Winter´s charm

Another Monday has passed and gonevetrartré
and the sun never for a moment shone.
Winters charm is upon us now
some days the heavy snow we plow
others the rain bathes our face
and makes us pick up our pace
because staying dry and warm
from winters teasing storm
is what makes for a cozy night
lit up by the flickering candle light.
With a well written book in hand
I surrender to dreams seductive land…

Do we all qualify for a mental diagnosis of some sort?

In case you are wondering about all the people around you that you have considered “normal” but now have a psychiatricpopping pills diagnosis of some sort you are not the only one. All over the world the number of people on disability secondary to a mental diagnosis is increasing. At the same time more and more psychiatrists as well as psychologists are speaking out on the over diagnosis of mental disorders. Dr. Allen Frances, a psychiatrist once dubbed as the most influential psychiatrist in the US and one of the scholars that formed the DMS-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association offering the common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders) that came out in 2000 is one of them. In a hilarious preface to his book “Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life” that was published in August, 2014 Dr. Frances describes his concerns with the updating of DSM-IV to DSM-5, the newest version of the DSM manual. He goes as far as saying that this latest version “threatens to turn everyday living into psychiatric disease”

The number of disorders has increased

Indeed each edition of the DSM leading up to the DSM-5 has increased the number of disorders. The first one, DSM-I, that came out in 1952 listed 106 disorders. The DSM-III from 1980 listed 265 disorders and the DSM-IV listed 297. There seems to be some debate on the number of disorders listed in the newest version; DSM-5. Some 15 new diagnoses seem to have been added but others revised or taken out leading some sources to declare the total number being less than the 297 listed in the DSM-IV but others that they are over 300.

Psychologists as well as psychiatrists criticize the DSM system

Psychiatrists are not the only ones criticizing the DSM system and Peter Kinderman, a professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool goes as far as to say that we need to abandon the disease model of mental health care and stop medicalizing normal life. In his new book “A Prescription for Psychiatry” he argues that services should be based on the premise that the origins of distress are largely social but not diseases. Thus the role of clinicians should be to support people who are distressed as a result of their life circumstances.

Have we reach an era where normal responses to life’s’ challenges are being diagnosed as illnesses? Should people be diagnosed with depression when they are experiencing sorrow after a loved one has passed away? What about the ones that have been abused or suffered severe trauma? Are they suffering from an illness or are they showing normal response to difficult challenges? Maybe they need help temporarily but should they have to carry a mental diagnosis for the rest of their life? Because that seems to be what happens; once a person is diagnosed with a mental disorder it tends to stick.



The perfect chia seed porridge

chia grauturChia seeds are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and make for a wonderful breakfast porridge

  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 10-20 goji berries
  • 2-3 tbsp oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 pear in small pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp frozen mango
  • 1 tbsp chopped almonds/pecans/walnuts
    (whatever you have in the house)
  • pour coconut water and almond milk over (50/50)

Let stand in a closed glass container in the fridge overnight to make for a perfect texture. Bon appetit!

Milk consumption – have we been misinformed?

sannleikurinn um mjólkWrong information?

From early childhood on we are made to believe that the more milk we drink the stronger our bones will become. We get bombarded with this message from every direction; in school, on posters, in ads and from our parents. Now more and more research is showing that actually the opposite could be true; that the more milk we drink the weaker our bones become. It was more than 25 years ago that I first read about milk not being as healthy as it was promoted to be. Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of the research that I came across at that time but I remember that some of them suggested that drinking milk changed the acidity of the blood causing calcium to be leached from the bones. Looking at the literature today I stumbled upon research like the one that was performed in 1994 in Sidney Australia and looked at elderly men and women showing that higher dairy product consumption was associated with up to double increased fracture risk. Similar findings were confirmed by Karl Michaëlsson, a lead researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, who along with his associates published a study in BMJ in October 2014. The study looked at two large Swedish cohorts who were administered food frequency questionnaires. The results showed that high milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women.

How can milk consumption lead to fractures and shortened lifespan?

The Swedish authors speculate if high intake of milk might have undesirable effect because it is the main dietary source of D-galactose. Milk contains essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D whose intestinal uptake is enhanced by the enzymatic capacity to digest lactose into D-glucose and D-galactose by mutation in the lactase gene, a variant common in those with northern European ancestry. Experimental evidence in several animal species indicates that chronic exposure to D-galactose has deleterious effects on health inducing changes that resemble natural aging in animals, including shortened life span. This is caused by oxidative stress damage, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes. The increase of oxidative stress with aging and chronic low grade inflammation has been connected to cardiovascular disease and cancer in humans as well as being mentioned as a possible mechanism of age related bone loss.
It could also be mentioned here that the Physicians Committee that combines the expertise of more than 12,000 physicians points out that ecological studies suggest higher mortality rates from fracture and ischaemic heart disease in countries with high milk consumption.

I don’t know about you but after reading about these studies I feel kind of funny when I see the ads recommending increased milk intake for prevention of fractures and improved health.

Is cheese and yogurt ok?

yogur-and-cheeseThere is one thing that we can be glad about though i.e. the fact that the Swedish research showed that consuming cheese or fermented milk products like yogurt seemed to have the opposite effect of drinking milk.  Thus women with a high intake of cheese or fermented milk products had lower mortality and fracture rates than women who consumed less of the same.





Politically correct – the order of the day

albert-einstein-physicist-quote-few-people-are-capable-of-expressing-withWho decides what you think
and when to blink?
The media with all its power?
Trusting they each subject scour
from their blab we our opinions form
never straying from the norm
the order of the day
is to never far sway
from what is popular belief
and we undergo so lief.
Why are certain opinions correct
but others forcefully decked?
Is it ok the Americans to mock
or call the conservative a gawk?
Is it ok to ridicule the jew
looking orthodox in the queue?
Why aren’t these opinions upon frowned
and prejudice like found?
While other thoughts can’t even be thought
and we would never want to be caught
saying something so utterly “wrong”
that goes against the popular song.
Politically correct is the word of the day
be careful of what you say…

Decisions, decisions

Getting a dog or a cat
donning a cap or a hat
eating a frog or a duckdecisions 2
driving a bus or a truck.
Decisions make up our life
making it poor or rife
resulting in what we are
whether we are up to par
or from the mainstream outcast
after living perhaps too fast.
We must have a direction
guided by our affection
each decision bringing us near
despite our innate fear
to the person we long to be
the one that truly feels as “me”

Inspired by Ruth Changs´TED talk


Perfectionism – are you a friend of yourself?

Striving to be perfect all the time
for the soul is nothing short of a crime
the slightest of slips
becoming wrecks of ships
but made by others only trivial blips
not worth forming on the lips

Understanding once and for allperfectionism
before on our health it takes a toll
perfection is not to be desired
and not even the least required
for our journey on this earth
and never adds to our worth

Isn’t it the exception but not the rule
that makes the rose so cool?
Or the highest mountain so unique
and the zebra’s stripe’s so mystique?

Then why do we tear ourselves down
for not having the perfect gown
or acting always in the right way
as we from our path a little stray?
If it were our best friend’s gown
we wouldn’t for a second frown
even pat her on the back
not even thinking what the heck

me_205_loveyourselfIt’s time we treat ourselves as friends
celebrating all the winding bends
causing us to tire and trip
but never wreck a ship,
Mistakes make us learn and mature
without them we would sure be a bore…





The 5 + 2 diet vs the 4 + 8 +12 diet

Every era brings with it new trends reflecting our need for constant improvement and search for solutions to make our lives easier. More often than not these trends focus on our diet. How can we eat better so that we will lose weight, improve our health or just enjoy life more? One trend that has been much in the limelight lately is the 5 + 2 diet which entails eating “normally” 5 days a week and fasting or eating 600 calories or less 2 days a week. Research seems to show that the 5 + 2 diet helps people lose weight and even improve their health. I seriously doubt though that this diet, like any other, suits everybody. I for one can not imagine having to function normally during the fasting days in light of the fact that I seem to almost pass out if I have not eaten for 2 or 3 consecutive hours. I also wonder about5+2 diet the claim that it doesn’t matter what you eat on the non-fasting days. How can fasting 2 days a week make it healthy to eat processed and low quality food the rest of the week? After observing people around me struggle with following this diet in the last few months I suddenly realized that I myself have been following a diet which includes regular fasting for the last few decades with good results it seems.

The 4 + 8 + 12 diet

So what is this diet that has been so helpful? And how has it helped?
After comparing my dietary habits with the 5 + 2 concept I came up with the 4+8+12 dietary model. The numbers in the 4 + 8 + 12 model represent hours; every 24 hour period is divided into 4 or 8 hour slots of intermittent fasting/eating. Each 24 hour period starts with a 4 hour fasting followed by 8 hours of normal healthy eating, followed finally by 12 hours of fasting. About 25 years ago I read about how fasting every morning would help your body to better process the food you ate the day before and therefore help with maintaining a healthy weight. I had always had very little appetite in the morning and had been forcing myself to eat something before going to school since I was a kid as it was supposed to be essential for your health. “Eat like a king in the morning and a beggar in the evening” – that’s what you always heard but just didn’t seem to work for me. Fasting in the morning  for me means eating very lightly from the time  you wake up until noon. Typically I will drink a glass of water (with some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) soon after I wake up and have some fruit an hour or two later and maybe some more fruit or even nuts/almonds as it gets closer to noon. Some mornings I will have a boost made of fruits and veggies.

ávextir 2

I try to eat as little as possible during this 4 hour period (from 8 to 12) and will never have any grains, meat, eggs or fish.  I can not begin to describe how good it feels to consume so lightly the morning after a big meal such as during x-mas for example. From noon to 8 PM I eat like everybody else apart from the fact that I try to eat as healthy as possible avoiding processed food, preservatives and any kind of additives. Between 8 PM and 8 AM I fast with some exceptions of course like any other person enjoying dinner parties etc. with family and friends.

The 4+8+12 diet may not suit everybody as can be said about any other diet. We each need to find what suits our bodies the best. As far as I am concerned the fact remains that thanks to this diet, healthy eating overall and regular exercise I have maintained the same healthy weight for over 35 years or since I was 15 years old.


Lasagna a la notes on health

lasagnaCut up the following vegetables in small pieces:
5-6 carrots
3-4 stalks of celery
1-2 heads of broccoli
5-6 bulbs of garlic
1 large onion

Fry the vegetables until a little soft in a large pan using some coconut oil. Flavor with some of your favorite blend of spices . I use a mixture of coriander, fennel, cumin, anise and pistachios.

Sauce – mix together in a bowl:
2 cans cut up tomatoes
1 mascarpone cheese
1 jar tomato paste
1 package tomato soup (cup soup from the health store)

In a large oven proof dish alternate layers of sauce, vegetables and your favorite lasagna pasta plates.

Drizzle some grated cheese on top

Cook in the oven on 180° C for 20-30 minutes – enjoy!