When you eat vs. what you eat

lobster roll and chips
Lobster Roll at Freshies in Park City–the best food I’ve had in Utah.

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said when you eat can affect your mood. And not just your mood but mood disorders. It was called When We Eat Can Affect Our Mental Health by Alina Dizik.

Here’s an excerpt:

The hunt for connections between our food and our mood is gaining steam in scientific research. New findings show that it isn’t just what we eat but also when we eat that affects how we feel.

Delving into the relationship between eating patterns and the body’s circadian system shows how eating on an unpredictable schedule such as during the body’s resting phase at night can hurt our mood or exacerbate symptoms of mood-related disorders, according to research from Elisa Brietzke, a professor of psychiatry at Queen’s University School of Medicine in Kingston, Ontario, and Elena Koning, a doctoral student at Queen’s University Centre for Neuroscience Studies. Their research builds on earlier studies showing that eating meals at different times each day contributes to weight gain and is linked to depression.

https://www.wsj.com/news/life-work

Their advice is to fast 12 hours at night. In other words don’t eat too close to bedtime. It can interfere with circadian rhythms that I wrote about last week HERE.

It’s also important to stick to the same schedule of eating — even on the weekends.

Here’s more:

MS. KONING: Eating rhythms that aren’t consistent from day to day, or that occur in the incorrect phase, desynchronize the circadian clock, which has a negative impact on mood. It can be hard to pinpoint an exact cause of altered mood, but we know that the brain is susceptible to changes from the body’s energy supply.

A meal eaten in the day has a very different effect on your brain and body than a meal eaten at night. Food is a wake-up cue to the brain and can worsen sleep quality if eaten too close to bed. Melatonin levels start to rise three hours before bed, and the metabolic process following food intake is negatively influenced when the melatonin levels rise. Essentially your body needs at least 12 hours of fasting at night, yet most people only get nine hours.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-we-eat-can-affect-our-mental-health-11660319113?mod=e2tw

Do you stick to a regular schedule for meals? How does your mood get affected if you’re off schedule? Or if you eat too close to bed time?

A Taste of Santa Barbara

We’ll be headed to Summerland for vacation soon. That is if Olive the cat continues to be on the mend. So far, I’m happy to report that she’s doing better. Summerland is a town of about 2,000 people in the Santa Barbara area. I love it because it’s on the beach which is my favorite place to be. I looked back at my posts from last August while we were there and I found this one about my favorite food — seafood! Santa Barbara Harbor is home to two of our favorite restaurants which have the same owner.

One of the best things about beach vacations to me is fresh seafood. For more than 30 years, we’ve gone to a restaurant with fresh, fresh seafood in Santa Barbara. It’s called Brophy Bros. and it overlooks the boats at the Marina.

steamed clams at Brophy's Santa Barbara
Linguine and clams at Brophy Bros. at the marina in Santa Barbara

Brophy’s added a small taco shop with outdoor tables downstairs called On the Alley.

Whenever we’re in Santa Barbara we stop at On the Alley. This past trip we went twice for fish tacos. And we took our good friends to Brophy Bros. to treat them to dinner after enjoying many of their home-cooked meals. They introduced us to the restaurant in the early 1990s!

Yesterday, my husband and I went to the Farmer’s Market and had a hankering for a fish taco. On the Alley had a huge line out the door to order. They had people milling around in droves waiting for picnic tables to sit. They held on to their order numbers, hoping to to sit down before the food arrived. I saw some people sitting on the curb.

wave crashing at breakwall Santa Barbara marina
A wave crashing over the breakwall at the Santa Barbara Marina. We walk here after meals.

My husband suggested going upstairs to the main Brophy’s restaurant. The hostess stationed at the bottom of the stairs told us it would be an hour wait for a table. But the bar was first come first serve.

Guess what? Two seats smack in the center of the bar — complete with open air marina views — were ours! We each had a cup of chowder and split an order of fish and chips. My year-long quest for the best fish and chips is over! The fish was piping hot, moist, delicious and the batter was light, crunchy and not heavy.

View from the Brophy Brothers bar
View from the bar at Brophy’s Santa Barbara where we had cups of chowder and fish and chips.

Well worth the wait — but even better without it.

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Baja fish tacos from On the Alley.
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Sunset at the harbor.

Do you have favorite restaurants to go to on vacation? Or certain food you savor? What are they?

When I can’t sleep

Saguaro across the street on the nature’s preserve.

If I wake up in the middle of the night, I often turn on a podcast or a radio station and find myself falling back to sleep quickly.

Last night I listened to someone talking about circadian rhythms and something they called “midnight brain.” I fell asleep so of course I only remember a little bit. They were talking about how more crimes happen late at night.

I read an article today on Healthline called Why the Human Mind Is ‘Not Designed’ to Stay Awake Past Midnight.

Here’s an excerpt:

Most people have been tempted to stay up late at some point in their lives. Others may have to work late, often past midnight, due to the nature of their job.

But a new research review, recently published in the journal Frontiers in Network Psychology, suggests that staying awake past midnight may have implications that stem beyond needing an extra cup of coffee the next day. In fact, the study authors suggest that the mind simply isn’t “designed” to be awake into the wee hours of the night.

While prior studies have explored the effects of sleep deprivation on cognition, the new research focuses more specifically on what happens to the human brain when it’s awake past midnight.

The resulting “Mind After Midnight” hypothesis states that the mind isn’t set up to operate as it does in the daytime, and as a result, we’re more likely to make impulsive and even “risky” decisions.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-the-human-mind-is-not-designed-to-stay-awake-past-midnight

The authors of the study said these four things can happen to those staying up past midnight:

  • suicide and self-harm
  • engaging in violent behaviors
  • use of alcohol and illicit substances
  • higher food intake

The article also mentioned that some people are night owls and are more creative at night. They don’t experience any of the downsides most people do.

My husband has said for years that nothing good happens late at night. I stayed up late as a teenager. Friends and I would try to stay up until the birds sang. It was a badge of honor.

But the older I get, the earlier I fall asleep. In fact, I go to bed so early it causes me to wake up in the middle of the night!

What are your thoughts about circadian rhythms and midnight brain? Are you an early to bed early to rise? Or are you a night owl?

On getting hacked

Desert lavender
This has nothing to do with my post, but it’s such a beautiful desert lavender plant in our yard I had to share.

I had an issue with my emails and wrote about it HERE last week. I was afraid I was hacked. Or in the very least someone was playing fast and loose with my email address. I set up a new email account and so far everything is going peachy.

But then I heard from someone today that their bank account got hacked. Listen to this: someone got into their bank account online and changed the user name and password so they couldn’t access their account! Then the hacker transferred money out using Zelle. This friend didn’t even use Zelle. But. if a person can get your username and password by hacking into your computer, they can turn on Zelle.

I found a few articles about the scam. Here’s a quote from one:

Stealing money using Zelle is apparently as easy as adding a phone number to a consumer’s checking account, and then telling the bank to “Zelle” money to a hacker-controlled account — at least in some cases.

When following up my story earlier this week about consumers who don’t even use Zelle get hit by Zelle fraud, a bank official told me that’s how it’s done. Criminals — potentially using stolen online banking credentials or credential stuffing attacks — add a cell phone they control to the user’s profile, then send money to the hacker’s account.

After the hacker’s mobile number is added to the bank account, the banks’ confirmation code to verify the transaction is misdirected to that fraudulent number, and the hacker confirms the transaction. So once the account is compromised, a fraudster is able to transfer money out of the account.

https://bobsullivan.net/cybercrime/heres-how-hackers-are-using-zelle-to-raid-bank-accounts-and-why-victim-was-out-1800-until-i-wrote-to-the-bank/

I decided that changing my password wasn’t enough. I turned on two-factor authentication.

Have you ever had a credit card, bank account or email account hacked? What did you do about it?

Kitty soup

cat in a cat carrier
Olive waiting for the vet. Not a happy camper.

I realized how much the cat adds to our daily lives when she hasn’t been feeling well for the past few days.

Olive refused to eat over the weekend and didn’t use the litter box. She spent most of the time under the bed in the dark.

I tried to tempt her with Friskies ‘Lil Soup. When I call “Kitty soup!” Olive usually runs to me and answers with a “Meow-oup!”

But to no avail. She wasn’t having any of it.

The vet pumped her up with fluids and meds, did blood work, took X-rays. They aren’t sure what is causing her discomfort, but hopefully the treatment will make her feel better. He said she has “obstipation” which is a new word I learned. It’s chronic or severe constipation.

I want Olive to get back to our routine, where she hangs out in my husband’s office in the mornings, sits on my lap in the afternoon while I read. She enjoys a good game of chase around the coffee table and sofa in the living room.

The vet discovered she has a gallstone that’s quite large with a piece broken off that’s moved into the bile duct. He’s not sure if that’s what causing her discomfort or not. He said it could have been there for years — or not.

Here’s the X-ray:

X-ray of cat's gallstone
The gallstone is the white spotty thing to the left and the small piece to the right and slightly higher.

Naturally, I had to research gallstones and what causes them. One cause is high cholesterol. Another is too much bilirubin. I’m worried about the results of her blood work. The liver could be causing the issues. Not good.

Have you had pets? How do they add to your lives?

What I miss about California

Huevos Rancheros

“Let’s go out for Mexican food for breakfast,” my husband suggested yesterday.

I had heard about a good Mexican restaurant in Phoenix from a neighbor. But it was a good 45 minute drive. Seemed a bit much to drive an hour and a half round trip for breakfast.

We talked it over and decided to try something close to home. I looked up all the Mexican restaurants in the area and only one had huevos ranchero (which I order) and machaca (my husband’s order.)

I called and the phone rang and rang. I looked online and saw you could order for pickup. I placed the order and my husband drove to pick it up.

He came back empty-handed and said the restaurant was closed. In the meantime, our daughter had called and I told her we couldn’t find good Mexican food around us.

“Don’t you have a Filiberto’s?” she asked.

She lived in Tempe for one year and had one around the corner from her house.

I found one 15 miles away from us. I called and called. They didn’t answer the phone. We decided to drive and place our order. We didn’t care to eat inside because it smelled funny to us. By the time we got home with our breakfast, more than and hour and a half had passed. We could have driven to the place in Phoenix!

In California we had great Mexican food everywhere. My favorite was El Gallito. I miss it. It closed a few years before we moved. There were many small mom and pop Mexican restaurants and we found several we’d go to all the time after our El Gallito days were over.

I wrote about El Gallito and comfort food HERE.

The breakfast was good, but not great. The eggs, beans and rice were good, but there was no sauce. I’ve never had “dry” huevos rancheros before.

I think we could make a fortune opening a Mexican restaurant in our area.

What’s your go to comfort food? Do you have good Mexican food where you live? What are the best restaurants in your area?

Treasures from my week

hedgehog with bright red blooms
Hedgehog cactus in bloom in a pot in our backyard.

I was surprised to see cacti in bloom in our yard. I didn’t think August would be the time for such beauty in the desert. Maybe it’s the rain we’ve had? I’m learning that in the Sonoran Desert, plants bloom throughout the year.

white bloom on cactus
This blossom is right outside our front door. It’s the first thing I saw on my morning walk.
white flower on cactus
hill in the sun during a rainstorm
We walked extra early because a rainstorm was headed our way. I loved how the hillside was touched with sunlight. It did rain on the way home, but it felt great.

Yesterday, one of my neighbors went with me to a framing store. She’s a watercolor artist. One day when she was at our house, she said I needed to reframe a painting.

“But that’s the original frame,” I said.

“That’s okay. A new frame will brighten up the painting. Right now the frame cuts off the painting and makes it look dark.”

I invited her to accompany me to the framing store. She obviously has better knowledge in frames than me.

Lawrence Hinkley oil painting
This is the original frame. The painting is by Lawrence Hinkley, who was married to my husband’s great aunt.
Lawrence Hinkley painting.
Here is the same painting without the frame in the framing store. I can’t wait to get it back with its new look. It’s definitely brighter, don’t you think?

We received the painting from my husband’s grandfather before he passed away. I have treasured it and thought it would be sacrilegious to reframe it.

I did a google search of the artist Lawrence Hinckley and found out lots of interesting things. He was born in 1900 in Fillmore, California. He created a studio called “The Artists Barn” that attracted internationally renowned artists and visitors. Hinkley also worked in ceramics and made an elephant piggy bank named Fundo for a women’s Republican group in Santa Barbara.

From a news article I found online from the Fillmore Gazette:

As Mildred Hinckley in her book “The Artists Barn”, “The result was a cuddly little elephant about six inches long and half as high, with a tummy fat enough to hold a lot of dimes and quarters. His name was “Fundo”…On his white back was printed in red and blue, “Peace, Prosperity, and G.O.P.” Production of Fundo had just started then President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. The Club requested that Fundo be sent to the President in the hospital. Lawrence personally decorated on, adding the usual inscription “For Ike” and “Get Well Soon.” I wrapped Ike’s Fundo and mailed it to the hospital.

Mildred went on to write, “On the morning of November 11, Lawrence was downtown and stopped in a café for a cup of coffee….When he opened the Los Angeles Examiner and started reading the lead story under a double column headline he nearly spilled his drink. It read in part, ” …… all during his illness, it was revealed, [President Eisenhower] has been persuading visitors to his eighth-floor hospital room to put something into his personally sponsored kitty, an elephant made of crockery with a slot for the deposit of money…..”

http://www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/meet-artist-lawrence-hinckley

My husband told me that Hinckley also worked for Disney and painted some of the backgrounds of the classic movies. During World War II, he worked for Douglas Aircraft on technical drawings and charts.

I feel like I’ve discovered treasures including the history of my husband’s artist relative and the blossoming cacti.

Have a great weekend!

What treasures or small pleasures have you enjoyed this week?