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How to elevate depressed mood w/o caffeine?

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  • How to elevate depressed mood w/o caffeine?

    I developed postpartum depression after giving birth a little over 5 months ago. The depression manifests itself in oppressive fatigue, deep feelings of hopelessness, mental fog and crying spells.

    I've noticed that even small amounts of black coffee elevate not only my energy but my mood considerable. I suddenly become optimistic, excited about life, and my thinking is so much clearer/creative, etc.

    I don't want to become addicted to caffeine so I'm wondering if there are other natural ways to elevate my mood/balance my neurotransmitters that are safer/nonaddictive?

    For context please note:

    - That I am a Type II Diabetic so I cannot tolerate a big carb load. (I say this to acknowledge that there are many on this board that are against VLC.).

    -I am taking Vitamin D on a daily basis. 2 years ago I tested low for Vitamin D levels but they are now normal.

    -I am taking fish oil supplements and trying to eat more salmon...

    -I'm also taking Calcium/Magnesium supplements since I've read low magnesium can affect mood...
    Last edited by shema; 05-01-2013, 09:00 PM.

  • #2
    I absolutely love black coffee, not just for the overall effect but I love the flavor too.

    But I worry that it does have addictive properties, and that the more I drink, the more I'll need it to stay awake or feel happy, and it'll turn into a vicious cycle.

    If someone can convince me that this is not the case and that drinking black coffee will not be addictive, then I'm happy to drink more often! :-)

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    • #3
      Cold Showers!

      Just google how cold showers have helped so many people with depression/anxiety!

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      • #4
        Drink the coffee!!! Its not a drug or crutch, its healthy and sounds like it might sace your life. Stop viewing foods as either good or bad.

        Also drop the fish oil and limit the amount of PUFA and muscle meat in your diet. Btw there are many people who believe that type 2 diabetics should eat more carbs from the roght sources, not less. Maybe play around with a low fat/low protein/high carb diet with most of the calories coming from fruit sugar.

        Raypeat.com and 180degreehealth.com write quite a bit about this.

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        • #5
          As another coffee lover I understand your dillemma - but limiting it is probably a good thing. I try to keep it to two cups per day but the stuff just smells so incredible.....anyway physical activity and sunlight are both far more powerful ways to boost your mood. And longer lasting than coffee !
          Last edited by Owen; 05-02-2013, 04:00 AM.
          Healthy is the new wealthy.

          http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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          • #6
            Read Julia Ross' "The Mood Cure". I don't know if she addresses PPD specifically, but it covers depression. I believe it also covers the effects of caffeine on depression.

            A bit of coffee is probably not going to hurt you, but you also probably don't need to rely on it.
            Depression Lies

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            • #7
              coffee, if it works, is better than a prescription anti-depressant - my daughter had serious PPD and it was getting to the point where she couldn't even leave the house. Her doctor put her on an anti-depressant (can't recall which one at the moment - think it was lexapro) for awhile and it pulled her out of it. Having gone through depression, but not PPD, myself, I find that exercise and sunlight help a lot.

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              • #8
                I would definitely drink and enjoy the coffee. Just keep your intake moderate and watch that you're not letting it creep up. S long as it's not gradually creeping up and you're not noticing any negative side effects (eg jitteriness, palpitations) then I think you should enjoy both the coffee and its benefits.

                Sunlight and some enjoyable, mood-boosting exercise are the other things that spring to mind. Things that do it for me are astanga yoga and dancing.

                Chocolate and potatoes also have mood-boosting effects.

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                • #9
                  STRESS.

                  I've suffered from depression for my whole life, and burn out for the last ten years. I've been keeping a journal for the last two months, and it's finally made me see that all my depression and energy crashes stem from stress.

                  People talk about stress management all the time, but I don't believe many people actually know how to do it. People take holidays / go for a assage etc., but the only way to combat stress is to be aware of when it's happening: not when you're alreayd stressed. It's a "every moment" process.

                  If you don't think stress is the cause then I recommend keeping a journal so that you can begin to notice patterns in your mood / cycle / diet / sleep etc.

                  Good luck!
                  Last edited by YogaBare; 05-02-2013, 07:38 AM.
                  "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                  In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                  - Ray Peat

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                  • #10
                    Wow, all of you, your insights are spot on:

                    -Stress. Yes, you’re right, I’m terribly stressed. In addition to juggling with a colicky baby I’ve returned to an incredibly demanding job that’s eating away at me. Right now I’m putting in about 50-60 hours/week. My boss insists that being overworked in this economy is the new reality at all organizations, and that if I can’t handle it, there are countless other who will pounce to take my place. Yikes. This reality IS depressing. Not sure how to combat stress in this scenario.

                    -On the Julia Ross book: OMG! I bought her book maybe 5 years ago? I’ll have to dig it up! She’s the one who talks about using food and supplements to balance mood right? What I remember from way back is she recommended GABA to create a calm mood...but it didn’t help me when I had a public speaking gig...but I'm sure there's other useful info...

                    -Yeah. I love coffee. The smell, the taste, the way it makes me feel. Thanks everyone, for reassuring me that I can indulge.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shema View Post
                      -Stress. Yes, you’re right, I’m terribly stressed. In addition to juggling with a colicky baby I’ve returned to an incredibly demanding job that’s eating away at me. Right now I’m putting in about 50-60 hours/week. My boss insists that being overworked in this economy is the new reality at all organizations, and that if I can’t handle it, there are countless other who will pounce to take my place. Yikes. This reality IS depressing. Not sure how to combat stress in this scenario.
                      It requires a lot of awareness

                      I watched this video the other day and it gave me a lot of insight into how men and women manage stress differently. Men work really well from a "fight" / adrenaline mode of behaviour, but when women try to implement this mode they get extremely burnt out. Women need to operate from a place of ease, relaxation and love.

                      Maybe you might get something out of it (forget the sales pitch at the end: it's an old video): What is The Female Success Model?
                      "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                      In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                      - Ray Peat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Quit your job if there is any possible way! Lifes to short to do something you hate and keeps you away from your kid for so long.

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                        • #13
                          I am so very sorry you are going through this:-( I have 4 beautiful children ranging in age from 3 to 17. After each birth I suffered with PPD for about the first year. It is a horrible, horrible monster to deal with. I shun big pharma so I never took antidepressants. I have tried every diet (vegan, raw, paleo, primal, WP...), supplement, you name it, in hopes of "curing" it. No luck. I think what helped most was having someone to talk to. Have you tried seeing a counselor or talking with someone who has gone through what you are dealing with? Someone who can reassure you that you will come through just fine. That even though it feels like you will be stuck in the depression pit forever, you won't?

                          Something I read about recently is SAD light therapy helping to lift mood in PPD women. Maybe you could Google it and see what you think. I use a light for winter blues and it works wonders! So now I am wondering if it will work for PPD if my hubby and I decide to have one more blessing?! All in all, know that PPD will gradually lift. It is painful, but normal for many women. I will be praying for you. Hang in there and enjoy your precious baby~

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                          • #14
                            Physically demanding exercise! And your boss is a d-bag. Job stress has to change or change jobs. Are you Salary? if so that's a management lie to get more work for the same money. And the lie is more prevalent with all the financial doom and gloom that's painted.
                            Last edited by pyro13g; 05-02-2013, 11:48 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks so much for your helpful responses everyone. I wish I could quit my job but my field is somewhat specialized so its hard to find other jobs and I invested a lot of myself in getting a good education. It feels like I’m throwing a lot away to just quit. I try to remind myself that I should feel lucky to be employed in this economy. (To answer your Q I’m non-salaried and the culture at my work embodies being connected all the time including nights and weekends).

                              I’m trying to get back into physically demanding exercise. It used to be a huge stress buster and I loved it. However I was on bed rest for the final month of my pregnancy so I’ve lost muscle mass. I’m trying to get back into it but find that even if I can endure a challenging workout, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck for the entire day afterward and the fatigue becomes much worse.

                              @Baconista I really appreciate your support and it’s nice to know someone else who’s been through this. It’s so odd. I only had 1 month of bad baby blues with my first child. It lifted so suddenly it felt like a switch had been flipped. This time around has been so very different. I feel terrible b/c I feel like my baby’s infancy is passing so quickly and I want so badly to enjoy every second of it. But I can’t get my head straight.

                              I did see a therapist and it felt like a waste of time. She would just sit there and look at me and not offer anything helpful. At times I’d think “wow, I wish I had her job! Just sit in a chair, listen to someone vent about their lives, and get paid”.

                              I will definitely google about the light therapy. (To the other PP - I thought the “cold showers” was a joke but was surprised by the info I found!)

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