The Happiness Diet

September 29, 2019

Can what you eat actually affect your happiness and your mental health? We know from personal experience that it absolutely can. Listen in to learn what you should eat to be happy and have a sense of well-being.

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DARLENE: Well, good morning everyone, and welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm very pleased to say I feel happy today.


MARCIE: All right.


DARLENE: And I wake up feeling happy most days, especially on the mornings that I get to join all of you on to Dishing Up Nutrition. Marcie, how do you… how about you? How do you feel? Do you feel happy this morning?


MARCIE: Oh, I do feel happy this morning; happy to be here with you; happy to be talking on the radio to everybody this morning. And you know, I'm an early riser, so this is perfect for me. I love the early morning, you know, just getting up; getting that great start to my day. And I really just have a good sense of wellbeing and happiness. And so now let's ask the listeners: how do you feel out there today? You know, I think a lot of people don't just stop and say, “How do I feel today”? We're on autopilot. We just keep going.


DARLENE: I think that's probably true.


MARCIE: Yes. You know, and I haven't always felt happy and had that great sense of wellbeing. But I've worked really hard at it.


DARLENE: Yes, you have.


MARCIE: Yes. And I have found that I'm just happier each year, really. You know, I am.


DARLENE: I wonder how many people could honestly say that.


Marcie: Yeah, I know.


DARLENE: But they don't even know that they have to work at feeling happy.


MARCIE: That's right. So today we're going to talk about what we call our happiness food plan or our happiness diet; whatever you want to call it. I'm sure many of you are wondering, “You mean, can what we eat actually affect our happiness or my wellbeing?” You know, from a personal experience that is, you know, you absolutely can. Really, it makes a big difference. I know if I'm eating another way I ate back then: did not support my happiness or a lot of other things.


DARLENE: That's true. A lot of other health things.


MARCIE: Very much. And so what we are going to talk about is how food can affect your happiness; and how it really is a very powerful antidepressant.


DARLENE: Interesting.


MARCIE: Very much.


DARLENE: Yes. Now that we have your, your ears perked up a little bit, I bet you're wondering, “What should I eat to be happy and have a sense of wellbeing?” So now we're going to take a little moment here and introduce ourselves. I'm Darlene Kvist. I'm a Certified Nutrition Specialist. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist, and I've been helping people with their nutrition for almost 40 years. Seems like a long time because it is a long time.


MARCIE: It is. That's awesome; lots of wisdom here in the studio.


DARLENE: So today Marcie and I would like to help you connect what you should eat to support your mental wellbeing. So you know, you heard the voice, and that's Marcie Vaske. And she's a Licensed and Registered Nutritionist.


MARCIE: I am. So here we are. So having happiness and mental wellbeing is near and dear to me. You know, I always think of myself as a work in progress, right? I think we all kind of are a work in progress.


DARLENE: Yes, that’s for sure.


MARCIE: Yeah. And I haven't, like I mentioned earlier, always had that sense of wellbeing or happiness. You know, I've struggled a lot with anxiety over the years, and I've shared that on our program quite a bit. You know, so we're always searching for, you know, “How can I be more happy?”


DARLENE: That's why, Marcie, I picked you to be on the show with me.


MARCIE: Excellent. You know, and I think you also know, Dar, that that's kind of one of the main reasons I went back to school and got my master's in nutrition so that I could help people; help others find an eating plan that would help support their brain chemistry and have that good mental wellbeing.


DARLENE: So have you ever wondered, “Can the foods that I'm eating affect my mental health or my level of happiness?” I don't know how many people even think about that.


MARCIE: I don't think a lot.


DARLENE: Well, of course we have research to support the fact that food matters. You know, the president of the International Society of Psychiatric Research said that “A large body of research suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to your physical health.”


MARCIE: Isn't that interesting?


DARLENE: I know. Yeah.


MARCIE: You know, because we're always thinking about, “Oh, I need to eat better and I'll look better.” Well maybe you're going to feel better.


DARLENE: So the president of this research company said, she also stated that “a healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for anxiety and depression.” I mean, that's pretty common knowledge when you stop and think about it or at least for us.


MARCIE: Right. I think for us, we definitely know that that's going on.




MARCIE: You know, and like Dar pointed out, we always, as nutritionists we're always looking at both past research and also the most current research.


DARLENE: I think that's an interesting point, Marcie, because I think a lot of times there is some very good old research.


MARCIE: Yes. And it gets bypassed because there's always new stuff coming out.


DARLENE: Right. And some of the new stuff is not as good and as accurate as some of the older research.


MARCIE: Right. So we all need to think about when we're looking at research, you know, really kind of make sure it's from a good source and all of that.


DARLENE: And who funded it, and all those things.


MARCIE: Yes. Oh for sure. So let's just talk a little bit more about that research, you know, on how food can help your brain work better. First we want to kind of help you realize that what you eat can really influence how well your brain works and how you do feel.


DARLENE: You know, currently, and this is kind of surprising: almost 7% of the people in the U.S. suffer from depression. And you know, when I was looking up different numbers that that varied from 7% to 20%. It just depends on where you found the information. But we do know that more women than men struggle with depression. And they said almost about 10% of women struggle with depression. But 12 and a half percent of teens have depression. So, and this is interesting, is about 5,000 teens commit suicide every year.


MARCIE: Oh, that is just so sad.


DARLENE: Yes. So it's really a growing concern as it has become widespread across the U.S. And many experts believe that we're in like what will they call a mental health crisis. And I think, I mean we see this in the paper all the time.


MARCIE: Oh we do. We definitely do. And we even see in, you know, clinic that when we're working with somebody with depression or anxiety and they start eating better all of a sudden they're like, “Oh wait, I feel a lot better.” You know, more clear and I am not, you know, so down or I'm not, you know, racing thoughts. So we see the connection.


DARLENE: And we do also know that when people are down or having anxiety, it's really difficult to do the cooking that they need to do. We understand.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: Some of us have been there.


MARCIE: Exactly; for sure. So, you know, we certainly do have that epidemic of mental illness going on, but what we need to ask and maybe are not asking is “Where does that sense of wellbeing and happiness come from?” You know, today people in the know, you know, they're, they choose foods that will support a healthy heart and they'll avoid food that damages, excuse me, the heart and blood vessels. But how many people are really picking their foods to say, “Hey, that's going to help my brain?”


DARLENE: Not very many I don’t think.


MARCIE: I don’t think so. We don't talk to many of them.


DARLENE: So it seems that very few people know how to feed their brain the right foods to have a sense of wellbeing and feel happy. You know, some people may think it's just too hard to figure out what the brain needs for happiness and perhaps others may think it's a magical herb or a supplement. We see all kinds of things advertised.


MARCIE: Oh right. And they want that. You know, we want a quick fix.


DARLENE: So today we want to help you really understand what you should eat to provide the nutrients your brain needs to function better and be happy. These foods may actually be some of the same foods that your great, great grandparents ate.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: So people have done it in the past.


MARCIE: Yes, it has been done and proven. You know, if we think back to how our great, great grandparents ate compared to, you know, just the modern American diet or what it's now called “MAD” diet.


DARLENE: That's kind of interesting.


MARCIE: It is especially with…


DARLENE: It’s the opposite of happiness.


MARCIE: Exactly, which is what is the MAD diet, right? Well, it's full of sugar, processed carbohydrates and those bad, you know, factory fats; trans fats. It helps us understand why there has been such an explosion of depression and anxiety and we really need to add in even addiction in the past 50 years.


DARLENE: So here's an interesting observation that many mental health experts have made: that because of the high consumption of sugar and processed carbs that everyone's eating these days, in general, did you know that people crave more and more sugar-type foods without even realizing that it's contributing to the shrinking of the brain?


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: And just key areas in the brain shrink from sugar. I don't think most people know that.


MARCIE: No, no, not at all.


DARLENE: So just here: put this one in your brain. Sugar makes our brains shrink.


MARCIE: There you go. On our happiness food plan, we are not going to be shrinking your brain.


DARLENE: No, we're not.


MARCIE: We're going to make them wonderful and alive. So there are no super foods, you know, it's just simply all about real food. We talk about it every week. You know, foods that reduce inflammation, give you energy, support muscle development and promote that fat loss. And it’s protein from grass-fed animals, a variety of vegetables and fruits, plus lots of servings of good fats. And we understand to make the switch from convenient processed foods to what we like to talk about all the time is real food isn't easy.


DARLENE: No it is not easy.


MARCIE: But we believe and we do know that you are you will notice a difference in how amazing you feel in just a few weeks.


DARLENE: I think just mentioned that earlier, Marcie, that once people are on this real food eating plan, it's like a light bulb goes on.


MARCIE: For sure. Yes. They're like, “Oh my gosh, I didn't even know I could feel this good.” So we are going to take a break with ending on that. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And we're discussing foods and nutrition that will support good mental health. We call it our happiness food plan.




DARLENE: Well welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Oftentimes on Dishing Up Nutrition we have discussed avoiding factory fats. Oh the times we talk about that.


MARCIE: Oh we do.


DARLENE: You know, avoid soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil. And I think some of our listeners can say that right out loud.


MARCIE: They’re probably saying it with us.


DARLENE: We say this because of the damaging effects these fats have on all of our cells, especially the cells in our brain. You know, on the other hand, our brain needs healthy, healing fats for good cell reception. And that's kind of interesting when we think about cell reception because we need that for all of our neurotransmitters to function. So we think: start making small changes. You know, cook with olive oil or avocado oil and stop using corn oil or soybean oil.


MARCIE: That's right.


DARLENE: That's an easy one. Use butter. Now this is even easier.


MARCIE: And it's tasty.


DARLENE: Put butter on your vegetables and stop using margarine. Use heavy whipping cream in your coffee and stop using soy milk.


MARCIE: Yes please.


DARLENE: There’s such a myth about soy milk. The foods I just mentioned that you should stop using are all bad fats that are damaging to your brain and to your body both.


MARCIE: Right, exactly. It's not just the brain.


DARLENE: So we were talking about some research, and here's some other things that we found when we're researching the show. There’s a well-known formula about what makes up the degree of happiness you experience.


MARCIE: Oh, well let us know.


DARLENE: This formula says 50% of your happiness is determined by your genetics. That's interesting.


MARCIE: I think so.


DARLENE: And 10% are your life circumstances.




DARLENE: So that means 40% of what influences our happiness we can control. So as nutritionists, we believe 40% is most likely related to the foods that we eat.


MARCIE: That's right. And it's all in your control.




MARCIE: I love that piece. I like to be in control. So if you're interested in reading just a little bit more about the theories around what makes happiness, we do have a few resources to suggest for you. There's a great book about how genetics influence your happiness. And the book is called The How of Happiness; right? And if you are more interested in how nutrition influences happiness, we also like the book, The Happiness Diet. And that's written by Tyler Graham and Dr. Drew Ramsey.


DARLENE: So, but my favorite book of all time that address mood and memory is Making a Good Brain Great by Dr. Daniel Amen. You know, I've used that so many times.




DARLENE: As we were preparing for this radio show and podcast, I tried to think of what can we say that will inspire all of you to cook real food? …Real protein from grass-fed animals, vegetables from the farmer's market or the vegetables that you grow in your garden, cooking your food in natural healthy fats and avoiding man-made factory foods. So as I was reviewing the book, The Happiness Diet, the authors had a hundred top reasons to avoid processed foods.


MARCIE: Only a hundred a hundred. I mean…


DARLENE: So many of those reasons kind of caught Marcie’s and my attention. And I'm sure the authors would be really happy to have us share a few of them. We're not going to share all hundred.


MARCIE: No. That would tell you that would take too long, right?


DARLENE: You know, so our hope is that by sharing this information, it will stick in your brain and help you make this switch from processed foods to real foods. We have to have those reasons.




DARLENE: …floating around in the back of our brain.


MARCIE: …to keep you motivated sometimes, especially if you're getting tempted or triggered by those sugars that you want to eat. So, there are, you know, a lot of eye-opening reasons that they gave us in that book. And it was hard to kind of narrow them down; But let's start with our first one that we thought would be most to be a helpful one. So reason number one to avoid processed foods: the greater number of cheap cuts of meat, which are ground into a simple patty means the greater the risk of contamination with E-coli.


DARLENE: So what does that really mean, Marcie? I mean, thinking about that.


MARCIE: Right; that you're getting just a whole bunch of bad bacteria and some bad meat.


DARLENE: …when you're using a lot of different animals from the source.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: Which I don't even think we think about.


MARCIE: No, we just think, well, if it says a beef patty it must be just a beef patty.


DARLENE: From one cow.


MARCIE: Right; not several.




MARCIE: So a standard fast food hamburger contains the trimmings of dozens of cows raised around the globe.




MARCIE: Right?


DARLENE: Around the globe.


MARCIE: No, not even just the same herd.


DARLENE: So here's reason number two to avoid processed foods: The ingredients for strawberry fruit roll-ups doesn't include strawberries.


MARCIE: Go figure.


DARLENE: So what in the world are the ingredients? I bet if you looked at the label it says high fructose corn syrup.


MARCIE: Oh, for sure. And some strawberry flavor.


DARLENE: One of the things that I just learned this week is that many people are highly sensitive to high fructose corn syrup, and it causes a lot of gastrointestinal problems for them.


MARCIE: Yes, yes. I have had a couple clients just in the past couple of weeks that, you know, they just can't stand, you know, certain sugars like that.




MARCIE: So it's interesting, you know. Okay. So here is another one: Reason number three to avoid processed foods: Tropicana Peach Orchard Punch is only 5% juice and has more high fructose corn syrup than soda. So when you're reaching for the juice thinking, “Oh, I'm just going to have, you know, a little juice here.” Well you might as well just have a soda, I guess. I don’t even know. How about that? I can't really say that well.


DARLENE: No. So we're saying: avoid both.


MARCIE: For sure.


DARLENE: So reason number four to avoid processed foods: researchers found that kids who eat a junk food diet are most likely to have behavioral problems by the age of seven. Isn't that interesting?


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: So food really matters when it comes to behavior.


MARCIE: Oh yes. And more and more I'm seeing parents bring in their kids who do have some behavioral problems and they'll change. Just get them more…just get their blood sugar balanced by bring in some good food. Yeah, for sure. It makes a big difference. So reason number five to avoid processed foods: excess antibiotics used by factory farms are largely to blame for the development of super bugs like MRSA which is a flesh eating bacteria that kill 18,000 Americans a year.


DARLENE: Wow. So that's why we keep saying grass-fed, hormone-free animals.


MARCIE: Yes, we don't need to get flesh-eating bacteria.




MARCIE: I think that's a good motivator. Everyone remember when you're reaching for those processed foods, I don't want to get MRSA.


DARLENE: So reason number six to avoid processed foods: Soy protein is found abundantly in processed foods, and has been linked to infertility in women. And I think of those soy lattes.


MARCIE: Oh gosh, yes. Yeah. Or just you know, how much soy is in just the foods that people are consuming and don't even think about it.


DARLENE: Because it's a very inexpensive ingredient. 


MARCIE: For sure. You know, whenever I'm telling clients, you know, let's, you know, avoid soybean oil. And I always say it's in everything. So you start looking at the labels. Alright, so reason number seven to avoid processed foods: children who eat fast food twice a week or more are likely to suffer from asthma.


DARLENE: Oh, wow.


MARCIE: Yeah, right?


DARLENE: So here's another reason. Reason number eight to avoid processed foods: Many of you know that I'm 81.




DARLENE: So this reason is really dear to my heart.




DARLENE: It may actually be the number one reason I avoid processed foods. Processed foods speed up aging.


MARCIE: So just knock it off.


DARLENE: So no, I mean, we don't always want to eat our meat and vegetables and good fat.


MARCIE: We want to get something quick and fast.


DARLENE: Yeah. But then if you kind of plug that into your brain: this is going to give me wrinkles and age me faster.


MARCIE: Yeah, you might, you might stay away from that a little more quickly. I think we should let them ponder on that as we take our second break.




MARCIE: So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you find this show thought-provoking and you'd like to, you know, share it with a family member or a friend, direct them to our podcast of this show. Just go to and then click on podcast. This may also be a perfect podcast for maybe a teen or a college student to help them get some good information as they're going through those, you know, stressful years to help them keep feeling good and happy.




DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, some people believe that good nutrition and eating right is just about weight loss.


MARCIE: That's right. I mean why eat right unless I want to lose weight?


DARLENE: Well I think there's a more important reason to eat real food. It is to support the health of our brain. And so this October we're offering our six-week Weight and Wellness series and our Weekend Weight and Wellness Seminar. The Weight and Wellness series is all about eating real food for real physical health and real mental health, and you can get more information about the six weeks series and the weekend seminar either online at or just call our office. We have people that answer the phone.


MARCIE: We do and they're very nice.


DARLENE: Yes, and it’s 651-699-3438. And I wanted to just kind of let people know that next Saturday, October 5th we're both really pleased to have an old friend of mine, James Templeton, share his new book. And it's about I Used to Have Cancer: How I Found My Own Way Back to Health.


MARCIE: It's a good book.


DARLENE: It’s a good book; yes. You know, he's going to share his journey and I'm sure you're going to want to tune in because it's new information.


MARCIE: It is. Yes. And his story is really good. I think you’ll all really enjoy it for sure.  You know, right.




MARCIE: So should we jump back into being happy?




MARCIE: Okay. So as Dar mentioned earlier in the book, The Happiness Diet, there's a hundred different reasons to avoid processed foods. So we want to share just one more reason to avoid those processed foods. So people who eat foods with artificial sweeteners often end up consuming more total calories per day. And it's likely because these artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than actual sugar. And so, consequently it will prime the brain's desire for even more sweet foods. And that even means like your Diet Coke. If you're drinking Diet Coke, that has artificial sweeteners in it. It’s going to make you crave more sugar.


DARLENE: So we share these because we think it's a good idea to have some of these fun, motivating facts stored in our brain to give us reasons to avoid processed foods. So as I'm preparing for a show, creating a class or writing a blog, I reflect on what has worked for me clinically over the past 30 or 40 years. And then I read current research and the opinions of other authors. And in the clinical setting at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, Marcie and I know that real food, eating real, grass-fed animal protein with a variety of vegetables and natural fats are the food our brain needs to experience wellbeing and happiness. So there’s an interesting article on the Harvard medical school’s Harvard health blog called Nutritional Psychiatry; interesting.


MARCIE: I know.


DARLENE: It's your brain, and the title of it was Your Brain on Food. So it breaks down why we need quality protein, vegetables and good fat for our brain to function at its best. You know, these are the ingredients in the food that we eat to produce a happy brain. How interesting.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: So Harvard is getting into this.


MARCIE: They are getting into that. And on that blog, it was written by Dr. Eva Selhub, and she explains for us, our brain is always on, right? It's working 24/7.


DARLENE: Even when we're sleeping.


MARCIE: Yes. And so it needs that high quality food that really contains all those, you know, good amounts of vitamins, minerals and the antioxidants to allow our brain to function the way we want. You know, Dr. Selhub compares our brain to an expensive car that needs premium fuel, and the premium feel here is real food; not that low-grade crappy processed food. Which for us, you know, if you're eating a diet of processed foods, it will be high in sugar and contain what we've been talking about: those bad fats, which Dar just told us about, can harm our brain. And our great, great grandparents didn't eat processed fats because if they had existed, those foods would have been way too expensive for most of them.


DARLENE: Probably, yes.


MARCIE: Yeah. And so overall they just really, really preferred vegetables from the garden, meat from the farm, and of course they used butter, lard and cream.


DARLENE: Simple.


MARCIE: Right. And you know, if you have gone away from eating, you know those processed fats, and you accidentally taste one again, all you taste is chemicals. It's, and I tell people that and they're like, “What? I don’t know. I don't believe you yet.” Try it. It’s a good challenge.


DARLENE: You know, I was really excited to see that there is a new advanced study called Nutritional Psychiatry.


MARCIE: I know. That's awesome.


DARLENE: Isn't that great? I believe it is an indication that more and more people and experts are starting to realize the importance of food. And it's important, especially now in our crisis that's going on; our mental health crisis.


MARCIE: Very much.


DARLENE: You know, a simple mental health concept that we at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we've been teaching this for the past 30 years.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: And it's all about eating and needing animal protein for neurotransmitter production. We have to make these little neurotransmitters. And we make those from food. So it's really, it's simple, but it's really a complex biochemical process. So when we eat meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, it is broken down and digested in our small intestinal track. And it turns into something we call amino acids. Now the amino acids then make our serotonin and everybody's heard of serotonin.


MARCIE: That’s right.


DARLENE: That makes our dopamine. And here's another neurotransmitter that we haven't talked a lot about, but it's called GABA. And there are lots of other neurotransmitters, like I think 200 neurotransmitters that they have found and named, and they are all made from animal protein. And we have to digest them in our intestinal track.


MARCIE: That's right.


DARLENE: That's a little lesson.


MARCIE: There you go: lesson for the day. Maybe we'll have some more. You know, I have 12-year old twins and I'm always asking them what kind of protein do you want? Or where is your protein; which they get really sick of. And my son is like, I hate your job. But you know, he'll get used to it. I mean, he'll love it in the end. You know, I just, and why I'm always pushing this is because I know that by eating more protein, it's going to make you happier and it's going to produce more of that neurotransmitter, serotonin. And I also want him to make more of the dopamine. That neurotransmitter will really help us stay more focused, which is great. I really want that one to be built up, especially now that we're back in school. So here's another interesting fact I want to share is that 95% of your serotonin is metabolized in your gastrointestinal tract. So I'm sure some of you have may have heard of that… us talk about that before. But if it's new information, I'll say it again: 95% of your serotonin is made in your gastrointestinal tract. So serotonin helps you get a good night's sleep, right? And we all want; we're always striving for more sleep. It helps you to have those positive moods and more happiness and it helps you control pain. So that's an interesting one too for some people.


DARLENE: Because you know, the other thing, Marcie that happens, is that people that are under pain a lot, and we have so many clients that are under constant pain; they actually use up their serotonin faster because of the pain that they're trying to control.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: So they almost have to eat more protein through the day to maintain that level of serotonin that they need.


MARCIE: Isn't that interesting?




MARCIE: So think of that. If you're out there struggling with pain, you need a lot of protein. You know, you know, my kids, they have busy schedules, right?


DARLENE: All kids do these days.


MARCIE: I mean, we're all running around like crazy. So I'm always trying to work hard on getting them to eat at least three times a day some protein. Now I know that they'd be better with, you know, happier and a little more focused with four or five times of, you know, eating protein a day.


DARLENE: So Marcie, will you share? I know before we went on air today, you were sharing a little bit about your 12 year old son of his eating.


MARCIE: Oh, I know. Oh, he just is, you know, I make something, I'm making it all from scratch and like you are the luckiest boy around. And I put this chicken dish in front of him and he was like, “How many bites?” I'm like, dude, this is good food. And his sister, his twin sister’s eating it and she's like, “Oh, it's so good.” You know, and I just said, you're going to eat it hot or cold. You're eating the protein.


DARLENE: And you know, he's a football player.


MARCIE: Yes. So I always say, you need to make muscles. I'm starting there with him.


DARLENE: Yes, I agree.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: It's a motivator.


MARCIE: It is a motivator. So, you know, so, and we're always trying to look, you know, how can we get protein in? Because for people, you know they get sick of chewing meat, right?


DARLENE: Yep; totally.


MARCIE: So they get, you know, one easy way might be making just a protein shake when we make that with some yogurt and some whey protein powder. Or even easy things like hard-boiled eggs you can have on hand. You know, I always kind of like to have on hand those or like, chicken salad, which I love. And you can just grab it out of the fridge. I even make our wild rice meatballs a lot. Those are great snacks. Just grab them and go.


DARLENE: Okay. That sounded like a great idea. You know, personally I like to make a batch of three protein shakes at one time.




DARLENE: You know, if you're going to dirty the blender, let's dirty the blender.


MARCIE: That's right.


DARLENE: You know, and it only takes a couple more minutes, and you're all set for at least a couple of days. So if you think back a hundred years ago, our great-grandparents often started their day with eggs, pork sausage and sliced potatoes fried in lard or butter with maybe a slice of tomatoes on the side. So we have changed a lot.




DARLENE: I know we have to take a break, so I'll stop talking.


MARCIE: Yes. And we'll finish it up when we come back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many people don't seek out nutritional help because they don't think their health insurance plan will maybe cover the cost of service. But in the past several years, some health insurance companies have started to understand the value of nutritional counseling. So we're really pleased to announce that currently two major health insurance companies now cover the cost of nutritional counseling for many of our clients. So if that would help you get the service you need, check in with your insurance company or you can call our office at (651) 699-3438, and we'll help you determine if your health insurance company will cover some nutritional counseling.




DARLENE: You know, we always believe that when you're looking at mental health, you always go food first. But then we also sometimes look at certain supplements. So I'd like to share what I believe to be two of the most important supplements for our brain health. The first one is a fatty acid called omega-3 DHA. And that's actually made from algae oil. Some people call it the omega-three that is vegetarian, but I also know that it is the one that helps our receptors in our brain for those neurotransmitters. So I often recommend taking 400 to 600 milligrams daily if people are struggling with depression or ADHD. I also recommend Magnesium Glycinate for good brain function and for good sleep.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: …which is really critical for good brain function.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: You know, magnesium glycinate plays an important role in the brain function and moods. So if you have low levels of magnesium, which a lot of people do, you're at risk to increased risk of depression and poor sleep. You know, both of these supplements we have available at all of our local offices, or you can go online at and click on vitamins or supplements or whatever products or whatever it is.


MARCIE: It's there.


DARLENE: It's there. So you know, Marcie, I was thinking about so many people believe that neurotransmitters are made from the antidepressant that they're taking.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: And that's really a misconception because it actually comes from the animal protein that we eat. So if you make a protein shake and have yogurt and whey protein in it, you're making your neurotransmitters.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: So let's kind of go through that again because I think we need to help people realize, “Okay, I need to eat some protein for breakfast”. And then probably, oh, two, three, four hours later, I need to eat some more protein. And you're doing that not for your metabolism, which it does help.


MARCIE: It does.


DARLENE: But you're doing that because it helps to build the neurotransmitters.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: And then I talked about that DHA fatty acid. That helps the receptors accept the neurotransmitter so that you've got good communication going on in your brain.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: And you feel happy. 


MARCIE: And you do feel happy; and calm.


DARLENE: Exactly.




DARLENE: So I'm wondering if, is there anything that we missed on that when we were going through it so that people understand that, yeah; Antidepressants don't really make them. They, what they do is they hold the neurotransmitter in the cell between the synapse, in that little space between the cell that is sending and the receiving cell.


MARCIE: That's right. So you're not making more, you're just using what you do have.


DARLENE: So then there's another interesting kicker to this. I think it's an interesting… Sugar blocks the receptors; puts a coating over these receptors.


MARCIE: Sure does.


DARLENE: So your neurotransmitter can't get in. Now this is interesting. Why do we have a crisis going on? You know, in the 1800s Americans ate two pounds of sugar per person a year.


MARCIE: Two pounds.


DARLENE: Two pounds in the whole year. A hundred years later, it was about 70 pounds a year. Now again, two hundred years later today it's 150 pounds at least.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: …of sugar each year. Everybody is eating.


MARCIE: Everybody's eating the sugar. So everybody's little cell receptors are being blocked.




MARCIE: And you can see why we're having this mental health crisis.


DARLENE: Right. So that's why we keep going back to, you've got to give up the sugar. You've got to give up the processed carbs.




DARLENE: So here's another interesting, I think startling fact: eating sugar shrinks the brain.


MARCIE: Right.


DARLENE: We talked about that. So, you know, 28% of Americans experience an anxiety disorder. I think it's higher than that.


MARCIE: Oh, I would think so.


DARLENE: And then I, you know, 21% of the people experience some type of depression. And 25% of Americans have an impulse control disorder. I think impulse control, and then I go to all the shootings that are going on and I go, hmm, is there a connection?


MARCIE: Is there a connection? I know.


DARLENE: Oh, so anyway.


MARCIE: It's a lot of good information to start thinking about and putting into context. And then how, like we mentioned earlier, you have 40% control over your mood; your happiness. So take that control and eat some good food.


DARLENE: I think it's interesting when we look around and see what the young teenagers are…


MARCIE: Zooming.


DARLENE: Especially in the morning before school.


MARCIE: Oh, right. I mean, it's, you know, they walk out with nothing or some granola bar or, and then, you know, grab a Mountain Dew or one of those energy drinks.


DARLENE: Or they stop at the coffee shop.


MARCIE: Or a nice big huge soy latte, right? Oh goodness. So it isn’t easy to give up the sugary treats, and we know that. We talk with you every day about this, but if you're struggling with a mental health issue or an autoimmune problem even, or even a digestive issue or just some extra weight, then it's completely worth all the effort you put in. I know it's hard work, but it's definitely worth it. So when people make the decision to start eating more clean, like that good protein, carb and fat, most of them need support and maybe just some more education to help with that.


DARLENE: Because we know that it isn't easy to change. Processed food is easy.


MARCIE: Right. And now we're asking you to, you know, make some plan. So at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, you know, that's what we do. We sit with you. We support you. We educate you. And I know after a switch from a processed food diet to just that real food diet, you're going to have more energy. You're going to have a better mood, and you're going to be able to have a better, improved memory. So I recommend giving it a try for six weeks and, you know, see how happy you can become.


DARLENE: So if you feel you do need support and more education, you know, give our office a call at 651-699-3438. Set up an appointment with one of the nutritionists or dietitians and you know what you're going to do? You're going to catch yourself smiling more frequently. You will know you have locked on to the happiness diet and our happiness food plan.


MARCIE: You are right.


DARLENE: You can actually change how you think and how you feel with the foods that you put in your mouth.


MARCIE: And it's a good connection to feel.


DARLENE: Yeah. So I think, I don't know how we're doing on timing.


MARCIE: I think we're good. I think we can close out today.


DARLENE: Oh okay. We could talk about this all day, couldn’t we?


MARCIE: We could because we're so happy about it. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing.


DARLENE: And it makes you happy when you eat real food.


MARCIE: It does.


DARLENE: So thank you for listening today.


MARCIE: And have a great day everybody.


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