The Supplements I Recommend, and Why

Supplement PillsAmericans love supplements! Roughly half of us use them. We spent $11.5 billion on supplements last year, and that number is consistently climbing.

In one sense that’s a good thing: it indicates we are interested in being healthy, and are trying to do something positive.

But on the other hand, are we getting our money’s worth? Are all those supplements doing any good? Or are they perhaps doing harm? How can we know? Are we using supplements as an excuse to continue living an unhealthy lifestyle?

I’m not a fan of the US Food and Drug Administration, but I do believe we need to use science rather than hype to make decisions on what we put into our bodies. Anecdotes don’t convince me. Scientific research has its limitations, but it’s still the best we have in answering the question, “Is Product X safe and effective?” The FDA is, right now, the best we have – and they don’t control the supplement industry except when they make specific statements claiming to treat or cure disease.

Consumer Labs is a private company that does offer some independent evaluation for the plethora of nutritional products available.

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5 Different Kinds of Hunger

5 Different Kinds of Hunger

Cookie JarAnn knew she was experiencing some health problems as a result of being seriously overweight. She had very little energy, her knees hurt all the time, her menstrual cycle was messed up, and her cholesterol level was dangerously high. She knew she needed to lose weight – and the first step was changing how she ate. But she was finding it very difficult. She sat on the exam table and told me, “I’m an emotional eater. It’s the way I handle stress.”

The good news is that Ann realizes there is a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Feeding emotional hunger with physical food may lessen the “Feed me!” screaming in your brain, but that only lasts a little while. When the underlying need has not been met, the mental demand for “food” only gets louder once again.

My friend Kathrine Lee likes to say, “It’s not what you’re eating: it’s what’s eating you!” Understanding – and meeting – the different needs we have with appropriate “nourishment” will make a huge difference in our health and happiness.

For the many of us who reach for food to quiet any hunger we feel, it may take some thinking and self-study to truly understand what our body and mind is really asking for. Here are some different kinds of hunger we can misinterpret as a need for food:

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Overcoming a Panic Attack

This is a guest post from Brad Kennington, LMFT, LPC-S, Executive Director & COO, Cedar Springs Austin. Brad specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, and has been a welcome guest on the Dr Carol Show on several occasions. You can join Brad and Cedar Spring Austin on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Anxious ManManaging Anxiety – How a Distraction Can Help You Overcome a Panic Attack

by Brad Kennington

Anxiety is a normal part of life. Speaking in front of people, a job interview, first dates, taking a test are everyday situations that can make us feel jittery. Anxiety is a healthy part of life, for without it we would not be able to sense real threats to our well being.

When we sense danger or feel threatened, our “flight or fight” mechanism is triggered. And when we are in “flight or fight” mode, our thinking brain, the part of the brain that is rational and logical, is dialed back and our emotional brain kicks in to high gear. Our bodies also receive a flood of stress hormones into our bloodstream as our breathing and heart rate increases and our focus becomes survival and protecting ourselves from the perceived threat. But sometimes anxiety can get the best of us if we allow perception to become reality.

Several years after the September 11th attacks, I was on an early morning flight just before the July 4th weekend headed to Washington, DC where I was scheduled to speak at a national conference.

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The Journey From Being Squeezed to Thriving

Pressure GaugeWe don’t like being squeezed! Just the thought of it is uncomfortable. And yet it’s the only way we know what’s truly inside of us. (For the “Squeezed” story, see “What Changes You?”)

What happens when we get squeezed? Our first reaction is usually to cry something like, “That’s not fair!” “Why me?”

When some people get squeezed they become bitter, angry, and isolated. And other people take those times of being squeezed and leverage them into an opportunity for growth. What makes the difference? What is it that determines whether one’s heart becomes softened and matured, or hardened and brittle? (Yes, I do believe you can choose which outcome happens to you.)

A few of you shared bits of your own stories of being squeezed that I’ve included here.

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Fast Food or Gourmet Meals – for the Soul

HamburgersThe average American eats fast food several times a week. Most of us realize that fast food is much less healthy than most food prepared and eaten at home. But with our love of convenience, our fast-paced lifestyle, and the lure of hyper-palatable food we have become believers – and consumers.

We love fast food in other areas of our lives as well. We love entertainment that’s ready-made, internet-produced intimate relationships, and “drive-through breakthroughs” in our spiritual life. We are running so fast that the real hungers we struggle with often get no nourishing food at all. Perhaps that’s one reason so many of us struggle with addictions: we are desperately trying to feed our hungers with food that does not satisfy.

Fast food provides a quick fix for an empty stomach, but the quality of nourishment and the level of satisfaction it provides are very small. A few hours later you’ll be craving food again.

On the other hand, a tasty and healthy meal you and your family look forward to takes longer to prepare, but is much more satisfying, not to mention nourishing.

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