It is estimated that 15 million Americans suffer from depression. If you’re one of them, you may be surprised to know that diet plays an important role in mental health. So much so, that is has inspired an entire field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry.
The brain never gets a day off—it works 24/7—even when we’re sleeping. Which means it needs a constant supply of fuel. This “fuel” is food. What we eat directly affects our brain function, and ultimately, our mood. A major key to mental wellness lies at the end of our fork.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of the mind-body connection and understand that our thoughts and emotions have the ability to impact our physical health. You also know that chronic stress is bad for our health.
Although most of us know this, we often continue living our daily lives on autopilot, mostly unaware of the feedback loop playing in our heads that form our beliefs about ourselves, our identity, and our capacity to heal. We’ve normalized stress to the point that we just accept we will live with, at best, a low-level anxiety that keeps us in a constant state of fight-or-flight.
The conventional approach to dealing with anxiety is to medicate. If you’ve dealt with anxiety that is disruptive to your quality of life, there’s a good chance you’ve been told there’s a neurotransmitter imbalance in your brain that can be corrected through medications like Valium, Xanax, or Klonopin (benzodiazepines).
It is estimated that today, nearly 50 percent of Americans will struggle with mood symptoms, and 11 percent will be medicated for them. Psychiatric medications are now the second leading class of drugs sold, after cholesterol-lowering drugs. With side effects ranging from nausea to blurred vision, sexual dysfunction to suicidality, they must be effective enough to warrant such risks, right?
Through a collaborative approach, the Travis County Child Protection Team (CPT) is dedicated to reducing the trauma for children during the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against them.
The Center for Child Protection offers many forms of experiential therapy to child abuse victims and their protective families. Trauma-informed yoga is just one type of therapeutic intervention used at the Center. The combined benefits of yoga poses, meditation, and focused breathing create a domino effect of long-lasting results that can help children heal.
Gretchen O’Neil’s love affair with flowers began as a child, enamored by the confetti-colored tulips that sprawled across her grandfather’s yard. Flower growing became more than just a family pastime for O’Neil in 2002, when she started working on a small farm in the mountains of Vermont. After moving to Austin in 2003, it took the native New Englander about five years to acclimate to the sweltering heat before she could even begin to consider growing cut flowers in the Central Texas climate.
We now know that we are what we eat, literally. The nutrients in our food provide the foundation for the structure, function, and integrity of every cell in our body.
Today’s students within Austin Independent School District (AISD) are more sweet potato quesadilla with carrot and tomato escabeche than they are frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots of my school lunch past. Think more farmers’ market and less corner bodega, with a staff that includes a buyer, dietitian, and professional chef.
What do a former nurse, federal government employee, paralegal, teacher and banker have in common? They’re all Austin women entrepreneurs who traded their careers to open small businesses in our city. And they all share a passion for the local community and a commitment to sustainability.
If you suffer from food allergies or autoimmune disease, you know that dining out can be restrictive. As a foodie who later developed celiac disease, the number of restaurants in Austin where I’m able to dine safely can be counted on both hands. I wrote about these safety bunkers in my article, “Top 10 Austin Restaurants When It MUST Be Gluten-free.” Thanks to Picnik, that number has grown to 11.