Why Changing What I Eat is The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done For My Mental Health

*Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and in no way am encouraging others to try any of the products/supplements I mention until they consult with their doctor.

Recently I’ve drastically changed what I’m consuming. Not to say I was eating complete garbage before…but I wasn’t eating what my body needed. I’d fill my body full of carbs when I was stressed or emotional, go hours without eating and then binge out of starvation. I ate tiny meals with little to no fat and not nearly enough protein. I didn’t eat nearly enough vegetables and loaded up on sugary fruits. I’d snack late at night on chips and chocolate and other packaged foods. Wine became a nightly ritual (more than 1 glass). And, water was simply something I showered in.

Not to mention the fact that despite taking Zoloft daily to help me manage my anxiety/depression, I didn’t take any other supplements or medications. I was wary of them, to be honest. I thought the die-hard health nuts who lived on water, supplements, and veggies were insane. I still kind of do. But, I can truly say I have never felt better than I do now.

I visited a naturopath recently who has completely inspired me to change my life from the inside out. Not only did she analyze my eating patterns, mood instability, sleep, emotions, and skin…She got an in-depth, clear view of who I am and what food meant (means) to me.

After spilling my life story to her, including my deep-dark secrets involving binge-eating foods that didn’t serve me, she provided me with a solid plan to help heal the parts of my body that were suffering.

Firstly, she informed me that my adrenal glands were exhausted and overworked which caused symptoms such as carb & sweet cravings, dizziness, poor sleep and fuzzy thinking, to mention a few. She helped me understand how sugar and caffeine (even in tiny amounts) were directly impacting my stress levels and causing my adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol (think fight or flight…all of the time). She prescribed me a supplement used to help combat daily stress using “stress adapting botanicals.”

Next, we focussed on my skin, which was dull and lacking moisture even in the Summer months. She informed me I wasn’t consuming nearly enough (healthy) fats and oils. Simple as that. Along with my habit of only drinking like 1 glass of water daily. She encouraged me to add healthy fats (such as coconut oil and avocado’s) to my meals daily and drink water almost constantly. I have already begun to see improvements in my skin such as less flaky dry skin. She also prescribed a high-grade Omega oil that I now take daily.

We also dove into my panic attacks that have worsened over the last few years (since starting College.) We discovered that my eating habits drastically changed after I started college because convenience trumped healthy and, let’s be honest, I was broke. My caffeine consumption also increased drastically when I started college. The habits I formed in college kind of just stuck with me even after I graduated and began my career.

She also outlined the dangers of eating sugar in excess when you suffer from anxiety/panic and strongly encouraged me to eat as little sugar (especially processed) as possible. She also prescribed an amazing supplement packed with L-Theanine to help combat panic when it comes on. I was super unconvinced when she prescribed it. As someone who has tried Attivan in different doses without any relief, I strongly doubted a supplement would be able to give me any relief. But, during a panic attack, I took one of the prescribed supplements and almost instantly stopped shaking and could feel my nervous system calming. I felt slightly sleepy and my thoughts stopped racing.

When we began talking about my sleep and how it has been disturbed for nearly my entire life and prescription sleep aids never provided much relief, she immediately mentioned my cortisol levels again. She prescribed magnesium which decreases the stress hormone and also helps tense muscles relax. It has provided me more relief than any prescription sleep aid ever has!

Additional supplements she prescribed me include Vitamin D drops and Vitamin B complexes.

As for my “diet” which I’ve started calling my fuel…It’s simple. I eat protein, a lot of it. I also load up on vegetables with each meal instead of carbs. I eat carbs that contain protein such as Quinoa. I consume dairy in moderation and try to buy organic meat to avoid excess hormones. I also add healthy fats to each meal. I’ve also started to incorporate a lot of nuts/nut butter and seeds into my diet.

A daily meal plan looks like:

Morning Smoothie (Supplements= Adrenal Vive, Vitamin B complex)
1 large handful spinach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
A small handful of berries
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp Chia seeds
Ice
1 scoop of protein powder. This one of my ultimate favorite!
*Bonus: 1 tbsp of acai berry powder

Snack
Grapes with walnuts

Lunch
Spinach and Kale salad topped with protein such as salmon or chicken with pumpkin seeds, avocado and any other veggies you like.

Snack
Coconut yogurt topped with a few berries, hemp seeds and a drizzle of agave.

Dinner (Supplement: Vitamin D drops, Omega oil)
Cabbage, onion, garlic and rapini skillet with organic sausage.

Bedtime Snack (Supplements: Magnesium)
Anything I desire as long as it doesn’t have a lot of sugar.

So, in short, I now eat a bunch of vegetables, little sugar, little caffeine, lots of healthy fat and protein and lots of water!

I hope this helps anyone who’s considering visiting a naturopath. I can’t recommend it more!

Additional Readings:

How to Tell If Your Adrenals Are Fatigued (Plus 7 Ways To Support Them)-This website is gold!

What Are The Causes Of Adrenal Fatigue?

11 Steps To Rebuild Your Relationship With Food

Happy Healing Everyone. Hug your body it may not be perfect, but it’s the only one you’ve got.  xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Powers Of Kindness

The power of kindness is often overlooked in our over-worked, under-paid, over-stressed and generally selfish society. We are so consumed in the functions of our day to day routines that we have trouble finding a simple moment to show kindness and another to reap the benefits of showing kindness.

I truly think the issue is deeper than simply the business of modern society. I believe kindness isn’t something that is being taught anymore. I so rarely experience kindness from strangers, especially in the younger generations. And who’s fault is that? Ours. Entirely. We must teach these children how to be kind. It isn’t a natural skill that we are born with. We must learn it. If not by our parents, then by our teachers, our friends and the people we are surrounded with.

Here are the 5 powers of kindness:

  1. “Helpers High.” This term is used to explain the increase of dopamine in the brain when you do something kind. Being kind literally makes you happy.
  2. It’s contagious. The phrase “kindness is contagious” has been around for as long as I can remember. And it’s so true. If someone expresses kindness to me, I am much more inclined to express kindness to them. We mirror people, it’s human nature. We give what we hope to receive. And, in most cases, if we give kindness, we will get it back.
  3. Serotonin releases when you are kind. It’s like a natural anti-depressant. Not to say it can replace anti-depressants by any means. But, it sure can’t hurt!
  4. Improved Relationships: Studies have shown that an act of kindness in todays busy world can snap people out of their bad moods and let them step outside of themselves for a moment. Especially when a random act of kindness is performed. I have literally made friends with someone simply because they held the door open when my hands were full.
  5. Healthier Hearts: Displaying kindness lowers your blood pressure. It literally helps your heart stay healthy.

If these aren’t reasons to teach, display and engage in kind activities, I don’t know what is.

So please, go out into the world and be kind to a stranger. Pay for their coffee, leave a kind note in a book, give someone a baked cookie.

Simple things go such a long way.

My Naturopath Experience

Note: I am in no way trying to disrespect Doctors who work in family practice, I appreciate the work they do and believe there are good doctors.

I saw a naturopathic doctor for the first time a few days ago. I booked the appointment in hopes that she would be able to help me live a life with less anxiety, pain and exhaustion. I had no expectations though. My experience with doctors in general hasn’t been the most pleasant. Although my family doctor has good intentions, she rarely asks what I want in terms of treatment. She’s quick to prescribe and is incredibly busy. Appointments have never lasted more than 20 minutes (that’s if I’m really lucky).

But seeing the naturopathic doctor was as different from traditional medicine as can be. I approached the office (which is a hut outside in the middle of nowhere), and was greeted by a Doctor who genuinely seemed happy to see me. We spent 1.5 hours together. She asked me questions regarding my diet, lifestyle, mental health, sleep, relationships and everything in between. She really tried to get a full picture.

She also took the time to explain every single suggestion she made. She helped me come to realizations about my health and wellness and gave me tips and tricks to combat my concerns. She also reaffirmed my decision to work half time (and volunteer and pick up shifts) instead of working at a place that I didn’t feel fulfilled me.

She is 100% positive that my mental illness stems from both life experiences/trauma AND a hormone imbalance. She informed me that almost all of my cortisol (Primary Stress Hormone) is constantly being used to manage my anxiety Vs. manage my hormones. This would explain why in the most stressful years of my life I went months on end without a period. I have never had a doctor even consider the idea that a hormonal imbalance may be exacerbating my mental health issues.

After the appointment, she sent me her notes, and a list of recommended supplements as well as a full diet plan to help improve my mental health and energy levels. She also offered me the Nutraceuticals at her cost (she literally made no money off of it). She didn’t try to push anything on me, just informed me of the benefits of each recommendation.

Here’s the diet and lifestyle changes I am going to work on changing:

  • More protein. Meat is very important in the treatment/management of depression & anxiety. She recommended I get at least 60g of protein per day (before seeing her I was getting maybe 30g).
  • More root, energy and rainbow vegetables: She stressed the importance of having all 3 of these vegetables at lunch & dinner.
  • Eat protein and fat with EVERY meal
  • Drink 8 cups of water per day minimum
  • Add flax seeds to 1 meal per day to help with hormone balance

She also prescribed these nutraceuticals:

  • B6: helps with neurotransmitter synthesis
  • Omega D3: helps with immune function, hormone production and mood balance
  • Magnesium: helps with stress, anxiety, sleep, hormone production and ovarian function.

Luckily my insurance covers 80% of Naturopathic appointments. I would highly recommend, if it’s affordable, to visit a naturopath. I’m not going off my anti-depressants, I’m just taking her recommendations and pairing them with my anti-depressants in hopes that I may be able to eventually go on a lower dose.

I’m feeling hopeful. Have to stay brave and trust the process.

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