My mouth/stomach and brain are in constant negotiation talks with each other because while one loves white bread, pasta, and chocolate, the other has a hissy fit whenever they enter my blood stream. My diet has always been an important part of my recovery from depression, but two years ago, in working with a naturopath, I realized how directly everything that I put in my mouth affects my mood.
Here are the bad boys: nicotine (although I was only a social or binge smoker, I had to give it up because smoking destroys practically every organ inside your body; however, if it’s your least harmful addiction, light her up); caffeine (it’s a drug, which is why I’m addicted to it), alcohol (it made me crazy); white flour and processed food (what you live on when you have preschoolers who won’t touch tofu and spinach); and sugar (oh man, I’m trying, but oh man).
Here are the good guys: protein (eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, chicken, seeds, nuts); complex starches (whole grains, beans, potatoes); vegetables (broccoli, spinach, squash); vitamins (vitamin B-complex, vitamins E and C, and a multivitamin); minerals (magnesium, calcium, and zinc); omega-3 fatty acids.
So every morning on top of my mood stabilizer and antidepressants, I take vitamin C, B-complex, vitamin E, a multi-vitamin, glucosamine-chondrotin, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid.
I’m religious about stocking a Noah’s Ark supply of Omega-3 capsules because leading physicians at Harvard Medical School confirmed the positive effects of this natural, anti-inflammatory molecule on emotional health. Because I feel as though I owe my brain as much help as I can give it, I fork over lots of cash ($60 a month) for the Mac Daddy of the Omege-3s. I order online from OmegaBrite, because their capsules contain 70 percent EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid). One 500mg softgel capsule (and I take six of them … because if one is good, six is better!) gives you 350mg of EPA and 50mg of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which meets the doctor-formulated 7:1 EPA to DHA ratio, needed to elevate and stabilize mood.
It takes me the same amount of time to swallow all my morning pills as it takes Eric to fry our breakfast eggs and set the table. But it’s certainly worth the time. Because some of us (like me) really are what we eat.