Mental Health

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It’s time to talk more candidly about Covid coping

A bartender mixing drinks.
A bartender mixing drinks.
Lauren Paylor co-founded Focus on Health to support hospitality workers dealing with depression. Photo: Shannon Sturgis

When Lauren Paylor, a mixologist at the Silver Lyan in Washington, D.C., was laid off at the end of March, she began feeling lost, aimless, and untethered.

“It was really difficult,” said Paylor, who had dealt with anxiety and depression before. “I didn’t know what to do with myself or how to keep myself occupied and I was getting depressed. I knew I needed to figure it out.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly 2.5 …

I’m finding as much joy in this chaos as I can

Photo: hsyncoban/Getty Images

In spite of it being for my benefit, my bank’s fraud alert irritates the hell out of me. I find it especially judgmental. I know judgment well: I was made to regularly confess my sins to a priest. Not behind some wall like on TV either. Face to face with the man who knows you weren’t masturbating to Janet Jackson, but The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

My bank’s fraud alert lets me know when I haven’t been to Houston in a while because it assumes the purchase I made couldn’t have been me. I must have been in Los Angeles…

Here’s how long days in isolation are changing the way I cook

Photo: Sara Cagle

I thought that living through a pandemic would change my priorities.

Maybe I’d ponder the brief and instantly changing nature of life, or embrace the chance to explore things I’ve always wanted to learn about, like the deep sea or the cello.

Maybe I’d reconsider my line of work, which relies on freelance pay that’s unstable as it is.

Or maybe I’d at least consider sending out the postcards I wrote a month ago.

And, yeah, that’s all happening. A little.

But I’m still thinking about food, pretty much more than anything else.

My mind wanders to the subject of…

The adaptogens in your latte probably aren’t calming you down

Photo: Lucy Turner/Unsplash

Have you noticed the word “adaptogen” popping up on bottles of tea, coffee, and juice? The interest in adaptogens, or stress-fighting foods, has skyrocketed in recent months.

You can now find adaptogenic lattes that include ingredients like ginseng, turmeric, horsetail plant, and lion’s mane. Nitro coffee is infused with “superfoods” like Rhodiola, chia oil, and guarana. Even some protein bars have started to incorporate potentially stress-fighting compounds like ashwagandha and maca root.

The problem is, which of these foods actually have stress-fighting power and which are just ploys?

When it comes to adaptogenic food, remember to do your research. There…

The lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom, and what they say about life in the restaurant industry

Having one’s mise en place under control is inseparable from being successful in a professional kitchen. Loosely translated as having “everything in its place,” the term reflects the spirit of working in a clean, timely, and organized fashion. But for our first five years at my Chicago restaurant, EL Ideas, the phrase held a second, more blasphemous meaning. For us it meant: “Let’s stop prepping and go do a shot.”

As EL quickly became known for the intimate interaction between diners and chefs, it became customary for us to do shots with our guests both during and after service. Many…

Kurbo doesn’t require rigorous screening for weight loss coaches — and more problems

Graphic by author (who thought it was clever)

On first impression, Weight Watchers’ Kurbo app, geared toward kids ages 8 to 17, looks friendly, cute, and simple. But then… wait, this is a weight loss app for kids! Suddenly, the same things that made it friendly, cute, and simple make it nauseating.

And I wasn’t the only person to think so.

Laypeople and health professionals on Twitter hashtagged #kurbokills and #wakeupweightwatchers to organize their outrage. A petition asking Weight Watchers (recently rebranded as WW) to remove the app now has nearly 110,000 signatories.

Even the National Eating Disorders Association issued a statement:

“Asking kids to…


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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