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General tips to beat depression?

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  • General tips to beat depression?

    Hey everyone, I'm currently attempting a 1 month trial of being 100% primal (on day 3 now). I've attempted this before about a month ago but I screwed up and ended up having about 200-300g carbs within one weekend, just at the start of the 3rd week (does this reset the process of adjusting to burning fats entirely?).

    For about 4 years now I've been having troubles with low energy, low moods, brain fog etc. I'm currently 17, and haven't felt good in general for that time period. I believe this is to do with an internal issue, because in terms of my life, everything is going smoothly and stress is minimal, so I should be pretty happy!

    I've read through various topics and have gathered some key things that appear to benefit depressive symptoms. Particularly because I am only just restarting my 1 month trial run, I may just be going through the 'low-carb flu' again.

    The main points I see are:

    - Correcting the Omega 3:6 ratio. I've recently started taking cod liver oil capsules to correct any ratio imbalances from any grain-fed meats and eggs that I have. I've managed to find a farmer who sells grass-fed meat though, so that's a relief.

    - Gluten sensitivity. Yesterday, I actually made a topic on this as I was curious about the rusk and gluten content within the sausages I was eating. I started taking notice when I had some bad mood swings and anger issues the same day I had sausages with gluten inside. Those are the only foods that I consumed that contained gluten, and there definitely seems to be a connection. I've cut out gluten completely for my trial, for reference.

    - Hypothyroidism. I'm not too sure if I have this condition, and it seems that the only way to check is to see my GP.

    - Lack of Vitamin D. I'm usually out every day, and here in London spring is finally starting to come round, so now the sun is coming into swing as well. I've been taking a multivitamin every day regardless, and the cod liver oil also contains 100% of the RDA for vitamins A and D.

    - Not eating enough fats. This, I believe, MAY be somewhat plausible. I only manage 20 at most a week for my food, and my parents generally buy 99% processed foods. I focus entirely on fatty meats. Today I managed to buy 12 slices of dry, cured, smoked back bacon, 2 pork chops and 3 steaks. The steaks are huge, and I haven't tried those yet. I've already had 3 slices of bacon, so I need to ration it all out throughout the week. My parents still make dinner though! For me, my mum usually cooks chicken thighs with vegetables. Nothing added, plain and simple and works well.

    I would buy some coconut oil, but I'm not sure where from. Any other London primals who can share any good shops? I've been using olive oil for now, trying to make the most out of what I can. I'd rather not use butter either due to the dairy (not sensitive as far as I know, but I'd rather go without).

    Any tips, advice and additional information is greatly appreciated.


  • #2

    Hi KG,

    You can also supplement with the amino acid 5-HTP which increases production of serotonin. The way I did it (just followed from a book) was to take two doses per day, starting at 50mg. One 50mg dose in the afternoon and once before bed. Then after 3 days increased to 100mg each time, and after another 3 days reached the max dose of 150mg. It it also supposed to help with symptoms of anxiety and help you sleep.


    • #3

      I sleep about 9-10 hours every night, no issues there really. I'm fairly confident that this is mostly diet / nutritionally related overall. I've heard of 5-HTP before I think, I'll keep that in mind the next time I visit a store with supplements. Thanks!


      • #4

        Here's a good website for excellent coconut oil. I use it in basically everything


        • #5

          Tips for fighting depression:

          -Eat well, plenty of protein, variety diet including fruits and veggies (The colors seem to help make people happy in my experience), plenty of omega-3s

          -Get some exercise. Around age 14 or so I was doing a one-meal-a-day diet, right after my 8 mile runs. Definitely depressed, working out was the one thing I always looked forward to, and it helped ALOT.

          -Getting sleep/sunlight

          -Relaxing, hangout with positive people that you like, be around people you love

          -Do what you love in your off time. Whatever your passion is, do it when your not in school or doing something on the same priority level. This helps ALOT.

          -Change your mindset. This is huge. Start thinking more positively, even if negative thoughts come to mind, try to see the positive side. Soon enough your thought patterns will change for the better.

          In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!:


          • #6

            You probably could use more vitamin D3: this has helped my mood a lot (I live at a norththern altitude as well). The dietary recommendations for vitamin D are way lower than what most people need. I take 4-6000 IU a day, usually. Make sure to get a gel cap, as vitamin D is fat soluble.

            Walking outside most days (~1 hour) has also helped a lot for me, as well as cutting out sugar. Good luck!


            • #7

              Geez, where were you when I was 17? I'd have liked you. I do anyway. You're smart and articulate.

              Anyway, I don't want to overwhelm you with supplement suggestions (particularly as I don't believe in there's any value in most of them!), but magnesium is another you might want to check into.

              There's a lot of info out there on the magnesium-depression connection. Here's one link:

              Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm!

              Latest post: Stop Being Stupid


              • #8

                Meats can be expensive, but don't forget eggs are a healthy source of fats and protein. You can even buy eggs that are high in omega 3's - the hens have been fed flax seed meal. But if you can't afford them, eat plenty of regular eggs.

                I would advise getting a bottle of cod liver oil (Carlson's lemon flavor is delicious) and take a whole tablespoon twice a day rather than just a couple of capsules. Make sure wherever you buy it from keeps it refrigerated and you should definitely store it in the fridge as well. This is as effective as many anti-depressants.

                I second the suggestion to take Vit D supplements. The angle of the sun in these northern latitudes is NOT strong enough to stimulate any Vit D. production in the skin until late spring. But be sure to get outside in the natural light every day anyway, because natural light stimulates other brain chemicals that help protect against depression. I live in Seattle (latitude 47) and have used a dawn simulator for about 7 years now with wonderful results. It just turns on my 150 watt bedside lamp every morning for whatever time I need to get up. My energy and moods have been vastly improved by it. Research shows early morning light reduces depression more than light boxes used at other times of day.

                I have also read other research that indicates outdoor walking is more effective than jogging or running for beating depression.

                Lastly, do you have a pet? Having a dog or cat can help as well - esp. a dog that will enjoy going on walks with you!

                Take care and best to you on your journey.


                • #9

                  @ Lillian

                  Thanks for the link! I'm not too keen on buying food online, but I've managed to skim through that page on that particular oil and learned some good info (particularly the "What is Virgin Coconut Oil?" bit). Definitely a good read, thanks!

                  @ Ahmed S.

                  I'm eating completely primal, I can confidently say! I used to be really picky with my food as a kid, but now I'm too curious for my own good, constantly trying new foods. For example, I'd *never* think that I would even TASTE a pig's liver, let alone eat one! (Which I did last week :P).

                  Exercise-wise, I'm taking it real easy. I'm doing calisthenics (body-weight exercises) a few times a week. I do them whenever I feel energetic enough, eg. I managed to pull off 40 slow press-ups earlier today, which is definitely an improvement considering that my body feels like lead with this metabolic adjustment!

                  I'm certain that my sleep and sunlight exposure is all well and good. Nothing out of the ordinary for those two!

                  For your other points, I definitely see how you're approaching my issue, and I agree 110% on all of them. I do all of those things, yet I still have my low spells (I'm improving daily). For example, by doing something I love, I might do a bit of reading. The problem occurs with my mental issues; the brain fog prevents me from actually reading the book properly, and I end up re-reading sentences etc.

                  I feel like I'm getting better day after day, and to be frank I'm not worried on how long it will take to recover, because I know for a fact that I've made all the right decisions and taken the appropriate actions.

                  @ lesliek

                  I'll bear your dosage advice in mind. London's weather is comment. I've completely eliminated all processed and refined foods, all I eat now is meat and vegetables as staples, no problems there!

                  I also spend time outside at least every day; weekdays I attend 6th form / College, and on weekends I may go out if I feel like it. I tend to do a fair bit of studying on weekends, and generally I prefer staying in and just chilling out and enjoying what I have.

                  @ BarbeyGirl

                  Haha! Thanks for the compliment! ;P

                  I've added your link to my favorites for now; it certainly seems to be one of those articles that are jam-packed with all the detail I need for your point about magnesium. I have to admit, I like going over these kind of articles. They seem independent, yet backed up with so much evidence, and more often than not it just makes sense.

                  @ Barb

                  I eat eggs religiously every day, can't get enough of them! The meat is indeed pretty expensive, but the advantages of having organic, grass-fed meat far outweigh the costs.

                  I'll be taking a visit to a supplement store soon; I'll keep an eye out for fish / cod liver oil bottles instead of capsules. I've heard them being mentioned before, just need to try and seek them out!

                  I know a fair bit about light boxes myself, because I actually own an Apollo GoLite. I wanted to use it to cure what I *thought* was DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome). I started taking notice of my health when my sleep started to suffer in quality, so I purchased the light and tried it. To be frank, it didn't work, and I gave it a good few months of consistent use. I honestly believe that it DOES work for people who suffer from circadian rhythm disorders and such, but chances are my sleep problems were down to a more physiological approach, like hypoglycemia or something to that effect.

                  Yep, I have two boxer dogs and two cats! Most people are surprised that they actually get along fine. :P

                  Reading over all your advice, it's all becoming apparent that my depressive symptoms are/were (I'm sure the problems are slowly fading) a symptom of a physiological problem. I honestly think that it was all the years of eating refined, sugary, starchy foods every day as a kid, but at least I've learned my lesson before it was too late!

                  I'm taking all your advice on board and going full force with this. Thanks guys, your support's been invaluable! (So cheesy, but hey, it's true! :P)


                  • #10

                    An excellent non-prescription anti-depressant is SAM-e. It is available at health food stores, but I buy mine on the internet because it is cheaper.

                    My husband takes it when he feels depressed and it really works: he has been quitting smoking and using the nicotine patch...this makes him depressive and anxious. The SAM-e actually turns it around: trust me, this is more than a placebo as nothing else really works on him.

                    Unfortunately my brain is like a sieve when it comes to all the scientific research we did before trying it--but research it yourself. If I (faintly) recall, it performed as well as Prozac in terms of mood alteration, but without the side-effects. It is also supposed to help muscle soreness too, which is what it was originally used for, and then these other emotional effects were noticed.

                    5-HTP and magnesium are also good--they've worked for me--but SAM-e seems more immediate; if you are into herbal solutions, holy basil sometimes works. But investigate SAM-e first!