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Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 2 of 3

By Robyn Openshaw | Sep 17, 2012

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!

Posted in: Detox, Food Industry, Mind/Body Connection, Standard American Diet, Weight Management, Whole Food

18 thoughts on “Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 2 of 3”

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  1. LOVING THIS!! When you’ve posted #3, I’ll link from my blog. THIS is what I want all my friends to know. Our food effects every area of our health; mental health is no exception!

  2. Robyn,

    I’m so grateful you are addressing these issues! I struggled with major clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder beginning in my early teen years and into adulthood. Fortunately I’ve been blessed (or cursed~it depends on how one looks at it;-) with a tenacity for discovering the roots. Over the last 20 years I’ve searched and searched to find what works for me. It’s what led me into becoming a Professional Health Coach.

    I found a combination of mind/bodywork (VoCal; Vortex Chair; PsyChi) and nutritional support to work better than any medication/traditional counseling combination I tried (and over 20 yrs one can cover a lot of ground). While working to make the necessary dietary shifts I find GABA; 5HTP; High grade fish oil; and a supplement called EMPower Plus give me the support I need. These are relatively inexpensive and Dr. Daniel Amen’s book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” and “Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton PhD are the resources that pointed me in those directions.

    True Hope is the non profit company that develops EMPower Plus and they are doing some remarkable work with mental health professionals to bridge the gap between meds and nutritional support. Hope you get a chance to check them out…I think you’ll take interest in the headway they are making. http://www.truehope.com/ And maybe the resource can help others. I am hopeful that many who struggle are seeing results in large numbers so the medical community is taking notice and beginning to jump onboard!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I purchased the 12 Steps program a couple years ago after attending one of your seminars. Was very impressed, as was my husband, and felt strongly that this was what I needed to do to improve health. I have a long list of family health issues and at 48 was getting concerned that I wasn’t going to be around for my children. My issue is that every time I have attempted the green smoothie program I end up at the gynecologist with an infection. She says my Ph levels are all whacked out. I discuss with her the fact the I am drinking green smoothies with lots of greens and eating salads of the same but she insists that these foods would not be the cause of my problems. However, as soon as I stop the greens my system balances out and I’m find (vaginally speaking) but still have all the issues for which I was hoping the Green Smoothie diet would fix. Have you had others complain of this problem and/or do you have any suggestions for me? I’m desperate! Truly!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Wondered if you had heard that even grass fed beef is sent to feed lot before butchering to fatten it up. I recently heard of the “true grass fed” is called “finished” beef, and totally avoids the feed lot contamination. Have noticed several online “ranches” for finished beef. Mike

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well I took a nose dive this week, company over the weekend, eating out and no veggies on the menu. Haven’t felt this bad for I don’t know how long. Will have to get back on that raw veggie diet. Thanks for posting this subject, as I recently went off my generic Celexas for number of reason, and its been two months so why am suddenly in pooh mood. Well I think it is what I age over the weekend. Thank so much for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I was wondering what is your opinion about Mission organic blue corn chips? Do you even have a “healthy” brand of chips that you would recommend? “Food Should Taste Good” brand seems to be made of healthy ingredients. Just wondered what your thoughts are. Thanks

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have enjoyed reading all the article that have been written…I haven’t seen any information on where Robyn went to school and what her degree is. Is there a possibility that this could be put in her Bio?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Annette, You need fermented foods. I had the same problem for years until I found out that if I eat/drink a little bit of fermented foods every day then I’m fine. Rejuvelac is easy and cheap to make if you want to start off with that. Drinking just a cup a day keeps the good bacteria in my system strong and healthy. I hope it works for you too!

  9. Anonymous says:


    You may want to look up http://www.birthologie.com and read her 4-part series on “yeastie beasties” (Candida). I would also talk to Amy, the owner of the website.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I was recently diagnosed by my chiropratic to have a fatigued adrenal gland. I started taking drops of asdreno plus (30) aday in as glass of water. I came acroos your website last week and have been drinking green smoothies everday. I am feeling much better and will continue. Do you haves any insight on hormonal imbalance?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, Sara and cb75,
    Thank you, thank you! Am so grateful for your advice and am checking into all your suggestions.


  12. The green smoothies diet was made by Robyn Openshaw, who is an expert in nutrition and a health educator. The diet doesn’t just involve drinking green smoothies, as you can continue to have other nutritious foods during the day to ensure you get a number of nutrients. Leafy green vegetables are the most nutritious foods, only one of the hardest foods to include into your diet simply because they aren’t so tasty. The green smoothies diet was made to help you incorporate these foods to your diet by blending vegetables with fruits along with other sweeteners to make them more fun.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Robin, I’ve been drinking whole fruit smoothies for years, and recently decided to try adding the greens. I’ve tried spinach and kale, but every time I drink one, I wake up the next day with extreme fatigue and aching joints. I don’t understand this phenomenon–it goes against everything I’ve every read or learned about nutrition. Can you help me make some sense of this? I have high hopes that green smoothies can help me bridge my nutritional gaps, improve my health and feel good. I really enjoy your blog and would like to make this work for me. Thanks.

    1. Lillie Bennett says:

      don’t rule out detox symptoms which are temporary

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! I will let you know if that solves the problem.

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