Action for Happiness
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.
Action for Happiness
If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.
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.
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 at 04:15 AM.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.