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How To Fight Depression and Anxiety: 12 Nutrition Strategies

By Robyn Openshaw | Jul 28, 2018

Blog: How To Fight Depression and Anxiety: 12 Nutrition Strategies

Disclaimer: The following thoughts and opinions are mine alone and should not be construed as medical advice. Please see your qualified practitioner for individualized help with depression or anxiety.

Mental health has its roots in biochemistry. And since food is the fuel for our biochemistry, it makes sense that nutrition plays a major role in the stability–or instability–of our mental health.

It certainly has in mine. I was born anxious. Oldest child. Type A. Red personality. In fact, redhead. (Go ahead and apply the stereotype.) Overachieving list-maker. All of it.

As a young child, I had full-blown, sobbing meltdowns if I got a B on my report card. If I made a mistake in a piano performance. If I let someone down, or if someone just didn’t like me.

Opening my iTunes every morning even makes me anxious. So many podcasts, and I have to manage myself, in feeling stressed that I’m way behind–I have to listen To Them All.

I have struggled with crippling anxiety for most of my adult life. But over the past 20 years, I’ve learned how to fight depression and anxiety–managing it, instead of letting it manage me. Not with pills, but with nutrition and choices I make.

My anxiety no longer costs me sleep, makes me cry, or gives me grief. Instead, it fuels my drive to create, learn, and grow.

And the best part? My story isn’t unique. A new, groundbreaking study showed that people with moderate to severe depression significantly improved their depression just by eating healthier,1 More than 32% were even considered to be in remission after the study.

You can use nutrition to improve your mental health, too:

The Connection Between Diet and Depression

The connection between how we fuel our bodies through nutrition and how our bodies function is usually reduced to weight loss and weight gain.

But think about it: Your brain is a physical part of your body. Not just a collection of thoughts and feelings. If the food you eat has a direct impact (for better or worse) on your skin, muscles, and bones, it has a direct impact on your brain, too.

The food we eat has the power to regulate (or wreak havoc) on our hormones, emotional stability, and mental wellness.

These 10 nutritional strategies for how to fight depression and anxiety aren’t magic. And they aren’t a replacement for medication (more on that below) or your doctor’s advice, but they do work:

1. Question Those Pills

If you see what I call a “standard of care” doctor (the type your insurance company pays for), you’re usually going to get a prescription for a chemical pill. If the strategy is successful, it covers your symptoms, at least for a while. Kind of like putting duct tape over the warning light in your car’s dash.

In our society, the practice of medicine has come to mean “medication.” And if you’re desperate for some relief, you might go there.

If you want pills, go to a standard-of-care doctor. If you want someone to dig deeper to ascertain root cause, and address that, you’ll want a “functional” practitioner. (A lot of what they do isn’t covered by your insurance.)

But the truth is, there’s no such thing as a “pill that treats depression/anxiety.” Pills can treat symptoms of depression or anxiety by doing specific things like increasing your dopamine or serotonin production. But for most people, that chemical or hormonal imbalance is a symptom, rather than the cause of their depression or anxiety.

Please don’t misunderstand: for people in the middle of a serious mental health crisis, pills can be temporary life-savers while you work with a functional practitioner to find the core cause(s) of a problem. People who fantasize about ending their lives don’t have the wherewithal to sit down and problem-solve, when daily life feels so overwhelming. And SSRI drugs can be lifesavers in the short term.

But pills shouldn’t be the first line of defense for any sign of trouble. The side effects of “mainstream” depression and anxiety drugs like Prozac or Zoloft alone can cause a whole new set of problems (weight gain, insomnia, non-existent sex drive, nausea, and increased suicidal thoughts, to name a few). And those drugs are very difficult to come off of!

For children and adolescents, the SSRI approach seems to be mostly backfiring, with worsening symptoms and additional health problems for so many.

Even more troubling, dozens of clinical trials show that pills prescribed for mild and moderate depression and anxiety do not meet the criteria for a “clinically significant effect” (20082, 20103).

Most importantly, pills really don’t deal with the root of the problem. Just symptoms. A whole-body, nutritional approach to anxiety and depression on the other hand? Now you’re talking.

Important: If you are currently taking medication for depression or anxiety, do NOT stop cold turkey, or without the help of a health practitioner. The transition ON or OFF medication can be difficult, and support is incredibly important.

2. Quit Sugar and HFCS – Cold Turkey, Today

You definitely don’t want to quit taking antidepressants cold turkey.

Sugar, on the other hand? Cut yourself off, today. Same goes for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Before I beat my sugar addiction and quit eating sugar for good, except on rare occasions, I noticed that any kind of HFCS (like candy, drinks, cheap processed foods) would increase my anxiety for several days. Even a handful of Junior Mints could trigger panic attacks for as long as five days. I’d usually eat sugar when life was hard, when I wasn’t coping well. But that short dopamine rush made things so much worse, heightening my anxiety.

No treat is worth that. Especially for those of us who are susceptible to mood disorders.

Why do sugar and HFCS have such a huge impact on mood? Because low-quality foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates increase cortisol4 (the “stress hormone”) and place a heavy burden on the adrenal glands. And virtually everyone living in the modern age ALREADY has heavily taxed adrenal glands (think 24-hour news cycle, parenting and job stress, chemical exposure).

Most packaged drinks and candy have HFCS as a main ingredient. It’s in many breads, condiments, soups, and cereals, too. Not only does HFCS create a heavy drain on your pancreas and liver and make your triglycerides skyrocket; it also causes your insulin to go haywire–which can cause your moods to go haywire5. Over time, this stress and burden takes its toll on your gut health and your mental health.

I’ve got some free tools to make this transition away from sugar easier on you–check out my sugar substitutions chart to know which alternatives to sugar are healthiest and how to use them; a printable wallet card revealing the hidden sugars on food labels to check while you’re shopping; and my own tried-and-true “6 Easy Swaps” to make any recipe healthier–it comes with another free bonus–my Healthy Treats recipe ebook!

3. Add More Greens to Your Diet

Are you getting enough greens? They contain the most bioavailable minerals of all foods for human beings.

What does “bioavailable” mean? It 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 example, dairy milk is high in calcium. And for baby cows, that calcium is very bioavailable. Cow’s milk is meant to make a 1,000 pound animal. But for human beings, the calcium in cow’s milk is not bioavailable, nor are we trying to make a fat, 1,000-pound animal.

Dairy milk can’t be assimilated properly by humans–and dairy products cause the human body to produce mucus to flush out the too-large protein molecule.

Most of us are deficient in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we aren’t even aware of (even if you take a multivitamin). Unless your deficiency is very severe and starts manifesting symptoms, it’s likely to go undiagnosed.6

By eating more living green foods that are nutrient-dense and bioavailable, you’re going to help your system get more balanced. Secondarily, eat vegetables in all the colors of the rainbow.

Think celery, spinach, swiss chard, kale, watercress, arugula, romaine, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, green peas, sweet potatoes, onions, and fennel, to name just a few.

Our digestive tracts are built for a lot of plant food. Unlike carnivores, with a short GI tract straight from mouth to anus, the human GI tract is over 30 feet long, in a windy, twisty, path, and it needs significant plant fiber (not Metamucil!) to move things through and keep our colon, and therefore our blood, clean.

In a study published in my book The Green Smoothies Diet, fully half of the 175 respondents said adding green smoothies to their diet (at least 2 cups, at least 4 times a week) improved the stability of their mood.

4. Limit Animal Products

It’s pretty simple: Our digestive tracts were built to handle primarily plant material. We thrive (mentally and physically) on a diet that is high in plant material and low in animal products. The nutrients and minerals in plants are easier for us to absorb, and they are the best material for maintaining a healthy microbiome in our guts (more on the importance of this in #5!).

If you do eat meat, please ensure that it’s from a clean source (wild-caught, organically farmed, or range-free, or grass-fed). Never eat processed meat or dairy. These meats are full of chemicals and hormones (including estrogen and steroids)7 with the potential to affect mood disorders (not to mention increase the risk of some cancers).

While meat and eggs provide protein, choline, essential fatty acids, and Vitamin B12, these foods are devoid of fiber, and lacking in most micronutrients, so even if you eat some animal products, the bulk of the diet should always be unprocessed plant foods.

I haven’t eaten pork or beef in 25 years, and I don’t eat sushi or raw or farmed fish, either. I get plenty of protein and calories eating legumes like split peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, and navy beans. I also like hearty, gluten-free, organic  “grains” like oats, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, and amaranth.

Join GreenSmoothieGirl's 12 Steps to Whole Foods Masterclass

5. Heal Your Gut (AKA, Your Second Brain)

The health of your gut is so strongly linked to the health of your brain, it’s sometimes called a “second brain.”8  It contains more than 100 million neurons, and when it’s in distress, so are you.

Your gut is responsible for generating a whopping 95% of your serotonin and 50% of your dopamine,9  as well as melatonin and adrenaline. Any psychologist will tell you that all of those neurochemicals are crucial for mental stability, and feelings of wellness and happiness.

A recent study showed that the simple act of taking a quality probiotic significantly improved depression.10 How? Your gut contains between three and five pounds of bacteria. In a healthy gut, most of that is friendly bacteria–regulating hormones, removing waste, and controlling inflammation. If there’s an imbalance between the friendly and harmful bacteria, mental and physical problems crop up. Taking a probiotic/prebiotic supplement is a great way of adding more “friendlies” and rebalancing your “second brain.”

5. Rethink Your Relationship with Raw Foods

Are you eating 60-80% raw or better? I’m talking about uncooked greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, sprouts, etc. While 100% raw isn’t necessary or even ideal, and possibly 100% vegan isn’t, either, not long term–a diet high in unprocessed, raw plant foods gives you the highest nutrient quality and enzymes that improve your higher mental functions.

There’s a huge leap between 100% raw and 80% raw–and there are plenty of die-hards that insist it’s 100% raw or bust. But some foods are healthy and beneficial–and difficult or impossible to eat in raw form. I eat cooked soups made with vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. I also eat lots of raw foods in the form of green smoothies, vegetable juice, salads, and just snacking on carrots, bell peppers, etc.

Count the percentage of your raw foods in the bulk of your diet, or count it in calories (60-80 percent), you don’t have to be super precise—but eat a primarily raw, plant-based diet. If you need help getting started, I’ve got a free 12 Steps to Whole Foods video masterclass–it’ll give you all the basics for the simplest, fastest track to ease you into the changes that will make a radical difference in your physical and mental health.

6. Stay Out of the Drive-Thru

How often are you using the fast food drive-thru? Virtually everything sold there (high-calorie, high sugar, processed, low nutrition) puts you at higher risk for depression and anxiety.

Most other products you find in a drive-thru are heavily processed and filled with preservatives for max shelf life. In other words, they’re denatured, and your body has to work excessively to digest them.

This imbalance in your gut takes energy away from higher neurological functions. Because when your body is funneling a lot of energy toward digestion and wrangling unnatural, unhealthy foods, that’s energy that isn’t freed up for your mental reserves. Again and again, new research shows the strong connection between gut health and brain function.11

Possibly the worst thing coming out of the drive-thru are toxic, heavy fats like trans fats, which are difficult to metabolize, in some cases impossible to metabolize, and cause cellular damage.

The fried foods you buy in the grocery store have got to go, too. Chips, gone. Please.

7. Rethink Your Relationship With Coffee

You love your coffee. But does your coffee love you? Maybe not as much as you might hope. Non-organic coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. And the roasting process produces the carcinogen acrylamide12–the same toxin found in fried foods like chip and French fries.

Try to cut your coffee intake down to an occasional indulgence rather than a twice-a-day habit, and when you do drink coffee, make sure it’s organic and free from a high chemical load. A few brands claim to be much less acidic.

While you’re making the switch to organic and cutting down on your consumption, make sure you also pay attention to what’s going into your coffee. Sugar, heavily processed and chemically-laden creamers, and artificial sweeteners are bad news for your mental and physical wellness. Use organic coconut milk or almond milk for creamer, and natural, organic sweeteners like stevia.

8. Up Your Fatty Acid Intake

Are you getting enough essential fatty acids? A whopping 90 percent of Americans are deficient in Omega 313. Many studies link deficiency to major depression,14 since you must have Omega-3 to break down and transmit serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine.

And it’s not just the quantity of Omega 3 that’s the problem. It’s the excesses of Omega 6, found in refined oils like fried foods, chips, etc. Most Americans are getting the bulk of their fatty acids from Omega 615 and only a tiny percentage from Omega 3.

To add more healthy Omega 3 to your diet, add 2-3 Tbsp. of chia, flax, and/or hemp seed in your diet. The sprouted varieties of these seeds are more bioavailable than the plain seed or seed oils, and adding sprouted flax powder to a green smoothie is one of the quickest and best ways to boost your Omegas.

9. Take Control of Your Weight

There’s a clear link between obesity and depression.16

Extra weight heavily taxes the endocrine system (hormones), and imbalances of hormones are a primary cause of depressed feelings—which make it hard to problem-solve life circumstances. This imbalance can, in turn, contribute to more weight gain—so it’s a vicious cycle!

The clear path to getting rid of extra weight is to eliminate white flour and sugar. I promise that you will not miss them like you think you will. Even if you have a lot of weight to lose, don’t despair. I’ve been there. You can do this.

There’s no need for obsessive calorie counting and appetite suppression, either. When you eat 8-10 raw fruits and vegetables every day, cut out the fast food, add in whole grains, nuts, and good fats, you’re going to decrease your unhealthy cravings and heal your metabolism.

10. Consider Herbal, Mineral, and Enzyme Supplements

Again, if you are taking SSRIs or other drugs for depression and anxiety, consult your doctor before stopping your medications or adding any herbal or supplement therapies. Adverse reactions can occur when using both Prozac (for instance) and some natural treatments. A few supplements can also interact with contraceptive pills, or other medications.

The following are the most well-known and well-studied herbs, minerals, and enzymes that improve depression and anxiety:

St. John’s Wort is helpful for depression, with at least 10 active constituents involved in that intervention, including hypericin and pseudohypericin. It’s believed to work in part by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Studies have found that it’s as effective as antidepressants17 for mild to moderate depression, with fewer side effects.

Kava is a heavily-studied herbal supplement for as anxiety, as well as insomnia. Kava affects a GABA-receptor-binding capacity and blocks norepinephrine uptake. Studies have found it to have effects equal to benzodiazepines18, but without side effects. It’s important to understand that, like ibuprofen, liver damage can take place if it’s used excessively or improperly.

Fulvic Acid: Modern agricultural processes have depleted a lot of key minerals in the soil–meaning, they don’t get into the produce we eat. These trace minerals are so important to hormone regulation and mood. Supplementing with a fulvic acid mineral supplement can help improve mood, regulate sleep wake cycles, improve adrenal function, and reduce inflammation.

Enzymes: Enzymes help the nutrients and minerals you eat get from point A to point B–from the food you ate, into your cells. Taking an enzyme supplement helps make sure you’re actually able to use the good stuff in the foods you’re eating.

Other supplements that have been shown to be effective against depression include L-tryptophan, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP). Their function is to increase beta-endorphins, your “feel-good” hormones. A typical dose of 5-HTP is 200 mg per day, and this supplement can be found online or in health food stores. B-Complex vitamins and methylfolate can also be extremely helpful in regulating mood for people who are deficient.

11. Stop Candida Overgrowth to Restore Gut Balance

Yeast overgrowth (most commonly candida) is more common than most people think. For years, the holistic health community has linked yeast infection and overgrowth to depression and other mental illness. And numerous studies19 now back that anecdotal evidence.

A diet high in sugar and heavily processed foods, especially during and following antibiotic use, is the perfect environment for the candida fungus to grow, out of control, in the digestive tract and cause all sorts of problems, like making it difficult or impossible to absorb different nutrients. The “second brain” in your gut can’t work properly with a massive yeast overgrowth.

Cut out sugar (sugar feeds yeast), try to avoid alcohol, minimize fermented foods while you starve out candida, and take a broad-spectrum, small-batched and very fresh probiotic/prebiotic/enzyme to restore that crucial balance in your gut.

12. Balance Your PH

A healthy body leans toward alkaline. Unfortunately, most of us lean slightly acidic. Hyper acidity is caused by eating acidic foods like soda, animal proteins, dairy products, coffee, and sugar and flour products. Stress can also create acidity. That acidity leads to chronic inflammation and distress in all of the body’s tissues–including the brain and the gut.

Researchers have found that an acidic brain is not only linked to impaired cardiovascular function and kidney failure, but mental health problems as well20.

The blood will ALWAYS maintain its pH, within a very narrow range, or we die. So if we’re eating too many acidic foods, or toxins and chemicals that upset our pH, the blood robs minerals of cells, tissues, and other organs to maintain that proper blood balance.

Balancing our ph involves eating a lot of alkaline foods like greens, crucifers like cauliflower and broccoli, vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, and more; nuts and seeds like brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, sesame and sunflower seeds;, and legumes like split peas, lentils, and kidney, black, or navy beans. Drinking alkaline water, with a water ionizer, is another fantastic way to quickly shift your body’s ph.

Speaking of water, do feel like you just took a drink out of a fire hydrant? Shifting to a holistic health paradigm for dealing with mental and physical health can feel daunting at first. But when the only side effects you have are increased energy, stable moods, and a healthy digestive system, I can promise you it’s worth it, to take some steps and find out which ones work for you.

Start with one or two of these tips, and make them into habits. Then add another. And another. The impact to your mental and physical health will literally be life-changing.

Watch: I discuss more natural remedies, coping mechanisms, and strategies for how to deal with anxiety and depression in this video.

 

–Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe.

Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

 

Resources

  1. Jacka F, O’Neil A, Opie R, et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Medicine. 2017; 15(1):23.
  2. Kirsch I., Deacon B. J., Huedo-Medina T. B., Scoboria A., Moore T. J., & Johnson B. T. (2008).Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: A meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Medicine, 5, e45 doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045
  3. Fournier J. C., DeRubeis R. J., Hollon S. D., Dimidjian S., Amsterdam J. D., Shelton R. C., & Fawcett J. (2010). Antidepressant drug effects and depression severity: a patient-level meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303, 47–53. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.1943
  4. Duong M, Cohen JI, Convit A. High cortisol levels are associated with low quality food choice in type 2 diabetes. Endocrine. 2012;41:76–81.
  5. Gonder-Frederick La C. D., Bobbitt S. A., Pennebaker J. W. (1989). Mood changes associated with blood glucose fluctuations in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Health Psychol. 8, 45–59 10.1037/0278-6133.8.1.45
  6. Griffiths, Jeffrey K. Vitamin Deficiencies. Hunter’s Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Disease (Ninth Edition), 2013.
  7. MALEKINEJAD H, REZABAKHSH A. Hormones in Dairy Foods and Their Impact on Public Health – A Narrative Review Article. Iranian Journal of Public Health. 2015;44(6):742-758.
  8. Cytowic, Richard E. M.D. The Pit In Your Stomach is Actually Your Second Brain. Psychology Today. January, 2017.
  9. Evrensel A, Ceylan ME. The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience. 2015;13(3):239-244. doi:10.9758/cpn.2015.13.3.239.
  10. Maria Ines Pinto-Sanchez, Geoffrey B. Hall, Kathy Ghajar, Andrea Nardelli, Carolina Bolino, Jennifer T. Lau, Francois-Pierre Martin, Ornella Cominetti, Christopher Welsh, Amber Rieder, Jenna Traynor, Caitlin Gregory, Giada De Palma, Marc Pigrau, Alexander C. Ford, Joseph Macri, Bernard Berner, Gabriela Bergonzelli, Michael G. Surette, Stephen M. Collins, Paul Moayyedi, Premysl Bercik. Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 Reduces Depression Scores and Alters Brain Activity: a Pilot Study in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterology, 2017; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.05.003
  11. Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews Neuroscience. 2008;9(7):568-578. doi:10.1038/nrn2421.
  12. Çebi A. Acrylamide Intake, Its Effects on Tissue and Cancer. In: Gökmen V, editor. Acrylamide in Food. Analysis, Content and Potential Health Effects. London: Academic Press, 2016.
  13. Papanikolaou Y, Brooks J, Reider C, Fulgoni VL. U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake: results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003–2008. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:31. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-31.
  14. Logan AC. Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2004;3:25. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-3-25.
  15. Blasbalg TL, Hibbeln JR, Ramsden CE, Majchrzak SF, Rawlings RR. Changes in consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the United States during the 20th century. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;93(5):950-962. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.006643.
  16. Floriana S. Luppino, Leonore M. de Wit, Paul F. Bouvy, Theo Stijnen, Pim Cuijpers, Brenda W. J. H. Penninx, Frans G. Zitman. Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Mar; 67(3): 220–229. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.2
  17. Wiley-Blackwell. “St. John’s Wort Relieves Symptoms Of Major Depression, Study Shows.” ScienceDaily. 13 October 2008.
  18. 1. Pittler MH, Ernst E. Kava extract for treating anxiety. The Cochrane Databse of Systematic Reviews. 2003;Issue 1:Article. no. CD003383.
  19. Rucklidge, Julia J. “Could Yeast Infections Impair Recovery From Mental Illness? A Case Study Using Micronutrients and Olive Leaf Extract for the Treatment of ADHD and Depression.” Adv Mind Body Med. 2013 Summer;27(3):14-8.
  20. Fujita Health University. “Increased brain acidity in psychiatric disorders.” ScienceDaily, 7 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170807110404.htm>.

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Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, GSG Foods for Health, Health, Mind/Body Connection, Natural Remedy, Nutrition

29 thoughts on “How To Fight Depression and Anxiety: 12 Nutrition Strategies”

Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    Great insight, as always. I too was born anxious. I started having panic attacks at age 21 and have been dealing with them for four years. It triggers many problems, right now I have horrible reflux that burns my esophagus no matter how well I eat. I am on medicine for both reflux and anxiety, because I was getting so bad it was a last resort for me. Not even aloe vera juice and ACV would cure it. After talking with my therapist, I found out that when the body begins to sense danger like it does in a panic attack, the first thing it does is shut down the stomach in order to prepare the body for “flight”. She and I are working together to reduce my anxiety so that I can get off these meds. I notice that I am much more stable when I don’t eat sugar and go off it periodically as long as I can stand. The hard thing is that when I feel depressed or anxious, sugar is the first thing I go to and so it is a vicious cycle. Looking forward to reading your next posts.

  2. Can’t wait! My husband was diagnosed on the schizophrenia spectrum with extreme paranoia a couple of months ago (after we separated) and I’m absolutely positive that his going out to eat for every. single. meal. has contributed significantly to his illness (along with a 25-lb. weight gain in four months).

  3. Anonymous says:

    You’re right that many doctors reach straight for the prescription pad rather than considering other options to help patients with a problem. I went to my primary care doctor a few years ago to see if there were some sort of dietary changes I could make to help deal with PMS. For two days/month, I would find myself ravenously hungry and yelling at the kids. When I yelled at my 4 year-old for not putting on her gloves fast enough, I realized that I had hit my version of “rock bottom” because what in the world I was doing yelling at a 4 year old! So I went to the doc to see if there was something to help me through the two days. Again, I was looking for dietary advice. But the only thing she considered or would talk to me about was going on prozac or zoloft. I asked if that was something I could take for only those two days, and she said that I would have to take it every day. Guess what I decided to do — change doctors! Happy to say that I found your website, and have been trying hard to change my and my family’s diet. Those two days are still not easy, but it’s getting better. And no drugs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Exercise is my pill of choice to manage anxiety – it takes about an hour to swallow each day but is so worth it!

  5. I am so happy to see this series!! My mother went through a living hell a few years ago at the hand of a pill-dispensing doctor who never asked her ANY questions, let alone listened to her. She began telling him what some of her symptoms were, he interrupted her and BAM she was given meds. TWO YEARS later she had been hospitalized 5 times for sucidal behaviour, was having hallucinations, lost her job due to panic/anxiety, and was almost evicted from her apartment. I agree with you, Robyn, coming off the drugs can be scary and dangerous, but she did it on her own and has NEVER been heathier!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am a publisher. I just published Dr. Judith Moore’s book “Between Two Minds: Healing From Depression and Anxiety for LDS Women”. Anyone can benefit from this book. I personally am very interested in your blog and article series on depression and anxiety. What are your thoughts about someone like me, who had depression and anxiety for over 30 years and whose siblings and parents all had the same mental health challenges? Do you believe that these conditions can be hereditary?
    Thank You for writing about this subject. As you know it’s very timely! I’m happy to share Dr. Moore’s book with you, if you are interested in it. It too, covers important information and guidance to assist people with their nutrition as well as ways to gain adrenal stress relief.
    Again, Thank You! I look forward to hearing from you,
    Tracy Izatt. (832) 265-7530

  7. Anonymous says:

    Walk four miles every day. This may perhaps be the best antidote for anxiety and many many other problems. Do not rush. Start off slowly. time spent is more important than distance covered. Time minimum one hour.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Robyn,

    I have a friend who was just started on Zoloft for severe anxiety about a week ago. I saw your article and was going to send it to her but then saw that you mistakenly placed Zoloft as a Class 3 narcotic. It IS a controlled substance but not a narcotic. I’m an RN so picked up on that right away. My friend is also an RN so I can’t even send the article to her with that info in it, then she will doubt the rest of the article. I have a Blendtec, she has a Vitamix so she is already into smoothies but hasn’t made them in a while. Otherwise this would be a great article series for her.

  9. Kylee,

    I work a lot with digestive issues in my practice. You might want to consider going to a Traditional Naturopath to be tested for Candida, H.Pylori and Parasites. Make sure you are taking a good Bioavailable vitamin and a separate mineral supplement to feed your cells and you also might try Slippery Elm tea several times a day or take the capsules to heal the inflammation. A Food Sensitivity Assessment would also be in order to find out which foods are contributing to the inflammation. Best Wishes on your journey.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i too have been on anti=deppressants for 16 years, i also have been taking a sleeping pill for the same length of time, i have hep c and i guess the dr. figured i should be on anti depressants when i started the treatsments, although the treatments never worked for the hepc i am still on the meds.. i purchased a vitamix 6 months ago and have been trying to go healthy foods, i do slip and eat sugary treats then feel hungover the next day. i am always looking for reciepes for liver detoxing or just plain healthy eating for your liver, if anyone has any good info for me i would apprecitate the input.. since i have been using the vita mix and reading robyns blogs i have lost 30 pounds and my husband is down 50… still looking for extra energy though, im 57.. thank you

  11. Anonymous says:

    Great perspective…you forgot about coffee tho! …should have a poison sticker on it! 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    Robyn,
    When are you coming to Kansas City, the where’s the beef district?

  13. Anonymous says:

    SSRI’s are not narcotics. Narcotics are controlled substances. Think: morphine, codeine, etc. I agree that SSRI’s are ridiculously over-prescribed but absolutely necessary in some situations.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I was on antidepressants for over 10 years. I wasn’t depressed but terrible exhausted. My doctor told me that I didn’t have to be depressed to have depression. I thought that was nuts and went to another doctor. I actually went to a total of 5 doctors that came up with the same diagnosis. So I took the pills. They helped give me a bit of energy but I still slept 12 hours at night and then had naps through out the day. My legs would give out on me and I’d almost fall down because my body wanted to sleep so bad. I fell asleep driving etc.

    I finally found a doctor and she did a bunch of tests and the only conclusion she could come up with was poor digestion. I visited a naturopath and found out I had candida. I went on the diet for 8 weeks and at the end of the 8th week I had felt the best I had ever felt in my entire life. But the sugar cravings were so intense that I needed sugar to calm myself down. So I went off the diet and feel good mentally but absolutely physically horrible. I have since found out that I have A.D.D. which causes lots of anxiety. No doubt why I have been addicted to sugar all my life.

    I now have found a raw food diet and am trying to become more alkaline. The yeast free diet is 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. When the body is healthy it is best to be slightly alkaline, whether you have any illness or not. This is the same as the yeast free diet. I have also tried to meditate and have found that this helps with anxiety. Want more energy eat more greens and switch your diet to 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. This does work and raw food works best as it has all the enzymes in the food and aren’t destroyed by the cooking process. There are many free recipes on line. I do believe if I can get my body to be more alkaline that I will have more energy. The body takes less energy to eat raw food than it does cooked food. Therefore you will have more energy. Now I’m not suggested going 100% raw because you will probably fail as it’s not practical. But please eat as much raw food as possible. Your body will thank you for it. The body can heal itself but only will, without interference (sugar, alcohol, smoking, medication, etc)

    I will beat this anxiety. Good Luck to you all!

  15. Anonymous says:

    To n.martIn: I have had hep c for 22 years. Eat beets! Great for detoxifying the liver. My liver enzymes were not that high (326 and 275 in 2007), but after eating beets (maybe one-quarter of a cup of so) once or twice a week, they dropped down into the normal range of 10-40. I continue to eat beets (we grow our own!) to keep my liver healthy.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anti Depressants?…I witnessed two people go on and off them at around the same time, it was scary to say the least, i tried everything i could that was natural for them, homeopaths, raw, EFA’s, green smoothies, lots of sleep…I must have missed something because it got out of control and they went back on everything and more…..I hope you have success as it is a terrifying epidemic.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Robyn; I was wondering how you would prepare, food wise, for economic disaster? The food that has a long shelf life probably doesn’t have any nutrition in it…Is there a brand that you recommend that is flash frozen and retains most of it’s nutrition? I would love your input on this. Thanks.

  18. Dear N.Martin, My mother’s friend cured her Hep C with high doses of good quality Milk Thistle. She had a bad case, but the Milk Thistle took it away. Of course, consult with an alternative health practitioner for advice, but you will also find some great info on EarthClinic.com. There’s TONS of info from people who have cured their ailments with alternative treatments & supplements. Here’s the link to the Hep C info: http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/hep_c.html
    Good luck! As for the anti-depressant, if you want off of it, go off SLOWLY with the help of an alternative health practitioner (don’t listen to the traditional Dr. say: “just cut your dose in half…and then stop taking it). You may want to look into EFT or tapping, too. It is helpful to so many people! Often times an experienced practitioner can help get you started more effectively than just the ‘do it yourself’. I wish you well!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Opiates (narcotics is really a word that should only be used to describe illegal drugs) are not prescribed for depression. They are prescribed for moderate to severe pain. There are many different types of psychotropic drugs from atypical antipsychotics to SNRI’s to benzodiazipines but opiates are not one of them. A doctor who would actually prescribe opiates for depression is verging on malpractice. It is true that many chronic pain conditions usually have co-morbid depression, so someone is usually on both, especially since dr’s usually prefer to diagnose you with a mental health condition before they believe you have a physical one, and also because some antidepressants help neuropathic pain, for example, but they are not being prescribed for the depression in that case.
    I’m curious to read more on your strategies for this…the medication option is not the most effective and has tons of side effects (speaking as someone who, in a severe mental health crisis, went on a med that put on 60 lbs. that I’m still trying to get off) but at the same time, it’s not necessarily a sign of a bad lifestyle if someone comes down with a mental illness and constant attempts to “treat it naturally” and get off their meds can wreak havoc on the life of someone with moderate to severe mental illness. I’m very torn on this….I’ve seen both sides end up in disaster.

  20. Angel Kazakoff says:

    I am currently on anti-depressant for my pms.
    I exercise regularly (I’m a personal trainer) I eat healthy
    80% of the time, get lots of sleep, everything I’m supposed
    to but when I ovulate and 10 days before my period, I hit a
    mini depression. Without the Meds I am in rage mode 24/7
    and can’t put two thoughts together to complete the simplest
    task. Very frustrating considering I am a mom and wife. I would
    love to be off the Meds but even on them I still have the same
    symptoms just to a lesser degree. Any suggestions would be
    greatly appreciated!! Also, my mother and grandmother had the
    same pms problems. Thanks!!!!

  21. mominatormom@yahoo.com says:

    Looking for help with anxiety and insomnia. My life is by and large free of stress causing situations, people and events. Yet I live in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear. I take 5mg of ambien each night to help with insomnia but, I hate taking anything. Without it, I would not sleep. I look for any healthy solution to both my anxiety and insomnia problems. I juice and drink smoothies nearly daily so I am open to any remedies.

  22. Lucy Beiler says:

    Hello Robyn and fellow readers.
    Here is a link that summarizes Big Pharma. Gwen Olsen, once a pharma rep tells all.

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/wIWuEAFlg1Y

    Three cheers for green smoothies and the power of nature to affect healing.
    Lucy Beiler

  23. Tina says:

    The single most effective things that I’ve done for depression include: 1) Getting tested for a MTHFR genetic mutation. I found out my methylation system is only functioning at 70% so I now take methyl folate to counteract this 2) SAM-e 3) 5-HTP. Also, someone mentioned getting checked for candida and parasites. I highly recommend these as welll. I discovered that these were the culprit for me as well as dealing with mold illness. Other helpful supplements: vitamin D, Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil, and a good B complex (thorne).

  24. Wow! Finally I got a weblog from where I can actually obtain valuable data concerning
    my study and knowledge.

  25. Penny says:

    I stumbled upon the positive effects of eating natural, raw foods and have been less depressed every since. I try to include a green smoothie a few times a week too. I just read your article on Facebook and couldn’t agree more with your advice on eating grains, nuts, and veggies!

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