Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blue Ginger.

Mmm, the Blue Ginger is one of Cody and my favourite places to eat around mid-Ohio. A great ambiance, traditional Japanese sushi bar touches like warm towels, awesome food, and great lunch specials, such as three hand rolls plus soup for $10.99.

Today, Cody's dad, who is also enthralled with this place, took us out before my trip to Utah. Really, I think he just needed an excuse to eat there again. I got my favourite, the hot and sour soup with tempura sweet potato rolls, and I tried the vegetable rolls. I also shared some of the unagi (freshwater eel) with avocado rolls with Cody. I try not to think about what eels look like, or I get a little ill; they're very delicious, though.

It has been important to Cody and I to get more fish in our diet. I haven't eaten red meat or poultry in about eight years, and so fish is a great way to get things I need like omega-3 fatty acids. I take the gel cap form each day, and Cody has started taking them as well, but fish is so good for you! Omega-3 fatty acids are great, especially if you have depression frequently (like I do) or are trying to quit smoking (like Cody). It has been proven that eating omega-3 fatty acids significantly improves mental sharpness.

I searched through Care2 and found a few other good ways to boost serotonin levels, helpful again for depression, anxiety, quitting smoking, etc. The fruits and vegetables which are best are bananas, kiwi, pineapple, plantains, plums, and tomatoes. Others that are quite good include avocado, black olives, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, dates, eggplant, figs, grapefruit, honeydew melon, and spinach. Eating foods that are less refined is also thought to help with depression. A lot of people swear by St. John's Wort, but I have yet to try it out.

One thing I love about my yoga practice is that it always enhances my mood. Exercise and meditation are believed to substantially lift mood levels, and yoga combines both of them in a way that makes it seem like you're not doing too much of either (good for a person like me that struggles against exercise and meditation!).

Lastly, I did a presentation in my yoga theory class last week about laughter yoga. A doctor in India, Dr. Madan Kataria, began research in the 1990s about whether laughter really helps people to recover from, or at least cope with, chronic illnesses. He found that it indeed, does. Laughter instantly cuts down on all of the cortisol and adrenaline that is associated with stress, and increases serotonin levels instead. Serotonin can actually act as a natural pain-killer. And, even more importantly, laughter unlocks emotions. We frequently think of physical or mental stress, but rarely do we consider emotional stress--all of the feelings we bottle up regularly because they are socially unacceptable or we have no outlet for them. A few years ago, Newsweek printed a report that explained that many people in high-stress jobs, particularly men, are able to find an emotional release by flying in airplanes. For some reason, the high altitude just allows them to tap into unresolved emotions. Flight attendants told Newsweek that there was probably someone crying on every flight. Wouldn't it be much nicer if that emotional release was in a group of supporting, accepting people, such as in laughter yoga groups?

For a great source on laughter yoga, check out this site.

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