LIFESTYLE CHANGE IS THE CURE FOR DEPRESSION
First of all why are so many people depressed? How is it that one in four women are on an antidepressant, with men one in five? If 20-25% of the American population is actually clinically depressed then there is something very wrong with our society. I don’t believe it. I think doctors feel the need to prescribe something, anything, that may soothe their patients and help them deal with their problems. Only the problem gets amplified because most doctors have no idea how dangerous these drugs are-so they pass them out like candy at the county fair.
Suppose we had a better way to deal with life’s stresses, sadness and disappointments? Suppose the solution is something much simpler. There have been some eye opening studies demonstrating how powerful diet change can influence behavior. In Appleton, Wisconsin an alternate high school hired a natural foods company to run their cafeteria. These new purveyors provided a wholesome, low sugar, whole grain diet with an emphasis on unprocessed meals of fresh fruits and veggies plus fresh homemade roasted meats and made-to-order foods without chemical additives and preservatives. They eliminated all processed foods, refined grains, and sugars, even the soda machines were removed. The kids drank water with their lunch-imagine that. You would have thought Zeus himself ran the kitchen after what happened that fateful semester.
Training and catering was provided by Natural Ovens of Manitowoc, WI. In 1997 this 5 year pilot project was a smashing success as seen in the DVD: Impact of Fresh, Healthy Foods on Learning and Behavior.(It is also part of their Roadmap to Healthy Foods in School, and both are available from Natural Press 1-877-629-8398). What they found was nothing short of extraordinary. Where the kids used to commonly have fights and generally rowdy behavior requiring security guards at all times, they now experienced a peaceful and orderly population. The change was so dramatic that they no longer needed security. At the end of the project they reported virtually non-existent problems in all categories. According to one official the biggest problem now plaguing the kids was finding parking.
This is one more example of simple common sense, a theme that resonates throughout this book. That is of course if you know and understand Natural principles: that we evolved in pure air and sunlight, we ate pure organic foods and exercised often-for millions of years. Once you really take that notion to heart then I will have succeeded in my mission.
Cafeteria or prison food is so loaded with chemicals, most never tested for toxicity in humans, that you are not really eating food anymore. Yes, I know that you find me exaggerating but I’m not and the studies prove it over and over. Remember the hamburger museum in that guy’s basement, the one with the decades old burgers that never decomposed? If it doesn’t decompose then it isn’t food period.
SOFT-KILL: FOOD AND INDUSTRIAL DINNERS
Whatever western disease you look at; be it inflammation, anxiety, depression, violent behavior, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, dementia, heart attack or stroke, fake foodstuffs like the kind served in prisons, err hospitals, err everywhere, are caused from what I like to call Industrial Dinners. As such they provide a soft-kill; taking decades of inflammatory attrition to finally stuff you into the charnel house. It’s the slow, decimation of the herd that I think allows people to believe that their Industrial Dinners are safe to eat. As the Industrial Diner (you) ages and starts to experience the organ damage from these processed meals, you and your Doc in the Box (DIB) chalk it up to getting old:
“Well, Anaximander you are becoming obese and worn out like an old catcher’s mitt simply from aging, embrace the changes.” Thanks Doc!
Or you commonly hear statements like: “look at me, I’m fine,” even the poor guy spraying people’s yards all day with pesticides and herbicides makes the same dumb comment before the toxicity and free radical generation have had time to manifest a new career in cancer or dementia. Please don’t be so stupid. As far as mental health goes we know for certain from various studies that inflammation can cause depression. If you continue to eat Industrial Dinners you may indeed become depressed, or anxious, and for certain die before your time from one or several of the so called diseases of affluence.
Many of these chemicals [in foods] can cause mood- and behavioral changes. The dietary answer for treating depression is to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains, because these can lead to excessive insulin release that can lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, in turn, causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk. Radically reducing your sugar intake, especially fructose, to less than 25 grams per day is one of the most powerful interventions for correcting this biochemical imbalance. Furthermore, sugar is highly inflammatory,… curbing inflammation is key, not just for physical health, but for mental and emotional health too. There’s a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues, written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into this topic in great detail. The central argument Dufty makes in the book is that sugar is an extremely health-harming addictive drug, and that by simply making that one dietary change—eliminating as much sugar as possible—can have a profoundly beneficial impact on your mental health.
I would add to that by eliminating all Industrial Dinners-anything found in the interior of the supermarket-and avoiding grains, and excitotoxins (see my chapter on excitotoxins), your health will profoundly change. It’s usually too daunting to stop all industrial foods at once. Start with refined sugar products, after a spell try eliminating bread. Proceed from there as you are able. At the core there are several other players on the depression court such as a DHA deficiency, hypovitaminosis D, B12 deficiency, hormonal deficiency, dysbiosis (read my chapter on this important cause of poor mental health), and don’t forget deconditioning or lack of exercise.
I’ll beat you to the question. Why, if changing foods is so useful, cost saving, and beneficial to the institutions that manifest these changes why don’t they all do it? The answer is I don’t know. Usually it comes from a lack of courage to do the right thing, the momentum of maintaining the status quo, and ignorance of what the science actually tells us. Since most people don’t read I imagine most academic deans, prison wardens, and others simply do not know how beneficial dietary change can affect their establishment. Or they are too apathetic to care. How does the saying go? What’s more important ignorance or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care. Spread the word that diet, like exercise, can make an enormous difference in your mental health.
Next week we’ll go over the facts on how exercise has been proven to be better than pills for treating depression and preventing relapse.
 The Dangers of Taking Antidepressants with Aspirin (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/04/antidepressants)