depression

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – How Nutrition Affects Postpartum Depression

This week’s Addicted to Fitness kicks off with a brand new announcement! I encourage you all to keep emailing me to schedule a free fitness consultation and follow-up, but I also want to let you know that you can train with Elemental Training Tampa from anywhere. Contact me at elementaltampa@gmail.com to learn how you can participate in our online training program.

I start off this week’s training recap discussing the fitness contract I drew up for myself and my clients. Staying accountable to the goals you set for yourself is one of the many steps to achieving them. I believe signing a physical contract that you can see on a regular basis can help you be more accountable. My personal fitness contract stated that I will take at least one jiu-jitsu class a week. If you’re interested in using the fitness contract to reach your own goals, click here to download a .pdf version.

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Free fitness contract; download by clicking link above

Shannon is closing in on the big day, which means the type & amount of exercise she’s capable of doing is becoming more limited. Instead of morning rides on the Peloton cycle, she’s made it a goal to walk approximately 30 mins every morning. This benefits both her, the baby and our a 4 legged child Jaz.

She also discusses her recent experience assisting in prenatal yoga classes in her training recap. Shannon is coming to the end of her yoga teacher training program, and has noticed that most fitness professionals are over-cautious when working with pregnant women. In her current state, she knows that pregnant women love and appreciate a little extra hands on attention.

We stay on the subject of pregnancy for our main discussion on this episode. Shannon bravely admits that she’s worried about the anxiety symptoms associated with the postpartum period. We did a little research to find out why the baby blues occur and discovered that a large contributing factor is a massive shift in hormones.

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After her yoga teacher training program, we’ll technically have 2 yogis in our household

From what we read, postpartum symptoms are at their highest 5 days after childbirth and are significantly influenced by a lack of estrogen and the presence of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A). This enzyme can prevent the brain’s utilization of “feel good” hormones like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.

A recent clinical trial demonstrated that a supplement containing blueberry extract and the amino acids tryptophan & tyrosine had prevented “any depressed mood” in a group of women during their postpartum period (study link). Shannon’s already a fan of blueberries, so we researched the top 10 foods that contain tryptophan and tyrosine. You’ll have to listen to the episode to hear the entirety of both lists, but below is a couple of Shannon’s favorites.

Foods High in Tryptophan – egg white powder, spinach, soy protein isolate & spirulina (link to entire list).

Foods High in Tyrosine – cottage cheese, salmon, turkey & spirulina (link to entire list).

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We hope that this episode helps people understand a little more about what happens to women after childbirth. I also want to reiterate that we BARELY scratched the surface of a very complex issue. If you want or need more information about postpartum depression, PLEASE consult a medical professional.

If you’re looking for feedback about your current fitness plan, you can reach out to me via email and/or social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). We’d also really appreciate it if you left us a rating & review in iTunes.

I say it at the end of each episode, and I’ll say it now, you’re feedback help us get better. Thanks for listening and stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/how-nutrition-affects-postpartum-depression/id1121420986?i=1000391275086&mt=2

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/how-nutrition-affects

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/how-nutrition-affects-postpartum-depression

What’s On The Menu – More Than Just The Freshmaker

How did mint become the go-to car air freshener scent? Was it good marketing? Did people like how that green leaf looked hanging from their rear view mirror?

It’s visual appeal could be a possible reason but I think it has more to do with how the scent affects our biology. A study performed in the early 2000s found that the smell of peppermint actually affected the amount of anxiety, fatigue and physical demand experienced by drivers on prolonged trips in the car. The study suggested that “periodic administration of (peppermint) odors over long-term driving may prove beneficial in maintaining alertness and decreasing highway accidents and fatalities” (source). Cognitive benefits are just the start to the positive health benefits of this refreshing herb.

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I constantly tell you about the high antioxidant content of certain fruits and vegetables, but I don’t seem to give as much recognition to herbs. Shame on me because mint, which is a broad term for 15-20 different species, contains one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food. One particular antioxidant contained in mint, rosmarinic acid, has been shown to be an effective natural treatment for seasonal allergies. Also, if you already have the sniffles due to the common cold, menthol contained within mint plants has been long regarded as a natural decongestant because of its ability to break up phlegm and mucus (source).

The benefits of mint not only alleviate cold like symptoms, they can also help prevent you from getting a cold or some other type of infection. Peppermint oil has been shown to stop the growth of certain types of fungus and bacteria including the nasty MRSA. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, which can help improve the performance of our immune system (source). Speaking of performance, mint may be the PED all athletes can use without fear of getting busted.

I already mentioned one study that demonstrated how peppermint enhanced the performance of drivers, but can it do the same for athletes? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine in 2013 discovered that individuals that ingested a minute amount of peppermint essential oil displayed improvements in exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and several other related categories. The researchers believe that these improvements were due to the herb’s ability to relax bronchial smooth muscles, increase ventilation & brain oxygen concentrations and decrease blood lactate levels (source). That means that if you can run and chew gum at the same time, you may have a leg up on your competition.

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I always try to chew gum while working out, except for disciplines that require me to wear a mouthpiece (e.g. kickboxing, grappling, etc.). I’m sure it helps me concentrate but I use it mainly to prevent dry mouth. I use the crappy sugar-free stuff you get at the grocery store, which is peppermint flavored but I doubt has any real peppermint in it. Maybe I’ll perform a little experiment on yours truly to see if ingesting peppermint essential oil has a beneficial effect on my workout performance. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you like to incorporate mint into your diet. I enjoy throwing a handful of mint leaves into a tall glass of club soda with lime, essentially making a non-alcoholic mojito. Please feel free to share your minty fresh recipes with us on our social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the free fitness consultations I’m currently offering by emailing me.

Last but not least, we’d really appreciate it if you vote for Addicted to Fitness for the “best local podcast” in the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay contest. Click the following link to cast your vote. Thanks!

 

What’s on the Menu – The Raw Bar May Have What You Need to Live a Happier Life

Before I became immersed in health & fitness, I spent a significant amount of time working in bivalve aquaculture.

For all of you who are wondering what bivalve aquaculture is, it’s essentially the captive breeding of shellfish like clams, oysters and/or scallops for either species restoration or commercial purposes. Sounds a lot like agriculture right? Well that’s because it is.

Aquaculturists create “seeds” by spawning mature animals, caring for and feeding the immature “seeds” until they are big enough to be “planted” in a body of water, where they can further develop. This prior experience taught me the importance of shellfish, not only to our environment, but also to our health.

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Shellfish are truly some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to have access to a lot of fresh shellfish in my life, but temporal and geographic limitations can make that an impossibility for many people.

That’s why canned shellfish, like whole cherrystone clams from Trader Joe’s, are a godsend. I enjoyed the canned clams in a salad but you could always to do a low-carb version of linguine and clams by using zucchini noodles.

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The can pictured above contains 1g of fat, 2g of carbs and 12g of protein. These canned clams also contain almost 40% of our recommended daily allowance of iron, a significant amount of vitamin B12 and several other hard to get minerals.

According to a prominent nutrition specialist (who I’ll get into more about in a minute), these nutritional benefits can also prevent several chronic health conditions that are affecting more and more people each year.

Functional medicine practitioner and ancestral nutrition expert Chris Kresser outlined in a recent episode of his podcast (link) that nutrients in clams and oysters, particularly zinc and several B vitamins, can help prevent health conditions like anxiety and depression. He even suggests that those on mostly plant-based diets should consider having two servings of shellfish like clams and oysters a week because their diets are usually deficient in the previously mentioned nutrients.

Even though I agree with this recommendation based on potential health benefits and bivalves perceived inability to suffer (no brain or central nervous system), I’m not going to tell people what they should and should not eat. I want people to be as a healthy as possible, but individuals’ dietary choices are their own. I’m simply here to provide you with knowledge about certain foods that you may not have been aware of. What you do with that knowledge is your decision.

If you are someone that incorporates animal protein into your diet, consider adding canned clams or oysters to your grocery list. If you are already a fan these shellfish feel free to send your favorite recipes to elementaltampa@gmail.com. If there is anyone out there with a oyster Rockefeller recipe, please send it my way!

ETT Wrap Show Ep.6

This week’s episode of the ETT Wrap Show was made possible by the majesty that is Skype. Even though we were on opposite sides of Tampa Bay, Tyler and I discussed sugary drinks, the therapeutic benefits of exercise, our goal setting techniques and Ronda Rousey’s recent appearance on the Ellen Show. All that and more on this week’s episode. Your comments make us better so keep them coming!

The new anxiety medicine: Exercise

Last year, my father made the decision to retire from his job after 37 years of service. I was very happy to hear he was retiring because I had a good idea of how physically and mentally demanding his job was. My happiness quickly turned to surprise when I heard that he was updating his resume shortly after his last day at work . As demanding as his job was, I wondered why he wanted to continue to work. Did performing manual labor for at least 8 hours a day bring him some degree of pleasure? As odd as that question may sound to people of my generation, science suggests that the answer is yes.

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The benefits of engaging in physical activity on a regular basis include:

  • Reduced risk of developing a chronic disease (diabetes, hypertension, etc.)
  • The release of endorphins, which block pain signals to the brain and produce happy feelings
  • Lower tension levels
  • Elevated and stabilized mood
  • Better sleep
  • Better self-esteem

Exercise has even been shown to have comparable results to that of prescription medication in the treatment of individuals diagnosed with depression. Even with all this data, less than half of American adults perform 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (i.e. walking) per week. I believe the lack of physical activity is a major contributing factor to the 40 million American adults who have been diagnosed with anxiety related disorders. Personally, the period of my life that was filled with the most anxiety coincided with a lack of physical activity.

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As I mentioned in the initial post on Elementaltampa.com when I completed my undergraduate program and entered the workforce, being physically active was not high on my priority list. I had earned a degree, I had obtained a job, but beyond that my life consisted of sitting on the couch watching TV or playing video games. I quickly became overweight and my self esteem rapidly deteriorated. I do not remember what specific event compelled me to attend my first martial arts class, but I know since then I have become much more proficient at dealing with anxiety. I truly believe developing a daily routine that includes a portion dedicated to physical activity has allowed me to excel both professionally and personally.

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This post is meant to highlight the benefits being physically active can have on individuals dealing with anxiety and stress. It is NOT a post disparaging the use of prescription medication by individuals suffering from anxiety related disorders. I certainly understand and appreciate the need for these types of prescription medication. I am someone who at a young age received professional help to learn how to cope with stress. I did not to need medication but I know not everyone with issues similar to mine are as fortunate. Regardless if you are taking medication for anxiety related disorders or not, it is my belief that incorporating physical activity into your daily life will improve you physically and mentally.

If my Dad is reading this, you were right. Hard work does pay off, in more ways than you think.