Nutrition (A-M)

The A-M of Depression and Nutrition:

This is strictly anecdotal evidence, based on personally suffering from depression, living for years with someone who was clinically depressed and having friends who were/are clinically depressed.

 

None of the following is meant to substitute for PROFESSIONAL medical/nutritional advice.

 

Note: if I were able to follow even half of the stuff below, half of the time, I would not be suffering as much as I am – so good luck!

 

 

APPETITE – First on the list, and it’s a biggie. With severe depression you either have no appetite, or can’t stop eating. You never know when either one will hit. All I can offer here is to try and make sure you fight the extremes, as both starving or binging do incredible harm to your insides – and result in even more stress and deeper depression.

 

 

BREAKFAST – I fail this one about 358 days a year. I dare you to find ANY medical professional, nutritionist, fitness/weight loss consultant who recommends you NOT have a good breakfast to start each day. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

Let’s C, so many good words here – carbohydrates, caffeine, cravings, comfort foods, hmmmm…I know, one for the ladies (and many of us men out there):

CHOCOLATE – though I am a life long lover of Dark chocolate (thanks Mom!) do yourself a favour and head to the nearest British Sweet Shop and pick up a bar of GALAXIE milk chocolate (it’s worth the $). You’ll have a tough time going back to everyday milk chocolate as the feeling you get after a few pieces, several squares, OK the whole bar, IS at least as good (in this case I agree with my female friends) as that which you get after sex.

 

 

DOCTOR – I can’t stress enough the benefits of professional help in dealing with depression. I would suggest you try as many alternatives as possible BEFORE going on medication, as more and more information is coming out at best neutral and often negative concerning prescription anti-depressants. Talk to your doctor or medical professional about things such as exercise, nutrition, light therapy, counseling, etc. There are lots of resources out there, don’t medicate unless you have too.

 

 

ENERGY – or lack thereof. This is probably the biggest challenge in overcoming depression. It is what sets you back the most, even when you have made the mind changes to actually move towards getting better. Stimulants (such as caffeine/sugar) may give you a temporary short-term boost, but avoid or use sparingly as the crash afterwards usually puts you back further than when you started. The best thing to boost your overall energy and track you in the right direction is moderate EXERCISE (start with 30-45 minutes of brisk walking daily).

 

 

FRESH FRUIT (& VEGETABLES) – Can’t emphasize this enough: EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES! Always have some on hand, prep ahead of time, make extra portions for the next day, be creative, use dips and sauces if you have to – just increase your intake and you WILL notice an overall improvement in your health (both mental and physical). Simple rule: the darker the green, the brighter the colour, the better for you.

 

 

GRAZING – This is the method of eating 5-8+ smaller meals/snacks (think lots of fruits and veggies here) throughout the day rather that 1-3 big meals. This allows you to smooth out the energy peaks and valleys, helps you maintain (or even lose weight) as you body doesn’t store as much, knowing more will be along soon. This is a fantastic way to avoid the starving and binging that often accompanies depression (just watch your portion sizes). It is also (check with your Doctor) often an effective way to help manage your blood sugars as a diabetic.

 

 

Heat – Bring on the spicy! No really, even if you are at the ‘no heat’ end of the spectrum (try cinnamon or paprika to start) or at my brother’s end (drinking Tabasco sauce right out of the bottle?!?), try and have a “spicy” meal at least once a week. It will boost your metabolism, tweak your energy, liven your taste buds and even give you a little more enjoyment of life. A really good way is to try food from different cultures. Just ask them to match (or undershoot) your ‘heat level’ and enjoy.

 

 

JELLY BERRIES – I have found that all natural fruit jelly berries are extremely good for helping moderate depression (especially for their size). Here’s why: they are a naturally sweet snack, they taste tangy good, they give you a little energy boost, they are chewy (good for working off stress) and you get a really good feeling when you share them with others. That last bit becomes harder to do when your supply is getting low, so all I can suggest for that is GO GET MORE.

 

 

KIDNEYS (& LIVER) – You really need to be nice to these internals organs as they process all the crap we put into our bodies. (WHAT?!? You thought I meant you to eat them? Bleagth!) No, really, BE NICE to them. Chemicals, additives, stimulants, prescription meds, alcohol, cholesterol, etc. are all processed by your liver and often flushed out through your kidneys. This is where your LIQUID INTAKE (#1 should be pure clean water) is key. Drink lots of water, green tea and watered down fruit juices (especially in place of sugared pop, coffee, and alcohol).

 

 

LEFTOVERS – this is especially important if you live alone or tend to overeat. Make enough at/for each meal to ensure there will be leftovers. That way you do not have to eat everything that you made or is even on your plate. In fact, leave a little on your plate each time and you will find you eat less each sitting, and eat better overall. Besides, having ‘planned’ leftovers cuts down on the amount of work you have to do for a future meal. (Just make sure you follow Food Safe rules when storing and preparing leftovers.) Note: If you are used to having two helpings, make each one smaller (works even better if you use a smaller plate).

 

 

MASTICATE – Yup, give your body a break and chew your food (a lot) so your insides have less work to do in breaking down your meals into something useful. The amount of internal stress most of us put on our insides is reflected in many of the problems with depression (low energy, stomach problems, eating disorders, sugar cravings, poop problems, weight issues, etc. etc. etc.) I do not expect you to chew each bite 50 times (no food tastes that good for that long!) but do utilize the natural tools you have been given more that you already do.

 

 

Please see Nutrition (pt.2) for my N-Z of depression and nutrition.

 

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Responses

  1. […] list of dietary tips and tricks. He’s chosen to post them as pages and you can find them at Nutrition pt. 1 and Nutrition pt. 2.  Additionally those of you interested in things spiritual will enjoy his blog […]

  2. Deepak Chopra, doctor & author, says that breakfast isn’t really important. I know, I was shocked too! But I can’t resist a challenge 😉

    I’ll be back to read more in a little while.

  3. bottlecappie: That’s so awesome! I had no idea he said that (let’s see if anyone else comes up with another :). Thanks for visiting and come back soon.

  4. […] Nutrition (pt.1) […]

  5. Wow- this is a great list. I have to check out the other part. I found you from Misterbooks, and I’m hoping you come back to post more!

    BTW, I’m a Taurus, family on one side is French-Canadian. 😉

  6. All very sensible suggestions, nicely done! I found a way to conquer the breakfast issue – I get the pre-made low-fat yogurt smoothies and drink those. They work great for me.

  7. My shitty kidney agrees.

  8. Noice…


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