they are there for the whole week.  Keep some jerky or mixed nuts in your bag.  Make smoothies that you can grab on your way out the door.  Chop up a bunch of veggies at the beginning of the week and keep them in the fridge.  During the week, you can grab some to have on the go with cheese or sliced roasted turkey (check the ingredients at the deli so you don’t get anything not turkey).  Sheets of nori are your new best friend.  Make some tuna salad or egg salad and roll it in the nori for little meals on the go.  These can also be used in anyway that people use tortillas but with no gluten gut.  

3.  Invest or dust off your slow cooker.  There’s NOTHING like dropping a couple chicken thighs, some of your chopped veggies, some spices and a little broth into the cooker in the morning (takes two minutes if you’ve prepped the veggies earlier in the week), turning the dial to “on”, going about your day, and when it’s over and you walk in to your house, there’s a HOT DINNER waiting for you.  (Yes, that sentence ran on and on and on.)  This is something I resisted for a long time but merci me, I LOVE mine now.

4. Boil a bunch of eggs.  Do between a six to a dozen once a week.  Pair it with a fruit and some almonds and fantastic meal on the go! Or make some egg salad.  

5. If you’re uber -organized, take 2 hours one day of the week and prepare breakfasts and lunches for the whole week.  Remember that if you base the meals around proteins and fats, you will feel fuller for longer.  That means that a salad is good but a salad with some leftover roast beef and several glugs of olive oil is much, much better.  Use either ziplocs or little containers that you’ve collected or purchased (salsa jars even work!) and fill them with a meat or egg, some veggies, and some fat.  Spice it to your hearts content and smack it in the fridge.

6. If you are completely disorganized, stock your kitchen.  The pantry should have olives, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, nuts, coconut milk and spices.  Fill your freezer with frozen vegetables and various ground meats.  Your fridge can be stocked with eggs, butter,  some fruit, guacamole (seriously….a staple) and full fat plain yogurt.  In the morning, fry a couple eggs in plenty of butter and eat some fruit.  Or put some fruit and yogurt in a cup and go.  Or make a smoothie with coconut milk, raw egg yolks, and a piece of fruit.  Grab a handful of nuts as you head out the door and some leftovers.  At dinner, do a one skillet meal.  Brown a meat, add a package of frozen vegetables, and some spices.  Make a double portion so you have lunch tomorrow.  

Now for the second part of the question, Part Two: F$&king Grocery Shopping

Let me begin by saying, I am so picking up what you are throwing down!  One can, if not careful, walk in through the sliding doors and emerge hours later bleary-eyed and downtrodden with nothing to show for it but a couple large bags of marshmallows and a frozen pizza.  Yes, I know it’s not delivery, but it’s not really FOOD either.

Any good battle worth its salt has a worthy opponent.  Behold, the mighty grocery store.  And, any great victory requires two things: 1. Know your foe and 2. Have a strategy.

These are the things that you want to know about your nemesis:

1.  The layout.  Here’s the thing.  Anything, with the exception of oils, worth going into your cart and subsequently into your body is found around the edges of the store.  All the produce, dairy, and meats will hug the boxes and bags of “food” that form the bulk of the store.  I NEVER wander the aisles.  There is NOTHING there for me or for you.  (It must be worth noting because I typed in all caps so I’m kind of YELLING those two words.)  I used to have to wander into the aisles to get olives but now just about every store has an olive bar also around the perimeter.  So, I don’t have to get a jar of the same kind of olive nor am I restricted in the quantity.  If I just want two olives, one of garlic stuffed green and one oil cured kalamata, I can do that.  So, back to the layout.  Your individual store may have the really good raw milk cheeses presented in a slightly different place than the crap cheese.  Know this.  Find out where the sale meat is hiding.  All of this stuff will still be the perimeter, but a reconnaissance mission is a good idea.  And, know which row the olive oil is.  Also, if you don’t want to be chopping vegetable in all your free time, know where the frozen vegetables are.  You may have noticed that I didn’t mention spices.  Please, for all that is fiscal, save your pennies to buy spices at a place that sells them in bulk.  They will be better, cheaper, and again, better.

2. When is the store the quietest?  You may not have a whole lot of leeway in your schedule but if you find out that Wednesdays at 2:00 the store is dead, schedule your shopping for then.  Or, do a Tuesday evening run.  This will be highly dependent on your area, but it’s VERY valuable information.  (See those caps?)

Then, the strategy.  Prepare yourself with a list.  Make sure that your list restocks the pantry if you have run out of any of the basics.  Smear some warpaint on your face, gird your loins, stretch your hamstrings.  I promise you that you can be in and out in less than thirty minutes once you know your store and have a plan.  I can walk you through mine.

1. Wearing a ninja costume, I hit the produce first.  (Again a meal plan is so helpful!)  I grab green things, some bright colors, and then something that I haven’t tried before.  (This last category is now so narrow that a regular grocery store can’t fulfill it.)

2. Then, I sneak over to the sale beef.  Then to the meat counter.  If I’m feeling like a high roller, off to the seafood counter.  

3. Then, the dairy.  Eggs (I urge you to always have at least a dozen on hand.  I can go through two dozen in a week, no problem.) and butter and if you do yogurt, grab the full fat plain and some whole milk if you do that.

4.  I swoop up the oil aisle if I need any.

5.  Pay.  If I haven’t spoken to anyone yet today, I go through a regular register.  If I’ve fulfilled my societal quota of small talk, out the self scan I go.  

Done.  Yes, it really is that easy.  I promise.  Thanks so much, Jimmi, for the question.  I really hope this helps!  Nourish yourself into freedom!

If you have any questions or comments, I would LOVE (Jenny…shhhhhhh already.) to hear them below.  Or find me on facebook.

 

 

Building suspense: Depression Dance Two

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Back a millenia ago, I wrote this post about my dance with depression so far and titled it Part 1.  Yes, you are all on the edge of your seats, i can cut the anticipation with a butter knife.  Between that day and this one, my hard drive decided that it had had enough.  The load was too much to carry for this technophobe who doesn’t save anything anywhere but her hard drive.  Under appreciated, stretched too thin, my hard drive collapsed.  Died in a silent, dark exhale with no flickering blue screen light to be seen.

Can we just talk about this for a moment?  Is there anything worse than having a lot to say on a blog and being the kind of person who loves to be validated by being heard and not having a computer?  Fine.  Maybe having a leg caught in a bear trap is worse.  Or actually showing up naked for the SAT’s.  Or telling the hairdresser to just take an inch off and they hear to just leave an inch….the day before your wedding.  For the sake of this conversation I will grudgingly concede that those things are pretty bad.  But, when compared to weeks sans ordinateur, (stay with me monolinguals!), those other things, yes even the bear trap pinched leg, seem like mere annoyances.

Luckily, the good people at the Geek Squad and at Apple have restored order to my world. And, in an all too infrequent bout of preparedness, I had purchased an extended warranty so all of this was covered.  Not a copper coin was exchanged for this service!  Now with my electronic nervous system rebooted and my perspective firmly restored (the bear trap is infinitely worse and given a choice I’ll take the naked exams and the angry inch (boom, my theater geeks!) any day):  Onward!

So, where were we?  The depression dance part deux.

I (and I suspect you) like to be noticed for the amazing things that we do are the amazing things that we are.  Honor roll?  Yes, that IS my certificate.  Great hair?  Thank you.  Bulging biceps?  Yep, earned those.  Nice house?  I enjoy it.  Fascinating painting!  Made it.  Piercing eyes!  Good genes and a little L’oreal.  Depressed again?  Ummm..you talkin’ to me?  Why are you sad?  Me…sad.  No, I’m fiiiiiine.  Did you just spend three days in a mental ward?  WHAT?  What are you talking about?  Moi?

The stigma of depression (again, fill in whatever “darkness” you do the two stop with) was not in my top ten favorite characteristics.  In other words, I did not want to wear a big fat “D” letterman jacket.  And, here’s the delicious irony.  The more I ignored that part of myself, the more I tried to pretend that depression and I were not locked in a vicious dervish, the more it took the lead.  Looking back, I think it was what people mostly saw.  The darkness defined me.  L’il Abner and his rain cloud? Eeyore?  Yep, me.

Then, in a moment of piercing clarity, I realized that I was a special needs kid.  And, I felt no shame in that.  I felt no more embarrassment.  I would always dance with depression but it was up to me to take the lead from time to time.  It was time to do the tango with my depression.  (For those who don’t get that reference, with the tango, partners switch the lead back and forth.)  The very first step with this was ACCEPTANCE.  (Dear, dear readers, that word is so much easier to type than to live!)

ACCEPTANCE (can’t type that thing lowercase, so important it is!) that I am weak.  Whew. Deep breath everyone.  Yep, weak.  And, weak is totally okay!  Not only is it okay, accepting the places I am weak is the only way to find strength.  My depression became my ally.  Not my friend necessarily, although several years into this journey, I can almost call it that.  (Not the friend I want to hang out with all day, every day, but a very useful, wise friend that shows up in the strangest places to remind me of something deeper that others don’t let me see.)

I allowed my depression to be something more than a mental illness.  I allowed it to be a multi-faceted creature, just like I was.  It could be my ally.  It could be my teacher.  It could be my pet.  It could be my tool.  It could just be another part of me, like brown eyes.  I don’t wish my eyes were a different color.  I don’t worship them.  They are just a part of my face that connects me genetically to those that came before in my ancestral line.  My depression, too.

When I allowed the stigma to melt away of being mentally ill, of being a special needs kid, I was then ready to actually tend to my special needs.  Let’s take a breath here, shall we?

Okay, I accept that I have special needs.  I am not like those who do not have a mental illness.  Now what?  Well, now, I embarked on a quest to define what those needs were.  This only took a year (or nearly 38, depending on when you start the clock).  It was a lot of book research.  A LOT of self experimentation.  And, so much self discovery.  Oh, dear, lovely ones….it wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t always unicorns and rainbows.  When you dare to look into the abyss, there is some scary stuff in there.  There are things that seem like monsters.  These monsters, though, feed on me not looking at them.  Once I look them straight in the eye, they become tame beasts that hide gems of great value in their fur.

I know that this sounds airy fairy and totally poetic instead of practical.  I grant you that.  It is also incredibly difficult to not get that way when I talk about this.  This is both a very literal and a richly symbolic journey.  And it took both the scientific research and the gut-led time with my own body (Where was the depression held?  What did I eat that fed it?  What posture made me feel sad?  What days did I feel good?  What were the patterns that had what result?)

These were some of the things that I discovered:

1. I had a profound surplus of unexpressed rage.

2. I did not do well when I sat around thinking about life. (This is a huge depression trigger for me.  I am incredibly comfortable in the intellectual.  I can only think for a little while before I reach the logical conclusion of our complete annihilation.  See what I mean?)

3. I did not do well when I ate sugar of any kind.

4. I did not feel good when I ate grains.

5. Movement coupled with awareness of my environment was almost a magic bullet.

6. I had to take time every single day to be grateful.  I had to write it down.

7. Journalling about my depression was a total backfire.

8. Sleep is sacred.

9. I am allergic to taking care of people who can take care of themselves.

10. Tea fixes just about everything.

These are just some things.  I have so much more to share with you and I will have a list of things, all practical, to share with you in Depression Dance Three.  But, I would love to hear some things that you have to say about you dance with whatever you perceive as your darkness.

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*None of this is a prescription.  Just sharin’ my story.