Nutrition (N-Z)

The N-Z 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!

 

NUTRITIONIST – If you are having real trouble with food (too much, too little, not the right kinds) a nutritionist is someone professionally trained to recommend foods, meal plans, healthy alternatives and even motivations to eating right. With the sheer volume of information out there (much of it incorrect – or funded by those with a bias) this is a far better option than self-study, at least in the beginning. Again, make sure you let your doctor know this is an option you wish to pursue.

 

ODOURS – Both good and bad odours have a direct effect on your appetite, cravings and sense of well-being. For example: think right now of the smell of bacon frying, and underlay the smell of fresh bread baking, now put this scene in the great outdoors in the fall; Not bad, eh? Now try some food dishes left in the sink with water in them for 3-4 days, and opening the fridge to find a few decaying items in your crisper; Just the opposite effect, right? Keep your kitchen and fridge clean of old foodstuffs, and use pleasant food smells (ever crushed fresh basil into a pot of steaming water?) to enhance your overall health.

 

PROTEIN – Ah, the craving of kings. Meat, especially roasted or BBQ’d, mmmm! Protein cravings are a fact of life for most of us. Just remember most of us are not built to digest protein easily. We lack the basic enzymes to do so (that’s why you should always serve applesauce with pork, etc.) Make sure you masticate well enough to help your stomach and drink plenty of liquids to ensure you can process your protein intake properly. You can severely dehydrate your tissues if you don’t. And for best results (unlike what I do) limit your protein intake in any one meal/day.

 

QUIT SMOKING – Yes, this is a personal crusade of mine, being highly allergic to cigarette smoke, but the health benefits of quitting (no matter when) are well proven. My dad quit ‘cold turkey’ when I moved in with him (after over 40 years of 1-2 packs a day). He was 57 at the time and will turn 84 this year. He has outlived ALL his siblings and peers (who all smoked) by at least 16 years. He’s been able to taste his food, golf 3x/week until he was 78, etc. Nicotine rewires your brain physiology, and all the other chemicals PUT into cigarettes are just there to enhance your addiction. Quit being manipulated and quit smoking.

 

RELAX – Don’t you just hate people who tell you to, “Oh, just relax”, as if it was that easy to do? Well, when it comes to eating and nutrition, it is great advice to follow. The more stressed you are, the worse you eat (potato chips, donuts, fast food, etc.) and the less you chew and the harder it is to digest anything. The more stress you are under, the more your body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode and is unprepared and unable to digest food, especially healthy foods, as a primary action. So, make sure you are as relaxed as possible before you eat.

 

SEAFOOD – including Sushi. Ocean food (as long as it is prepared safely) is a great source of nutrients including many trace minerals missing from most modern diets. When it comes to seafood the fresher the better. True fresh fish and seafood has no smell, or very little. Note that most shellfish is high in cholesterol, and previously frozen fish has a strong odour. Avoid the former if necessary, and the latter at all costs. If you wish to buy fish for later, buy that which was frozen and still is, and thaw it when you’re ready.

 

TEA – Teas, especially green teas, are a very good addition to any diet. Not only do you get the benefit of all the anti-oxidant properties, you are also upping your liquid intake in a beneficial form. Flavoured teas can help your moods, such as lavender or chamomile for relaxing, and aid your digestion, think ginger or oolong. Try different kinds, ask your friends for recommendations. Most teas are NOT bitter, as long as you avoid the black ones. For black teas, try oriental or blends; unless of course you’re British, and then just do your own thing 🙂

 

UNDERSTANDING – Seek understanding and support from those around you concerning your depression and nutrition. Meals are far better taken in good company than alone. If your friends only do fast food, look for healthier menu options (salads, wraps) or healthier fast food locales (soup and sub places etc.) Friends and family can be a huge support in preparing or helping to prepare meals and/or meal ideas for you. When you find something that works for you, share it with others; you’d be surprised how much this is appreciated.

 

VITAMINS – Vitamins are essential to our body health and survival. If you are experiencing stress and/or your eating habits are, well, not so good, you need to consider adding vitamins to your diet. Much of today’s mass produced food from ‘factory farms’ have far less vitamins and nutrients than in the past as well. So even if you are eating ‘fresh food’ your diet may still be lacking. A simple multivitamin is almost necessary in western society, and consider upping your ‘B’ vitamin intake if you experience a lot of stress. Talk to your nutritionist or pharmacist for the best advice.

 

WEIGHT LOSS/GAIN – This is another biggie with depression. All of us experience minor fluctuations in our weight, even over the course of a single day. This is not a problem. Obsessing over your weight, rapid weight gain/loss or weight fluctuations of a significant amount up and down over a period of several days are all not good. If any or all of these plague you, please see your doctor and explain the problem. Gradually losing weight over time (if you are overweight) is the best way to keep off the extra pounds. The best time to weigh oneself is in first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom.

 

XYLOSE – sucralose, glucose, fructose, etc. – sugars and sugar substitutes are, in a word, BAD. Yes, our bodies need sugar to run, sugars provide the energy our body needs to function. Just remember, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates are all broken down into sugars by our digestive system for our body to use. I’m not saying cut out all added (or artificial) sugars from your diet (almost impossible in today’s world of ‘prepared’ foods); just limit your intake where possible. Just watch for the sugar spikes and drops, and do enjoy a good desert occasionally, just to keep yourself happy.

 

YAMS (& OTHER VEGETABLES & FRUITS) – Yes, I know I covered this under ‘F’ but it is important enough to emphasize twice: EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES! Fresh, bright coloured vegetables and fruits are essential to good health and to battling depression (along with most other ills). Stuffed full of vitamins, anti-oxidants, fiber and all sorts of good things, I cannot emphasize their consumption enough. Plus, they can make you feel good right away. Just think how wonderful ice-cold watermelon tastes on a hot summer day? Or imagine peeling and eating a mandarin orange (your way) at Christmas? See what I mean?

 

ZEST – Remember eating orange/lemon-icing cupcakes when you were a kid? That is what zest can do for you. Zest is the grated rind of citrus fruits, and also a great way to live your life. A zest for life is what most of us suffering from depression lack. Zest (citrus oils and bits of rind) can be added to many foods, not just desserts. Try lemon zest with your cooked beans or broccoli, lime zest with salsa or fish, orange zest with chicken or pork. As for life zest, find things that interest you and do them; hang out with people who already have a ‘zest for life’ and learn from them, or even just absorb their good mood.

 

Thus ends my A-Z of depression and nutrition. I hope you had fun reading some of this stuff. Take care.

 

 

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Responses

  1. You did a great job with this! Thanks for putting it together and sharing it. 🙂

  2. Yes, you did an excellent job with this. So much in fact, I got up off my ass and went and got an orange. And now I am going to make myself a cup of green tea, and take a vit B12.

  3. Your welcome TR, and thank you for your kind words.

    *sniff* AB, you said something nice to me, I’m touched…

  4. Great list, Arkay. 🙂 I wanna print it and post it in my kitchen. 🙂

  5. Absolutely! And thank-you for the grand compliment 😀

  6. would it be stupid to read this website if i am not depressed?

  7. Hi Gabrielle! Welcome to my blog. Thanks for not only stopping by, but actually commenting! mwauh.

    Hmmm, i sometimes read blogs with sexual content but since i haven’t had any since my wife passed, does that mean i shouldn’t read them? lol!

    Ok, real answer: Not At ALL! Besides, my blog (at least this one), kinda goes allover the place. I’m most proud of my humour posts, if you really want to know (which is why just recently i split my blog, to put all the good/fun/upbeat stuff in a place where you won’t have to wade through my depression crap – see Rob’s Fun Blog in my blogroll). Hope you visit again.

    Now, off to reply to your other comments… 🙂


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