Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to find a natural high

 While I agree with this article, this is not meant as a substitute for prescribed medications.  Before making any changes in your medication routine, please check with your doctor.

How to Find a Natural High

Seriously, skip the substance abuse and find a green way to relax.

By Sara Novak
Columbia, SC, USA | Tue Feb 24, 2009

According to a recent survey by the World Health Organization, the United States leads the world in substance abuse problems. Forty-two percent of American respondents said they used marijuana, 16 percent had used cocaine at least once, 74 percent admitted to having used tobacco, and 92 percent drank alcohol. We were third in the world in alcohol consumption behind only the Ukraine and Germany. Colombia, Mexico, Spain, and New Zealand were the runners up in cocaine use, but were still nearly 4 percent behind us. Those are some pretty scary figures. While the alcohol use percentage is questionable because I'm not sure what "use" means, all the other stats are a bit disconcerting. There are much more natural and healthy ways to de-stress without abusing scary substances.

Here are some greener ways to get happy and reduce stress:

·         Sometimes we're happy, sometimes we're sad and for some of us exerting control over this would be fabulous. Over the past two years, through tons of yoga and meditation, I've learned what makes me happy and helps me to get rid of that nasty low feeling that can sometimes really hurt. Check out my guide to How to Get Happy Without the Prozac—Natural Cures for the Blues.

·         Why not use bananas to overcome the blues? Bananas contain tryptophan. Which, according to science, can help the body manufacture serotonin, a naturally occurring relaxant. Low levels of serotonin often go hand in hand with depression. An increase in your banana intake may be just what you need to get happy after the holidays.

·         Check out Elizabeth Seward's guide to curing your seasonal affective disorder (SAD) naturally. For example, make sure that you spend at least 30 minutes outside every day. Even if you're freezing and thoroughly disinterested in the bland horizon, force yourself to do something outside. Go for a long walk instead of using your car!

·         Check out my guide to foods to boost your mood naturally (article below this one). Instead of medicating yourself with drugs and alcohol, why not try these four foods that a recent article in Medizine's Healthy Living Magazine said are known to boost your mood?


Instead of medicating yourself with drugs and alcohol, why not try these four foods that a recent article in Medizine's Healthy Living magazine Overview said are known to boost your mood?

  1. Whole grains
    Whole grains stimulate the release of serotonin which regulates mood and helps you get to sleep. My favorite whole grain is quinoa.
    Quinoa is a complete protein, great for vegetarians. And going vegetarian has the same effect on carbon dioxide emissions as switching from a Chevrolet Suburban to a Toyota Camry. Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. It's great in stews, curries, salads, and pilafs.
  2. Leafy greens
    Leafy greens are a great source of folate which helps the body manufacture serotonin. Try
    spinach. It's available in the spring and autumn and it's one of the most versatile foods out there. Curly spinach requires cooking. Flat-leaf spinach is sweeter and more tender, so it can be used for cooking or salads. Baby spinach is very tender and is ideal for salads. I also like winter greens, kale, and collards (duh, I'm from South Carolina).
  3. Bananas
    Bananas are a great source of B6, which helps to make serotonin. Bananas are awesome in smoothies because they thicken them up and add tons of depth. Try this go-to smoothie recipe that I have made many a morning for my husband.

    Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

    1 organic banana
    1 tbsp organic peanut butter
    3 oz almond milk

    Blend and enjoy.
  4. Salmon
    Salmon is also a natural mood booster. It contains Omega 3 fatty acids which help reduce depressive symptoms.
    Salmon is one of the healthiest fish options around. Most varieties, including coho and sockeye, provide more than three times the 250 milligram recommended minimum daily dose of omega-3s. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide, sustainable salmon choices include coho, sockeye, king, pink and red, and sake. These sustainable varieties should also be wild-caught in Alaska.



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