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Your former moderator needs your help.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Okay, here is the deal. I will admit that I am a junk food loving carnivore. However, I also suffer from clinical depression that I am on antidepressants for, and am hoping to start TTC this summer. A friend mentioned that she had read that Bipolar disorder can be linked to alergies so perhaps depression can too. So then I went to a depression website and lo and behold, someone had posted about cutting sugar out of her diet and feeling better.

I would like to go off my meds to get pregnant. I also have had to be on anti nausea meds for both my pregnancies and don't want to be on both at the same time. I would like to do whatever I can to stay off the meds for as much as my pregnancy as I can. How do I go about cutting sugar out of my diet? Does this mean that I have to cut out all breads and pastas too, or can I switch to wheat? Can I have a burger with a bun occasionally or does it have to be cold turkey? What do I need to do to get the full effects? If anyone has any information about food and depression, that would be great also. As you can see, I am not a wealth of food information and need as much help as I can get. If you know of any other changes I could make that are easy and not too confusing, I would love it.

Help me out gals, please. Any advice is welcome.
post #2 of 21
Some natural supplements that help with depression are B vitamins and St. John's Wort.

For help eliminating refined sugar, there are a couple of great books Sugar Blues and Sugar Buster's that might help. When you are eating a good diet and your body is functioning well, it makes everything in life feel better. A good diet may even help you to feel better during pregnancies.

As for breads, look for whole grain sprouted breads like Ezekiel Bread. There are sprouted bagels, tortillas, etc. which are much healthier than a lot of flour in the diet. Pasta of any kind is very refined, but a whole grain pasta is much better than white.

I would start cutting out actual sugar from your diet. If you drastically change your diet, it might be hard to stick to. I would try little changes every week.

You might want to check out Prescription for Nutritional Healing and look under depression to see what they recommend. The book Prescription for Dietary Wellness by the same author is also a good primer in foods for health.

Good luck.
post #3 of 21
Would seeing a naturopathic doctor or nutritionist help? Fish oil can also be helpful-- I know it can stabilize moods. And it is great for a developing baby's brain (there was an article on this on Mothering home page).

Eating more whole grains is good, too. Beware of wheat or gluten allergy also. This is very common and can cause many physical problems.

This is a real complex issue-- a naturopathic doctor would be good at helping sort through it, since everyone's food allergies are different. Good luck to you!!!!!!
post #4 of 21

Cynthia Lair

In her book Feeding the Whole Family recommends eating seaweed to restore your mineral balance depleted by sugar. I give my DD Nori or Dulse to snack on once in a while. Cynthia Lair is a nutritionist and her book is full of suggestions and recipes for a whole foods diet and has a table of natural sugar substitutes. Maybe baby steps are in order? It is awfully hard to tame a sweet tooth and maybe if you took it gradually it would help?

Or, maybe cold turkey is what would work for you?

Also, Susun Weed's Herbal for the Childbearing Year and Healing Wise has lots of great suggestions for herbal allies. I think that oatmeal and seaweeds may be good allies for someone with depression / sugar issues. Her books really spoke to me - maybe you could check them out.

As for Vitamin B, a girlfriend at work gets B12 shots for her depression and she claims it helped a lot! And my girlfriend got a B12 shot after her 1st kid and it seemed to combat her PPD very effectively - kicked its ass. Vitamin B12 is very tough to absorb - that's why the shot.

I would also suggest counseling, yoga, meditation, surrounding yourself with people with good vibes and living an active lifestyle.
Exercise beats medication hands down. I went to a PPD support group and the leader shared articles that featured controlled studies where women found relief from their depression from exercise alone and less found relief through meds.
post #5 of 21
I have been depressed on and off for most of my life. My mom is too, and her dad has bipolar disorder. I havealso had digestive problems for as long, and so have my mom and her mom. The past five years or so I have slowly begun to understand the relationship between eating/digestion and mood. I've been doing alot of analyzing of the causes to my mood swings and bouts of depression and I aways find that they are related to what I have been eating and/or how I digested it, ie constipation (which makes me very tense and angry), nausea (makes me feel extremly anxious and unable to handle life). Having alot of sugar will at first make me feel great, as will do chocolate, but then I crash and I get really depressed. I any case, depression and digestive distress feed each other.
You mentioned that you took meds for pregnancy nausea. From what I've read and heard such nausea is nutritionally related, like a deficiency in nutrients. Research on IBS causes have found that the digestive tract has receptors like our brain does, to receive information on how to digest the food. So IBS patients are often given anti-depressants.
There is definitely a connection between digestion and mental health. If I were you I would try to see how you feel after you eat certain foods. Like refined carbs and sugar, do you get a high and then feel really low, and crave more carbs? Does your heartbeat get faster? How does it make you feel emotionally? You can even try this when eating healthy foods, and compare.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
You guys ROCK!!!! I knew I could count on all of you for help.

Of course, now I have a few more questions. Cathe, what exactly are "whole grain sprouted breads?" What does "sprouted" mean. I feed my kids whole wheat bread that lists the first ingredient as whole wheat flour. I steer away from anything that says enriched flour. Is that good enough, or is "sprouted" different. I told you, I'm a food moron.: I'm also not a good cook, so I have to keep things simple.

I've been taking a B suppliment for the b12 and b6(supposed to help with pg nausea. I didn't know you could get b12 shots. How often did your friend get them, and what was the dosage? I'm really bad about remembering to take suppliments, especially since the B's have to be taken on a full stomach. I take my antidepressant when I first wake up, but I don't eat right away so I can't take the suppliments at the same time. Then I get busy and forget. I need to be better about this.

Morsan, what is IBS? I got a bit lost on that. I grew up eating crap (thanks Mom: ) and I don't know how sugar and carbs make me feel compared to when I don't eat them. They have always been a part of my diet. I don't notice that I feel any major highs, but I'm going to start paying closer attention. I gave up chocolate for Lent and it has actually been much easier than I had expected. I did it last year and it nearly killed me. I wonder if the anti depressants help even that out. I doubt it, since I was still craving it right up until lent.

Starting Monday I am going to give up artificial sugar. No candy, no cake, etc. I'll see how that goes for a couple weeks, then I'll start working on the carbs. I don't think I can give everything up all at once. I have never been on a diet, I'm naturally thin, thank goodness, since I have absolutely no willpower.

I'll keep you posted on my progress, and I'm going to go check out some of those books. Our library is under construction and is a mess, but I'll see what I can find. Thanks so much for all your help and in advance for answering my questions here. I'm sure I'm going to need a lot of support.
post #7 of 21

B12 has to be given by RX so ask your Dr

B12 is the only B vitamin that is tough to absorb in pill form, I believe - it's a bit different than the other Bs. I don't know what schedule is recommended.

I would look beyond the physical and see if you can identify other causes. The mental and spiritual truths that you may have to face - if you improve your diet and add exercise and otherwise take care of you I'm sure you will feel better. But if life is shit than all that stuff will not fix it.

I really love Fly Lady not just for the cleaning tips but her message: Finally Loving Yourself is so important!

As for diet: I would concentrate on adding healthy foods. The "junk" will have no place if you've added healthy foods.
post #8 of 21
Sorry, I didn't read all the posts (I don't like to post when I haven't usually but I wanted to jump in with my two cents and I'm just on my way to bed), but I can tell you what worked for my sister. She was on medication for depression. She used the book Potatos not Prozac and successfully went off her meds. She also takes calcium and B vitamins from the health food store. She's been off her medications for over 2 years and has a healthy 3 month old son who she is nursing. Her doctor thought with her history that she should go back on meds immediately following delivery but she didn't want to. She has had no problems with depression or post-partum depression. Other suggestions are fish oil and Udo's Oil (a name brand blend of essential fatty oils which we need but few people consume enough of). Also, instead of sugar, you can try sugar cane products which are better for you than processed sugar and fructose which doesn't affect your blood sugar the way that sugar does. A good book for cutting out sugar problems is The Montignac Method. I feel so much better emotionally and physically when I'm on it. I just have trouble getting back on it after I go off it (went on at Christmas).

Peace and good luck!

Oh, my sister is no longer following Potatos not Prozac, since having her baby she is following Eat Right for Your Type which I find very restrictive because of the no wheat clause. Ugh.
post #9 of 21
I've looked throught some of my natural healing books and have also found that omega-3 fatty acids might be beneficial for you. Actually, most americans eat way too little of this important nutrient. It is found in cold water fish like salmon (or in fish oil capsules), but other excellent sources are olive oil, walnuts, flax seeds. What I do for my family is keep a coffee grinder on my counter. I grind up flax seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds (any combination I have on hand) and mix into our hot or cold cereal, also on yogurt, rice, almost anything. Nuts and seeds contain really important fats as well as vitamins and minerals and this is an easy way to get them. Also, you could try using olive oil instead of butter - on veggies, rice, etc.

As for sprouted breads, I like them to get a break from flour - it is less clogging and more fiberous. Regular whole wheat or whole grain bread is fine - don't feel like you are doing anything bad. I just feel that sprouted breads are a step up . . . Just something you might want to try.

By the way, congrats on cutting out the sugar. You might want to supplement with fresh fruit and sweet veggies like sweet potatoes and winter to squash to help with the sweet cravings.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
You guys are so helpful.

Tessamami, I wish there was something in my past that I could deal with and be finished with the depression. One of the things that made it so difficult to believe that I suffered from depression is that I am truly happy with my life. I don't have any issues in my past to deal with, I dealt with them as needed and moved on. My problem is that I have depression on both sides of my family, especially my moms -- my mom, an aunt, my grandma, a cousin to name a few -- all deal with depression in some form or another. I watched my mom deal with it growing up. The difference there was that she was really "depressed" and unhappy in her miserable marriage. She has been on antidepressants for years.

I wouldn't worry much as I feel really good on my med, but I would like to be med free through pregnancy. I know I need to make dietary changes and hopefully I will find that I can get the depression under control that way. I really feel like my stems from a chemical imbalance in my brain. Perhaps if I can get my body on track, the brain will follow.

I'm going to check out all these books when my library reopens: , they are remodelling and moving things the next two weeks to keep the remodling going. I'll let you know when I've checked them out.

BTW, I'm working on cutting out the sugar. Jeez is that hard. I have really cut down, and I'm working on it. It really is an addiction, and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.
post #11 of 21
Just a note on what works for me: I also have depression issues and have been working to control it with items other than medication for various reasons. I have found that increasing my intake of omega-3's really helps if I do it consistently and in a food form. I stock up on Alaskan salmon like crazy and though it is spendy it is less than my medication. I basically eat according to the Perricone Prescription book. (I know it is about wrinkles yadda yadda yadda however I feel better, my skin is not as dry and frankly if younger skin is a side benefit all the better) I do eat sugar, caffeine, and wheat in small amounts about once a week. (ie pizza with real coke or coffee and a scone) I have also switched to dark chocolate when I have the craving. I do supplement my diet with basic vitamins that are highly soluable and I take nutritional supplement from Symmetry. (I am not trying to sell the product but this is what works for me so if you want more information let me know, I do not sell it but I can get you more information)
I also drink water like crazy. I have found that simple yoga and attempt to reestablish my exercise routine.

good luck, post back if you find something that works or not!

post #12 of 21
Hey jbjcm; this is a subject totally close to my heart right now! I've come to the conclusion that I need to cut sugar from my diet as well...and it's HARD! I totally realize that it drives my emotional state and my emotional state for about 3 weeks out of 4 is not that good. Unfortunately, I've had a hard time quitting. still waiting for some of the "sugar addict" books to come back to the library ( must be a hot topic! :LOL) and I manage to slip at least once a day.

I did an elimination diet about a year ago, under the supervision of a ND and am thinking I may do it again. She had me use a product called MediClear (made by Thorne Research) which really gave my insides a good scrubbing as well as having all possible supplements known to man. I took all common allergens out of my diet at the same time, as well as caffeinated beverages and sugars. it was really hard to do but I felt fantastic at the end of it. Then, unfortunately, the sugar crept back in (altho it was gross at first) and here I am again. I think I may do a cleansing diet again to jumpstart me. I do think having an ND help you do this might be worthwhile; esp, with you history and family history of depression. Having an expert tailor something to your needs would take a lot of guess work out for you. But then there's the expense factor, too....

Good luck on this!!
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
This is my 4th day without any unnatural sugars. I'm pretty proud of myself. I've been filling in with fruit and wheat toast with fruit spread when I want something sweet.

I got some flax seeds too. I like them. How do you grind them? I have a mini chopper and it just doesn't do it. Is there a cheap way to get them ground?

Soon, I'll be working on giving up my diet soda. I just can't do sugar and soda at the same time.:LOL
post #14 of 21
The most convenient way that I have found to grind flax seeds is with a little electric coffee grinder (less than $10). I keep it out on my counter and every morning I grind up flax seeds, almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds and mix them into our oatmeal or cold cereal or spinkle them over yogurt. You can also use a blender or a mortar and pestle - food processor usually won't grind them.
post #15 of 21
That's great Beth!
post #16 of 21
Something else that might help, & I didn't see mentioned, is Vitamin D. Our body can make this easily if you get 10-15 minutes of sunlight 2-3 times per week, but if you live in a climate that isn't sunny, or isn't sunny all the time, or if you cover up/use sunscreen all the time, you may not be getting enough exposure for your body's needs. They do make supplements, & if you choose to go that route, I would do fish oil rather that a synthetic supplement that won't be absorbed as well. Or, just spend a little bit of time in the sun without sunscreen on. Note: you do not have to roast yourself, just a little exposure, & doesn't have to be at the hottest part of the day either.

As far as the vitamins go, you might have better luck with food based or whole food vitamins. These two are not the same. Food based is isolated vitamins added to a base of enzymes, & food/herbal extracts & green foods like spirulina. A brand I really like that uses this method is Rainbow Light http://www.rainbowlight.com/ They have a wide range of supplements, some specific for depression.

Whole food vitamins go a step further. Isolated vitamins are grown into a food source, usually nutritional yeast, resulting in a vitamin that is much closer to regular food (no active yeast in finished product either). Our body recognizes it as food & can easily digest & absorb the nutrients, with or without food. For this type of vitamin I use MegaFood http://www.megafood.com/ Their Dailyfoods line is the whole food vitamins, the Essentials is food based. Both of these methods have been proven to have better absorption than isolated vitamins alone. The whole foods has a higher absorption than food based, but is also more expensive. There'a a lot more technical info on their site, too. Both of these brands are pretty readily available in health food stores.

As for the sugar elimination, you might want to check out the book Simply Vegan. It is written by a nutritionist, & even if you aren't vegan, all the dessert recipes are free of refined sugar & are yummy. They use maple syrup, fruit juice concentrates, brown rice syrup, all better than sucrose, but many claim that for severe depression it is best to cut out all sugars & starches, which the body converts to sugar-potatoes are one of the worst

Ok, I think this got long fast, & it's way past my bedtime too. Hope some of this is helpful.
post #17 of 21
Sorry, I'm a little late with my response. IBS mans irritable bowel syndrome and is affectingroughly 15 % of or adult population. Symptoms vary, like diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramping etc. Anyhow, you'd know if you had it that your digestive tract is out of whack. Doesn't sound like you have it.

B12: taking supplements is really not a good idea unless you are truly deficient and getting it from foods alone won't help. Like someone prevously posted, synthetic or separated food vitamins wll not be absorbed favorably by the body. Because they don't come with co-vitamins, co-enzymes and co-minerals the way they do in whole foods. In fact they may be dangerous for this reason and others. They disrupt your body's chemistry balance. Absorption of B12 depends onmany factors, such as level of pancreatic enzymes and pH value in the upper intestines. Also, you will need to eat animal foods in order to get B12. For this particular vitamin, a small amount is all that is required. So, dairy or meat.

Try not to think that your depression stems from a mere chemical imbalance in the brain. The brain does not work on its own, but is depending on the function of the entire body. The brain chemical imbalance idea is used to promote antidepressants as a cure on its own. The mechanisms found in the brain, with a set of receptors and transmittors, are found in the lower part of the body as well, namely the digestive tract. So since the stomach has a mind of its on, and even other organs, like the heart, it is a little misleading to think that depression begins and is defined in the brain.

post #18 of 21
I am a former crazy junk food junkie. I found what worked for me was going to a ND, doing a cleansing diet, working to eliminate processed foods for our family, and trying to educate myself about nutrition. I didn't concentrate on what I wasn't eating, but what I was eating! It was great my DH and I both lost about 15lbs each without even trying, my energy level soared, and I just felt great! I really recomend seeing the ND and cleansing the system.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sorry I haven't responded, I've been busy lately. Life never seems to slow down. Plus, my almost five year old decided that he doesn't need to nap (it was bound to happen:LOL) and it has significantly cut down on my computer time.

I'm going to try to find a coffee grinder at the consignment store. If not I'll head to wal mart. I haven't had a chance to check out the vitamin links, but I will tonight. My five year old is sitting on my lap and it makes it hard to type. :

Does anyone know of any good websites to research depression and the food connection?

BTW, I've heard that flax seeds (or was that flax oil) was supposed to taste icky. Mine don't taste bad at all. Are they old, or did I hear wrong?
post #20 of 21
If flax oil tastes "icky" that probably means it has gone rancid. It should have a kind of nutty flavor. Flax seeds also give a slight nutty flavor - very light.

Flax oil goes rancid very fast so keep it refrigerated and buy small bottles. Personally, I just get the seeds so I don't have to worry. Once they're ground however, they'll go rancid in about a day.
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