Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

If You Have Eyes To See

Today is a blessing, clear and simple, today the winds are from the north, blowing away all the heat and humidity and the dismal rains of yesterday. Today I got my first cup of coffee, fed the Qatari Cat and went outside for a walk in the garden.

We have a miracle or two out there. I had two avocado trees, trees I had grown from pits of avocados we have eaten, trees taller than I am. In the lengthy cold spell we had, they lost all their leaves. We kept waiting to see if the leaves would come back, but none did. We trimmed them back; sometimes trimming can help. No leaves. We kept talking about maybe its time to use the pots for the next generation of avocado trees but did nothing. Then, one morning, AdventureMan came running in saying “You have to come look!” From the base of each trunk, each tree has new avocado trees coming up. Woooo HOOOOOOO, God is good!

Our roses all made it and all the roses in the yard are in full flower, thanks to the deluge(s) we have received. The guara is coming back – even spreading, which is good, I love guara. Given the harshness of the winter and the 29″ of rain we received in one night, we are so blessed to have come out of it so well.

Best of all, just being able to walk out into 58°F with a little shiver, walk freely, no mosquitos, turn off the A/C for a few hours and open doors and windows to get all the stuffiness out – sheer heaven.

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May 15, 2014 Posted by | Faith, Gardens, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Diet Can Help Fight the Blues

From BBC Health News comes a study that says not only is the Mediterranean diet good for your heart healt – it is also good for your mental health. If you are fighting the seasonal blues, fight back with olives, olive oil and a diet high in veggies and legumes.

The Mediterranean diet, already thought to protect against heart disease and cancer, may also help to prevent depression, Spanish researchers say.

They found depression was more than 30% less likely to develop in people who followed a diet high in vegetables, fruit and cereals, and low in red meat.

They studied 10,094 healthy adults over four years, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports.
However, the team stressed additional, larger-scale studies were required.

Researchers at the Universities of Las Palmas and Navarra recruited university graduates to take part.
Dietary patterns

They completed questionnaires and the researchers calculated their adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP) for an average of four-and-a-half years.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET FEATURES
• A high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids like olive oil
• A moderate intake of alcohol and dairy products
• A low intake of meat
• A high intake of legumes, fruit and nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish

Participants who had a strong adherence to the MDP tended to be male, ex-smokers, married and older individuals.

They were more active physically and showed a higher total energy intake.

The researchers identified 480 new cases of depression during the follow-up period – 156 in men and 324 in women.

They found that those with the highest adherence to the MDP were more than 30% less likely to develop depression.

They took into account marital status, the number of children and factors associated with a healthy lifestyle and found the relationship did not change.

Even taking account of personality traits, such as competitiveness and anxiety, had no effect on the results.
‘More research needed’

Professor Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, of the University of Navarra, said the results would have to be confirmed in longer trials with more participants but they had found a strong inverse association between the Mediterranean diet and depression.

“Thirty per cent is a large reduction in the risk and this could be very important considering the large burden of disease represented by depression.

“We know how important the Mediterranean diet is in reducing cardiovascular risk factors and the same inflammatory proteins are also raised in patients with depression.”

He said it was likely that the overall dietary pattern was more important than the effect of single components and “may exert a fair degree of protection against depression”.

Dr Cecilia D’Felice, a clinical psychologist, said there was mounting evidence for the importance of diet in treating depression.

She said: “What we do know is that a diet high in olive oil will enhance the amount of serotonin or brain transmitter available to you.

“Most anti-depression drugs work to keep more serotonin available in the brain.”

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Diet / Weight Loss, Food, Health Issues | | Leave a comment

What Dreams Mean

Today on AOL heath: I was reading this article out of idle curiousity until I came across my own dream – below. I had college exam dreams for years – I had dropped a Shakespeare class but somehow it hadn’t been registered so I had to take a final I was not prepared for.

Later in life, one night I woke up groping the bed, scared my husband to death, and when he asked what was the matter, as I desperately searched the sheets, I said “I’m looking for the baby!” I was a brand new mother, and for me, it was very stressful.

Now, most of my really bad dreams come when I have a move coming up – panicked dreams of the movers arriving and I an not ready, or a flight to catch and I have not packed. Recently, I had a dream where I was stressed over not being ready for a flight and the airline called and asked me “Are you coming? We are ready to close the gate!” and (although I was not packed) I said “I’m on my way! Hold the plane!” and I woke up gasping.

It never occurred to me I would see my worst nightmare in print. Go Here read through and tell me if you see yours. . . What’s your nightmare?

Theme: unpreparedness

The dream: “I’m back in high school and don’t know which classes I’m supposed to go to, so I end up missing one — usually Mr. Westerman’s world religions class. I become terrified about not knowing when the tests are, then finals come around and I wake up completely freaked out!” — Lori Huffman, 31, Houston

Variation: You’re rushing to catch a flight but haven’t packed or can’t find your ticket. A new mother may dream she can’t find her baby.

What it means: Dreaming about something you’ve already accomplished (i.e., graduating from high school) can mean you’re scared to make mistakes in an area where you usually succeed. “Perfectionist people tend to have these sorts of dreams,” says Kramer. One explanation is that you may be tying your self-worth too tightly to how you perform at work. If you usually spend hours fretting over an upcoming event or presentation, give yourself a set time to prepare and then force yourself to put it out of your head. “The outcome doesn’t change by agonizing over it,” assures Nezu.

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Family Issues, Health Issues, Random Musings | | 3 Comments

Ethnic Clothes and Mental Health

The studies findings surprised them – they were expecting that people who maintained their own traditions in a foreign country would experience more stress rather than less. BBC Health News reports that the choice to wear traditional clothes probably reflects family support, and strong family ties:

Ethnic clothes mental health link

Teenage girls from some minority communities who stick to their family customs have better mental health, researchers say.

Queen Mary University of London found Bangladeshi girls who chose traditional rather than Western dress had fewer behavioural and emotional problems.

The team said close-knit families and communities could help protect them.

Pressure to integrate fully could be stressful, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reported.

Traditional clothing represents a tighter family unit, and this may offer some protection against some of the pressures that young people face
Professor Kam Bhui, report co-author

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, and the researchers said that identity, often bound up in friendship choices or clothing, played a role.

They questioned a total of 1,000 white British and Bangladeshi 11 to 14-year-olds about their culture, social life and health, including questions designed to reveal any emotional or mental problems.
Bangladeshi pupils who wore traditional clothing were significantly less likely to have mental health problems than those whose style of dress was a mix of traditional and white British styles.
When this was broken down by gender, it appeared that only girls were affected.

No similar effect was found in white British adolescents who chose a mixture of clothes from their own and other cultures.

Professor Kam Bhui, one of the study authors, said that the result was “surprising” – he had expected that girls who were less fully integrated to show signs of greater strain.

“Traditional clothing represents a tighter family unit, and this may offer some protection against some of the pressures that young people face.

You can read the rest of the article HERE

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Uncategorized | , | 7 Comments