Happy Chocolate Easter

Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon, olive oil, eggs are good for you.  Sneak in a bit of veggies and you’ve got health food!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

2 cups zucchini, grated (Grate very fine so your brain doesn’t recognize anything healthy
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour (white, spelt, whole wheat – different flours = different textures)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chi[ps

Add Walnuts, flax seed or chia seeds (optional health foods)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
  2. Grate zucchini. Press with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Fluff with a fork.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together oil, eggs, agave or honey and vanilla. Add zucchini.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  5. Add dry mixture to the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cook it Up Kitty eating healthy

Brain Myth – 100% Psycho Fact

We use only 10 percent of our brains . . . not

This has been repeated in pop culture for a century, implying that we have huge reserves of untapped mental powers. “But the supposedly unused 90 percent of the brain is not some vestigial appendix. Brains are expensive—it takes a lot of energy to build brains during fetal and childhood development and maintain them in adults. Evolutionarily, it would make no sense to carry around surplus brain tissue.”

Bird Brain by Peggy

1) “Brain imaging research techniques such as PET scans (positron emission tomography) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that the vast majority of the brain does not lie fallow. Indeed, although certain minor functions may use only a small part of the brain at one time, any sufficiently complex set of activities or thought patterns will indeed use many parts of the brain. Just as people don’t use all of their muscle groups at one time, they also don’t use all of their brain at once.”

2) “The myth presupposes an extreme localization of functions in the brain. If the “used” or “necessary” parts of the brain were scattered all around the organ, that would imply that much of the brain is in fact necessary. But the myth implies that the “used” part of the brain is a discrete area, and the “unused” part is like an appendix or tonsil, taking up space but essentially unnecessary. But if all those parts of the brain are unused, removal or damage to the “unused” part of the brain should be minor or unnoticed. Yet people who have suffered head trauma, a stroke, or other brain injury are frequently severely impaired. Have you ever heard a doctor say, “. . . But luckily when that bullet entered his skull, it only damaged the 90 percent of his brain he didn’t use”?”

Psycho-fact

Regardless of the exact version heard, the myth is spread and repeated, by both the well-meaning and the deliberately deceptive. The belief that remains, then, is what Robert J. Samuelson termed a “psycho-fact, [a] belief that, though not supported by hard evidence, is taken as real because its constant repetition changes the way we experience life.”

Sources: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/top-ten-myths-about-the-brain-178357288/

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-ten-percent-myth/

March 12-18, 2018 is Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a nationwide effort organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research. 

http://www.dana.org/BAW/

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Happy Anniversary to US! Gratitude to YOU! . . . plus a drawing

One year ago TODAY  CATNIPblog gave birth to a litter of critters and a gaggle of followers . . . YOU!

Gaggle

We’ve tried to remain true to our goal of sharing the information we’ve accumulated in our collective 60+ years as psychotherapists and our love of current neuroscience and neuropsychology research.  

Our vow to each other: Peggy keeps us on the track while Judy tries to swerve around the curves and bends.  So far our collaboration has worked – now Peggy is swerving and Judy is tracking.

We are GRATEFUL beyond words (even though we will find the words) to each of you for subscribing, commenting and giving us encouragement to blog our little fingers to the bone.

Our gift of gratitude:

We will use a random number generator to pick 3 names from our subscriber list.  The winners can choose whatever prize they want from our ZAZZLE Store.

We’ll have the prize mailed – you can send it as a gift to someone else or receive it yourself.

If you haven’t subscribed it’s not too late.  We will do the drawing on Sunday, March 17th.

P.S. More News!  We’ll be coordinating some CATNIP posts with Curious to the Max

click here: CURIOUS to the Max.  

CATNIPblog will stay focused on “Self-care tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile”

AND . . .  since Peggy & Judy have “stuff” – stories, poems, drawings etc. that aren’t geared to CATNIP’s mission, you’ll find them on CURIOUS to the Max . . .  which is . . . how would we describe it? . . .  

. . . open-ended . . .

“Curious STUFF that makes me love, learn and laugh”

Thank you all for your support!

 

 

Frankly Freddie – National Love your Pet Day

Dear Humans and other Critters,

Are you lucky OR WHAT?! Since you missed sending me Valentine’s treats you get another chance.  February 20th is National LOVE YOUR PET DAY.

National Love Your Pet Day is an unofficial holiday because we pets are apolitical and don’t have an effective lobby. The purpose of this holiday is to encourage you to show us the love and affection we deserve

Number of Animals Owned in U.S (In Millions)

  • Freshwater Fish: 140
  • Cats: 94
  • Dogs 90
  • Birds 20.4
  • Saltwater Fish: 18.8
  • Reptiles: 9.4
  • Horses: 7.7

Those of you who are owned by birds, saltwater fish, horses, donkeys or reptiles and don’t know what canine dogs prefer here’s a list of my favorite treats:

  • ice cream
  • bananas, blueberries, apples tomatoes (all fruit)
  • peanut butter
  • doggie cookies
  • ALL human food

The benefits of owning a pet like ME

1.  Lessen the Chance of Developing Allergies

Several studies show that children in households with pets have a 33% lower chance of developing a related allergy.

2.  Strengthen the Immune Systems of Children

Children in households with pets didn’t just have less allergies to the particular animal in the home, the children also had stronger immunity systems overall. Studies have shown that children who live in homes with pets miss less school due to sickness than children who grow up in pet-less homes.

3.  Instant Ice Breakers

If you are shy we are instant icebreaker when you take us out in public. My human is always interrupting my walk and talking to other pet owners. 

4.  Improved Heart Health

According to the latest research, is that we may improve your heart health. Studies have shown that owning a pet can lower blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels in their owners. Which can lower the chance of a heart attack.  I’m better than prescriptions . . . maybe not cheaper but BETTER.

5.  Improve Fitness Levels

I help prevent my human from becoming obese. Studies show that walking you dog on a regular basis helps pet owners lose weight . . . or at the very least maintain it.  She tends to over-indulge (in eating, not walking).

6.  Improve Depression

Pets have been shown as a great cure for the blues. It’s becoming more and more common for using Pet Facilitate Therapy (PFT) in hospitals and nursing homes. Many people immediately feel better just by petting a dog or cat.

  Check out this! Remington’s Tail

Adopt a pet if you haven’t already been adopted!

And send me National Pet Day Treats.

Why Chocolate is Good for Tallulah and My Heart

Tallulah Pacehead

Eating chocolate has been tied to a reduced risk of heart disease. Now scientists have uncovered how strong this link is.

“Using data from a large Danish health study, researchers have found an association between chocolate consumption and a lowered risk for atrial fibrillation, the irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure and other serious problems. The study is in Heart.”

“Scientists tracked diet and health in 55,502 men and women ages 50 to 64. They used a well-validated 192-item food-frequency questionnaire to determine chocolate consumption. During an average 14 years of follow-up, there were 3,346 diagnosed cases of atrial fibrillation.”

“After controlling for total calorie intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index and other factors, they found that compared with people who ate no chocolate, those who had one to three one-ounce servings a month had a 10 percent reduced relative risk for atrial fibrillation, those who ate one serving a week had a 17 percent reduced risk, and those who ate two to six a week had a 20 percent reduced risk.”

“Dark chocolate with higher cocoa content is better, according to the lead author, Elizabeth Mostofsky, an instructor at Harvard, because it is the cocoa, not the milk and sugar, that provides the benefit.”

“You can’t have as much chocolate as you want,” she said, “and then ignore everything we know about healthy diet and physical activity.”

Ms. Mostofsky is a bit of a spoil sport.  But I’m going for a 20% reduced risk so Tallulah Pacehead can chill.

Check these out too!  Just click:

Woofer’s Chocolate Raspberry Bark Bark

Freddie’s Food Friday

A Chocolate a Day Melts the Fat Away

Chocolate Rides Again

(jw)

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A Hug a Day Brings Happy Your Way!

National Hugging Day TM

January 21st

1)    Hugs make us feel “happy”! When we hug another person, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with “happiness,” according to scientific studies.

2)    Hugs alleviate stress! Just as a good hug increases our oxytocin levels, it decreases our cortisol or “stress” levels.

3)    Babies need hugs as much as water and food! According to researchers at Harvard University, hugs help promote normal levels of cortisol necessary for child development.

4)    Hugs make us better students! Students who receive a supportive touch from a teacher are twice as likely to volunteer in class.

5)    Hugs improve our game! Scientists at University of California, Berkley discovered that the more affectionate members of a team are with each other, the more likely they are to win.

Snug Hug by Peggy

6)    A hug a day keeps the doctor away! A hug stimulates the thymus gland, which in turn regulates the production of white blood cells that keep us healthy and disease-free.

7)    A hug stops the bug! Researchers at Carnegie Mellon proved that individuals who were sick and received hugs had less severe symptoms and were able to get better quicker.

8)    A hugging heart is a healthy heart! Research from University of North Carolina showed that a good hug helps ease blood flow and lower cortisol levels, which in turn help lower our heart rates.

9)    A hugging couple is a happy couple! Couples that experience their partners’ love through physical affection share higher oxytocin levels.

10)    Hugs let someone know you care without having to say a word! According to Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, we can identify love from simple human touch – imagine how much love a big hug can communicate!

From http://www.nationalhuggingday.com/ 

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2017 goes out stiffly with a whimper and a snort

In the middle of the night

Peggy got a stiff neck

Couldn’t look left

couldn’t look right.  

Judy caught a cold

bleary eyes

red nose

miserable sickly, all told

High on the Hog by Peggy

So thanks to Peggy for posting

Meowie and Woofer for hosting

and YOU for following CATNIPblog

May you live 2018 

 high on the hog