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my amygdala made me do it, part 1

February 22, 2012

“Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seems to differ from their moral concepts.”
— Ernest Hemingway

“Everything in excess is opposed to nature.”

— Hippocrates

I spent today caged in a stuffy conference center meeting room with 398 strangers.  Outside, it was 85 degrees and sunny (in February!); a day begging for a picnic in the park or a long walk with my boys.  Needing continuing education hours for my professional license, though, I soldiered through rush hour traffic and slurped weak coffee before finding my seat at this seminar:

Ah, eating and thinking: two of my favorite things (well, eating, anyway).

Despite missing out on the gorgeous weather outside, I had been looking forward to this workshop.  I have long been interested in the effects of nutrition on mood, a topic frequently addressed both in the popular press (“Foods that Improve Your Mood”) and in academic research (“After daily bingeing on a sucrose solution…”).  I’ve spent much of my professional career as a clinical social worker advising my clients to care for themselves with healthy food, adequate sleep, and movement.  I welcome any scientific justification for what I consider common sense recommendations, thankyouverymuch. I’m also a total nerd, and I relish the chance to learn more about my areas of interest.  Individually, food and psychology grab me.  Jointly, they are a magnetic combination.  

“Why did she quote Ernest Hemingway?” you’re wondering, head cocked to one side, “What’s he got to do with psychology and nutrition?  And what’s all this about the amygdala?”

I’ll give you a hint:  this seminar got me thinking about Lent, excess, Hemingway, and U2, among other things.  I’ll write more about it tomorrow — I promise — but just now I’ve got some small, tired people to hang out with.

I hope you learned something today that lit your fire, I hope you’ll keep it burning by passing it on, and thanks — as always — for showing up.

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