Nutrition for Depression

May 13, 2019

May is mental health month and currently 1 in 5 people struggle with a mental health or addiction issue. Today we are going to talk about how what you eat can have either a positive or negative effect on your mental health. We have a special guest who will share her journey of how she used food as her main “antidepressant.”

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DARLENE: Well, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Darlene Kvist. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. And I've been doing this show for 16 years.

BRITNI: Wow. So, here's something funny to think about. I was 14 years old when you were starting this show Dar.

DARLENE: Well, for the last 16 years, Britni, I've been loving it every morning getting up early to do this show. But 14, oh my gosh. So you know, we really have a great show planned today for you on how nutrition helps to prevent and manage depression. You know that might be a new thought for most people.

BRITNI: I think so. Definitely.

DARLENE: So today we're going to talk about how food, you know that what you eat can either have a positive or a negative effect on your mental health. So what we're wanting you to understand is that real food can have a positive effect. Well, sugar, you know, we talk about this so often, has a negative effect on your moods and your memory.

BRITNI: It sure does.

DARLENE: On your memory. Think about that. So here's another interesting thing is that May is mental health month and currently one in five people struggle with a mental health or an addiction problem today.

BRITNI: That’s a lot of people.

DARLENE: That is. You know, often the stress we all live under is blamed for the sharp increase in depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism, neurodegenerative diseases... But as nutritionists, you know, especially I look to the research that connects what we are eating to those brain problems. In simple terms, if you eat right, you feel right, you think right. You know, this morning we're going to explore this concept and we have invited a special guest to tell her story about how she actually used nutrition to manage her depression. So joining me… You heard her voice already, is our co-host Britni Vincent, who is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. You know, Britni sees many, many, many, many clients each day, each week. You know, and they come because they have a variety of reasons, don't they? All kinds of different…

BRITNI: Kids, elderly, you name it.

DARLENE: Yup. And you know, one of the things that I love about Britni is that she educates.


DARLENE: She supports: you do.


DARLENE: And you care.

BRITNI: Thank you, Dar.

DARLENE: It comes across.

BRITNI: Thank you.

DARLENE: People love you. So thank you.

BRITNI: I love to hear that.

DARLENE: Yes, we always love that.

BRITNI: Well, good morning everybody. So the format of this morning’s show is a little bit different because we have a guest in studio who began her nutrition journey back in 2002.

DARLENE: How old were you then?

BRITNI: Oh gosh, let me do the math. …To help her deal with her depression and her IBS. So she's here today with us to share her success story. And so Dar and I will be interviewing Melissa Swenningson about her journey of how she used food to support her mental health and her digestion. And here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we think of food as an antidepressant.

DARLENE: That's a great concept.

BRITNI: Yes, it really is. So food as an antidepressant: Most likely a brand new thought for you. But…

DARLENE: I'm sorry, go ahead.

BRITNI: Well, in basic terms an antidepressant is just something that will alleviate depression.

DARLENE: Yeah. I mean, another one we could think about is besides food would be exercise. You know, getting out and walking. Something as simple as that.

BRITNI: Yep. Absolutely.

DARLENE: Or sleep. You know, all those things. So if you or a family member is struggling with a mental health issue, please stay tuned because I think the information that Melissa is going to share today is so powerful and so beneficial for people.

BRITNI: Yes, it really is.

DARLENE: You know, we really want you to stay tuned so you don't miss some of this information. You know, I've been in private practice for about 40 years and I've always been fascinated with how real food and the right nutrients can have a positive effect on our brain chemistry and our mental health. You know, 40 years ago, no one was talking about this.

BRITNI: Yeah, I bet.

DARLENE: But now more and more people are talking about this and we're finding more and more research that finding that just a simple pill that we thought was the answer is not the answer for depression and anxiety. So we need to kind of look deeper. And I love looking deeper at these things. So what we eat is key to how we deal with our stress and anxiety in our lives. Think about that one.

BRITNI: A lot of people don't realize that. Well they don't think about it. They're not aware. But you know, I encourage you, you listeners, to just start paying attention to how, how you respond.

DARLENE: You know, it's such an important concept. So I think it bears repeating: What we are eating, what we're putting in our mouth is key to how we deal with stress and anxiety in our lives. So Melissa: She's on right here on the microphone. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition.

MELISSA: Well, thank you Dar. It's a pleasure to be here.

DARLENE: It's kind of brave for you to share this story about depression on air, you know. But, you know, one of the things, Melissa, I remember sitting down with you I guess 17 years ago, and we kind of talked about moods and eating and we really wanted to get you feeling better. Now, to be honest with you, and at my age I might not have remembered everything we talked about. And you know, I don't take really good notes, as you know. But I think you probably remember what we talked about. So kind of give us a little clue about kind of your journey because you have learned so much in the last 17 years, haven’t you?

MELISSA: Oh, I sure have. And I continue to learn every day.

DARLENE: Yes, I think we do. All of us don't we?


DARLENE: So give us a little history. You know, you came in, you sat down, and where had you been and what had been going on in your life and all that good stuff?

MELISSA: Well, it probably started in graduate school. You know, that's a pretty intense program. And so you're trying to do all the work and you just sort of lose self-care. You don't get enough sleep. You don't eat the right things. You don't eat enough. You're too busy, you know, lunchtime will come and go. And you realize, “Oh my gosh, I haven't eaten lunch and it's almost dinner time”. So I would say that probably started my downward spiral.


DARLENE: So Melissa, what kind of grad school where you in? What was that? What was that called?

MELISSA: It was a PhD program in biochemistry.

DARLENE: You need your brain working, didn’t you?

MELISSA: Oh, good Lord.

BRITNI: That sounds very intense.

MELISSA: Yes, I wish I had a better brain back then because I certainly needed it.

DARLENE: So you weren't, you weren't eating well then?

MELISSA: Well, my breakfast of choice back then was coffee that I put hazelnut creamer in just to wake up and try to take in that intensive school: science.

DARLENE: The kind of creamer that has all the bad fats?

MELISSA: Oh yeah. That's the only way I could put that bitter stuff down.

DARLENE: And then what else did you do? Coffee, and what else were you eating?

MELISSA: My favorite was a raspberry white chocolate scone.

BRITNI: So, a coffee with sugar in it and a scone, which we know is very high in sugar. So her lifestyle habits back then versus now are so different that Melissa's actually one of our nutrition educators.

DARLENE: So Melissa, you shared a story with me a couple of days ago. You had finished teaching class 11. How were people responding to your teaching?

MELISSA: Well, first of all, I love that class: Nutrition for Weight Loss. It's a 12-week journey that we all share together. And I have to say my biggest reward is seeing people make the changes. And when they share that information with me and how this program and the educators that are so passionate about what we teach. And we do really care about our clients and we want them to succeed. They thank you. They hug you and they tell you what a big difference in their life this program has made. It just makes all the work worthwhile.

BRITNI: It really does.

MELISSA: It's a wonderful experience.

DARLENE: So I think one of the things that you said: Even if a person doesn't have an issue with weight: That's not one of their goals. This class really teaches them how to eat to support every other aspect of their life.

MELISSA: Absolutely. And in a sense, I actually use the Nutrition for Weight Loss program to manage my depression and all the other aspects of health. So I follow all the principles that we teach. And for me, my primary concern is not weight loss.

DARLENE: No, of course not. So Melissa, when you say you use it to help you manage your depression, what part of it do you…? I mean, you know, that's kind of vague when you say that. What does that really mean? You know, you use what? Go ahead.

MELISSA: What I learned in a Weight and Wellness… That's the six week class. That's like your nutrition 101. Everything I needed to learn about nutrition, I learned in Weight and Wellness. And what that class taught me was that protein that we eat breaks down into neurotransmitters. And that helps us form our feel good chemicals: our serotonin and our dopamine. And I also learned the importance of blood sugar balance, how I need to eat protein, fat and healthy carbohydrates every time I eat, and about every three hours to keep that blood sugar balance.

BRITNI: So hold that thought Melissa.

DARLENE: Okay, we're going to come back and talk more about blood sugar.

BRITNI: Yup we sure are. But right now it's time for a break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And we are discussing how real food nutrition has helped our special guest, Melissa Swenningson, successfully manage her depression since 2002. If you have a specific question today about how food helps with depression, call us in studio at (651) 641-1071. And remember today we are only taking calls about depression or anxiety.


DARLENE: Well welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, the other day Melissa mentioned to me that our Nutrition for Weight Loss series is perfect for people to learn all about real food nutrition plan. So she highly recommends everyone taking this class if they're having kind of any kind of mental health problem or any kind of health problem; Or even if they don't even have a health problem. And you know, this class meets for 12 weeks, once a week, and we're eating real food several times a day and we're doing it because we want positive moods, better memory, less pain, less inflammation. And of course some people come for weight loss. You know, we have a new series starting the week of June 3rd at all seven of our locations. And I don't know, Britni, are you teaching any of them this time?

BRITNI: I don’t think I am.

DARLENE: Okay. Melissa.

MELISSA: I haven't gotten my teaching assignment yet, but I certainly hope so.

DARLENE: Okay. So you know, I'm really proud of these classes because we're making so many changes in people's lives. And I'm really proud of our teachers and how they teach, how they care, and you know, I'm proud of the fact that there's so much more than just a weight loss program. They’re a health program.

BRITNI: Just a really great class.

DARLENE: It is. So anyway, call our office if you have questions. 651-699-3438.

BRITNI: So before the break, Melissa, you were starting to talk about blood sugar. So tell, tell us how blood sugar impacts how you feel.

MELISSA: Well, when I have low blood sugar, I start to feel anxious. And if it gets really bad, I start to feel desperate. It's like I can't focus on anything else but finding food. So what I learned is I need to eat regularly, about every three hours to balance my blood sugar. Sometimes I don't have those hunger signals kick in. So lunch will come and go and I'll be like, it's two o'clock, I haven’t eaten lunch. But dinner time, they definitely kick in. Sometimes I have to set a timer on my phone to remind me to eat the lunch.

DARLENE: But it's really important to keep that blood sugar in that normal range, not too high and not too low. So you can't go along eating sugar all day long. Because you know what’s interesting, and I've actually read some research recently about this, is that we have these little receptors on our cells, and they get blocked up with sugar. So then our little neurotransmitters can't get in and we have more depression and more anxiety.

MELISSA: Makes sense.

DARLENE: It's just all fits together, doesn't it?

MELISSA: Oh, it sure does. Wish I had known this a long time ago, Dar. Where were you?

DARLENE: Well, 17 years ago. That was pretty good.


DARLENE: So we had a couple of callers. We had a call, we had a question. The gentleman did not want to stay on the line, right?

BRITNI: Yes. So he was wondering how caffeine affects depression.

DARLENE: Well, you know, I think we've all… Melissa, how would you answer that question?

MELISSA: Well, I think caffeine helps you focus, but what I learned is I can't substitute, let's say a mocha to give me energy and focus because that's just a bunch of sugar.


MELISSA: So really, and it's, you don't want it to be substituting for adequate sleep or proper nutrition. So I would say a couple of cups a day, but definitely want to eat balanced real food as well.

DARLENE: And I would say probably one cup: Really, if we're being super honest with everybody.

BRITNI: To make you feel your best.

DARLENE: You're right. So should we take a caller or is that…?

BRITNI: There is no more for now. So when we teach people about how to eat to support their brain health, I always start with the basic understanding of protein, fat and vegetables. And then of course, eliminating those processed carbs, the sugar that we've already been talking about. Melissa, I know you're a big supporter of eating protein several times a day. And we know now that you have that science background. So give us some science behind why protein is absolutely necessary to supporting good mental health.

MELISSA: Well, I love science. And I love to understand the why behind it. But I actually love the way protein makes me feel. So what it does is when you eat protein, it breaks down into those building blocks called amino acids in your gut. And those amino acids go together and form chemicals called neurotransmitters. Some, the main ones are serotonin and dopamine, and these are your feel good chemicals.

DARLENE: So you, Melissa, I think people don't understand that actually when you eat protein, it breaks down in your gut and your digestive system. And it makes a couple of the building blocks to make these neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine. So what if you don't eat protein all day?

MELISSA: Well, you've got no neurotransmitters. And what I learned that stress depletes your neurotransmitters.

DARLENE: Yes. So when you were in school having this stressful grad school experience, and not eating protein when you got up in the morning, you were kind of shutting your brain down.

MELISSA: I was not setting myself up for success, that's for sure.

DARLENE: So how did you feel? Did you have anxiety?

MELISSA: Oh yeah: Anxiety, exhaustion, no self confidence; just struggling to get by. It was survival mode Dar.

DARLENE: So do you know, as listeners, think about the number of people, and I'm thinking kind of like the younger people these days, they jump out of bed, they grab a cup of coffee and they're out the door, but they are not eating breakfast. What are you eating now for breakfast? Be honest. You're not doing the scone any longer?

MELISSA: Oh gosh, no. The scone days are over.

BRITNI: That's good.

MELISSA: Well, my favorite breakfast is probably the most simple, which is scrambled eggs and spinach sauteed in butter, and a little, those cutie oranges. That's probably my favorite, easiest breakfast. But if I'm in a grab and go situation, I make our protein shake. I've got protein powder, a fat and some fruit in there and maybe a little spinach.

BRITNI: It's a really great option.

MELISSA: So I'm definitely getting all my nutrients in. It's just not made from scratch.

DARLENE: Right. And you know, I always make three to six protein shakes so that I always have one that I can grab and go with. And I know that I'm getting my carbohydrates, which is the fruit. I know I'm getting the protein to make my neurotransmitters, and I put coconut milk in because that's the fat. That’s perfect. It’s so simple.

BRITNI: It keeps your blood sugar stable.

DARLENE: It keeps your blood sugar stable, so no anxiety.

MELISSA: No, I always keep them something in my purse: Healthy snack options so that I can avoid getting to that low blood sugar state and feeling that anxiety. That's an awful feeling.

DARLENE: So Britni, you know, we talk about we need protein, and I don't know if our listeners… you know, sometimes people think, well I could eat pea protein or I could eat, you know, so what do you tell clients?

BRITNI: You know, animal sources of protein are really our best source of protein. So that could be chicken, beef, fish, dairy, if you can tolerate it. So that's the most bio-available or usable for our body. Pea protein doesn't have very much protein, and we actually can't even utilize all the protein in there. It's bound up to fiber. And then a lot of times you would need to eat huge amounts of those and then you're just going end up getting too many carbohydrates.

DARLENE: Right. Exactly.

BRITNI: Yeah. So the animal sources of protein are really our best source of protein, and we really find that to be true for our clients every day.

DARLENE: So, you know, kind of go back and repeat this. And help me out, both of you, with this. When we eat protein, it goes down into our gut or in our intestinal track, breaks down and makes what?

MELISSA: Serotonin.

DARLENE: Serotonin, amino acids, dopamine. And those are two of the very important neurotransmitters, aren't they?

BRITNI: They are. We’re going to talk more about those neurotransmitters: Already a break.

DARLENE: She keeps cutting me off. (laughter)

BRITNI: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to read a comment that a recent class member wrote on her evaluation sheet after taking our 12 week Nutrition for Weight Loss program that we've been talking about already in the show. So she wrote, “I've lost 16 pounds. I'm sleeping better and more. I feel better, more energy, and I'm moving my body more. Now here's a special comment she wrote that I think maybe a lot of people can relate to. I can cut my toenails without my belly hurting”.

DARLENE: Amazing.

BRITNI: Yeah. She also said, “I like that I ate real food, not having to count calories or points or feeling too hungry; always and always feeling bad about what I was eating.” So she wasn't feeling bad about what she was eating. She was feeling really good about it. And she said “There's a lot of new information, but it all ended up coming together. So if you want more information about our nutritional services, call our office at 651-699-3438. Or visit our website at to get your answer to your questions.


DARLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, tomorrow is Mother's Day. I hope everyone remembers that. You know, if you still haven't gotten that special gift for your mother… And I was always in that place. What am I going to do? What am I going to get?

BRITNI: Scrambling at the last minute.

DARLENE: How about a gift certificate for a Weight and Wellness class or a nutrition consultation or your mom's favorite supplement? You know, magnesium is great. Or you know, even the cookbook that we have.

BRITNI: It's a great idea.

DARLENE: You know, so really, time is running out. So call 651-699-3438, and we'll help you get that perfect gift for mom. So, you know, we were talking about people eating protein before break, but as nutritionists we know sometimes it is so hard to get people into that routine of eating breakfast with protein, eating a snack with protein, eating… Just eating sometimes; they just, people are so used to just skipping; And then over-eating.

BRITNI: And I think especially when you're depressed, it makes it that much harder to get motivated to, to cook for yourself. And some of my clients ask me, “Can’t I just take an antidepressant to make my neurotransmitters? Because I don't have time to cook or I don't have the energy to. So doesn't Prozac or Zoloft make my serotonin?”

DARLENE: Oh we hear that question very often.

BRITNI: We do.

DARLENE: Did you ever think that way, Melissa?


DARLENE: So now what do you think?

MELISSA: Well, when I took the Weight and Wellness class back in 2002 I learned that my antidepressants did not make more serotonin and dopamine. They just kept it around longer. But if you didn't have enough neurotransmitters in your system, it wasn't going to make much difference.

DARLENE: So what she really just said, if you don't have those building blocks from eating protein, your antidepressants don't work very well.

BRITNI: Cause you don't have the neurotransmitters.

DARLENE: Right. It’s got nothing to hold. So you're eating a good breakfast now. You're eating eggs, which has protein. You're eating some vegetables.

MELISSA: Absolutely.

DARLENE: And you're eating some good fat.


DARLENE: And you're balancing your blood sugar and you're making your neurotransmitters.

MELISSA: That's right.

DARLENE: That's simple isn't it?

MELISSA: Sure. It takes planning.

DARLENE: It takes planning.

MELISSA: Planning and preparation and you have to stay on top of it. Cause if you don't, you might go back to that depression.

DARLENE: So one of the things that I've found working with clients for all these years, 40 some years, that you know, sometimes we need to give them a little help to get going; Because this is new behavior. And so I formulated something that is called Crave Control Plus. And actually that supplies the amino acids, the tryptophan and the L-tyrosine. And it helps people's brains work better because they're getting all the neurotransmitter building blocks. And so then they start moving their body more and they start feeling better. And they start to cook more because they're feeling better. And so usually I just have people take two to three Crave Control Plus before breakfast, before lunch and before dinner. Sometimes we start with one before each meal: Just depends on… And then I have them taken a little bit of glutamine: L-glutamine, which is another amino acid. And that helps kind of with absorption and then they start feeling better.

BRITNI: They really do. It makes… That supplement makes such a huge impact for many people. Yeah, I use it regularly too.


BRITNI: So Melissa, we know you eat protein several times a day. You mentioned healthy fats. So how has… tell us, tell us about your journey with fat.

MELISSA: Well, I have to say I probably was a little fat phobic when I first met Dar.

DARLENE: Which I think is probably true for 99% of the population.

MELISSA: In the 1990s they were really pushing that low fat thing. And so I was on it even though I was studying biochemistry, that was pretty much down to the detail. It was not about real life practical application of, you know, nutrients and how they impacted how you feel. So all you needed to say to me, Dar, was Melissa, put some real butter on your vegetables to help absorb the fat soluble vitamins. And I thought, well duh. And that was it. That was all I needed to hear.

DAR: Because you knew what fat soluble vitamins were.

MELISSA: Absolutely: Vitamins A, D, E and K.

BRITNI: So you're saying you get more nutrients from broccoli with butter than just plain broccoli.

MELISSA: That's right. Plus it tastes better.

DAR: It tastes much better.

MELISSA: So what I learned was that the omega-three type of fatty acid is what makes up our brain as well as water. And I definitely wasn't getting enough of that. And, when I eat salmon, wild caught salmon, I feel the best because it's got a high dose of omega-three.

DARLENE: Yes. And I have clients report back to me, and that's what they say too. If they eat salmon, wild caught salmon, they feel the best. So what other kinds of fats?

MELISSA: Well, I try to get a variety of fat, so avocados, olives, expeller pressed olive oil, real butter, pastured, unrefined coconut oil. I really try to get all variety of nuts and seeds, so I'm getting all the different fats, but it's really helped with balancing my blood sugar and feeling full. And, I don't look like an alligator with my skin.

BRITNI: That's a nice perk.

MELISSA: I'm not all dried out.

DARLENE: So, you know, Melissa, you kind of now jogged my memory as we were talking about this from 2002. You were in grad school. You're stressed out. You weren't eating much and also you weren't sleeping very well. So kind of your brain finally said, “enough is enough, is enough”. And you know, on other shows we've talked about how the brain heals and actually kind of detoxes while we sleep. So that means if you get exposed to toxins and we all get exposed to toxins throughout the day, when you sleep, your brain clears those out of your body and brain.

BRITNI: It's amazing.

DARLENE: So Melissa has your, how was your sleep then? Because sleep is such an issue for so many people.

MELISSA: Oh, I know. Boy, I was probably sleeping, I don't know, maybe five hours or so a night. I mean as much as I could get, but it was a lot of demands so there wasn't a lot of time for sleep.

DARLENE: You know what I think when people tell me that they're sleeping five hours a night? I think that's a brain for stress and depression.

MELISSA: Yeah, absolutely.

DARLENE: Cause you're actually being kind of abusive to your brain when you do that.

MELISSA: Oh yeah. And your body.

DARLENE: Yes. So, but as far as depression, if you sleep five hours, you're probably going to roll out of bed feeling…

MELISSA: Not my best self, that's for sure. Irritable, crabby. Don't want to get out of bed, don't want to go to work or go about my day. So for me sleep is very critical. I mean eight to nine hours is my preferred amount of sleep. But I don't let myself get less than seven.

DARLENE: So just, you know, here's just a little habit. We've all had to get up early this morning.

BRITNI: We sure did.

DARLENE: So you know, I was in bed sleeping by 10. How about you? Cause you got up even earlier than I did.

MELISSA: I was in bed by nine so I could get up at five: bright eyed and bushy tailed for today's show.

BRITNI: So we all made sure we were in bed early enough to get that adequate sleep.

DARLENE: And I think that's because we appreciate and respect our brain health.

BRITNI: Yep. And we're making it a priority what it comes down to.

MELISSA: Yup. You have to prioritize sleep. You just have to.

BRITNI: That is a good segue into our next break. You are listening to Dishing up Nutrition and we are discussing nutrition for depression. May is mental health month. And after listening to Melissa share her personal story, you should now understand the importance of nutrition to prevent depression and also to effectively manage depression. So I encourage you to set up a two hour initial consultation to help you learn what foods and supplements will help to you to make that happy brain chemicals we all want. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness we think of real food as the most powerful antidepressant that has ever been created.

DARLENE: Isn’t that great?

BRITNI: It is great. So if you have questions you can actually email me. My email is I will gladly answer your questions.

DARLENE: Wow, Britni, that's good. Thank you.

BRITNI: My email will be a full, I'm sure on Monday, but that's great.

DARLENE: We'll be right back.


DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you have questions about perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause, join Kris, Joann and me next Saturday, May 18th for our five hour Menopause Survival Seminar. And that's at our Maple Grove location. And I can honestly say that during this time in your life you can absolutely have menopause zest and feel great. I know because I’ve been there. So sign up today before all the seats are taken and they do fill up. So call (651) 699-3438 or you can go to So next Saturday on Dishing Up Nutrition Kara and Melanie will discuss cancer prevention, how nutrition affects that, and she'll share how eating sugar and processed carbs dramatically increases your cancer risk. So that plate of pancakes: Not a good thing.

BRITNI: Not a good thing at all.

DARLENE: So tune in and tell your friends because this is such an important show too.

BRITNI: It is. So Melissa, we mentioned earlier in the show you also had IBS during this time, so you weren't eating the protein to get the neurotransmitters. And then your gut health was not very good. And we know, you know, more and more research is pointing to the fact that our gut or our intestinal tract is our second brain. So there's like a double whammy for you.

MELISSA: Oh yeah.

DARLENE: So you had IBS.

MELISSA: Oh yeah.

DARLENE: But you had more… I think people think IBS: diarrhea.

MELISSA: No, I was probably constipated since I was a kid. So when I met you when I was 32 you helped me to have a regular bowel movement every day.

DARLENE: And which we need.

MELISSA: Absolutely. You got to get rid of the toxins. You don't want to be carrying around that day after day. And you know you can get irritable after being bound up for awhile.

DARLENE: So, you know, it's so important, you know, besides getting rid of the toxins, we actually, you have to have your digestive system working well because let's go back to protein a minute. What happens when you eat protein?

MELISSA: Well, you need a healthy gut to be able to break down the protein into those amino acids to form those neurotransmitters. And I definitely did not have that going on for me.

DARLENE: Okay. So Melissa, is there one thing or a couple of things that helped you with your constipation? Well, that Bifido Balance. Bifido bacteria probiotic that, Nutrikey makes really helped with regularity. I also used magnesium. It helps relax the muscles in my colon so I could go every day.

BRITNI: And what kind of magnesium did you use?

MELISSA: I probably started out with the Mixed Magnesium, which has magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate in it. What you explained to me, Dar, was that the magnesium citrate helps pull water from the body into the colon to help you go. So then you started drinking more water. I love water, but you know, it's, I think everyone's dehydrated these days. Our thirst signal doesn't kick in until it's too late. You're already dehydrated. So I am always drinking the water.

DARLENE: I think we all are doing that as much as possible. It's all these habits that we have to have. So is there something that we haven't talked about so far on the show Britni? Put you right on the spot.

BRITNI: Yeah, right. Well I think that, you know, we mentioned the healthy fats. And you mentioned the omega-threes. Did you also start taking in omega-three or DHA to help your brain?

MELISSA: I did. I started taking, and I still take the DHA type of omega-three fatty acid. And what Dar taught me was that that is the exact type of fat that our brain is made up out of and that you can find in the yokes of eggs and wild caught salmon.

DARLENE: And it’s in breast milk.

MELISSA: Breast milk and grass fed beef.

BRITNI: Sardines.

MELISSA: Oh yeah, that's a tough one. So I, I started with three a day, one with each meal and then, I upped it when I started the teacher training program for your company because I needed my memory to work. And so that helped me retain all the information I was studying and it’s made a big difference, just going from three to four.

DARLENE: Wow that's amazing.

MELISSA: I wish I had that tool back in the day. Could have probably done better on my exams.

BRITNI: Probably. You mentioned earlier, it's hard, you know, we have to plan to stay on top of things. So what keeps you motivated? What inspires you to keep doing this? Well, to be honest, I want to feel good. That's the bottom line. And I know there's things I need to do to make that happen and you know, I have to get up and I have to eat something and I can't be doing what I used to do.

DARLENE: So, you know what, one of the kind of things that I hear from a lot of clients is, “Oh, I'll just go for a run and then I won't eat”. Did you ever fall into that one?

MELISSA: Oh yeah. I used to coach marathoners and you have to get up really early, kind of like today to get that run going cause it's long. So having breakfast before running? Hmm. that was a tough…

BRITNI: More stress on the body.

MELISSA: A lot of stress. And that you could qualify that as an overtraining, over-exercising because of the amount of running you have to do to train for a marathon. So not only you start with nothing, but you're depleting your body further. You need more antioxidants than the average person does. And I wasn't getting those in because I wasn't eating enough vegetables either. And that's something we haven't talked about.

DARLENE: So if you're thinking about all, you know your lifestyle now, what's… cause you do exercise?

MELISSA: I do. It makes me feel good.

DARLENE: Yes, but you're not running marathons.


DARLENE: All right. So kind of give people kind of just a kind of a broad spectrum of how do you keep your mental health in check and how do you do this every day? I don't know if we have enough hours, but just keep going.

MELISSA: Might have to have another show, Dar, part two. Well from a movement standpoint, just getting outside and even walking around the block, walking around my neighborhood, getting fresh air and moving my body feels good. Now going for a quick little run, run, walk, kind of casual, no plan, just enjoying the ride basically for 30 minutes, whatever, plus or minus; That I can feel a lift in my dopamine, my endorphins. And you know, it stimulates the blood flow to the whole body, which includes the brain and it gives me energy. And so when you're exercising, you want to eat better. When you eat better, you want to exercise. So they kind of help propel each other forward.

DARLENE: So when you eat better, I mean, I know we've said this a few times, but give us a little clue about what that means for you on a daily basis. What do you have to do?

MELISSA: Well, I have to plan. I have to go grocery shopping. I have to have the food on hand. I always have grab and go protein, vegetables and healthy fats: always grab and go available. But cooking is the very best. When I cook a healthy meal, I feel so satisfied and satiated that I don't want that sweet after dinner like I used to.

BRITNI: That is wonderful. You know what?

DARLENE: Melissa, thank you so much.

BRITNI: Thank you so much for being on. 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 very powerful message. Eating real food is truly life changing. Thank you so much for listening and Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there.

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