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When Common Life Problems Turn into Mental Health Diagnoses

I was pretty excited to watch “Diagnostic & Statistical Manual: Psychiatry’s Deadliest Scam,” a production of Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights. Most people in the mental health field are anxiously awaiting the official reveal of the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – the book that outlines and defines all known mental health disorders. 

There are even debates about the potential changes. Whether you love it or you hate it, this book does make a big impact on our field. As a practitioner I am not a big fan of diagnosis, but I believe insurance is to blame for this more than the DSM.

Most people want their insurance to pay for treatment, even when simply dealing with the normal grief of losing a loved one, stress regarding life changes, or marital problems. However, for insurance to fund treatment, a diagnosis is required.

These kinds of situations, in my opinion, have led to the exaggeration of common life problems into diagnoses more so than the DSM itself. Most people, even when given the choice, choose diagnosis for the benefit of insurance-funded treatment. While this might save money and stress immediately, there are many longterm consequences of mental health diagnoses.
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7 Reasons Your Child Should Try Yoga

I’m a bit of a neuropsychology nerd. I find it fascinating and so helpful to truly understand people. While I already understood that yoga can be helpful in treating trauma and PTSDDr. Bruce Perry, whom I greatly admire, introduced me to the idea that yoga can also be helpful in helping the brain develop in an organized fashion, especially for children who have been traumatized.

As a result, I routinely recommend adoptive parents practice yoga with their children. Whether your child has been adopted, traumatized, has other struggles or not, yoga can help him or her develop physical, emotionally, and neurologically; here’s why:

  • Learning to control breath and body can help children feel more in control of themselves, which can be extremely powerful for children that have been traumatized, children that have been adopted, and children diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Yoga has been known to enhance concentration and attention span, while teaching focus.
  • Children can increase confidence by successfully attempting new poses and developing new skills.
  • Flexibility can prevent injuries, and children can increase strength through yoga with little risk of injury.


Six Reasons to Start Your Diet on Labor Day

I’ve been writing for Diets In Review for a while, but I just found out recently that Labor Day is the second biggest diet day of the year; I am assuming following New Years Day.

With the rush of back to school and getting ready for the holiday season, I did not expect weight loss to be a high priority for many people. As the weather cools off and we look forward to boots and sweaters and layers, I expected fewer people to be concerned with dieting.

While I am slightly surprised to find out that Labor Day is the second biggest diet day of the year, there are reasons why it makes sense.

Back to school time, at least for me, brings to mind fresh notebooks and clean slates. If you grew up thinking of each fall as a new beginning, then autumn might be the perfect time for a habit change for you.
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Go Ape! in Indianapolis to Kick Start Exercise with Challenge and Adventure

For many people making physical activity a habit is made more difficult because it simply is not enjoyable. Exercise can be painful, hot, messy, repetitive, and just not interesting. Some people can overcomes this hurdle by finding the right activity, finding a buddy, cranking up music, or even watching television. Some people simply need more challenge or more excitement. A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to try Go Ape!, “a treetop adventure,” with other Indianapolis bloggers and our loved ones, and I think this kind of activity could be a great way to find fun in a physical challenge and perhaps a kick start for more regular exercise.

Go Ape! is a high ropes, zip line, and Tarzan swing course with three locations across the United States (Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia). The exercise you will experience includes climbing, balancing, and engaging muscles by hanging on for your life. Let me be clear that as long as we followed the instructions to stay clipped in we were at least mostly safe. Intellectually I knew this, but simply being so high the adrenaline response kicked in. (Although my former-gymnast mom recalled her days on the balance beam and held on a lot less frequently than I did.)
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Discovering How Food Sensitivities Create Mental Health Diagnoses

I cheated on my gluten-free diet (again). Now I can share with my clients in my adoption nutrition class the symptoms of gluten sensitivity from experience, not just research. I chose to be gluten and wheat free based on research upon hearing that all wheat in the United States was genetically modified. I prefer to avoid genetically modified foods. When I read Wheat Belly, it was clear that gluten certainly had other impacts on the brain and body, and some people’s behavioral and mental health diagnoses could be a result a gluten sensitivity of which they were unaware.

After giving up wheat and gluten for several months but not being very cautious, I had been much more strict in the last several weeks. If I do not naturally have a tendency toward gluten sensitivity, I had now created a situation in which my body would be sensitive to this new item in the diet. It is said to determine if you have a sensitivity or allergy to any food you should eliminate it from your diet for at least three weeks and then cautiously introduce it back into your diet to notice any symptoms.

Sunday night, I cheated on the gluten-free diet. My dreams were a bit chaotic, but Monday morning I noticed plenty of energy. After my run, I noticed a bit of a rash on my neck but I assumed it was just heat. I also noticed some very minor asthmatic symptoms which I thought were odd since I had finished the run and usually breath better after running. When I realized the rash had not gone away even after I had cooled down several hours later, I consulted my friend and allergy advisor Heather who was gracious enough not to say “I told you so,” even after my rash had spread on Tuesday.
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