2016 Critical Update or “Not all psych meds are created equal”

I say “critical” because I just looked at one of my previous articles “Think you might be bipolar…?” and realized I really needed to update my findings since then.

My last line was “And certainly not everything seemingly psychological requires psych meds.” While true, you can’t throw everything under the same blanket, and it was NOT true for me. I did need psych meds. Yes, I’m very willing to talk about this now.

In 2010, when I had the full-blown manic episode which I thwarted by taking thyroid and adrenal support herbs, I thought for sure my problem was hypothyroidism and exhausted adrenals instead of bipolar disorder. The one miraculous thing it did was quash those violent dreams I had been having for years and which have never returned. So there was something to it.

BUT, now I understand that both the hypothyroidism and the bipolar incident (which later settled back into “atypical bipolar”) were brought about by years of taking Prozac which was the only thing I could get anyone to prescribe for me.

If you’re curious to read my experience, check out another blog post of mine entitled, “After 38 years, I finally heard something other than ‘Shut up and take your Prozac.'”

It was a matter of finding a doctor savvy enough to actually do some psychological testing, then hear what I was saying (and had been saying for years), and to prescribe the right thing.

And if you don’t want to take my word for it, read what a doctor says in this article:

“9 out of 10 bipolars became this way through antidepressant-induced mania: Doctor speaks”





A Few Forthright Words


Having watched the mess concerning the Affordable Health Care Act, I’ve learned a few things.

1. We have more medical science at our fingertips than ever before in history, yet we are the sickest first-world nation on the globe.

2. There’s no use pointing the finger at anybody over the state of America’s healthcare today. Because, you know, when you’re pointing one finger, three more are pointing back at you.

3. Medicine is just like any other business: supply and demand. The more we demand, the more they supply, and, as with any commodity, there are varying grades of quality, and it’s all expensive (mostly out of sight).

4. So how to change it all? Let’s stop demanding and start taking better care of ourselves.

5. Do the research. There are literally hundreds of books and websites out there about how to take better care of yourself, and how to move toward optimal health. The rules are pretty simple, and a lot of really smart people (besides doctors) find thousands of creative ways of doing it. (Just try googling natural health and start there.)


Coming in a few hours: How to Stop Wasting Your Money on Vitamin Supplements (and no, I’m not going to tell you to start eating right because that won’t help either).



image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto. net and baitong333

Solving the pre-move coffee panic,or how to make coffee without a coffee pot

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de kafo. Français : Photo d’une tasse de caffé Español: Taza de café (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Broken carafe

My partner freaked the other night when he picked up the coffee carafe and the bottom came out. We were really happy it didn’t happen with hot coffee in it. But he really freaked, so, when talking about it, I decided, since we’re just 4 days from moving where we can only carry what we can take in our car, that we weren’t going to buy a new pot. (I think he thinks that without coffee he would just never get out of bed.)

Non-Coffee Drinkers with Coffee-Drinking Guests

You might also be interested in this if you are a non-coffee drinker having coffee-drinking guests who don’t want to run out and purchase a coffee maker for their visit. Don’t do as I once did–I had a whole house-full of coffee drinkers for breakfast (this was my occasional-coffee-drinking days), and I tried keeping up with everyone’s coffee needs by making medium-sized French Press pots for everyone. NOT the smartest thing I’ve ever done (not the dumbest, either, but I digress.)

Making coffee without a coffee pot/coffee maker

So, how to make coffee without a coffee pot. I was really surprised when I looked online this morning and found the dumbest and weirdest ways people suggested making coffee without a pot. (I was just looking to find optimal water temperature.) Really, all you have to ask is, how does the pot do it? In a drip pot, you put the filter in the basket, pour cold water into the back of the coffee maker, and the pot heats the water and runs it through the ground coffee.

I got a wide mouthed jar (one I use as a small canister) and fitted it with a strainer. This was the second attempt. The first one, I just rubberbanded the filter around the top of the jar. (Duh, there’s a reason the pot has a filter basket.) It did all right until we tried to remove it, whereupon one side tore. Luckily, no grounds got into the coffee, but the next time we decided to use the strainer, and luckily the strainer fit the mouth of the jar perfectly. I just set the filter into the strainer. It took longer to make that way because you can’t pour as much into the shallow strainer as we could into the depth of the filter.

I measured enough for 4 cups of coffee into the grinder and ground it finely. (My partner likes his coffee near bitter–the finer the grind, the more bitter it will be, especially when you are using espresso roast coffee.) Then I put the cold water into the tea kettle, heated it like the coffee pot would, and when ready, I simply poured the water over the grounds a little at a time, allowing it to run slowly through the filter. Yes, it takes time, but it’s a labor of love. Actually, the coffee is sooo much better this way (not sure why this method brings out more of the fresh coffee taste), that I may not go back to the pot.

“Cup of Coffee” size

One thing. I didn’t measure the water–I just poured till it looked like about four cups and had the right nose, density and color. If you prefer to measure the water, just pour the hot water into a glass measuring pitcher. But please remember that a “cup” of coffee is based on 5 oz, not 8. So to make 4 cups of coffee as you would in a coffee maker, you only need 20 oz of water, not 32.

Measuring the coffee

Oh, and if you’re not a regular coffee drinker and making this for someone else, whether you are using ground coffee or coffee beans, my measure for 4 cups is 2 level coffee spoons and 2 rounded ones. (But for 8 cups its 5 level and 3 rounded–I don’t know why. For some reason it seems to take a bit more coffee for a smaller quantity.) A coffee spoon is equal to 1 tablespoon, a coffee scoop is usually equal to 2 tablespoons. I have a coffee spoon that came with my coffee canister from Target, and it is equal to 1 tablespoon. So, yeah, a whole paragraph to tell you to use 2 level tablespoons and 2 rounded ones for 4 cups. ><

Why not use a French Press?

Why not use a French Press, you ask? Well, in a pinch we didn’t have one. I looked and found just the outside frame for my French press, but no glass or plunger. I would suspect that somebody just broke the glass and didn’t tell me, but if they left the frame, they likely would have left the plunger, too. ::shrugs::

Another reason to not use a French press is that I’m still being a money-miser, and it takes a lot more coffee to produce a cup of French press than it does for drip.

If you want to make more than 4 cups at a time (like if you’re having coffee-drinking guests), get a bigger jar and a bigger strainer.  I always have at least 3 sizes of strainers on hand. We prefer to make fewer cups and make it more often throughout the day as it stays hotter since we don’t have a thermos.

Anyway, to those who said to use ground coffee and just throw it into the bottom of a glass measuring pitcher and pour the water on top and then strain it after steeping–ICK! (They were doing this for guests.) At the very least, if you don’t have your own coffee grinder, go to the store, pick out some delectable organic, fair trade coffee beans (I may be a miser, but I’m not stupid–coffee is one of the most highly pesticide sprayed products on the market), and use their grinder to grind it coarsely. Then you’ll get French Press-like coffee quality, and the coffee will strain much more quickly.

Milk Foam

Now, here is an article on how to make milk foam without a milk foamer. Just ignore her last sentence. It’s not true that half ‘n’ half or cream will make better foam. My favorite barista told me that the less fat the milk has, the better for foaming. I adore heavy cream, but I use skim milk to make my milk foam. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-milk-foam-without-100716

Autumn Baked Oatmeal

I changed up my baked oatmeal recipe for autumn and thought I’d share. Great for breakfast, brunch or dessert.

English: Oatmeal Русский: Овсяныехлопья

English: Oatmeal Русский: Овсяныехлопья (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autumn Baked Oatmeal
(Vegan substituions below)

3 cups regular oatmeal
1 lg peeled, cored, seeded and slice apple (optional – I didn’t have any this time)
4 oz butter
3/4 c your favorite honey (mine was Oregon Blackberry honey) J  (1/2 cup gets mixed in—I’ll leave it up to you how much you drizzle on top)
1 egg
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or whatever autumnal spices you have on hand: nutmeg, cinnamon, etc)
12 oz almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you prefer)
¾ cup of raisins
½ c pecans (halves or chopped) (you can use any nut you want, or none at all, and more if you like than the amount I’ve indicated. Pecans just seem autumnal to me.)

Preheat oven to 375°. Place one of your oven racks in the top 1/3 of your oven.

Using a square baking pan (I prefer glass), melt 1 oz of butter in the bottom of it by sticking it in the microwave , or melt all four ounces at once in a bowl or glass measuring cup, and spread about ¼ of it in the bottom of your baking pan. If you’re using the apple, layer the apple across the bottom of the pan.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together (I find a fork actually works best) oatmeal, half of the raisins, spice, baking soda and salt, and layer it evenly over the bottom of your pan (or on top of the apples, if you’re using one).

In the same bowl (that you just emptied), pour the milk, and add ½ cup of the honey (melted if it’s not already liquid), the egg, and 1 ½ tsp of your butter and whisk it together.

Pour this mixture evenly over the oatmeal mixture, tamping it down by tapping the pan on the counter top two or three times. (If you feel it’s too liquidy, you can stir it together, but that works better if there are no apples).

Sprinkle the rest of the raisins on top, and then place or sprinkle your pecans on top. Pop it into the oven on that upper shelf, and bake for 35-45 minutes. While it’s cooling, drizzle the remaining honey and melted butter on top. Cut into squares and serve.

This is great for breakfast, brunch or dessert. For dessert, I usually whip up some whipping cream with cinnamon, nutmeg, or the pie spice.


Autumn Baked Oatmeal (Vegan substitutions)

Omit the egg
Use 14 oz of milk if you omit egg and honey
Use ¾ cup of sugar (1/2 mixed in, ½ on top), or you can use agave syrup very easily
Replace butter with coconut oil.