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Mental Health



We Love Yoga Jones and How Orange is the New Black Highlights the Benefits of Prison Yoga

Amidst the cat fights, mind games, racial tension, and sexual promiscuity, there stands one prisoner in Orange is the New Black who seems to bring a much needed zen to the chaotic environment. Yoga Jones is one of our favorite characters on Netflix’s hot new series, which gives a seemingly painful depiction of life in a minimum security women’s prison.

The women are often free to moderately pursue their passions during their incarcerations, and for Yoga Jones, that’s following the tenants of Buddhism with regular yoga practice. And like any good yoga instructor, she shares that practice with all who will join her.

yoga jones orange is the new black

The juxtaposition of the serene yoga practice against the hardened, extreme prison environment may be a surprising scene for viewers of Orange is the New Black, but it’s actually a reality in prisons throughout the country.

Bo Cox told us the benefits of yoga in prison were very evident. Incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison for nearly two decades, the author of God is Not in the Thesaurus, said, “I can say that people who did [yoga] were above and beyond model prisoners. Peaceful and serene in a world anything but. And, not pushovers or victims either. Good examples of quiet strength.”

Litchfield’s women’s prison, the setting for Orange is the New Black, is not the only place where inmates can be found practicing yoga. It’s something available to some prisoners in the US and abroad, like in these Mexican prisons, and coincidentally is being lauded with some exciting new research out this month.
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Binge Eating is Now a Diagnosable Mental Illness in DSM-5

Remember the last time you ate so much that you felt sick, and with dried marinara on your chin you decried, “I’m in a food coma!”? You had been binge eating, and you could be mentally ill.

Binge Eating

On May 18, the American Psychiatric Association released the DSM-5, the most recent update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For the first time in the manual’s 60-year history, binge eating was included. For mental health professionals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations, and the legal system, this handbook acts as the official and standard criteria for classifying mental disorders. Since everyone occasionally overeats, the designation of binge eating as a legitimate mental illness almost seems imprecise and excessive, but binging is associated with seriously negative psychological symptoms.

The inclusion of binge eating in the DSM-5 is a contentious issue in the mental health community, because some feel it will be over-applied or linked to common problems with overeating.

To illustrate my point, let’s go back to that food coma. After you’ve overeaten, you didn’t feel well, and you were bummed out, confused as to why you thought six slices of pizza and a two liter of soda was a good idea, and you probably wanted to turn back time and eat a salad. Those feelings are light-hearted representations of depression, guilt, and lack of self control, which are all manifestations of a mental illness.
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10 Essential Foods for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Alzheimer’s: The word conjures up scary thoughts of slowly losing your memory as you become a shell of your former self. Experts project that diagnoses of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the primary cause, will triple worldwide by 2050. But scientists tell us that preventative measures can go a long way in protecting the brain from memory loss diseases, and they are as simple as doing things like making changes in your diet.

Here are 10 super foods that work to boost brain power and, in turn, lessen your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. No one food has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but healthy eating habits appear to be one of the top factors in lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

1. Wild Salmon, Tuna, Sardines (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week because it contains vital omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats help the body function properly and may slow cognitive decline by 10 percent, studies show.

“The main concept is that a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids creates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a protein between nerve cells that helps increase the strength between connections,” said Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, author of “Super Body Super Brain.” Trout, mackerel, and herring are also good choices, and taking a fish oil vitamin can also help your body obtain this much-needed nutrient.
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Find the Right Diet for Your Personality in “Who Are You Meant To Be”

Every year, more new diets pop up claiming to be revolutionary and suitable for everyone. And every year, millions try them out, hoping that they’ll finally find the solution to losing weight.

Dr. Anne Dranitsaris, PhD and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard believe that this model is not how weight loss should be approached. In their new book, Who Are You Meant to Be?, released January 1, 2013, they outline how an individual’s personality affects their behavior and, in turn, their dieting styles.

“We’re looking at [dieting] through a different lens than most. What is it that’s driving our behaviors? Why do we people behave like we do around food?” said Dranitsaris-Hilliard.

The mother-and-daughter team’s book is not a diet guide, but it may be applied toward eating styles as part of an integrated look at human behavior. Through their research, they have identified eight different “striving styles” and find most individuals fall under one of these.
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20 Celebrity Men and Women Who Practice Meditation in Hollywood

When we think of alone time, we often picture ourselves shopping without chasing children, having a quiet pedicure, or simply lying in the bathtub uninterrupted. For some truly quality alone time, you don’t have to go much further than inside your own mind. Meditation is a contemplative state where by you silently remove yourself from the physical and the present to reflect, increase clarity, and find a more serene or deeper state of consciousness.

It’s an ancient practice, often associated with yoga, that’s becoming increasingly popular in our scattered, harried, pressure-cooked society. Business professionals use it to decompress after a tough meeting or even find their center before heading in to the bull pen. Men and women alike use meditation to strengthen their minds, reduce stress, and even attain that “me time” that is so necessary.


It’s something Julia Roberts’ character in Eat Pray Love grappled with during the pray portion of her journey at an Indian ashram. But in real life, celebrities are embracing it seemingly with ease for a vast many reasons.

For instance, Richard Gere says a meditation practice helps him to stay grounded amongst the excess of Hollywood life. Eva Mendes credits meditation for helping her mine her best creativity, according to Well and Good. And Gisele Bundchen, who delivered her second child at home this month, has called meditation the source for her post-baby weight loss.

“A regular meditation practice creates mindfulness. Being mindful helps keep us from feeling distracted and impatient with life when things don’t go our way,” said Jill Lawson, our resident yogi expert. “When we are fully aware of our feelings through the practice of meditation, we can move toward being more proactive, instead of reactive. Taking action versus being frustrated is the first step in living a joyful life.”

We found 20 famous men and women who have dedicated themselves to the art and practice of meditation. If this group can make Power Bracelets, veganism, and the Master Cleanse a storming success, maybe they can serve as models to make us all a bit more mindful out here in the real world.
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