SAD and SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder &
Standard American Diet
By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by imitation, which is easiest; and
third by experience, which is the bitterest.
SAD. What does it stand for? Seasonal
Affective Disorder and Standard American
Diet. It also stands for Search and Destroy;
Single, Available, and Desperate; and
Scotland Against Drugs, but I'll only
discuss the relationship between the first
Disorder is a mood disorder that most
commonly occurs during the winter,
particularly in areas where the days become
darker for longer, so it is also known as
the winter blues. It can, however, also
occur with other seasons. People with SAD
usually sleep more, feel more tired, feel
depressed, and may crave more sweets and
carbohydrates. Symptoms resolve with a
change of seasons.
One major theory of
the cause of SAD is a circadian rhythm
disruption. There is a gland in the brain,
the pineal gland, that responds to light and
seasonal changes. When light is low, the
pineal gland secretes melatonin, also called
"the hormone of darkness", a hormone that
helps regulate sleep and mood. During the
dark days of winter, the pineal gland
continues to produce melatonin, even during
the daytime, thus leading to symptoms of
sleepiness. One of the most common
treatments is the used of SAD lights. These
are specific lights that emit 10,000 lux of
light to suppress melatonin during the
daytime. Another theory behind SAD is a
disruption in the neurotransmitter
serotonin. Low levels of serotonin in the
brain contribute to depression.
Disorder and the Standard American Diet
share more than their first 3 letters. The
Standard American Diet causes chemical
imbalances in our bodies that include a
disruption in serotonin levels, and thus may
contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Diet has the following characteristics:
High in animal fats
High in saturated
and hydrogenated fats
High in processed
High in sugar and
Low in fibre
Low in plant-based
Low in complex
This diet increases
our risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke,
intestinal disorders, inflammatory
disorders, and just about everything else.
Think you don't eat the SAD? Look carefully
in your cupboards. Think about the foods you
choose when you eat out. How many
ingredients can you not identify or even
pronounce? How many chemicals and modified
food ingredients are present? Think those
“Lean Cuisine” meals in your freezer are
healthy? Check again. High fructose corn
syrup, modified cornstarch, “enriched” (i.e.
processing depletes many
nutrients and then some nutrients are added
back) flours, etc. Think about your sugary
coffee beverage and giant muffin, scone,
or other treat. One reason why this food
lifestyle is so common is convenience. We’re
busy. We skip meals and then we’re hungry
and we’re hungry NOW.
Time now for your
If you eat the
Standard American Diet, change it.
Eat more fruits and
Eat fewer processed
Increase your fibre
monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil,
and essential polyunsaturated oils, such
as from flax seeds and fish, instead of
animal and hydrogenated fats.
2. If you are eating
healthy, but are still feeling the effects
of Seasonal Affective Disorder, you could
consider trying an SAD light.
Chinese Medicine can restore the balance of
serotonin and melatonin.
Many of you know
that I speak of the effect of
ahhhhcupuncture (said like a sigh) and
many of you have experienced that relaxed
feeling you get during and after an
acupuncture treatment. One of the changes
that occurs during acupuncture that
contributes to this sensation is an
increase in serotonin production.
My patient #1
request point is one located between the
eyebrows, called Yintang. I also call it
the "Aren't you going to do that point?"
point. This point helps regulate pineal
gland function, thus suppressing the
continued production of melatonin during
the daytime and
boosting night-time secretion of melatonin
to treat insomnia.
Chinese herbs such
as wu jia shen (Siberian ginseng) which
helps the body adapt to stress, can also
Join me on
Blog to tell me your new happy SAD
words, e.g. Simply Avoiding Donuts, Sharing
All Desserts, Skilful Acupuncture
***image by Counterthink
Happy and Happy
by Anne Whitmore, Success Coach
A few years ago, my
friend said to me “Everyone is just trying
to feel better.” I was really puzzled. While
the answer to the Great Question of Life,
the Universe and Everything is not 42, as
Deep Thought answers in The Hitchiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy, I figured that it was
more complicated than a feeling.
When I was asked to
write an article for her newsletter about
being intentional, Dr. Carr's topic of SAD
and SAD (Standard American Diet and Seasonal
Affective Disorder) sparked an idea of happy
and happy. Dictionary.com defines happy as:
–adjective, -pi·er, -pi·est.
1. pleased, or glad,
as over a particular thing: to be happy to
see a person.
2. characterized by
or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or
joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind
3. favored by
fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy,
4. apt or felicitous,
as actions, utterances, or ideas.
5. obsessed by or
quick to use the item indicated (usually
used in combination): a trigger-happy
gangster. Everybody is gadget-happy these
What strikes me about
#1-4 is that they are about a temporal
state, impacted by the circumstances of the
moment. Happy is an adjective. If you reach
into the recesses of elementary school
lessons on parts of speech, that means that
it describes a noun. The noun in this case
is a person: you. A happy you. So when are
you most happy? When you are being hugged?
When you get a raise? When you are singing
in the shower?
What about when you
aren’t…? What if you could make happy a
constant state of being?
The ancient teacher
Paul, said, “I have learned to be content
regardless of the circumstance…” His
circumstances included being jailed,
tortured and enduring public scorn – ok, so
in a difficult circumstance contest, he wins
most people hands down but the lesson is
true for both extreme and minor
circumstances. When we choose an attitude of
joy, regardless of what we face, our whole
world looks different and we feel better.
What does it take to
learn that secret of choosing to be happy? I
believe that the operative word here is
‘choose’. It is not always an easy choice.
We must say yes to some things and no to
others. Here are some places to start:
- I say yes to
choosing work aligned with my values, even
if there is a financial impact.
- I say yes to
simplifying my schedule to make more time
- I say no to
relationships that constantly drain me…
- I say no to
overcommitting, even when I feel pressure
from other people.
Douglas Adam’s wrote:
“He felt that his whole life was some kind
of a dream and he sometimes wondered whose
it was and whether they were enjoying it.” I
believe our hearts continue to know what is
right for us and also to dream. What, right
now, is the thing that would move you
towards having a truly happy 2011?
The fifth definition
of happy is “obsessed by or quick to use the
item indicated” as in trigger-happy. What
would it like to be joy-happy?
Live your dream AND
enjoy it. Feel Better. Choose joy.