Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Depression Series, Part 1: Why Are We So Depressed?

I am starting a new series of posts, focusing on depression.  It has literally become an epidemic in America, and is rapidly spreading across the globe.  The posts will cover the causes of depression, natural remedies, the dangers of anti-depressants, and more.

Why are so many Americans suffering from depression today?  What is so different about our society that almost 10% of our adult population are depressed? 

Some may say that our society is more accepting of someone seeking treatment, so fewer people are hiding their struggles.  But is that true?  Studies show that 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.  80% of depressed people are going "untreated".  92% of African American males do not seek treatment.

But the problem doesn't end there. 

The rate of increase of depression among preschoolers is 23%!  Preschoolers?  Do you remember being depressed before you even got into kindergarten?  I don't.  And none of the kids I knew seemed the least bit depressed.  Assuming a child had a "normal" life (i.e., isn't facing abuse, poverty, etc.) the most depressing thing that happened to the four-year-olds that I knew is that they didn't get the toy they wanted for Christmas, or they got a swat for their misdeeds, or their big brother broke something that belonged to them.  What is there for the average preschooler to be depressed about?

Yet the preschool population is the fastest-growing market for anti-depressants.  Over a million preschoolers (at least 4%) are considered to be clinically depressed.  What the heck is going on?

By 2020, depression is expected to be the leading cause of death after heart disease, and the studies show that depression is a contributing factor of heart-related deaths.

There are many theories as to the causes of depression.  Some point to genetics, or to environment, to a history of abuse, to traumatic events in a person's life.  These are all factors that could predispose a person to depression.  But not everyone who faces these obstacles will become depressed.  So why do some of us become depressed, and not others?

Are there other causes that are yet unknown, or are not yet accepted by the profit-driven depression industry?  And make no mistake, it is an industry.  Anti-depressant sales alone garnered almost $11 billion in 2008!  That doesn't even take into consideration the profits from hospitalization, therapy, treatment programs, and other products, which have questionable rates of effectiveness.

Why am I writing a whole series of posts on this subject?  Because not only am I disturbed by the increasing effects that depression is having on our country, but I am infuriated at how women's lives are being slowly destroyed not only by this affliction, but also by the very industry that purports to be helping them.  They have become the targets of greedy corporations and so-called "professionals", and now they have their financial cross-hairs fixed on our children.

It is time we put a stop to the madness, and take control of our own lives, and find real solutions to the problem, instead of expensive treatments that only make the problem worse, and create even more health problems.

All this and more will be discussed more in the upcoming installments, along with my own story.

Update:  As of 3/21/11, I still need to continue this series of posts, but in the meantime, I've used Carlson's Vitamin D drops, they help, and getting some exercise (the rebounder is easy, just start with five minutes--or go for a walk, it's cheaper) can help a LOT.  Also St. John's Wort is supposed to be very effective, but I keep forgetting to take it. But one of the best things you can do is eat more raw organic food, especially green smoothies (the more greens, the better).  Raw food works WONDERS!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old Post # 11: Book Review: Living on Live Food

This post is the eleventh in a series of posts taken from one of my old blogs.  It is a review of a book I still own and use to this day.

Living on Live Foods - originally posted July 22, 2007

This week I finally found Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food book at my local raw food restaurant.

This book has it all. Most raw books I've bought or seen are little more than recipe books with a couple of chapters of very basic information about the raw food diet in the beginning. Alissa's book has very good information about the science behind the diet (but in a concise, easy-to-read format), the hows and whys, the benefits, success stories, before and after pictures, and much more. Plus all the recipes, which look really good. I'm really enjoying reading this book.

There are two negatives to the book, however. First is it's price. At first, I didn't mind the $30 price tag because it is a very large, high quality book. The pictures are great, the pages are glossy, and the layout keeps the reader's attention. But after reading the book, I realized quickly that this book didn't NEED to be so big...which brings me to negative point number two: the size.

This book is HUGE. It is very heavy. I feel like I'm carrying around a dictionary. It doesn't make for easy transporting. The easiest way to read it is to lie it flat on a table, or possibly in your lap, if you don't mind the weight. Laying on your side in bed is is forever sliding off the bed, or slipping out of your hands. I dropped it spine-first onto the side of my foot while sitting in bed--a six inch drop--and it HURT!! Really hurt!

Also, the words on each page are in narrow columns, with one column per page. Only half of each page is used. Then, each chapter uses one whole page just to display the chapter number on it. And many of the chapters have less than one page to them...and remember, only half of each page is used! While this does make for an easy-to-read format, it goes too far. I think the book easily could have been condensed into a smaller, easier to carry book without sacrificing quality or readability.

I do like the heavy, glossy pages, as I think this will be a book I will read and use often, especially in the kitchen. But when so many people in the raw food movement are environmentally conscious, the amount of wasted space in this book seems to be a bad business decision. I think the size and weight of the book could be reduced enough to lower the price to $25 , which would make the book easier to sell to people on a limited budget.

All that being said, I'm still glad I bought it. I'm sure it will prove very useful. There is also a companion DVD available on Alissa's website. The price of that seems extremely high to me...$29.95! There is a discount if you buy the book with it, but again, people like me might not be likely to buy such an expensive DVD without reading the book first to see if they like Alissa's style. But having read half the book so far, I would like to check out the DVD someday, when I can afford it.

Alissa carries other products on her site, such as raw food items and appliances. Be sure to price shop, though. I think a lot of her prices seem to be okay, and she's running a really great special on the Vita-Mix right now. Her raw food forum is a great resource as well.

I haven't finished the book yet or tried any recipes, but based on the first half of the book, I'd give it at least four stars, maybe five. Definitely a great introductory book for those wanting to go raw.

UPDATE:  Some of her recipes I really like, and others I don't.  But the info and the before and afters you simply must read.  One great recipe is the regular salsa.  It's really good--even my husband likes it, and he hates fresh tomatoes.  The one thing is that the garlic is super strong to me.  Since the garlic is raw, you should keep that in mind when it's called for in recipes, and consider cutting it in half.  Or try elephant garlic, it's very mild.

 Note:  The first link pic is the book, the second is the DVD, and the third is another book of Alissa's.