Do I have PTSD and some Low-calorie PTSD Comfort Food

I think I will start with the recipes, since that might interest everyone. First, what is more the quintessential comfort food than mashed potatoes? So this comfort food main course starts with mashed potatoes, but it adds a cholesterol-lowering “superfood” curly kale, which is not only a deep cruciferous green, and therefore anti-all sorts of cancer and a first rate antioxidant, but it is extremely low-calorie, so you can eat virtually all you want. What we are going to make is a healthy version of the Irish dish, Colcannon, a dish that many cultures have some version of. It is not only easy enough to make from scratch, but we are going to cheat, as much as we can, to make it absolutely as easy as possible. I do however insist upon using fresh curly kale, since that is the only way you can obtain all the benefits of that vegetable. Here is the recipe, but don’t stop with that because following it is a recipe for a low-calorie, sugar-free, diabetic friendly cheesecake!

LOW-CALORIE COLCANNON (mashed potatoes and curly kale plus…)

2 bunches of curly kale, or about 6-8 leaves

1 box of prepared mashed potatoes, enough for 8 servings of 1/2 cup each, though for our purposes we will be allowing each person a whole cup!

7 walnuts per person (crushed into pebble-sized pieces)

Butter-flavored salt or butter buds, or sea salt or any herbs or seasoning you like (I like Badia brand All-purpose Seasoning, but the choice is yours.)

Procedure: Chop off the Kale stems and then chop the leaves into small bite-size pieces, approximately 1/2-1 inch square. You can also use a food processor and coarsely shred the leaves too, I imagine. STEAM these in a small amount of water until tender but still a deep bright green. Do not over-cook or you will lose all the “goodness.”

Prepare the mashed potatoes without the butter or milk, using ONLY water. (If you really insist, you can add a tablespoon or two of low fat dried milk to the water but remember that this will add calories…). Add your butter salt or seasonings to taste.

Now mix the kale and mashed potatoes together in microwave safe bowl or a saucepan and add crushed walnuts. If you need to reheat at this point, you can do so either in the microwave or in the same saucepan as you made the mashed potatoes on the stove.

Ta dah! The best part of this is that you can eat 2 whole cups and only consume 300 calories, which is PDG, in my humble opinion because most people are quite full after that.

Here’s the breakdown, in case you don’t believe me.

Plain mashed potatoes without milk or butter = 70 calories per half cup.

Kale= 30 calories approximately for 3.5 ounces…essentially negligible but we will call it 1/2 C.

Walnuts= 100 calories for 7 nuts

Seasonings= 0 calories

If you eat 2 cups of equal parts of kale and potatoes, you are only having 1 cup of potatoes, or 140 calories, plus maybe 1 cup of 60 calories of kale, plus 100 calories of walnuts. So that comes out to 300 calories total.

Now for the Low-Calorie Diabetic Friendly Cheesecake. This one is unbelievable delicious and simple to make. If you want to avoid ALL fat, simply make it without the crust, or experiment with making the crust without butter. I think it should work fine.

Ingredients:

1 large container of NO-fat Greek yogurt (120 calories/C.)

1 package low-calorie, no-sugar cheese-cake pudding mix

1/2 large bag shelled walnuts

2-3 Tbs butter or oil

Approximately 1-1 1/2C sucralose or Splenda-like sweetener

Procedure:

First if you are making the crust with butter, heat the butter in a small no-stick pan on moderate heat until it begins to sizzle. Add the walnuts. Toss them for about a minute but do not let them brown or burn. Add the Splenda and toss for about a minute or two. The Splenda will not melt so the mixture will remain crumbly. It will not get particularly hot. After a couple of minutes, remove mixture from heat and pour into a slightly greased shallow bowl or platter with a lip on it. (I use a large salad bowl.) Make sure the layer has no holes or tears and is relatively thick. It should resemble a largish pancake of crumbles. About 8-9″ circumference.

For the “cheesecake”: scoop Greek yogurt into a bowl and add the package of cheescake pudding mix. Stir vigorously until mixture is nice and thick and makes hearty peaks. With a rubber spatula, spoon over the crust, being careful not to tear apart and smooth it with care. Cover and refrigerate for around 8-12 hours. Enjoy!

Depending on size of slice, you can calculate calories from these:

1 C Greek yogurt= 120 calories (4 C. per large container, so likely 1/2-1/3 C per serving of cheesecake)

7 walnuts=100 calories

1Tb butter=100 calories (Since this recipe makes a whole cake, your slice shouldn’t have more than a pat or two or 30-60 calories)

Splenda=0 calories

1 serving of low-calorie cheesecake pudding mix=35-40 calories

(My estimate from this is: approximately 250-300 calories for 1/8 -1/6 slice of the cake…)

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I will write more soon about the post topic, i.e. the personal question, Do I have PTSD? But I have written for an hour and a half already, including what is copied below, so for now I am too tired to add much more. I will only say that my results of the test at the bottom, when I took it, definitely indicated that I have PTSD, despite the fact that I did not experience a trauma involving death or the possibility of death or serious injury (as the good doctors have now decided to redefine trauma.) Note that if you take the test at the site, they will evaluate it and give you a score, which you cannot get by taking it here, though you can get some idea of how you would do just by looking at it.

Finally, I don’t know if it is really okay to “lift these” directly from another website, but as I am providing a direct link as well as full attribution, I cannot imagine that the originators would object strenuously.

The first website is PsychCentral.com and here is the link to the PTSD symptoms and diagnosis article below: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-ptsd/

Also as is noted below, the article was written by Harold Cohen, PhD

Cohen, H. (2006). Symptoms and Diagnosis of PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2012, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-ptsd/

Symptoms and Diagnosis of PTSD

By Harold Cohen, Ph.D.

There are three main kinds of symptoms that clinicians look for when diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These include re-experiencing symptoms, avoidant symptoms and symptoms of increased arousal.

Re-experiencing symptoms include ways in which the person persistently re-experiences the traumatic event. These symptoms may include the following:

  • Intrusive memories of the traumatic event
  • Recurrent, distressing dreams about the traumatic event
  • Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event is reoccurring
  • Mental and physical discomfort when reminded of the traumatic event (e.g., on the anniversary of the traumatic event)

Avoidant symptoms are ways in which the person tries to avoid anything associated with the traumatic event. These symptoms may also include a “numbing” effect, where the person’s general response to people and events is deadened. Avoidant symptoms include the following:

  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings, people or situations (anything that could stir up memories) associated with the traumatic event
  • Not being able to recall an important aspect of the traumatic event
  • Reduced interest or participation in significant activities
  • Feeling disconnected from others
  • Showing a limited range of emotion
  • Having a sense of a shortened future (e.g., not expecting to have a normal life span, marriage or career)

Symptoms of increased arousal may be similar to symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks. Increased arousal symptoms include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exaggerated watchfulness and wariness
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Being easily startled

Difficulty in Diagnosing PTSD

Identifying people with PTSD can be difficult and this disorder is often unrecognized. PTSD is unique among psychiatric disorders in that it is identified not only by symptoms, but also by the precursor of the illness (the traumatic event). Since talking about trauma may evoke painful emotions, people often refrain from discussing past traumatic events.

When a person is unable or unwilling to discuss a traumatic event, accurate diagnosis is difficult. For example, domestic violence and sexual abuse are subjects that many persons feel uncomfortable in raising, even with professionals. For others, feelings of shame and guilt related to the event and social pressures to “deal with” the symptoms that come afterward make talking about it difficult. Additionally, persons with PTSD often have other disorders, such as substance abuse or depression. These other disorders share some of the symptoms of PTSD and can also make diagnosis more difficult.

Doctors and health professionals may also ignore the signs and symptoms of PTSD. Indeed, it has been argued that at times society turns a blind eye to the existence of traumatized individuals, denying that posttraumatic responses constitute a disorder. Indeed, PTSD has only recently been recognized by the official psychiatric nomenclature. Persons who suspect that they are suffering from PTSD should seek out professionals who have experience with this disorder.

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Then the following is an online PTSD Test, which you can also find along with other psychological tests at the link below. Note that I have NO opinion regarding the online therapy offered except to say, beware of all such offers and check everything out first…

https://www.online-therapy.com/test1.php?mID=26&cPath=155_161&osCsid=04911a5dcc299094dfc7aad79ee57901

PTSD TEST

Question True False
Do you often experience flashbacks? (A flashback is a painful or intense memory; a vivid memory of a traumatic experience that returns repeatedly.)
Do you have nightmares or thoughts frequently in regard to frightening, horrible, or upsetting things?
Have you been exposed to a traumatic event involving a real or actual death threat, a threat to your physical integrity or that of others, or experienced a serious injury that resulted in responses involving intense fear, horror, or helplessness?
Do you often re-experience the traumatic event in one or more of the following patterns: intrusive/recurrent memories; acting/feeling as if the event is still occurring; nightmares; intense psychological or physical distress once exposed to cues (triggers) that associate with the traumatic event?
Are you constantly watchful, on guard, or easily startled (extremely vigilant)?
Do you feel detached from others, your surroundings or activities?
Do you frequently have sleepless nights, or insomnia?
Do you persistently avoid stimuli associated with a traumatic event, or experience general emotional numbness?
Do you experience extreme reactions to images or sounds that remind you of a traumatic event?
Do you have persistent symptoms that increase arousal responses that were not there before a traumatic event? Persistent symptoms may include sleep interruptions, irritability, outbursts of anger, excessive vigilance, exaggerated startle-response, or difficulty concentrating.
Have the symptoms lasted for more than one month and caused significant disruption in your life, including significant distress or impaired functioning?
Do you experience night sweats often? (Note: not everyone with PTSD experiences night-sweats.)
Do you often avoid the things that remind you of the past traumatic event?
Have you experienced memory loss, or amnesia because of seeing something that reminded you of the past event?
Do you often feel emotionally numb, emotionally responsiveness, or feel deadening emotions after being triggered back to the past event?
Are you easily startled by noise?
Do you feel depressed?
Do you show a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed?

2 thoughts on “Do I have PTSD and some Low-calorie PTSD Comfort Food”

  1. Thanks, Sonya, I appreciate your comment. I tried hard to make the Colcannon recipe fit both standards, comfort food and health food. Ordinarily, I would never use processed potatoes, but I figured that I should do so here, just to make the recipe easy enough to get people to try making it. With the walnuts added and the kale, it really is both healthy and delicious. I ought to have noted that it is even better the next day, hot or cold!

    The Cheesecake recipe, I should have added as well, is absolutely jam-packed with protein, as a cup of Greek yogurt has 22 grams/C. and this is in addition to the carbs provided by the milk-sugars and other ingredients.

    Pam

  2. I’m fascinated by your labeling of the recipe “PTSD Comfort Food.” I’ve been reading lately how carbs in the diet–especially complex carbs can help release serotonin in appropriate amounts. There’s a reason “comfort foods” are carb foods, but usually “comfort foods” are not otherwise the most nutritious. I appreciate that this first recipe is healthy too.

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