Good readings: health, nutrition and self-care

In a career as a librarian, one of my greatest satisfactions has been to connect people with information they needed or could use. This is also a benefit having a blog: to share some of the best readings I have encountered with your audience. I hope that one or more of these will bring you useful information, insight or inspiration, as they did for me. To your well-being and happiness!

Readings on health and healing

Gabor Maté, How to Build a Culture of Good Health (Yes! magazine).  This is a remarkable article that brings together many threads: the limitations of the current model for doctoring; the relationships of emotions and trauma to physical health; connections between specific diseases, self-imposed stress and coping patterns dating from childhood.

It also suggests some ways we can create a healthier environment for optimal health: “Find alternative sources for what most physicians cannot provide: a holistic approach that considers not organs and systems but the entire human organism. Take responsibility for how you live, the food you ingest, your emotional balance, your spiritual development, the integrity of your relationships. … Give yourself, as best you can, what your parents would have loved to grant you but probably could not: full-hearted attention, full-minded awareness, and compassion. Make gifting yourself with these qualities your daily practice.”

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Gabor Maté, this is a fine introduction to his thought and work.

Linda Jackson, What is healing? From a friend and fellow blogger, this beautiful reflection on healing expresses an understanding of healing as much more than the absence of a disease or illness. Rather, healing involves “finding a sense of well-being and peace within our lives as a whole — spiritual, emotional, mental, relational, and physical — and learning to live fully with or without a condition or disease.” Whether a trip to the doctor brings wanted or unwanted news, whatever the diagnosis or prognosis, these are words to revisit and explore.

On nutrition and eating

image: reading on hand-held deviceU Chicago News, Sleep Loss Boosts Hunger and Unhealthy Food Choices. Reporting on a research article from the journal Sleep (abstract only available; article is blocked by paywall), this report summarizes the findings: “Skimping on sleep has long been associated with overeating, poor food choices and weight gain. Now a new study shows how sleep loss initiates this process, amplifying and extending blood levels of a chemical signal that enhances the joy of eating, particularly the guilty pleasures gained from sweet or salty, high-fat snacks.” Among the findings of the study: the cravings for satisfying snacks among sleep-deprived people mimic the cravings that follow marijuana use.

Mental Floss, The Top 20 Most Addictive Foods, According to Study. This report summarizes findings from a research article (in the journal PLOS One) about what foods have the most addictive qualities, among a group of young study participants.  “[O]f the 35 food options, those that have been processed and contain more fat and a higher glycemic load are most frequently associated with addictive-like eating behaviors. ” The top 5 among 20 listed foods in one study were (in order): pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream. This report quotes from the research article: “It is plausible that like drugs of abuse, these highly processed foods may be more likely to trigger addictive-like biological and behavioral responses due to their unnaturally high levels of reward.”

On self-care

Karen Koenig, The Necessity of Self-Care Routines (Eating Disorders Blogs). This reflection is always timely for those of us who can relate to the phenomenon of abandoning our self-care practices when we need them most.

“One of the worst things you can do when you’re experiencing distress is to drop your self-care routine—eating regularly, getting enough sleep, exercising, and doing the small activities that give your life structure and publicly proclaim ‘Look how much I love me.’ Emotional health includes keeping up with attention to self no matter what’s going on in life. This is exactly what many dysregulated eaters don’t do when life tosses them a curve ball or there is a change in their normal routine.”

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