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Depression Support

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  • #31
    How much of depression treatment seems to be about what you don't eat??? I made some fruit leather yesterday and have to admit to have been eating it all day - but descended into a bit of a trough mood wise a few hours ago and started to get the desire to go out and buy pizza or maybe cake and ice cream. It seems as though the concentrated nature of the fruit leather did this to me - it was sweetened with honey but only contained fruit I bought and picked myself. Seems it will have to be reserved for long hikes and suchlike.

    Other foods that set me off in this way, I have discovered: Bread, any wheatflour products, almost always alcohol, the usual refined sugars, dairy (any milk / cream / yoghurt).

    Although at the time I think it's my depression returning, it always works out to be the response to dietary overload of carbs or sugar, and it doesn't take much.

    Strangely, I don't get this from consuming normal fruit, even high sugar fruits form dates and bananas.

    Having said that, I feel its time to go into ketosis for a while.
    Healthy is the new wealthy.


    • #32
      Also, this
      Action for Happiness
      Healthy is the new wealthy.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Owen View Post
        If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.


        • #34
          Owen, I've experienced similar things from eating too many banana chips. Fresh or cooked fruit is fine, but dried fruit I think I tend to overeat and so perhaps that's the problem.
          Depression Lies


          • #35
            Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
            Owen, I've experienced similar things from eating too many banana chips. Fresh or cooked fruit is fine, but dried fruit I think I tend to overeat and so perhaps that's the problem.
            Agreed, I think its the increase in sugar vs the volume of food consumed.

            Earlier I meant to also link to this: 'We share a universal desire for wellbeing'. Seems obvious but sometimes forgotten.

            Improving Wellbeing Should Be Our Global Priority | Dr Mark Williamson
            Last edited by Owen; 09-11-2013, 04:15 AM.
            Healthy is the new wealthy.



            • #36
              Hi Owen,
              Thanks for starting this topic.
              Important links between diet and mental health.
              I'm a psychologist researching these things.
              A couple of quick points;
              -You say depression is primarily a physical disease with secondary psychiatric symptoms. This is wrong. To clarify, I suspect, and my research indicates, that there is a much, much larger physical basis for depression than what is currently believed, but until it is conclusively proven we can't make such assertions.

              -You make the leap from the brain's fatty composition to the brain needing fat as a fuel. Again, my research and my own personal opinion is indicating that dietary fat is very important as a fuel for the brain. But you cannot dictate a diet based on the composition of an organ. That would lead down all sorts of strange paths....

              Having said that. I agree on the whole and appreciate that you're offering this as your personal testimony. I think it's massively underappreciated.


              • #37
                Haven't looked at this thread for some time now as I've been following Primal and largely speaking the issue of Depression has gone away for me, but yesterday / today I had a reminder that vigilance is still the order of the day, even after a full 12 months of this wonderful way of living.

                I have started driving as a job and on Friday I was very late back. On the way home I stopped for a rest and ate a chicken sandwich from McDonalds, and bought a coffee and two kit kat chocolate bars from the fuel station. I woke up yesrerday morning with my head full of negative thoughts and feelings, and spent most of the day immobile in the house - I managed to get a few things done but not a great deal. I was a return of the symptoms I used to live with regularly.

                I can't prove scientifically that the two things are cause and effect - the eating and the depression returning, but the correlation is pretty striking. Its the first time I've eaten non-primal for months and the last time I did it, it was about 3 months ago, with high quality cakes, not the more processed stuff I've eaten this time.

                Its made me realise that its best to carry some decent stuff around with me - fruit or something, to give me something to eat on these rare occasions- usually I would have just fasted but it was the combination of boredom and being out on a long shift, I just got caught out.

                In a way I'm quite dissapointed that I would have such a reaction to one small slip, but it does at least give me a good motivation to stay on the right path.

                There's been some good contributions from others on here in the past so I'm thinking of posting more regularly again, every time I bump the thread someone seems to come on and say 'thanks for posting this'.

                The reality of this condition I have come to realise is not about thinking you're in control all the time, but being vigilant to certain things such as what happended in this little episode.

                We talk about N=1 in this community a lot and nowhere is this more useful than with depression, becasue in my experience, its something that can take you by surprise - when it creeps back on, you initially assume the symptoms to be part of your reality, however often you've overcome them before, the trick always gets played on you, so Saturday morning when I woke up thinking my life is awful again, it was likely to be my physiological reaction to what I'd eaten.

                I am generally in robust health these days, but owing to my recent past, there could well be some gland, or some organ that get's destabilised by some unknown ingredient, but, as is the case with many many people, we don't know the specifics, we may never know.

                However, the very good news, is that for an overwhelmingly large number of people, being fussy about clean eating, avoiding chemicals generally, works incredibly well.
                Healthy is the new wealthy.



                • #38
                  Depression is far more complex than diet alone. Food is often a projection of deep interpersonal discontent and is the affect, not the cause.
                  Granted, hormones do play a meaningful role and diet does have an impact, but to say 'i was depressed on low fat, now I'm primal and happy' is, in my opinion, crass, and ill-informed.
                  People kill themselves. To infer they would have lived had they eaten a certain way is hugely patronising.


                  • #39
                    The biggest helpers for me was a change of life style (changing my situation in life), regular physcal activity, and eliminating caffeine completely. The rest of my diet didn't make a difference at all.

                    It shouldn't be a surprise that I never started having issues with depression until after a handful of years of a highly stressful office job. Too much pressure (with a meaningless job), too much caffeine, not enough exercise, and not enough sun light. Change all that and I'm on top of the world!!!


                    • #40
                      I was diagnosed with depression when I was younger and also have a family history of it. I also have a family history of fibromyalgia. While switching to paleo has definitely helped, I still have issues with serotonin levels (ie, "Fibro Fog"). I started taking 200 mg 5-HTP per day and an iodine supplement and that has really helped. At least 15 minutes of exercize every 1-2 days also helps. I guess my point is, diet definitely plays a part but the physiology of depression I think is about as complicated as all the factors that contribute to brain chemistry. It could well be that you have other undiagnosed health conditions (like fibromyalgia) that flare up when you consume certain foods.

                      In the end, to manage my depression, I've had to make a lot of lifestyle choices. For instance, I find working in an office environment with other people to be very stressful with physiological consequences (frequent migraines, stomach problems) so I've opted for telecommute or partial telecommute work. I just treat it as I have a special condition (or disability, although that's a very politically charged term) that I need to make accomodations for in my life. I have to structure my job and my social life to be as low stress as possible. I need to make sure I'm finding small joys to celebrate on a daily basis. I need to communicate my needs with my husband so he can be supportive.

                      I think our society creates some notion of "normal" and pushes that down our throats, so we're always comparing ourselves to some perfect ideal. In the end it's about getting to know who you are and finding your own happiness.
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                      • #41
                        I would in fact be keen for any person with suicidal ideations to come by the way of the Primal / Paleo / Ancestral health practices.

                        I learned only the other day that 90% of the body's serotonin is manufactured in the enteric nervous system, as opposed to the brain - further proof of the deep connections between digestive and psychological health. Every well-researched advocate of Ancestral/Primal/Paleo eating is supporting this approach to mental health treatment. This is only the beginning.

                        Prime example: been watching Natasha Campbell-McBride's interviews, she is a neurologist who explains how disorders such as schizophrenia are directly caused by problems in the gut biome, combined with hormonal dysfunctions that are usually a result of lipid deficiencies. It is referred to as Gut and Psychology Syndrome. We already know that leaky gut does far more than cause tummy disturbance - it allows pathogens into the bloodstream unchecked. The correlation between the western dietary decline and huge increases in the incidents of mental illness needs to be examined, and thankfully, is being.

                        If we are talking purely on percentages, you don't need to be a bookmaker to assume that an ancestral diet will give rise to improved psychological health in the majority of it's adherents. I would hypothesise that the exceptions to this rule would be very few. The functioning of the nervous and endochrine system are so closely connected to diet that it can surely not be ignored for much longer by mainstream psychiatry.
                        Last edited by Owen; 11-03-2013, 11:11 AM.
                        Healthy is the new wealthy.



                        • #42
                          Originally posted by mmmpork View Post
                          I find working in an office environment with other people to be very stressful with physiological consequences (frequent migraines, stomach problems) so I've opted for telecommute or partial telecommute work. I just treat it as I have a special condition (or disability, although that's a very politically charged term) that I need to make accomodations for in my life.
                          I think our society creates some notion of "normal" and pushes that down our throats, so we're always comparing ourselves to some perfect ideal. In the end it's about getting to know who you are and finding your own happiness.
                          Very interesting, I've also had difficulties in this area in the past, I left an office job during my most recent period of depression. I do think that some office environments are inherently stressful though - any occupation that involves total inertia is likely to induce a lot of stress. We're just not built for it. Some respond better than others, granted, but I wouldn't call being allergic to the office environment an illness, I'd sooner say it's human nature - those that enjoy it are, if anything, the abnormal ones :-)
                          Healthy is the new wealthy.



                          • #43
                            I've been primal for about 4 months now but I'm still waiting for the depression to clear.

                            Granted, I'm doing quite a bit better than I have been doing before (did a suicide prevention online course during June - August, while I still have the stray thought, that's what it is now - just a 'random' thought. That's very different from how things used to be). But the 'boundless energy' and actually feeling good/happy? Not so much (yet?). And I'm very tired all the time (that's been a problem for ... oh, about 10 years now.)

                            I really hope things will improve, but I'm not sure 'just food' (and exercise and sleep etc.) is enough at this point. Not sure what else to do - conventional medicine which screw with hormones and chemicals etc. really scare me and I hope I won't have to try them, but who knows... eventually?


                            • #44
                              Hi Pretzle, thanks for your post. I wish I could do more for you than posting on a forum, but what I would say is, if you consider how long a brain takes to grow, it gives you an idea of how long one might take to heal. It's taken me 12 months to begin to get close to my ideal weight, and during that time I've seen one improvement after another psychologically speaking as well, but it is a slow process because its an organic process. I am constantly re-hashing and refining my diet, trying different things, and sometimes taking two steps forward and one step back, as you can see above. But I have in my arsenal something that I know works.

                              It sounds as though you have had some improvements. Have a look back through this post for reference points to other resources, i would particularly recommend the work of Julia Ross and 'The Mood Cure', who was recommended to me by namelesswonder on here.

                              I would never discount the option of medication, the only thing I am sure of is that giving the nutrition thing a valid chance before doing meds is the right way around. If you are seeing regular progress, however slow, you might not need the meds.
                              Healthy is the new wealthy.



                              • #45
                                Depression is a complex topic, I was never diagnosed but after changing my diet and lifestyle I realised that I too had severe chronic depression, it is a state of being that I feel most of the population is in even if they don't realise it and don't manifest all the typical symptoms.
                                You are on a great path Owen but beware the pitfalls of assumption, the fact that 90% of Serotonin is produced in the gut does not in itself give greater weighting to the gut as the source of depression, Gut Seretonin and Brain Serotonin are two different populations seperated by the blood brain barrier and Serotonin like most compounds in the body is multifaceted. Serotonin from the gut may operate at a cellular level hence the volume requirement, but brain serotonin may operate at a systemic level so even though there is far less serotonin in the brain it's effects are in a different order of magnitude.
                                It is of interest that Serotonin resistance, failure of serotonin reuptake transporter in the brain, produces Insulin resistance and fatty liver irrespective of diet:
                                PLOS ONE: Reduced Serotonin Reuptake Transporter (SERT) Function Causes Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Steatosis Independent of Food Intake
                                Though this is in a mouse model, it is well known that SSRI's and some antipsychotic medications do increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, this does then point to a deeper cause and the dietary outcome and actions may well be just an attempt to self medicate, it is known that carbohydrate increases serotonin levels in the synapses, so the association between carbohydrate consumption may just be an association and have very little influence in the actual outcome.
                                I think a good balanced primal diet is the start, but lifestyle, healthy exercise, daily movement along with socialising & fun activities are essential to the process, individuals should be wary of placing all their eggs in the diet basket.
                                Depression (& Anxiety) is also multifaceted, there is a biochemical response as well as a behavioural response in many situations the biochemical response (diet) can be improved but the condition persists, there also needs to be a gradual modification of behavioural patterns to get full recovery, CBT being one of the therapies.
                                Sleep patterns play a key role, it's no wonder many depressed people just want to sleep, they're not running away, they actually do need to get good quality sleep so a serious look at improving your circadian rythms is essential there are multiple overlapping cycles your body is a superb orchestra that must be in time to achieve a pleasant note.
                                Then finally time, people forever remain impatient not content with gradual improvements, as soon as they feel some benefit they go pedal to the metal in one direction or another, like the've seen an "oasis in the desert" and it usually turns out to be a mirage, slow and steady is the order of the day, your body needs to move through this as a whole, it has many things to do inpreparation for each stage, rushing things is akin to tearing your arm off mid race so you can throw it over the Finish line to win on a technicality, yes you may have won but are you better off by that ego driven act?
                                Oh BTW, great thread thanks for starting it and congrats to you & others in your collective progress.
                                "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"