The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Feb. 18/17

Hello, hello, it’s Friday today, and time for your Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. It’s been another cold week here in Canada. Have I mentioned that I’m looking forward to spring? I think- I think- I think I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Let’s have some fun and forget about the whole thing, shall we? Here’s your prompt for this week:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ham.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

After you’ve written your Saturday post tomorrow, please link it here at this week’s prompt page and check to make sure it’s here in the comments so others can find it and see your awesome Stream of Consciousness post. Anyone can join in!

To make your post more visible, use our SoCS badge! Just paste it in your Saturday post so people browsing the reader will immediately know your…

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The Connection Between Exercise And Brain Power

You shouldn’t begin engaging in regular physical activity only after you’ve already noticed a potential health threat. If you start exercising now, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, amount other health problems. Other benefits of exercise include weight loss and lower blood pressure.

However, regular physical activity won’t only keep your body healthy, but your brain as well. After all, your brain is no different than the muscles in your body. If you don’t stimulate and preserve it, you’ll be faced with certain problems.

Although you’ll experience mental health benefits from almost any type of workout, aerobic exercise is especially known for improving your brain health. Here are some of the main health benefits of exercise for mental health.

Exercise Improves Brain Growth

As you get older, your brain will start shrinking due to the decreased speed of the birth of new brain cells. Engaging in aerobic exercise will improve blood flow to the brain by increasing your heart rate. Increased blood flow means that more oxygen will get delivered to your brain, which will encourage the birth of new brain cells.

Exercise Fights Anxiety And Depression

When you’re depressed, your ability to process information will slow down significantly. This can cause memory problems, as well as difficulty with making decisions and concentrating. If you’re suffering from mild depression, then exercise may be all that you need in order to fight this disorder. For serious depression, you’ll most likely have to take antidepressants and exercise. The reason why exercise is known for fighting anxiety and depression is because it will increase your body’s production of feel-good brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are crucial if you want to experience happiness.

Exercise Decreases Stress

While some chemicals can improve your mental health, others will only harm it. One of the most dangerous chemicals is the stress hormone known as cortisol. Nowadays, stress is one of the most common causes of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Not only that, but stress can also cause memory loss and difficulty thinking. By decreasing cortisol levels, you’ll stimulate the growth of new nerve cells in a part of the brain known as dentate gyrus. This brain area is part of the hippocampus, which is linked to the creation of new memories. When you’re stressed out, the number of brain cells in the dentate gyrus becomes insanely low.

Exercise Improves Your Focus

It can be incredibly hard to focus in today’s world, with all the smartphones and numerous other distractions that we’re faced with almost every moment of the day. In order to focus on the task at hand properly, you’ll need to learn how to ignore these distractions. Thankfully, exercise will teach you discipline, thus making it easier for you to focus all of your attention on a particular task.

Exercise Will Help You Control You Emotions

If you tend to lose your calm or let your emotions control you often, then you should consider working out regularly. According to a study conducted by the Department of Psychology of the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, you can decrease emotional stress and increase emotional control just by exercising regularly.

Exercise Will Improve Your Self-Esteem

Having low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression and stress. It can also have a negative impact on your work or academic performance. In order to live a happy life, your self-esteem needs to be high. Thankfully, exercise is known to impact self-esteem positively in people of all ages. A review of 113 different studies was published in the Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology showed that your self-esteem is likely to change for the better if you exercise regularly.

 

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Weight Loss Surgery: Can It Help with Emotional Overeating?

If you have trouble with emotional overeating, you may have considered weight loss surgery of some sort. But how do you know if it’s for you? What kinds of surgery options are available? Here are some ideas as to the more common surgical options currently available and some of the better-known pros and cons associated with them.

1. Lap-Band

This is a type of restrictive weight loss surgery, and it is adjustable. A silicon doughnut or ring is placed around the top of the stomach, leaving a small pouch above the ring. This is where the food goes first, and the pouch, being so small, fills up quickly. The person feels full on less food, in other words. Slowly, the food makes its way from the pouch into the main stomach.

The doctor or surgeon may, from time to time, inject saline into the ring in order to inflate it, thus decreasing the pouch’s capacity even further. The opposite can be done as well.

Pros:

* It’s adjustable, as noted above – fluid can be removed or injected into the ring.

* The digestive process is not compromised; food is digested “the usual way.”

* The surgical procedure is usually done laproscopically, meaning it’s minimally invasive.

Cons:

* Additional surgery may be required in the case of twisting of the access port or perforation of the stomach.

* Weight loss tends to be rather slow and gradual, and not as dramatic as some other options.

* Repeated follow-up visits with your doctor are required.

2. Gastric Bypass

This is what’s known as a malabsorptive technique. In gastric bypass surgery, a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach using “staples” rather than a ring. Then part of the small intestine is re-routed to connect to this pouch, essentially creating a permanently smaller stomach. It is called “bypass” surgery because food bypasses the rest of the stomach and the original small intestine connection, called the duodenum.

Pros:

* Weight loss tends to be significant and permanent.

* Mild side effects, such as heartburn, tend to be resolved easily.

Cons:

* Compromised nutrient absorption is a significant concern, and patients are generally required to take many supplements to prevent nutritional deficiency.

* Dumping syndrome, or a too-fast emptying of stomach contents, is a potentially difficult side effect.

* It’s harder for doctors to view the stomach and intestine via endoscopy, meaning cancer and other problems may go undetected.

These are just two of the more common types of weight loss surgery. The bottom line is, weight loss surgery can help with the weight gain and excessive caloric intake associated with emotional overeating, but it does not address the underlying emotional issues. If you do choose some sort of surgery to treat emotional overeating, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s part of a “whole person” treatment plan that includes counseling and emotional therapy.

 

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The Importance of Physical Activity With the Paleo Diet

 

 

Adapting the Paleo diet does not stop at eating lean cuts of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. You have to realize the importance of exercise while on this diet to achieve success. Some people switch to this diet to lose weight but they do not make the necessary changes to their lifestyle.

 

It makes the whole thing pointless, don’t you think? The Paleo exercise has the same principle with the Paleo diet, and that is to work with your body and not against it. Engaging yourself in physical activities will complement your healthy diet. This is going to strengthen and support a body that is capable of facing real-world physical challenges.

 

The caveman’s diet has a multitude of health benefits; obviously, working out has similar benefits. Regular exercise can help improve your immune system, decrease your chances of diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis, promote cardiovascular health and increase longevity.

 

Apart from that, exercise is also a great way to reduce stress, improve memory, prevent depression and help you sleep better. The fitness approach to the Paleo diet allows you to enjoy the rewards of working out while avoiding the possible negative effects of forcing your body to move in ways it’s not built for.

 

There is no steadfast rule on how to go about one’s exercise routine on the Paleo diet. The most important thing is that you have regular physical activities. Generally, the caveman’s lifestyle focuses on natural movements over machine-based exercises. If you want the Paleo way of exercising, you have to move around a lot at a slow pace. How do we define “slow pace”?

 

Let’s put it this way- if you are struggling for breath and you are having a rough time talking, it means you have to slow down. Walking is a great exercise for Paleo dieters. Allow yourself to get used to very long walks. If you want to add fun to your daily exercise, why not go hiking? Swimming, biking and canoeing are also great forms for exercise to supplement the Paleo diet.

 

Some experts agree that doing too much cardio will keep your body in a “fight or flight” mode. Chronic cardio has the tendency to increase cortisol levels, inflammation and damage from free radicals. Don’t worry about it too much if it happens once in a while, just don’t let it become a habit.

 

f you do, you will risk burnout of your thyroid and adrenal glands. You are also speeding up the aging process this way. In summary, stick to natural movements and remember that exercising the Paleo way means incorporating movement into your whole life instead of spending an hour at the gym and the rest of the day sitting in front of the computer.

 

 

Nutritional Treatments for Emotional Overeating

Nutritional Treatments for Emotional Overeating

It may seem ironic to turn to nutritional treatments for emotional overeating – after all, isn’t the problem too much eating? Why would you want to look at more foods you need to eat? But more and more experts are seeing the connection between nutrition and emotional overeating.

The fact is, when you overeat in response to emotions, you may not be eating the healthiest foods. You become full – even sick – on junk foods, and there’s no room left for the good stuff. It’s common knowledge that you do need the right nutrients to be healthy, and if those foods are not being eaten, then it’s more a matter of quality than quantity.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Another aspect of emotional overeating may be nutritional deficiencies – and the deficiencies might bring on cravings. The theory is that the body craves certain foods in response to a need – in the case of emotional overeating, the need is emotional but it may also be physical. For example, a craving for ice cream may signify your body’s need for calcium.

Here are some vitamins and minerals that, according to research, are implicated in the management of emotional overeating.

# Vitamin D

This vitamin’s effect on mood is well-documented, and is even suggested for people who suffer from certain depressive disorders, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Foods high in Vitamin D include:

* Cod liver oil

* Sockeye salmon

* Soymilk (fortified with Vitamin D)

* Cow’s milk

Remember that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so sources with healthy fats, such as fish, may be absorbed better by the body.

# B-complex Vitamins

These important vitamins help increase energy levels and manage water retention. Foods with B vitamins include:

* Yogurt

* Eggs

* Lean beef (B12)

* Dark leafy greens (kale, broccoli, spinach)

# Magnesium and Calcium

This is a powerful pair – many supplements put them together in one pill or capsule. These minerals are important for managing muscle and nerve tension. Interestingly, when these minerals occur naturally in foods, there is usually a higher proportion of magnesium to calcium, whereas supplements generally have more calcium than magnesium. Foods include:

* Beans

* Nuts, especially peanuts, hazelnuts, and pecans

* Corn

# Zinc

Zinc has been shown to have a profound effect on appetite and cravings, and many people with eating disorders are deficient in this mineral. Zinc is found in the following foods:

* Shellfish, especially oysters and crab

* Beef, particularly beef shanks

* Pork

* Chicken

* Garbanzo beans

Making deliberate, conscious choices about what you do eat can go a long way toward managing emotional overeating. Plan your meals and make a shopping list, and be proactive about meeting your nutritional needs.

 

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The Benefits of Cooking with Barley

The Benefits of Cooking with Barley

Name a health benefit and chances are it’s a benefit which can be found in the barley grain. Cultivated over 10,000 years ago, first in Ethiopia and then in parts of Asia, the earliest man used barley for food, making alcoholic beverages and for medicinal purposes. Cooking with this power-packed whole grain offers the following benefits to boost your health and fill you up:

Helps weight loss – Barley acts as an appetite suppressant. When you consume it, you’ll fill up and keep that feeling for a long period of time. It also helps to remove fat from the body.

Antioxidants and nutrients – There are nutrients and antioxidants galore in just a cup of barley. It’s also high in manganese, lutein, copper and zeaxanthin—all of which play a huge role in your continued good health.

Cholesterol – Lowers LDL cholesterol in your blood by provided “beta-glucan,” a fiber that can effectively reduce the bad cholesterol causing devastating health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Fiber – One of the most potent sources of fiber (soluble and insoluble), barley is also rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. The soluble fiber helps to detoxify the body and soluble fiber helps to release fats from the body.

Prevents colon cancer – You can protect yourself from colon cancer by adding barley to your diet. It’s a grain that contains the good bacteria keeping the large intestine functioning properly.

Blood glucose levels – Keep your blood glucose levels stabilized by consuming barley. Those with diabetes improve by ingesting barley since it causes the stomach to digest food more slowly and also slows down absorption of carbs.

Protects against atherosclerosis – This grain is a good source of the B-vitamin, niacin. Niacin protects against cardiovascular risks, reduces bad cholesterol and provides fiber for additional health benefits.

Post-menopausal health for women – Consuming whole grains, such as barley, can prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease that sometimes occurs in post-menopausal women. It slows the progression of plaque that narrows the blood vessels and the progression of stenosis (narrowing of arteries).

Barley has a wonderful, nutty flavor and a pasta consistency, so it adds variety to your recipes besides having some of the best health benefits of any grain. You can sprout barley too. Sprouted barley is high in maltose, a sugar used (when fermented) as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages such as beer.

A big pot of soup with the addition of barley is an especially good meal for a cold winter day and it can improve the nutrition in whatever soup you’re cooking. Its robust flavor and texture can improve almost any dish.

 

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Helping Your Teen Effectively Deal with Bullying

Bullying is something that is unfortunately happening far too often in our society. Gone are the days where there were a few bullies per school who picked on kids but were kept in place by teachers and societal norms.

The innovation of modern technology, although it has benefits, has brought along with it some very negative circumstances – one of them being widespread bullying. Here is how you as a parent can help your teen deal with this difficult situation.

Why Do People Bully?

Bullying happens when someone directs their hurt, anger and frustration at another individual. Perhaps the bully feels invisible, and is being ignored or hurt by important people in their lives.

Low self-esteem, difficult home situations, jealousy and intolerant ways of thinking can cause an individual to use bullying as their way to relieve their anger or make themselves feel more important by belittling others. There are as many reasons for bullying as there are bullies.

Why Does Bullying Seem to Be So Common?

Bullying has always been around, but with the creation and popularity of the internet and social media, it has grown out of hand. Instead of teens being able to escape bullying when they leave school or extracurricular activities, their issues follow them everywhere. Online stalking is becoming more common, where bullies will follow and harass their victims and refuse to leave them alone at any time.

Another reason for the amped-up bullying that is taking place can be attributed to more interactions among people, which can lead to attacks on people for what they believe by small-minded individuals.

What Bullying Does to a Child

Being bullied lowers a child’s self-esteem. It causes them to feel insecure, and is a catalyst for depression and anger. Bullying can eventually lead to the victim becoming a bully, in an attempt to take back the power from those who hurt them.

Teens who are bullied begin to find it difficult to trust anyone, and this feeling often lasts into adulthood.

How to Help Your Bullied Child

Teach your child about their rights as an individual. If your child is being discriminated against and made to feel unsafe, the law is on their side. Hate crimes are illegal. Every teen has the right to feel safe and secure, and free from the threat of violence.

If your teen is being bullied, contact the appropriate authorities, whether that is the authorities at school or the police. Train your child in the proper way to deal with bullies, and role play different scenarios to assist your child in finding their voice and means of fighting back.

Monitor your child’s internet use, and ensure that he (or she) is not being threatened or intimidated by others. Above all, teach your teen to trust his intuition. If he is responding to bulling in a proper way, but begins to realize that it is not working, let him know that it is ok to change his course of action partway through an interaction.

If your teen is being bullied, you are his greatest advocate. Use your voice to stand up for your child, and be his safe place to land when he needs someone to talk to. Let your teen know that he is important and worth protecting.

 

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Good Dog        (Flash Fiction Horror)

Kira Scribbled - Words-Art-Other Stuff

Monty, an overfed yellow lab, snuggled into Sandra’s lap. He whimpered in fear at the echoing bang of each gunshot that crept closer and closer. Sandra petted his ears and pulled him close. “It’s okay baby, I got you. Those monsters won’t hurt you.”

His stressed panting grew louder as the officers came down the block stopping at every home. She had to make a plan to save Monty. He was the only child that life had given to a barren, lonely woman.

Sandra got off her dog hair coated couch and walked into the kitchen. Monty followed with a whine and a yawn. “Alright, Momma’s gonna save you, okay Monty? I’m going to give you this tiny pill, then you have a nappy poo while the bad men are here.” Being a dog, Monty didn’t answer but waited excitedly for the treat wrapped medicine and ate it. Within five…

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