Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Fare: Do You Have A Sobriety Friendly Cookbook?

Holiday cooking, holiday shopping...

Are you the holiday chef in your family? If so, then right about now you are finalizing your Thanksgiving menu, re-checking your last-minute shopping list and starting to plan those dishes that you can prepare 24 hours in advance. Let's face it, being a guest at someone's holiday table is easier than being the host/hostess/cook. It just is!

Think about your favorite holiday recipes...are all of these sobriety friendly? Or does your salad dressing have a touch of red wine, do your rum balls really include rum, or maybe your veal piccata includes your favorite white wine.

Would you know how to prepare your favorite traditional recipes if you needed to create an entire holiday menu for someone in recovery?

Really old cookbooks!

Let's dust off our cookbooks...

Any really good cookbook will have a section called "emergency substitutions." For example, if you have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, then you can substitute it with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar added to one cup of whole milk. 

This week we were trying to find a cookbook that offered really good recipes for those in recovery...and we are happy to report we found one (actually more than one)!

Meet Chef Liz Scott...

In August 2003, Chef Liz Scott saw a need and wrote a cookbook, The Sober Kitchen: Recipes and Advice for a Lifetime of Sobriety. In reviewing this book Mark Knoblauch offered:
"Mere avoidance of cocktails, wine, beer, and liquor may not be enough to keep a recovering alcoholic sober. Alcohol can show up in larger-than-expected concentrations in any dish prepared with wine. Even long-simmered dishes such as Beef Burgundy may retain a small portion of alcohol, enough to set off physical responses in those intolerant. Moreover, certain flavors and textures may need to be avoided because they may set off irresistible cravings. Chef Liz Scott's The Sober Kitchen provides a wealth of basic information and dozens of outstanding recipes to benefit both people in recovery and those who take care of them."

In case you're wondering, Chef Scott's The Sober Kitchen is available in a Kindle version and a NOOK Book version. And for more fun and great holiday gift ideas it turns out that Chef Scott has a number of other cookbooks that she has written both solo and collaborating with physicians. You can see the complete list here.

To give you an example of how Chef Scott converts a recipe, here is a link to her mock chicken marsala recipe.  You will see how interesting these recipe conversions can be.

Cottonwood Tucson's Cuisine


Chef Richard Serna
Great cooking, using fresh seasonal ingredients, is at the heart of the culinary experience at Cottonwood. Each morning, our Executive Chef Richard Serna personally selects fresh seafood and meats, organically grown produce, and exotic rice, grains and legumes with which to prepare the day’s offerings. Through an exactingly prepared menu that is both refined and memorable, patients are introduced to new foods and healthy cooking and plating techniques each time they dine in our cafĂ©. Cottonwood chefs willingly work with any patients who come to us with special nutritional needs, cultural or religious dietary concerns or personal taste preferences.

At Cottonwood, patients have the opportunity to practice what they learn about value of good nutrition in recovery. Each meal demonstrates how the creative use of balanced nutrition can result in delicious and satisfying meals that support recovery by incorporating vitamins and amino acids that help to stabilize mood while reducing cravings for destructive substances or disordered behavior.

Additionally, Cottonwood Tucson also publishes a newsletter: The Cottonwood Connection. Each newsletter contains an article about nutrition in recovery and a fun new recipe.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving 

Thursday will be here soon. We hope your holiday is peaceful and that you can be where you need to be. Remember to take time to rest, get some fresh air...and maybe read a great cookbook!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Brooke Shields: A Little Girl All Grown Up Who Doesn't Want To Be A Victim

English: Brooke Shields at Naval Air Station, ...
 Brooke Shields at Naval Air Station, Pensacola in 1986. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid. 
..........Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Brooke Shields was the little girl...

This week multiple generations of Americans are learning more about the Brooke Shields they thought they knew. If you are at least 45 years old then your earliest memories of Brooke would include movies like Pretty Baby, Blue Lagoon or Endless Love. In the 1990's she appeared in a lot of television productions and by 1996 was starring in Suddenly Susan for four years. Many of us will recall her famous Calvin Klein advertisements and now almost every evening you can see her in ads for La-Z-Boy furniture and Foster Grant eye wear. 

Some may wonder why we cared about following Brooke's career. It's a good question, but basically the answer is probably we were drawn to her because she has been in the public eye since she was a baby, she put her acting career on hold to attend Princeton University where she lived in a dorm and received a degree in French Literature, and she dated interesting and provocative people. She married and divorced Andre Agassi. In 2001, she married Chris Henchy. They have two daughters. All the while her life looked engaging, perfect and enviable. 

Her mother, Teri, died October 31, 2012.    

"There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me"

This week Brooke Shields published her latest book "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me." It is memoir, but it takes a different turn than her previous books "Down Came the Rain" which discusses quite eloquently her battle with and recovery from post-partum depression and "On Your Own" written in 1985 in which she is talking to other young girls her age. 

Now "There Was a Little Girl" is about Teri, Brooke's mother. It is about them, or as she offered today in an interview with NBC's Willie Geist, her life was about their life together, she constantly uses the pronouns "we" and "us." Teri was Brooke's mother and manager in every way...guiding her career, her education, and her social life. Teri was also an alcoholic.

Brooke is an adult child of an alcoholic...

Chances are you, too, will see a number of interviews with Brooke over the next few days. She is on the cover of the current PEOPLE Magazine. ETonline had one of the most interesting interviews with Brooke and reported: 
"According to Brooke, her mother would take her into bars when she was a baby and later in life would be drunk by the time Brooke got home from school. Brooke also claims that she staged an intervention for her mother when she was just 13."
  Watch ET's Michelle Turner's interview with Brooke.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some final thoughts...

It is indeed possible that many surviving adult children of alcoholics will welcome Brooke's openness and willingness to share her story. They will identify with her frank statement: "I had to learn at a very early age to be the adult." She doesn't want to be portrayed as a victim and she doesn't want to think of herself as a victim.

Here at Cottonwood Tucson we work with adult children of alcoholics. It is part of what our Family Program is all about. The goal of our Family Program is to help families relearn behavioral interaction so that healthy behaviors become logical. Interpersonal change that can be sustained after treatment requires a movement from following direction (first order change) to internalizing new ways of interacting (second order change). Families shift from obsessive worry and controlling behaviors to acknowledging that which is outside of their control and learn to focus on their own personal needs and boundaries. They learn to detach from the pain, and not from the person.

Cottonwood Tucson is particularly proud to say that our InnerPath Workshops Clinical Director and Facilitator Rokelle Lerner is a founder of National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

INSTAGRAM: Fast, Beautiful, Fun And Maybe A Touch Of Mean

English: A collage showing a photograph, along...
English: A collage showing a photograph, along with the same photograph processed through all 15 filters in the iOS app Instagram (as of the date of creation in April 2011) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let's do a quick inventory of our cameras, scrapbooks, and photo albums...

Your age might determine how many cameras, scrapbooks and photo albums you own. For example, we have an associate who has one closet that is dedicated to these items. She has become the keeper of the family history. When a family member is trying to create a collage or YouTube video to honor a loved one, they will contact her for digital copies of decades old photos.

Of course, in today's world most of us don't worry about having the camera at just the right moment because our smart phones, cell phones and tablets have become our Kodak or Polaroid. We are always ready to capture the moment.

And we now have virtual scrapbooks and photo albums compliments of apps like GOOGLE+, FACEBOOK, TWITTER and, of course, INSTAGRAM.

Today let's focus on INSTAGRAM

According to Instagram.com, "Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family." It is free of cost and offers a number of tools to "edit" the photo in creative ways. In a recent article published by Business Insider: The Psychology Behind Why Instagram Is So Addictive by Drake Baer we learned that there are 200 million Instagram users, and 90% of these users are under 35 who somehow find the time in each day to upload 544 million photos! The number is startling until you do the simple math; it's about three photos per day per user. 

Take a few minutes and read Baer's article, he reaches out to Nir Eyal of Stanford University to discover the addictive formula built into Instagram. Basically there is a ritual attached to using this app which rewards the user and before long it becomes addictive.

Email subject line: How Instagram became home to today's mean girls 

If you read that subject line in an email from TIME Magazine would you click on it? We were curious for two reasons: (1) we are interested in social apps and how people use them (2) last January we published a blog post about bullying which featured the "Mean Girls" reference.

The TIME Magazine article is written and researched by Rachel Simmons: "The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram."

If you are a parent or counselors of teenage girls, then you might find Simmons' observations helpful and thought provoking. She points out that many parents are aware of bullying via Facebook or Twitter, but they have been less concerned about Instagram. Ms. Simmons offers:
'But Instagram’s simplicity is also deceiving: look more closely, and you find the Rosetta Stone of girl angst: a way for tweens and teens to find out what their peers really think of them (Was that comment about my dress a joke or did she mean it?), who likes you (Why wasn’t I included in that picture?), even how many people like them (if you post and get too few likes, you might feel “Instashame,” as one young woman calls it). They can obsess over their friendships, monitoring social ups and downs in extreme detail. They can strategically post at high traffic hours when they know peers are killing time between homework assignments. “Likes,” after all, feel like a public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status.'

We are all in this together: "MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN" 

Recently a friend mentioned that she saw the preview for the movie "Men, Women & Children." We inquired if she intended to see it and she was non-committal. Here is the preview.


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

While many reviews were not overly positive, we found Richard Roeper's in the Chicago Sun-Times pretty balanced when discussing the importance of communication:
This is the abiding theme of Jason Reitman’s perceptive, moving slice of modern life — a time capsule of a film that understands how much technology dominates the lives of teenagers, as well as the parents trying their best to keep up with the times. At times Reitman (adapting Chad Kultgen’s 2011 novel) can be a bit preachy and scolding about the pitfalls of surrendering one’s “RL” (real life) to one’s online existence, but just about any parent or any teenager seeing this film will empathize with any number of the interconnecting plot lines. At times “Men, Women & Children” veers close to becoming a checklist of tech-related social issues (though, thankfully, there’s no scene of someone texting and driving and then — watch out for that giant truck!), but the writing is strong and the performances are universally excellent.
It turns out that the box office draw for "Men, Women & Children" left a lot to be desired by the producers. It could have been timing or maybe the previews were just too haunting, too real and parents with teens and tweens just couldn't bring themselves to watch, listen and hear about how we live in this world of apps. Hopefully more people will take the time to watch the film in their own home...this happens because there's an app for it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SAD Suggestions: Light, Laughter...And Perhaps A Light Tracker

Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol being turned fo...
Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol being turned forward for the country's first daylight saving time in 1918 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again "our days are getting shorter..."

It's a funny thing about the expression "the days are getting shorter." In reality our days are still 24 hours in length, but the period of daylight shortens as we work our way from the summer solstice (the longest day of the year - most hours of daylight) through the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year - least hours of daylight). To complicate this yearly routine, since 1918 in early November daylight saving time ends here in the United States, with the exceptions being Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation, which does observe daylight saving time), Hawaii, and the overseas territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Most people move through this time of year with less daylight without any problems, but as we wrote just two years ago seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts about 15% of the United States population.  And it is this time of the year that we read more about SAD, learn about new research and even inventions to help those who suffer from SAD.

How to deal with season affective disorder...

This week NBC's TODAY Health published a news article about five ways to assist you in raising your serotonin levels through the late autumn and winter months. The reporter, Markham Heid, lists them this way:
  • Lighten Up
  • Exercise Your Demons
  • Step Outside
  • Rub It Away
  • Laugh A Little

For a number of years treatment professionals have advised that a very important way to manage your SAD is to make sure you have good lighting in your home and workspace. There are lightboxes that you can purchase to lighten up your interior environment and these help raise your serotonin levels.

Exercise is known to increase serotonin. How and where you exercise can be your decision to make. You might want to join a gym, take a morning or evening walk with a friend, engage with a co-worker to walk during lunchtime or a work break, depending on where you live you can go bike riding, perhaps your apartment complex has a gym (many of these are open 24 hours per day)...finally, swimming laps or pool aerobics are both excellent ways to exercise your demons.

To step outside may sound easy, but if you have ever lived in the snow belt, then you might appreciate how hard this can be to accomplish regularly throughout the winter months. If sidewalks are not plowed or shoveled, not to mention walking paths, then getting outside can be challenging. However, keep in mind that the suggestion to step outside is more about exposing yourself to daylight and maybe even sunlight. You can stand on your porch, patio, or balcony and just take in 30 minutes of fresh air.

If exercise isn't your idea of fun, then maybe the idea of a regularly scheduled massage to rub it away appeals to you. You can consider having your significant other give you a massage and maybe you can return the favor. Put a massage certificate on your holiday gift list. Studies have shown that massage can increase your serotonin.

Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh? Laughter can be contagious. Milton Berle once said: "Laughter is an instant vacation." When you look at laughter through Mr. Berle's lens it is easy to imagine how the brain responds to laughter. At least one study found that laughter seemed to increase your brain's level of serotonin. Read a funny story, watch a funny movie, or set 30 minutes a week aside to watch a favorite sit-com. Or how about this? Set 30 minutes a day aside to watch reruns of a sit-com that always made you laugh until you cried. By all means laugh a little.

Now you can track your light exposure...

Sometimes measuring the intensity of an activity can be hard to do. If you ride you bicycle for five miles, do you really know how many calories you burned without factoring in the weather, your speed, and the topography of the route taken? If you spend a day at the beach, do you really know how much sun exposure you had? Probably not without considering the ambient weather, your clothing, sunscreen,  sunglasses or not, or if you were wearing a hat and the hat's style.

As we discussed above one tested treatment for SAD is light exposure. And this week we learned about SunSprite - Wearable Light Tracker. The Daily Beast reporter K. Aleisha Fetters explained the concept of measuring and tracking your light exposure:
"For people with SAD, or a bad case of the winter blues, doctors might prescribe a certain amount of light exposure. The “gold standard” dose is 30 minutes of 10,000 lux light, one hour of 5,000 lux light or two hours of 2,500 lux light. (Note: “Lux” is a universal unit of light intensity.) To put that into perspective, indoor lighting is about 100 lux, while a bright, sunny day can hit 50,000 lux or more. However, an overcast sky (like you see often during the winter) usually ranks at only 1,000 lux or lower."

See what you think of SunSprite...


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Remember...if you suspect you might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder discuss it with your primary care physician.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Unique Way To Honor Our Veterans ~ 2014

How will you honor our Veterans this year?

Of late when Memorial Day or Veterans Day holidays approach we notice people will turn to the social media platforms to thank their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who served. Maybe they change their own profile photo to one of their father or mother. You will see a lot of messages and tweets going back and forth which include restaurants offering a free meal for Veterans on November 11th or #Concertforvalor taking place in the Capital Mall.

Twitter feed 11/10/2014 9:10AM MST

While all of these very positive actions are celebratory, do they really have a long lasting effect when so many of our veterans continue to need care for their physical and emotional service injuries? We thought about this last evening while watching 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley interview the new United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald.

'Cleaning Up The VA' - Robert McDonald style

Actually Secretary McDonald likes to be called Bob. So when you watch this interview with Bob, take care to listen how he is establishing new goals, defining the mission and lays out the issues that have made management of the Veterans Administration so difficult.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

 Hopefully you watched the 12 minute episode and learned the following:
  • Veterans Administration has 340,000 employees
  • Secretary McDonald report he needs to fire at least 1000 employees for violating the Veterans Administration values, some may need to be prosecuted
  • The VA needs to hire somewhere in the neighborhood of 28,000 
  • The Secretary also clearly stated he needs 2,500 mental health professionals, pointing out that just since 2006, 400,000 veterans have applied for mental health services. 
  • Currently the VA has 12 websites, the Secretary's goal is to have one portal by next year

A unique way to honor our Veterans...

Today Secretary McDonald will announce a major reorganization for the VA. But this week, actually Friday November 14th, there will be a committee hearing in Congress to review H.R. 5059 - The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
"To direct the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide for the conduct of annual evaluations of mental health care and suicide prevention programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to review the terms or characterization of the discharge or separation of certain individuals from the Armed Forces, to require a pilot program on loan repayment for psychiatrists who agree to serve in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes." 
Many veterans struggle with unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, mental health issues like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and currently each day 22 veterans commit suicide. This week why not reach out to your congress person and express your support for H.R. 5059?