I currently suffer from bulimia - binging and purging, and even after just a few days of pretty strict paleo, I feel less tempted to binge, feel way less cravings etc. I hope it isn't just in the beginning I'll feel this effect, but I guess time will show.
Oh, and I', also very prone to depression.
Thank you for sharing your story Bissen. My sister nearly died of bulimia about 25 years ago. Now she is married, a little overweight but nobody cares about that, they just care that she is happy and healthy. I just tell you this to show that there can be lots of life beyond such afflictions. I hope that you find your way there and that the PB can help.
I want to echo some things other people have said and also suggest one new thing - for getting off the soda, have you thought of kombucha? I make mine with decaf tea if you don't mind the "processing" at least it wouldn't have the caffeine (if you think that's a concern). Anyway, I love kombucha and it has not only the carbonation but kind of a sharp bite (depending how long you let it go!). I was never a huge soda drinker but got hooked on seltzer / club soda long before going primal (or Paleo 2.0 as [URL="http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/3/30/paleo-20-a-diet-manifesto.html"]PaNu recently coined[/URL]). Now I also really like kombucha (plus I am a cheapskate so being able to make it myself is key!).
I've also made homemade ginger ale, which I let go for a loooooong time until it isn't sweet. (You do have to be careful of the carbonation so it doesn't explode - I divide and add water until it gets unsweet enough for me.)
With respect to primal, I've said many times that I will stick with this forever regardless of body recomposition because of the difference it has made for me in sleep and mental attitude. I believe this is one of the great assets of Mark's take on the relationship between long-term chronic stress and the SAD unhealthy state. To be honest I was not a huge grain/carb eater before taking on the primal approach, but taking fish oil (well, nowadays I tend to eat sardines) and focusing on good sleep and stress reduction has totally turned my world around.
Another note I don't remember if anyone else has mentioned: I discovered over the winter that for me, low-fat is absolutely depressing. Since this friend of yours doesn't have a weight problem, I would suggest adding good healthy fats into his diet, especially of course if you can get him to cut back on the grains.
You are doing a good thing. Keep us posted.
I have not had problems with depression my whole life like some people in this thread, but I get depressed and anxious due to challenges in my life. I had PTSD after a death threat. I'm a stepmother and have had a lot of difficulties with my adult stepchildren, which has been very depressing at times.
I have found that changing my diet to a primal one has helped somewhat. It helps me deal with real dangers and real problems with more focus and resolve, and less confusion and despair. I think my thinking and speaking are clearer, which helps me communicate better with other people about how things need to change.
I guess I"m saying that sometimes in life there are truly bad situations that anybody would be depressed about. Sometimes it's rational to be depressed and "anxious" or worried about the future. I am worried about the future of our planet and our country. Sometimes it gets me down, but having a better diet definitely helps people bounce back quicker and respond more intelligently to challenging situations.
I know I'm jumpin in 8 pages late... but personally my depression has completely gone away after paleo/primal. Not sure if it's the confidence of looking good now or if it's chemical but i have no depression anymore.
I jsut posted my own thread in the Successes forum and was pointed here.
Going primal has helped me SO much, mentally and physically. This is what i posted:
[QUOTE=Nion;448798]I know i've seen a couple people around here say they are Bipolar, or Schizophrenic.
I have [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_personality_disorder]Borderline personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url], which is kinda like Bipolar on hi speed with some abandonment issues thrown in for good measure!
Anyway, my point is: Has anyone else noticed an improvement in their mental issues since starting primal?
I've been doing this roughly a month, and before, i used to have severe mood swings daily, and constant anxiety - but now, i feel pretty good most of the time!
My depression is pretty much gone.
Anxiety issues have lightened considerably, which before was crippling
I'm not so goddamn angry all the time, although it's still there, it's in the back of my head.
I'm also obnoxiously happy and energetic to the point where it's weirding people out :P :cool:[/QUOTE]
After cutting out gluten and sugar it was especially dramatic.
Anyone concerned with depression should look into cognitive and behavioral approaches to changing it (as well as cognitive-behavioral combinations). A good place to start is with David Burns's *Feeling Good.*
In my opinion, a physician who does not at least attempt a cognitive-behavioral approach and tries to deal with depression only through drugs such as Prozac or nutrition is irresponsible and probably quite ignorant as well.
Of course, drugs and better nutrition can help some people, but not as much as many are quick to assume. Also, what people call "depression" is often enough a fairly normal response to objective problems.
You know, I have an issue with the term 'mental illness'. I hate to be pedantic about it, but really, there's no separation between your body and your head. (If your head is in a jar somewhere, please don't tell me, because that's freaky ;)). When Freud brought in his armchair philosophies about therapy it did the world a huge disservice, because it really created a big separation between treating how we feel through addressing the whole body and, well, doing things that just don't work very well.
Anyways. My point is that the best ways to treat mental illnesses are always things that don't focus on the head/moods to the exclusion of everything else. Here is what you can do that has been documented as the most consistent and effective solutions, regardless of the problem (well, pretty much):
[list][*] Eat unprocessed foods, rather than junk foods.[*] Exercise. At the least walk around a bit every day, if you can.[*] Get sunlight. If there isn't any where you are, find a tanning salon with low-pressure lights.[*] Socialise. That doesn't mean party. In fact, low-key social events are best.[*] Laugh.[*] Get affectionate touch in your life. I'm not talking about sex; I mean hugs, holding hands, and basic family-type stuff like that. Even petting a dog or cat is great.[*] Avoid stress, as much as possible. Try to live simply and allow yourself to release your fears.[*] Face your fears. Obviously, the way you do this will depends on your fears. Obviously, if you have OCD and fear getting AIDS, you shouldn't go and put yourself in risky situations. However, the chances are that if you have a mental illness that your fears are largely irrational and you might be avoiding normal or even healthy situations with no good reason. One example might be someone who fears germs and therefore won't visit a friend's house, because their friend works as a nurse. That's a good fear to face, little by little. Fears only have power over you if you hold on to the fear. It is the fear that has the power. The event itself has no power. And the fear only has as much power as you decide to give it.[*] Prayer helps. If you have OCD or schizophrenia you might want to allow someone else to monitor you for a while.[/list]
Sugar and grains are the biggies, as far as using food culprits that jack with brain chemistry.
Amino acid therapy handled/handles the rest. (+++)
Exercise, particularly exercising outdoors.
"The Mood Cure" by Ross. She has a lot of experience getting folks off antidepressants and onto amino acids.
"Depression-Free, Naturally" by Larson.[/QUOTE]
Agreed! Plus those books are dam good, thanks for the share