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Primal Eating and Depression

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  • Primal Eating and Depression

    I've seen some comments in the success stories that people were able to get off anti-depressants after going primal. I'm hoping it will happen to me. I don't have high hopes though - if anything lowing my carbs has made me more depressed and I'm considering adding back in another med I used to be on.

    Any advice for curing depression with nutrition?

    Any thoughts on whether primal really can cure depression? I sort of think that perhaps so low grade depression may be fixed with diet, I'm not sure about my formerly severe (but well treated with meds) depression. I would love for this to be true, and have a sliver of hope ..... thoughts?

  • #2
    Try eating primal style with more carbs! Seriously, don't be afraid of carbs .. be afraid of frankenfoods. That is really what can cause depression. Add some fruit and potatoes into your diet.. spend more time outside while it is nice and get at least some minor exercise

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    • #3
      Yeah, primal =/= low carb. Just stick to things that came from the ground. I used to suffer from severe depression and anxiety and now I don't (I'm still a little bit anxious, but my depression is almost entirely gone) by eating more greens, all kinds of potatoes, cruciferous veggies... I basically discovered a whole new world of food from the packaged/processed foods I used to eat exclusively...

      But again, there are sometimes external reasons for depression. If, say, you lost a loved one, you can't expect dietary changes to make you feel completely better. But you can definitely count on things like fast food and soft drinks to make you feel even worse. My two cents.

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      • #4
        How long have you been primal?

        When I initially cut gluten out of my diet (about a year before I started eating primal) my severe and sometimes debilitating depression and anxiety issues just sort of... went away. I had been on and off medication for the past few years and one day I realized I hadn't even thought about medication (or my mood) in months. It was a bit miraculous. I was obviously extremely sensitive to gluten in more ways than I thought. I think a lot of people are, and not just to gluten. Some people have intolerances to dairy or other foods that manifest in this way. You're just going to have to experiment and give it time; there's no other way to find out.

        Primal/Paleo is not a low carb diet. Add in some sweet potatoes, fruit, honey, etc. Whatever you tolerate best.
        Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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        • #5
          So I've been watching the carbs because I have insulin resistance. I am very obese and have a long way to go. I actually have been working with a nutritionist (which is how I found Primal Blueprint - she definitely teaches primal eating) who had been encouraging low carb *for now* while I heal the insulin resistance. I'll talk to her about upping the carbs. I've been primal with a cheat meal a week since October - but also pretty low carb. I was feeling lacking energy for a while so I did make a conscious effort to up my carbs. I definitely eat 1-2 servings of carby food a day (berries, sweet potatoes, etc) plus the carbs in full fat greek yogurt, coconut milk, and vegetables.

          My weight loss has stalled, so actually I was going to try an elimination diet - really strict on the no gluten, no soy, and adding no dairy for a while then add back in and see if sensitive.

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          • #6
            I highly recommend the blog of Dr. Georgia Ede called, "Diagnosis: Diet". She is a psychiatrist who is applying paleo dietary principles for her patients and herself.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mandypandy2246 View Post
              So I've been watching the carbs because I have insulin resistance. I am very obese and have a long way to go. I actually have been working with a nutritionist (which is how I found Primal Blueprint - she definitely teaches primal eating) who had been encouraging low carb *for now* while I heal the insulin resistance. I'll talk to her about upping the carbs. I've been primal with a cheat meal a week since October - but also pretty low carb. I was feeling lacking energy for a while so I did make a conscious effort to up my carbs. I definitely eat 1-2 servings of carby food a day (berries, sweet potatoes, etc) plus the carbs in full fat greek yogurt, coconut milk, and vegetables.

              My weight loss has stalled, so actually I was going to try an elimination diet - really strict on the no gluten, no soy, and adding no dairy for a while then add back in and see if sensitive.
              Good idea. It takes longer than a week to get these foods out of your system, so as long as you're "cheating" with them, you aren't doing yourself any service. There are plenty of primal-friendly ways to treat yourself!

              Are you tracking your intake? How many carbs (from the berries and potatoes) are you eating a day?
              Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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              • #8
                Dr Emily Deans' blog evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com talks about is focussed on primal principles and mental health (including the role of smart exercise, mindfulness and sunshine, not just a nutritious diet). She also did a short talk at the Ancestral Health symposium last year on what not to eat for good mental health Emily Deans, MD

                My opinion is that primal principles support good mental health, but therapy of any kind and medication are fine too, and not something we should try to stop doing as soon as possible.

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                • #9
                  I've been taking anti-depressants for over 10 years. Still had problems but hate all mind altering drugs and their side effects, so didn't want to screw with it.

                  Dec. 4th, I lost my job of 30 years. So an already depressed person that lost her only means of financial support would not be considered low grade depression...

                  The first of the year I went low carb primal and started working out at least 5 days a week.

                  The combination of the two has made me feel better (physically and mentally) than I have in years. I've lost almost 30# (still have 20ish to go).

                  BUT, I have no intention of going off my medication. Why mess with success! I've tried in the past with negative results.

                  You didn't say if you were exercising??? I highly recommend it for a variety of positive self image reasons.

                  Good luck!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by upupandaway View Post
                    Dr Emily Deans' blog evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com talks about is focussed on primal principles and mental health (including the role of smart exercise, mindfulness and sunshine, not just a nutritious diet). She also did a short talk at the Ancestral Health symposium last year on what not to eat for good mental health Emily Deans, MD

                    My opinion is that primal principles support good mental health, but therapy of any kind and medication are fine too, and not something we should try to stop doing as soon as possible.
                    Good advice.

                    Personally, I have found that using amino acids has worked much better than SSRI's (anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds). I follow some of the ideas in Julia Ross' "The Mood Cure".
                    Depression Lies

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                    • #11
                      Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement. I will look into some of those blogs and resources you recommend.

                      To answer ombat's question, I haven't been tracking my exact carbs but maybe I will try that. Also, good advice about "no cheating" while I heal myself.

                      And I have not been exercising enough. I think a 30-60 minute walk every day in the sunshine would do me some good. I know there are other exercises I should be doing but for now that is what is stress free and what I feel like I can manage. Primal has been a major overhaul on my life, so when I first started, I stopped exercising because of the amount of time focusing on eating right was taking - I was not used to cooking everything myself - I figured getting into healthy eating habits was more important than exercising.

                      I am a PhD student and life is hectic to say the least ...

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                      • #12
                        Moderate exercise is a big help as well. Even just walking as long as it is consistent and I found it best to go at least 45 minutes at a time.

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                        • #13
                          I'm just asking because you may not be getting as much as you think you are. For instance you mention dairy and coconut products, which would not be included in carbohydrate intake (neither would non-starchy veggies).

                          Walks in the sun sound like a great idea - exercise and vitamin D, in which most people are deficient. Fermented Cod Liver Oil is also good for vitamin D if you need it, and can help improve mood.
                          Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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