A month of no processed foods

by saacnmama

What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

We have many good cooks around, who might well do this most days already. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it or not. The definition of “unprocessed” as something you could make in your own kitchen, whether you actually did or not, is an interesting wrinkle. On the one hand, it lets in marinara sauce in a jar, which may or may not have added sugars and things. On the other hand, there is no way I’d boil down tree sap in my kitchen to make maple syrup. It could be that I’m sticking too close to the letter again, as I have a tendency to do. With the start of the school year, I have returned to cooking at home more often, as it makes school nights flow more smoothly. I’m not big on making a public announcement about it, but on my third hand, Bob’s Red Mill apparently does a good job of keeping the gluten away from other flours, so that little reward would be a good one for us.

Friday Fun: Pick Your Music Pilgrimage

by Grace aka costofcollege

… perhaps it’s an American thing, but it seems that sound and location intertwine over the years, so that a neighbourhood, town or city becomes associated with a particular brand of noise. The two are linked in the imagination, and draw like-minded travellers to them like moths to an electric guitar with flames painted on it. And it’s for those footloose melodic pilgrims we’ve compiled our list of the great American music journeys. So hop in your Cadillac, crank the volume and head out onto the open road.

Intrepid Travel offered these five options in the USA:

  1. Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee)
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Nashville, Tennessee
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada

I’m sure they left out some of your favorites, like Austin or Chicago perhaps?  Or Montreal to the north?  Graceland and New Orleans are my two picks from this list, and I dream of a future trip spent dancing and dining in Cajun Country.

What’s your first choice for a music pilgrimage?  Have you ever taken such a trip, or any trip where one of your important activities was to enjoy the local music scene?  Are your travel music adventures limited to Magic Kingdom concerts for now?

Coffee Talk: Vanity and Totebaggery

by L

American Society of Plastic Surgeons Reports 15.1 Million Cosmetic Procedures in 2013; Marks Fourth Consecutive Year of Growth

Have any Totebaggers considered any surgical or non-surgical procedures?  Why or why not?  Perhaps the concept of vanity is inconsistent with some Totebaggers’ Puritan background?  Is the cost prohibitive? Is it too silly?  Or is a certain measure of vanity good, right, and self-affirming?

Coffee Talk: Should Students Get Do-Overs On Tests?

by Louise

CMS rolling out new grading system that allows test retakes

As part of back to school articles this caught my eye. Every year the school district tries out some new policies. This article is about retesting students. Is this giving students a chance to master the material or is it going easy on them and raising each school’s test scores.

What school policies in general do you like, what do you disagree with ?

Alternative to Medicine for ADHD

by MBT

In November of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics approved neurofeedback as a “Best Support” treatment for ADHD, putting it at the same level as medication.  Clinical trials have followed neurofeedback patients as much as two years after completion of treatment, and have found that the results of treatment still remain.  In contrast, medication effects end as soon as the patient stops the medicine. A great deal more information is now available on the results of clinical trials, so I decided it was something I wanted to try for one of my kids, although for anxiety rather than ADHD.

The process starts with a quantitative EEG (qEEG), which involves the patient wearing something akin to a swim cap with 26 electrodes over its surface hooked up to a laptop.  The patient then sits quietly for about 10 minutes with his eyes open, and about 10 minutes with his eyes closed while his brain wave activity is captured by a computer.  A detailed report is generated showing the brainwave activity normed against people of the same age and handedness, with significant anomalies identified.  It turns out that ADHD has a predictable brainwave pattern, with excessive slow wave activity and lower than typical fast wave activity. Once the therapist has the results of the qEEG brain map identifying important nonconformities, he can identify a plan for training.

The training part involves attaching an electrode or two to the scalp over the area of the brain where the training will be conducted, with the other end attached to computer screens monitored by the patient and the therapist.  The patient watches his screen and is “rewarded” when he keeps his brain waves in the target range, typically training down the undesirably high activity, and training up the targeted waves where activity levels are too low.  This can be a very basic video game (which my video game aficionado son would not really put in the “game” category) or can be watching a movie, where the movie stays in focus only as long as the patient stays in the target activity range. The therapist simultaneously monitors the activity level on his computer, and can adjust the difficulty of earning rewards as needed.  This continues each session as the patient masters being able to keep brain wave activity in the target range without needing intervention from the therapist.

Our experience so far has exceeded my expectations, and I think that for my child, this was definitely an excellent choice.  He is back in school with no medicine for the first time in five years, and although it’s way too early to render a final verdict, so far so good.  Have any of you tried other non-medicine solutions for ADHD, such as diet changes, Omega-3 supplements, or other therapies? Have you seen any success?

Friday Fun: Jeans or Yoga Pants?

by Grace aka costofcollege

Jeans face an uncertain future amid yoga wear rage

Americans’ obsession with jeans is beginning to wear thin.

Jeans long have been a go-to staple in closets across the country. After all, not many pieces of clothing are so comfortable they can be worn daily, yet versatile enough to be dressed up or down.

But sales of the iconic blues fell 6 percent during the past year after decades of almost steady growth. The decline is being driven by women, but men’s interest in jeans also is fading. Why? People more often are sporting yoga pants, leggings, sweatpants and other athletic wear instead of traditional denim.

Sweat Tailor offers the “athleisure” look for men, combining “the comfort of sweatpants with the fit and style of your favorite pair of pants”.

What’s your preference these days — jeans or the “athleisure” look?  Do you have a “comfy but not sloppy” look for weekends?  Or are stained t-shirts and baggy sweatpants more your style?