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Mark Gorkin, LICSWMark Gorkin, LICSW
A Blog about reducing Stress in our lives.

Stress Resiliency and Brain Agility through Sleep-Priorities-Passion-Empathy-Exercise-Diet Part VI

Mark Gorkin, LCSW ("The Stress Doc") Updated: Mar 5th 2015

This is a "diversity in unity" poem: each letter of the SPEED acronym has a somewhat different poetic style and structure yet provides a united pathway for stress resiliency and brain agility (for kids of all ages). If you missed the previous ones, you can check out the first one here (with links to the rest being added as a new one is published).

D is for Diet

"D" is for a healthy "Diet"
Easier to sigh than try it.
When it comes to how you eat?
Do you yo-yo - famine or feast?
Forever tied to your mood.
The great divide: "bad or good"
Followed by "should not" or "should."

With that taunting voice inside
An endless loop…no place to hide:
Nonstop chocolate, salty chips
Beer bellies and donut hips.
(Tell me, is it still a surprise that
Greasy fries and little bite lies
Mean extra cheesy pizza thighs?)

Setting bounds on "must have" foods
Brings up many funky moods.
From sadness to on edge stress -
"I feel deprived" state of madness.
It's tough to do what you oughta
On your own without a mentor
Battling an eating disorder.

Diet, diet
Are you still abusing it?
Will you do something about it?
Would you rather die than try it?

To manage foods you crave
Can you do a tearful wave?
Grieve, "let go," and then be brave
Send "junk food" to an early grave.

Changing habits is no fun
Have to be under the gun.
"Letting go" is truly hard…
Don't wait for the firing squad!

Diet, diet
When will you finally lose it?
Will you ask for help about it?
Would you rather die than try it?

My dad - daily eggs and ham
Till that day…artery jam.
Wasn't just the eggs that broke
A world collapsed in one stroke.

Muddled speech, blurry vision
One more stroke…before religion.
Most fats, salt, sugar got the whack…
No more brain or plaque attacks!

"Disciplined Moderation"
Do I have your full attention?
Diet, diet…design your diet
Still would rather die than try it?


Diet By Design

Preamble: The Big Easy Die-It!
Or Beware the Medical-Gastronomical Complex

Living in the Crescent City
Home of poboys and beignets
Oral orgy opportunity
Cholesterol…Make my day!

The Big Easy artery party
Endless Food Fests - wild and fey.
To resist would be a pity:
Laissez les bonnes temps roulez!

Naturally, N'Awlins dining
All those famous restaurants.
You are caught - coming and going
As you loosen up your pants.

Alas, you may have little chance
In "The Big Easy Paradox"
For the Gumbo-Money Pot
Way better than bonds and stocks:
N'Awlins bars and eating spots…
All owned by those cardio docs!


Dieting with Natural SPEED

A SPEED Preamble

We have come to our last letter…
Consider this a final seed.
Each letter must work together
To truly live by Natural SPEED.

Healthy "Sleep" and "Priority"
Must dance with "Passion" and "Empathy."
"Exercise and conscious "Diet"
Complete the circle: Will you try it?

In times of strife, times of peace
Don't believe me, ask Matisse
Times of peace, times of strife -
Natural SPEED: "The Dance of Life!"

You can learn to eat "Brain Smart"
A recipe for mind and heart.
Do not wait till it's too late
But most of all…
Add "food for thought" to your plate

Go Fish!

The first item on my list:
Omega Fatty Acid Fish
Salmon, sardines, even tuna
Help nerve signals get there sooner.
Perhaps lacking sturdy shells
They clear the rust from our brain cells.
That's why fish is called "brain food"
Sharpens wits, improves your mood!

The Pursuit of Fruit

Now add lots of fruits and berries
Plums and raisins and those cherries.
May prevent a heart attack
So eat those berries - blue and black.
Grapes and melons from the vine
Can slow down mental decline.
And diets rich in fruit fiber
Seem to lower your blood pressure
Also, may block prostate cancer.
Satisfied with this answer?

Leafy Greens and Green Machines

Leafy greens and the "cabbage" patch
As superfoods they are unmatched:
Broccoli and collard greens
Kale and spinach - green machines
Not to mention cauliflower
We are talking "cabbage power."
All these veggies, high in fiber
Be regular…so much better!
With vitamins like K and A
Inflammation goes away.
May also boost your memory
And cancer may be kept at bay.

Going Nuts!

For most, nuts - a tasty snack
But nuts are so much more than that.
Go WACky over nuts…good news:
Walnuts, Almonds, and Cashews.
Walnuts are the way to go
For increasing your blood flow.
Daily almonds, for a fact
Lower rates of heart attack.
Almonds too, a post-meal win-win:
Checks blood sugar and insulin.
Cashews also a great foil
Akin to heart-smart olive oil.
Packed with phosphorous and copper
Bones and teeth now strong and proper.
(Are these nuts cavity stoppers?)
And these nuts help nerves relax
Why not have a "Safe Stress" pack.
But don't go crazy over nuts
Think about those waists and butts.
Just a handful at a time
Eat with reason and with rhyme!

Just Desserts and Such

Blend half banana and plain yogurt
To create a special dessert.
Add other fruits, maybe honey
Voila…a "Banana Plus" smoothie.
Won't just keep you lean and keen
Boosts that "feel good" dopamine!

And a favorite final flourish
Mix avocado and some hummus
A slice of soy cheese…a real plus.
Scoop of tuna or red salmon
All atop an English Muffin.
More than just a healthy option…
Now your tummy is a-hummin!

Natural SPEED: Final Read

It seems like I've gone on for pages
With SPEED for kids of all ages…
Past time to end this "Shrink Rap"
With final tips for you -
"A firm 'No' a day keeps the ulcers away, and the hostilities too."
So to lessen daily woes, "Do know your limits; don't limit your 'No's!"

Ponder this Stress Doc wit and wisdom
Try to live it day after day:
Burnout is not a sign of failure
You simply gave yourself away.

Remember, sometimes less is more
And more is really less.
Balance work and play, faith and love
And, of course...Practice Safe Stress!


Mark Gorkin, LCSW (

Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc ™, acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, the Doc leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building. Email for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs. Check out his popular website -- -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"

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