Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A holiday wish for all of you!

Dear Aviation Friends,

Here's to a great start in 2008 and looking forward to many good times shared with all of you in 2009!

Travel safe, and we'll see you here very soon.


PS If you'd like to share this card, you can find it here.

Eat your veggies and sleep!

I've become fascinated with sleep. How much we need it. How little we value it. And what happens to our health when we don't get it. Sometimes I wonder if we should be obsessed with sleep and not worried about what we eat.

Now the two worlds have collided!

It has been found that melatonin is a component of some vegetables. Some Japanese researchers gave a group of women high amounts of six specific vegetables. Another group of women was asked to avoid these same vegetables during the same time period. The women who consumed the vegetables had higher amounts of melatonin by-products in their urine.

Melatonin, as you know from reading this blog, is a sleep enhancing hormone and a very powerful antioxidant.

Of course, the very first thing most people will ask on reading this, is "what vegetables?"

I don't think the power in this study comes from the melatonin content of the vegetables. Melatonin is a highly unstable compound and it would be challenging to have it stay intact in a compound that is harvested, stored, chopped, and cooked before eating.

What may be happening here, is that vegetables are great sources of antioxidants. And since melatonin appears to be the ultimate antioxidant, it is called to duty when other antioxidants are in short supply and cannot do their job. If your melatonin is on cleanup duty, it can't be used to help you sleep!

The melatonin in the urine, I'm guessing, came from the fact that melatonin was allowed to function as melatonin, and not changed as it was used as an antioxidant.

So...the strategy appears to be, to eat as many different vegetables as you can in order to have maximum antioxidant power. And that will give you a better chance at getting a good night's sleep.

I know that it's difficult not to yawn if you see someone else yawning, so on behalf of helping you feel sleepy, here's a wonderful blog a friend told me about yesterday!
It's called Cute Things Falling Asleep.

Oba S, Nakamura K, Sahashi Y, Hattori A, Nagata C. Consumption of vegetables alters morning urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin concentration. J Pineal Res. 2008 Aug;45(1):17-23. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We're so honored to be partnering with Zing!

You've heard us rave about Zing, and we're not the only ones! They've just been chosen the healthiest nutrition bar by Kitchen Table Medicine.

Remember, all you website readers can get Zing Bars free of shipping charges with the coupon code "flyaway".

We are very honored to not only do business with Zing Bars, but to count Michael, Sandi, Kathleen, and Minh-Hai of Zing as personal friends. Good work dude and dudettes!

Oh! Be on the lookout for more posts. Between a 3 day cat sitting gig that became a 3 week cat sitting gig and holiday celebrations, blogging fell off the calendar here. I know Diane has been clearing her plate to make more Air Vitals room as well. We're excited about everything that's soon to come and hope you come back to visit!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Special offer from one of our sponsors

I hope this e-mail finds all of you well!

We are offering a 10% Discount on all Zing Flavors, good through Dec 31.

For those of you who prefer to order online, enter the coupon code ‘december’ at checkout.

Thank you all for your support this year, it has been a pleasure working with you. We are looking forward to new Dairy & Gluten free flavors early in 2009, so please stay tuned.

Happy & Healthy Holidays to you all!

Dr. Michael Kaplan, CEO

Northwest Nutritional Foods, LLC


(206) 362-3989

(206) 770-7220 fax

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What is depression....really?

Ever had one of those days when you're stuck on approach with too many flights stacked and waiting to land on too few runways? The process eventually happens, it just might be slowed down.

That's really all depression is to your brain. Too much information trying to travel through too few pathways.

Depression is to the brain and nervous system what heart disease is to the circulation--the end result of inflammatory and oxidative processes.

It's kind of like a rusting out process wreaking havoc on your nervous system. As neurons are oxidized, or rusted out, they lose their ability to function. If it's neurons in the emotional center of the brain, you can feel sad. If it's in the sleep center, you may not sleep well. If it's in the reproductive center, it may affect your fertility. When the cortex is involved, you may find you have a hard time with attention span, and making what are normally easy decisions.

A lot of every day factors can accelerate the processes that are the stepping stones into depression. Stress. Sleep disruption. Lack of exercise. Diet.

You don't have depression because your body has a deficiency of psychiatric medication. If the factors causing the problem aren't addressed, medication may be what it takes to jump start your nervous system out of its funk. But there are a lot of things that can help, way before you get to that point.

The first step is to understand what depression is, and what it isn't. It is a condition largely affected by lifestyle choices. It isn't a character weakness. It is very similar to heart disease, only it is affecting a different organ system--the nervous system.

Depression isn't an indication that you're crazy. It may be an indication that your body is having a hard time keeping up with all of the physical and emotional demands it is being asked to absorb.

Nutritional strategies for depression are kind of like opening up more runways...they make information flow more easily. It's not that medication doesn't, but that strategy is more like trying to force all those extra landings in the same limited space. Pilots are no different than non-pilots in this regard; it's just that they have a unique, career-related reason to build the runways that other people don't.

It is something I am excited to talk to you about, because I've seen people achieve great things with a few small changes.

Stay tuned, or subscribe to this blog, as I'll be getting into more details in later posts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We are in Arizona Woman this month!

Just a quick mention, but Air Vitals is mentioned in the 2009 calendar edition.

If you go to this link, and flip to the January page, look in the apple in the upper left hand corner.

Thanks, Arizona Woman! We're honored to serve your readers.

Are you a flight attendant?

You are equally important to Air Vitals. Our market research survey three years ago gave us some great insight into your needs. And they're different from what pilots need.

Please talk back to us and let us know what you need, what you'd like to learn, and what you'd like to see! We'll do our best to have it here for you.

One thing Diane and I both have experience with is eating disorders. That's not to say our assumption is that flight attendants have them...but we've both seen how the intensity of the job and a work environment without a lot of options for healthy stress outlets can make it easy to use food as a stress buster.

I recently chatted it up on a PHX-LAX flight with a group of flight attendants on their way to catch their flight to Narita, Japan. I very much appreciated their willingness to share their job stresses, and their health concerns, among other things.

One flight attendant shared in our survey that she is on her feet so much while working, she simply doesn't have the energy for a cardio workout when she gets to her destination. Many of my pilot friends can't wait to move after sitting for hours, and it's easier to talk them into the hotel gym. That's an important difference to note, and illustrates why we need to hear from you!

If you'd rather share your comments off-blog, you can write directly to myself at monika@afterthediet.com, or Diane Whelan at whelanmphrd@roadrunner.com. We are independent professionals with no connection to any airline, health provider, or union. Your information is simply that--information we use to better serve you, and it goes no farther than our personal e-mail boxes.

Look forward to getting to know you!

Note about the photo: I spent a whole lot of time on both Google and Flickr looking for a photo that included both male and female flight attendants. It was not that easy to find! I ended up filing through a whole lot of historical photos of interesting uniforms in the process...have to say, you all have come such a long way! I'll try to incorporate some of those in future posts, I just wanted the first post to all of you to be a little more respectful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

FAA regulations and medications--maybe it doesn't have to be so depressing

Several years ago a flight instructor friend of mine told me that she had been grounded from her passion. Why? Because her physician had recommended an antidepressant to manage her PMS, and the FAA does not allow pilots to simultaneously use antidepressants and fly.

She had a sense of humor about the situation, rationalizing that the FAA guys simply did not understand that her PMS was much more of a safety issue than the potential medication side effects. Even so, she was working to resolve the situation so that she could be back in the skies.

This issue is important, for several reasons.

1. Most importantly, being diagnosed with depression and then being told you have to take a prescription medication for the condition can cost you the livelihood you've worked very hard to have.

2. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers (medications approved to treat bipolar disorder) are prescribed for a whole lot of "off-label" uses. That is, physicians are using them for a lot of diagnoses, such as PMS and certain pain conditions, that have absolutely nothing to do with depression. It is so important to know your options, and to be educated on which natural options are consistent with FAA regulations. Some are not.

3. The origin of depression, (which I'll get to in a post I'm working on for later in the week), is such that pilots, given the nature of job demands, are particularly prone to developing it. It's not about a character weakness in a whole lot of cases, but how the nervous system breaks down under certain kinds of stress, such as sleep deprivation.

4. In order to keep flying, there may be a temptation to use someone else's medication who ISN'T flying, which is the most dangerous scenario of all. Two people are at risk; the one who isn't using the medication they've been prescribed, and the one who's taking medication without being supervised for potential side effects.

Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to help minimize your risk of depression, that have nothing to do with medication. You'll feel better, and hopefully enjoy your flying a whole lot more, and potentially extend your career longevity. Most importantly, you'll be safer.

I do need to clarify that this blog is not intended to substitute for any medical orders you have been given. I will be providing information that may help improve your overall health and minimize your risk of actually receiving such medical orders, but I am not advising you to not follow instructions your medical provider has given you.

If depression has been or is an issue for you, please check back, or subscribe in the box you see so you can get the updates as they're written.