Depressed and hungry? We don't often think to overcome depression with food when for some people eating, eating and more eating is what they do when their mood is low. But eating the right foods may help you to feel happier. It’s all about giving your body a chance.
PLEASE NOTE: We are NOT medical professionals. You can help yourself by eating nutritious foods but always get medical advice if you have a serious health problem. Sometimes medication, even for a short term, is the best advice.
I want to tell you how I learned all this and what steps I took so you can really understand this. If you suffer from depression, I want you to accept this so you will make these changes in your life if you are ready to move on to a happier future.
*But you can skip right to the How To Overcome Depression with Food section right away if you want.
If not, here we go.
For years of my life I’ve had bouts of depression that would leave me tired and wanting to avoid society. I’ve been diagnosed with SAD, PTSD, and Fibromyalgia. Oh, and the avoiding society part – that’s called agoraphobia. (What all in one person? LOL!) Maybe you have, too, and you understand that things may happen in our lives that “knock the stuffing out of you”. It’s hard to respond in a positive fashion when you are struggling just to cope.
But suddenly my ulcerative colitis got much worse, I was diagnosed with Fibro and the possibility of doing physical care or work of any sort became impossible. In fact, the UC not only got worse most of my colon (large intestine) was removed. The following year part of my small intestine was re-built to form an ileo-anal pouch to replace my colon. So now we are talking long term healing (10 years later I was still unsure if it had been a good idea). I had a grim future ahead of me unless I could come up with a new plan.
I did. I knew I couldn't do what I was trained for, but decided I could do something that made use of that knowledge. I started taking a counseling course by distance ed. Something where I could work at my own pace. One part of the course was about Hypnosis. As I read about hypnosis, I agreed with the basics. “No one can control your mind, but with help, a person can learn to control their own thoughts, feelings, and then actions.”
I knew I personally needed help so that in itself made it worth a try. Plus, sitting, talking to someone? I could do that! I jumped at the chance to take training in Calgary.
Another of the basics of hypnosis is repeat, repeat, repeat. You find that even in the Bible! So I set out to practice, practice, and practice some more. I made recording after recording, and in my down times, I listened to my recordings. What happened? The sleeping pills I had been told I would be on forever, got pushed aside. I listened to a tape instead. My hands, so crippled with pain from Fibro, by the next Spring now held a shovel and dug a vegetable garden. (Okay, it wasn’t that big and I did have some help!)
The more I listened to recordings, the more my mood improved. I became aware that the struggles with depression were
few and far between. One day as I walked out of my kitchen feeling that black
cloud hanging over me, it struck me I was really down in a pit – and that it
was unusual. I stopped dead in my
tracks, said to the black cloud, Get lost, let it go, and continued on with my day. Somehow life had changed.
Feeling better mentally and emotionally from the hypnosis, lead me down a path to better physical health and that…opened the door even more to improving my diet and experimenting with food.
I, once again, focused on providing my body with the nutrients it needed. I remembered how years before I had noticed how I always felt sunnier when I took vitamin B6. I got good vitamins. With my digestion problems, my aunt sent me Juice Plus children vitamins. I immediately felt a sense of well being I hadn't had for a long time. The better I felt, the more I felt encouraged to help myself improve by watching what I consumed.
You might not ever over depression with food, you may need to take medication at times, but I believe anything you can do to help your body be healthier and stronger will help with your mind and spirit. It's one of those "little" things that can turn out to be a "great" thing.
While pharmaceuticals are often the treatment of choice for depression - and sometimes they are necessary - there are foods you can eat that can help fight the condition. Some nutritionists refer to depression as a "whole body disease," implying that the body as well as the mind needs treatment.
Carbohydrates are converted to glucose in the body, and glucose triggers the release of insulin by the pancreas. Insulin raises the level of tryptophan, an amino acid, in the brain. Tryptophan is crucial for the production of serotonin, which produces enhanced feelings of well-being. All this to say, including lots of healthy carbohydrates in the form of whole grains can help boost your mood. Try including the following grains into your diet:
Note that some experts suggests omitting wheat in cases of depression, as wheat gluten has been linked to depression in some people)
Some seeds contain tryptophan. These include:
Salads that contain a combination of some or all of the following can help fight depression.
Purslane in particular is an anti-depressant food. According to James A. Duke, PhD, purslane has up to 16 antidepressant compounds; among them are magnesium, potassium, calcium, folate, and lithium. Purslane also contains essential fatty acids (see below).
Pigweed is a weed but a good weed. It has deep roots that help to bring nutrients up so smaller plants can benefit from them. I know this because I spent years, summer season after summer season, trying to get a massive invasion of it out of my garden until I read an article in Organic Gardening magazine about how good it was.
B-vitamins help keep levels of neurotransmitters at healthy levels in the brain. Foods that are high in these vitamins are:
Why not make a multi-colored bean soup with whole grain pasta, and have a mixed greens salad on the side? Or you could mix raw broccoli, radishes and peas with sunflower seeds and safflower oil mayonnaise to make a "happy" salad. And eat some crunchy seeds for snacks.
Also known as Omega-3s and Omega-6s, deficiencies in essential fatty acids (or EFAs) can lead to depression. Boost your intake of foods high in EFAs, such as:
A healthy, complete diet based in whole foods and
beneficial fats can go a long way in promoting physical and emotional health. When you work to overcome depression with food, that improved physical and emotional health could be yours.
What can you do today to help you overcome depression with food? Why not keep a daily log of your moods and the foods you eat and see if you can discover a cause and effect.
Wishing you the best as you work to overcome depression with food improvements in your life. The world needs more smiles. I hope one of them will be yours.
Hypnosis worked for me; it may for you, too. If you haven't tried it before and have some concerns, or just want to experience a free session, sample one of my favorite Hypnosis practitioners. They offer fast, easy and very affordable downloads from their site but you can go to their Facebook page to get a free download.
It can be difficult to move ahead when we are burdened with the exhaustion of depression. Gaining deep relaxation can give your mind (and body) a chance to gain some rest, giving yourself some breathing space to realign your thoughts and give your body a chance to recuperate, too. The more Comprehensive Depression Treatment program may be what you need long term but Coming Out of Depression will help lift you up and help you to restore a feeling good attitude. Even a feeling better for now attitude, with a feeling more hopeful about the future thought pattern starting to develop.
Read more on Coming out of Depression here and on their more Comprehensive Depression Treatment program also.
This - gaining deep relaxation - was the beginning of healing for me. Depression is exhausting. It stems from the exhaustion of pain, worry, and fear of the future. Allowing your body and mind to have that break through deep relaxation will give you a chance to get back on your feet and overcome depression with food, too.
Really, when you overcome depression with food, that will help your body. When you overcome your depression through hypnosis, with deep relaxation, that is food for your mind.
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