1. Are you getting enough greens? They contain the most bioavailable minerals of all foods. Bioavailable refers how much of the nutrient is actually utilized by your body, as opposed to how much of that nutrient is in the food. (For instance, dairy milk is high in calcium. But human beings use very little of it, and the milk from cows causes other problems, for instance, it causes the human body to produce mucous. For baby cows, the calcium in their mothers’ milk is VERY bioavailable.)
Living green foods have to be plentiful in the human diet. Our digestive tracts, the way they’re built, demand lots of plant food. And all the nutrients in greens are highly bioavailable to humans. Cows, too, it turns out. Jordan Rubin is raising “green cows,” who not only eat only organic plant food, but eat GREENS rather than grains and other weird additives to increase weight that the big farms are now feeding dairy and slaughter cattle. Greens are what cows in nature eat, and the quality of the cows’ milk changes radically when they’re fed something else. Even organic dairy ranchers aren’t going to the length that Rubin is, to create a food supply that our grandparents took for granted, before we morphed our food supply chain into a Frankenstein-ish disaster.
In my research published in The Green Smoothies Diet, half of my 175 respondents said green smoothies alone improved the stability of their mood.
2. Are you eating 60-80% raw or better? I am not convinced that 100% raw is necessary or even ideal, but a diet high in unprocessed, raw foods gives you enzymes that take little away from your higher functions so that you can achieve truly transcendent states, like peace, happiness, harmony in relationships, and self-actualization.
Patty, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 7 years ago at age 40, has been living with us for a month and making our food, according to the way we have always eaten. We eat cooked soups made with vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. In addition to lots of raw in the form of green smoothies, vegetable juice, salads, and just snacking on carrots, bell peppers, etc. Patty is used to the obsession, on the other side, with RAW, RAW, RAW.
I love raw food and EVERY meal or snack around here is 60-80% raw. Count it in the bulk of the food, or count it in calories, I don’t care—but eat a primarily raw, plant-based diet. But humans have rarely eaten “all raw,” and legumes and whole grains are good food and very difficult to eat much of, unless they’re cooked. It’s a natural human tendency to want their food hot, now and then.
Patty said to me, “I feel amazing, eating your diet!” It’s not 100% raw, but it is 100% whole foods, and well over half of what we eat is raw.
I’m not absolutely convinced that eating organic, wild-caught, or free-range meat is all bad, as a smaller part of the diet. I don’t personally want those things, or prepare and serve them in my home.
And when the economy falls out—which it will, since it’s mathematically unsustainable that we continue forever the way we’re going—and you have to pay $40/lb. for your meat, what will you eat? Best to just learn to eat like that anyway. The U.S. government massively props up meat and dairy. It doesn’t prop up vegetable, fruit, and legume crops. Obviously we’re paying less than we should for beef, if it takes 20 lbs. of plant food to yield 1 lb. of beef.
3. If you ARE eating meat, please ensure it is wild-caught fish from clean waters (not farmed, and not caught in dirty places like, no offense my Michiganian friends, the Great Lakes). Or range-free, organic chicken or turkey. Or grass-fed, organic beef. NEVER processed meat or dairy. It’s full of hormones. It surely has the potential to affect mood disorders.
4. Are you staying out of the drive-thru? Virtually everything sold there puts you at high risk for depression. Even the toxic dressings on the low-nutrition salads. Not only because of low nutrition, high calorie foods, with their cascading effects.
But also the fact that they are denatured and your body has to work excessively to digest them. This takes away from higher functions, like neurological function. This results in a far higher likelihood that your brain and spirit are brought low, too, even as their host, the physical tabernacle, is forced to struggle and toil. Possibly the worst thing coming out of the drive-thru are toxic, heavy fats, which are difficult to metabolize, in some cases impossible to metabolize, and cause cell damage.
And the fried foods you buy in the grocery store have got to go, too. Chips. Gone. Please.
The last five items in this Nutrition Strategies for Depression and Anxiety list, tomorrow!