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Monday, May 22, 2017

Say No to Salt and Yes to Spices

An important part of your long-term sobriety is learning how to eat a balanced diet – and the best way to do this is to cook for yourself. 

Even so, a lot of so-called healthy recipes rely on salt to add flavor. And too much sodium can up your risk of a variety of chronic conditions, including: 
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stomach cancer
Luckily, a little cooking creativity can help you cut back on sodium without sacrificing flavor – and you’ll likely reap some extra health benefits, too. Here are a few herbs and spices to always have in your kitchen:
  • Basil: Add this robust and aromatic herb to fish, lean meat, stews, salads, soups and sauces.
    Health bonus: Contains powerful antioxidants called flavonoids that protect cells from damage.
  • Mint: Adds bright freshness to pasta or chilled grain dishes like quinoa salad or couscous.
    Health bonus: Great source of vitamin C, which helps the body build important proteins that keep skin healthy and hair shiny.
  • Cinnamon: This fragrant spice is perfect to sprinkle on fruits or in sauces or in breads and other baked goods.
    Health bonus: Most known for its ability to reduce the rise of blood sugar after a meal.
  • Garlic: Best enjoyed fresh, this flavorful and aromatic bulb is the perfect addition to lean meat, fish, soups, vegetables, potatoes and sauces.
    Health bonus: Rich in the mineral selenium, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer
  • Ginger: This unique sweet and spicy flavor can be used when searing any protein: fish, chicken, pork or beef.
    Health bonus: Aids digestion and eases nausea; decreases inflammation.
  • Parsley: This nutritious herb can give meat, fish, salads, sauces and vegetables a vibrant taste.
    Health bonus: Good source of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and keeps your bones strong.
  • Sage: These grayish green leaves give lean meat, fish, biscuits and veggies a savory flavor.
    Health bonus: May help enhance memory; reduce inflammation.
  • Rosemary: This aromatic herb has evergreen-like leaves perfect for sauces, stuffing, potatoes and fish and lean meat dishes.
    Health bonus: Aids digestion; increases circulation.
Nutrition Planning at Complete Harmony
Helping clients plan healthful meals to enrich their body and mind is just one of the many features of our hybrid addiction treatment. By integrating conventional and holistic recovery approaches, we help restore balance to the whole person. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Good Reason to Get Up

You don't have to spend hours at the gym or have a vigorous sweat session to improve your mood and reduce depression, according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Psychology. Turns out that simply being up and about throughout the day can be healthier than sitting.

This is great news if you lead a mostly sedentary life – and, if you do, you’re not alone. Sitting down for meals, commuting, working, TV watching, sleeping – this can easily add up to as little as one hour per day off your feet! 

“We hope this research helps people realize the important public health message that simply going from doing no physical activity to performing some physical activity can improve their subjective well-being," said Gregory Panza, a graduate student in UConn's Department of Kinesiology and the study's lead author, in a statement. 

"What is even more promising for the physically inactive person is that they do not need to exercise vigorously to see these improvements," Panza continued. "Instead, our results indicate you will get the best 'bang for your buck' with light or moderate intensity physical activity."

Try one of these easy ways to add more movement to your day: 
  • Walk faster. Whether you’re walking to your car or down the grocery isle, make an effort to pick up the pace. 
  • Take the stairs. You’ve likely heard this advice before and for good reason: Climbing stairs for two minutes, five days a week provides the same calorie burn as a 36-minute walk, according to experts at Reader’s Digest. What’s more, a recent study showed that climbing the stairs can give you a midday boost more so than a cup of coffee. 
  • Add walking to your lunch menu. Once you finish eating, get up and get going for a brief walk. Most of us don’t take the full 30 to 60 minutes allotted for lunch to eat. 
  • Dance around your house. While you’re doing the dishes or waiting for dinner to cook, turn up the music and get shaking and shimmying. 
  • Neaten up daily. Chores like dusting, doing laundry and vacuuming can add up to big activity points. 
  • Turn TV time into a workout. Use those commercial breaks to get off of the sofa and do some jumping jacks or stretching.

Exercise to Support Your Sobriety 
At Complete Harmony, we know that fighting addiction is more than simply giving up drugs and alcohol. It’s about creating a new sober lifestyle that supports your health holistically. Our hybrid addiction recovery program offers exercise planning to strengthen your body during addiction recovery. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Study on Drug Craving

New research sheds light on how craving works in the brain, according to a new article published in JAMA Psychiatry. Scientists at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas are the first to propose a model that focuses on the intense, urgent feeling of needing or wanting drugs. 

"Craving is considered one of the strongest predictors of relapse," said Dr. Xiaosi Gu, who runs the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Center for BrainHealth, in a statement. "Even after an individual has broken the cycle of compulsive drug taking, craving can still persist. Although current treatment can handle a lot of the behavioral aspects of addiction, especially physical symptoms, craving is difficult to treat because it is a subject state ... We aim, with this new framework, to begin to separate craving from reward- or drug-seeking behavior."

Dr. Gu, along with Dr. Francesca Filbey and Bert Moore Chair, are collaborating to identify which regions of the brain encode craving and to lay the groundwork for quantifying craving, its effects and ways to target treatments to counteract it. Of course, time will tell how this research can impact treatment for alcohol and substance abuse disorders as well as binge-eating disorders.  

3 Ways to Fight Craving
  • Change your surroundings. Go for a walk, bike ride or drive. The goal is to change your surroundings to eliminate any triggers, including sights, sounds and smells.
  • Seek support. Call a family member, trusted friend or sponsor to help you calm down and ride out the craving.
  • Engage in a “clean” activity. Watch a funny movie, do a puzzle, play a video game or try a new Pinterest project.
Relapse Prevention at Complete Harmony
Many things trigger relapse, including events, places and negative relationships. Our relapse prevention and aftercare planning offers holistic relapse strategies to empower you or someone you love to slowly eliminate the dangerous urge to self-medicate. To learn more about our holistic treatment facility and programs, call: 866-930-4673.

Monday, May 1, 2017

6 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health

Happy Mental Health Month, led by Mental Health America (MHA). This year’s theme is “Risky Business,” and the 100-plus year organization is hoping to educate people about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, including risky sex, prescription drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending, marijuana use and troublesome exercise patterns.

If you’re healing from a past addiction to drugs or alcohol, taking the time to learn positive strategies to support your mental health is essential. If you don’t learn how to deal with stress, anxiety and depression in a positive way, you are at risk of relapsing and turning to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.

So the next time you’re feeling blue or overwhelmed with life, consider trying one or more of these tips from MHA
  • Go off the grid. Shut-off that smart phone and spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face. Have a cookout, go to a park, or play a game. People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days that they spend six to seven hours with friends and family.
  • Put on your creative cap. Try a new recipe or Pinterest project or write a poem or paint. Creative expression has been linked with higher overall well-being. 
  • Show love to someone special in your life. Having close, quality relationships can increase your chances of a happy, healthy life.
  • Soak up the joy. Being optimistic doesn't mean ignoring the uglier sides of life – but focusing on the positive as much as possible.
  • Track gratitude and achievement. Start a journal and include three things you were grateful for and three things you were able to accomplish each day. 
  • Work your strengths. Build your confidence by doing something you’re good at – and then tackle a tougher task. 
Find Happiness in Sobriety 
Have you been using drugs and alcohol to achieve fleeting moments of happiness? Are you seeking a more lasting, healthy sense of well-being? If so, the holistic therapies at Complete Harmony can show you the way to a more meaningful and satisfying life. Begin the journey to mindful sobriety by calling our caring, compassionate team at 866-930-4673 today!

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