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23 October 2008 @ 01:10 pm
Depression: The MOST important thing you need to know to FINALLY feel BETTER.  
I began to struggle with depression twelve years ago after the birth of my first child. It was controlled through medication and counseling, and I never did get truly suicidal. Then a couple of years ago, I went down again. But this time, medication just made me sick, due to the fact that my energetic system is SO much more sensitive now, and the depression was FAR worse, to the point where I wanted to kill myself all day every day.

I have a degree in psychology, specializing in depression, two years' graduate training in counseling, and ten years of work experience in mental health, working with severely clinically depressed (often dual-diagnosis) patients. So I knew the psychological side of what was happening to me. That didn't help, though. I had also left all that to become a Reiki Master and intuitive counselor and so I researched and learned the spiritual side of what was happening to me. That didn't help enough either, to my great disappointment. (Hah! Disappointment?? I used to visualize ways to die all day long.)

It wasn't until I made the connection between what I was eating and my depression that I FOUND THE ANSWER. When I put into practice what I learned about how to heal myself with real food, I finally came out of the 2-year-long struggle with depression that nearly claimed my life over and over. Yes, the psychological/emotional side is important, and so is the spiritual, but you cannot get healing with those until you build the physical foundation. PERIOD.

This has had such an impact on me that I have gone back to school to get my M.S. in Holistic Nutrition to specialize in getting America off anti-depressants. And sure enough, what I'm learning is that Americans, specifically, eat what can hardly be called food, and it is killing us, to put it bluntly.

The one thing you must know, in order to climb out of a depression pit, is this:

YOU NEED PROTEIN.

The body cannot make seratonin without tryptophan, and tryptophan is in protein. You need about 20 grams per meal, and it is MOST crucial that you have that much for breakfast, since that is when most of the seratonin for your day is made.

Once you have addressed that FUNDAMENTAL issue, you also need to know:

PROCESSED CARBS and SUGAR will set you up for the fall.

Both cause drastic rises in blood sugar and then crashes, setting up a cycle of addiction and exhausting your nervous system, which leads to depression. And both deplete your body of minerals it needs in order to feel good. Also, both are completely deficient in the vitamins you get from their whole, natural replacements, and which are VITAL for nervous system functioning. It is NOT that difficult to replace the white flour and processed sugar in your foods with whole grain, and natural alternatives, and you will NOT feel deprived, trust me.

Another thing you NEED to know:

MOST AMERICANS ARE VITAMIN AND MINERAL DEFICIENT.

Our bodies, and our BRAINS *require* certain vitamins and minerals that are NO LONGER present in our food supply in adequate amounts to keep us well. If you are struggling with depression or any other health challenge, supplement your food with a good, bio-available source of vitamins and minerals. Powders, capsules, or liquids are best. Tablets mostly go undigested.

I know it's HARD to make yourself do ANYTHING good for yourself when you're depressed, but if you make it a point to start with just eating enough protein, you WILL feel better, and that will allow you to make other changes that have you feeling better and better and better.

The way I did this is with protein powder, which was all I could motivate myself to fix when I was in the deepest depression. Whey protein is good, as is hemp protein. I stay away from soy, for various reasons. You can also get rice protein. Try a few until you find one you like. THIS IS YOUR LIFE. You're worth it! Get one you like the taste of, and add then anything that will make you drink it, including sugar, ice cream, chocolate syrup...whatever.

*PROTEIN IS STEP ONE and is more important than anything else.*

Personally, I mixed chocolate Instant Breakfast (which is a weak vitamin and mineral supplement, by the way) with a sweetened vanilla protein powder from the health food store (you can get some that also include vitamins and minerals), put it in 2% milk, and sometimes blended in a few chunks of pre-frozen banana (because I don't like warmish smoothies, I like them cold and slushy.)

That got my protein levels up to where I was motivated enough to do other things to feel better, but when I skipped that step, the day was a total dark hole for me.

And even now, when I skip my morning protein, I feel awful all day long and it's HARD to come back, even with protein and vitamins later in the day.

So start with protein. Then add a good vitamin and mineral supplement. Then switch out your sugars and carbs. Then add in some Omega-3's for brain health. THEN address your depression emotionally and spiritually once you've taken care of that physical foundation.

If you need help, visit my site: http://www.dharmawork.com I do private sessions over the phone.

Wishing you LIGHT and LOVE,

Satina
 
 
 
Dizzygrltoodizzygrltoo on October 24th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for posting this to Naturalliving. I'm sorry they deleted it. The mods redirected me here so I could comment etc. I have a few questions if you don't mind.

How much is 20 grams of protein in powder form? 1 cup 1 teaspoon?

What are processed carbs generally?

"whole, natural replacements"
What does this mean? I know what you meant in this statement with regards to flour but when it comes to sweeteners are you referring to just regular sugar?

"bio-available source of vitamins and minerals"
What is this? Will it say bio available on the package that I buy?

Did you find that eating protein like this curbed your appetite at all? Did it make you feel full? I ask because the way my days play out with work I don't eat anything more than coffee and a yogurt or fruit before 3pm by which time I am starving and eat a meal but then I'm not hungry for dinner etc.

Again this is great information and I thank you for putting it together for us.
Satinadharmaworker on October 25th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
Hi dizzygrltoo,

Thank you. :-) As for protein powder, that completely depends on the product you use. If you look at the nutritional info on the label, it will tell you how many grams of protein is in a serving size, which is usually a scoop.

Processed or refined carbohydrates would include white bread, white flour tortillas and white pastas, and white rice. Whole grain forms of these are whole grain or whole wheat bread, whole wheat or corn tortillas, and brown rice. Potatoes without the skin are the worst, spiking your blood sugar faster than sugar itself does, so eat them with skins to slow that down and get lots more nutrients. But make sure they're organic, because potatoes are one of the foods most apt to be contaminated with pesticides.

As for sweeteners, what I mean by that is there are delicious, sweet natural alternatives to the white table sugar most people use. They don't raise your blood sugar as much and they provide nutrients, which white table sugar does not. Raw honey, for example, does not raise your blood sugar as quickly AND it has wonderful, natural antibiotic properties, as well as being a source of trace minerals. It has also been found to have natural wound and tissue healing properties, so it's really a wonderful medicinal whole food.

Evaporated cane juice, also known as raw sugar, turbinado sugar, or sucanat, is cane sugar before it's stripped of its color, and contains B-vitamins and trace minerals and raises your blood sugar more slowly. It's what I use in baking, mostly.

Real maple syrup also raises the blood sugar more slowly and provides all kinds of wonderful trace minerals and some B-vitamins. I don't like the taste, though, sadly. Some adore it.

My personal favorite is agave nectar, which is the syrup made from the nectar of the agave cactus. It has a very low glycemic index rating, which means it raises your blood sugar in a much more gentle way than any other sweetener, and, to make things even better, it's sweeter than sugar so you don't need as much. And it has no flavor other than being sweet, which is mostly the way I prefer my sweetener to be. You can get a dark version that is, in my opinion, perfect for pancakes. :-)

There is also a naturally super-sweet herb called stevia that you can use that has no calories at all, but I don't particularly enjoy the versions of it that I've tried.

Bioavailable refers to how easily your body is able to digest and make use of the nutrients. A good product MIGHT have some labeling that says that, but it might not. Tablets are the hardest for your body to break down and so mostly go undigested. Powders, liquids, and capsules (which are powders in capsules) are easier for your body to actually utilize. The very best, most usable-by-the-body options are liquid or powdered supplements that are 'whole-foods-sourced' meaning they are extracted from whole foods, rather than made in a lab. Some great brands I've found are: Liquid Health, Emergen-C, and Nature's Way Alive!

And the hunger question is a really important one! People who have blood sugar issues (which are contributing to the depression) usually don't like to eat breakfast. (Me included.) This is because we are in withdrawal from not having our 'drug' all night so we don't feel good. But I've found it is CRUCIAL to eat that high protein breakfast in order to break the cycle. And yes, it really helps even out my whole appetite cycle. I believe the reason it does this is because it takes my usual blood sugar swings out of the picture, allowing my body to respond with REAL hunger, rather than the cravings that often drive me to eat, or make me feel sick and thus kill my appetite. I've found that having that smoothie is the perfect way to begin getting the body used to eating breakfast again, and balancing out your blood chemistry with that morning dose of protein.

I really hope that gives you a wonderful place to start!
Dizzygrltoodizzygrltoo on October 25th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
Dharma,

You are the best! I can't tell you how helpful this is to me. My husband and I are both dealing with depression. I am better than when I started but I can't seem to dig out from mine lately. My DH is just now getting to the point of accepting help for his problems etc. Needless to say we need all the help we can get.

It's evident that you care about what you are doing by the effort it took to respond to my interrogations. I am LJ mostly for my community memberships but if you don't mind I would like to friend you.

I'm excited to go buy protein powder now.
Satinadharmaworker on October 25th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
I wish you both all the best, and I'm happy to be friended by you. :-)
chernogora on October 26th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
Hi!

You speak about very interesting problem I think for a whole world! Not only for Americans. But the way that You think is optimal actually to long... I have no degree in psycho analisis but I have very strong analytical skills that help me to avoid problems with depression.
First of all one should love himself, especially brain and heart. Develop them together, and feel happy. The main cause of depression is failure in self-development. When somebody stop to love himself he get depression. The main cause of this stop is sexual dissatisfaction.
masseywope on November 2nd, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later