Simple, Natural Solutions for Depression

February 22, 2021

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 28% of adults in the U.S. are experiencing symptoms of depression compared to 8.5% before the pandemic. Listen in as two nutritionists focus on how our food choices affect our mental health, for better or worse. In a time when so much is out of our control, learning how to feed your body and mind with healing foods is something you can control. Listen in!

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Transcript:

CAROLYN: Well, good morning everyone. And welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Carolyn Hudson, and I've been a Registered and Licensed Dietitian for many years. And over these years, I have seen firsthand the impact the foods people eat have on their body and of course their brain health. So last week Kara started the show with a great quote from Dr. Alan R. Gaby. He's the author of Nutritional Medicine. And that's really a science-based nutrition reference book for physicians and healthcare practitioners. Here's what he wrote, and I quote: “Big Macs lead to Zantac, which leads to Prozac.” So if you didn't hear that quote last week, I'm going to go into a little more detail about that. So eating Big Macs or making poor food choices time and time again often leads to digestive problems, gastrointestinal problems, which will most likely require some kind of digestive medication such as the Zantac or Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Tums. You know, we all hear about those, right? So taking any of these digestive medications often leads to an inability to break down or digest your protein. And that's going to result in a deficiency of amino acids. And you need amino acids to actually make neurotransmitters. Those are those, you know, feel good brain neurotransmitters, especially serotonin. And a deficiency of serotonin can actually bring on depression and may eventually bring about a need for an antidepressant prescription like Prozac. So being a dietitian, again for, you know, over 30 years, I've had the opportunity to observe the impact that a processed food diet has had on the decline of people's health, both the health of their body and the health of their brain. So joining me in studio today is Nikki Doering, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Today, Nikki and I will be discussing how our food choices affect our mental health. Nikki, welcome. It's good to be here in studio with you; very first time I'm in studio with you, right?

NIKKI: Yeah.

CAROLYN: Yeah, that's really cool. So I know that you're great at helping our clients connect what they eat to how they feel and how they think. So you even have personal stories about this and what happens to you when you personally veer off your real food way of eating, and maybe find that candy stash somewhere.

NIKKI: Oh yes. I am definitely, that definitely happens to me. Well, good morning, Carolyn. It's wonderful to be here with you. And before I share my personal stories about my struggles with sugar and, or my personal stories about concussions and nutrition, which is a really important topic for me, I want to share a first of its kind study from the Boston University School of Public Health. This study talked about the COVID-19 pandemic and it's, and it said, and the onset and how it relates to depression. “Almost 20%, 28, excuse me, 28% of the adults in the U.S. are experiencing depression, compared to before the pandemic it was only about eight and a half percent.”

CAROLYN: Wow. That's huge.

NIKKI: Yeah; eight and half percent before pandemic; 28% now. That's in less than a year. I just think that's incredible. And you know, we have a lot of work to do.

CAROLYN: We do. We really do; yeah.

NIKKI: Because mental health is a big, I mean, it's a huge thing. The reality is that as a nation and most of the world, we are already under stress and now we have even more stress. I tell my clients, you know, we had a normal amount of stress before the pandemic. Some of us more, had more stress than others, but now we all have this over-encompassing pandemic stress.

CAROLYN: And pandemic fatigue.

NIKKI: Yes, pandemic fatigue; totally. Yes. As I thought more about the recent, this recent study and the fact that I'm a true believer in the power of eating good food, I concluded that to maintain good mental health during the pandemic, we must avoid processed foods. So processed foods like ice cream, other frozen foods, fast food, you know, even those pre-made meals at the grocery store. I think we talked about how those are kind of over-taking.

CAROLYN: Yeah. The, the, the area that they're putting them in, they're all, they've all been expanded.

NIKKI: And then of course we want to avoid sugar too. So I really think about the beginning of the pandemic. For me personally, I definitely fell into that comfort food. I was baking a little bit more. I was eating more sugar. And I quickly realized how it was making my stress worse. It was making my moods worse. And I decided too, which I'm sure some of our listeners, our clients, even our other nutritionists probably can agree: wow, we need, you know, that real food really does… It was a good eye-opener like, wow, how much we need good real food, like real animal protein, real vegetables and real natural fats.

CAROLYN: Yeah. I agree with you, Nikki. You know, this is not the time to be going through those drive-throughs and junk food. You know, you can't be just saying, “I don't feel like cooking, so let's order a pizza or go out, you know, go, go through the drive through and get a hamburger.” Or, or even worse.

NIKKI: Yep.

CAROLYN: Having a bowl of cereal. I mean, that used to be our kind of go to a bedtime snack as a kid. Yeah; right. So this morning we really want to educate and inspire you; all of you listeners out there, to fully appreciate the value of eating real food for your own mental health. We also want to give you some simple, natural solutions for depression. And we are really not alone in our belief in the power of eating real food. And that's kind of comforting.

NIKKI: It is. I recently found an article on the Mayo Clinic website titled Can a Junk Food Diet Increase Your Risks of Depression? Here as a quote from that article: “Several studies have found that people who ate a poor quality diet, one that included, one that was high in processed meats, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried foods, and refined cereals were more likely to report symptoms of depression.” So I want to stop there and just rewind a little bit because I think when we talk about processed meats…

CAROLYN: Yeah, yeah. So that, like beef jerky. There's a whole bunch of different brands out there. But you need to look for things like grass-fed, no nitrates, you know, no other preservatives, no other additives. So you've got to look at, you have to look at the label.

NIKKI: Sugar.

CAROLYN: Sugar. A lot of the processed meats have added… Beef sticks; that's another one. And just deli meat; just deli meat. So that's, there's a lot of things out there.

NIKKI: Yeah. A lot more processed, highly processed meats than just meat; chicken.

CAROLYN: Right; right.

NIKKI: So a poor quality diet also includes processed junk food and fast food. All the foods that we just mentioned are lacking in vegetables, quality meats and natural fats, and would fall in that poor quality diet category.

CAROLYN: So there's actually a new field of study emerging that's called nutritional psychiatry, which is based on the message that what you eat directly affects the structure and the function of your brain, which then affects of course your mood or whether you have a sense of wellbeing or depression. So, Dr. Amen: he is the author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. On his website, he states, “A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that nutritional treatment may help prevent, treat or improve depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, autism, addiction, and eating disorders. And finally, the scientific community is beginning to see how food is so strongly linked to brain health and mental health.” In the journal, Lancet: Psychiatry in 2015, a group of 18 scientists concluded that “the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a critical factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggest that diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.”

NIKKI: It's amazing.

CAROLYN: Yeah. So Nikki, you actually have a client story to help reinforce this particular thing and the connection between food and brain health. So when we come back from break, we'll be talking about that. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you are struggling with low moods, anxiety or depression, stay tuned because we will share some simple, natural solutions for depression. And we'll be right back.

BREAK

NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. It sure has been a long, hard winter for many of us. And we are definitely missing being able to eat in our own favorite restaurants; so for so long. It's been forever I feel like since we’ve been able to eat in a restaurant. Whether we have liked it or not, we've had to become more familiar with our own kitchens. And for some of us that's been really terrifying.

CARLOLYN: Oh, I have clients that are going, “Oh my gosh, I had to learn how to cook.”

NIKKI: Learn how to cook; exactly. But I have some good news for you. To feel more at ease navigating through your own kitchens, many of my clients have taken a Weight and Wellness cooking class from our culinary nutrition educator, Marianne, who, she is amazing. I always learn something new when I see her classes or just listen to her talk about cooking. If you need to know what tools or gadgets you need in the kitchen, or maybe some new ideas for dinner or snacks, because who doesn't need that?

CAROLYN: We all need that right now.

NIKKI: Sign up for our virtual cooking classes. These classes are very popular. So call (651) 699-3438 or go to our website, weightandwellness.com to save your spot today. So before break, we were talking about nutritional psychiatry and I just think that's a great new coming field.

CAROLYN: Yes.

NIKKI: And we've even had a few people referred by their psychologists to come see us about eating a healthy, balanced diet. So that's, I know we're seeing that.

CAROLYN: Yeah, definitely. I know I've seen a number of people recently, even kind of, I had a mom who was a psychiatrist bring one of her children. And her child said to me, “Oh, you're sounding just like my mom.” It was pretty funny.

NIKKI: Yes, yes; heard that once or twice from parents before. Or kids; anyways… So we talked before break about a client story. So here's an example of a person that started working with one of our Nutritional Weight and Wellness nutritionists when she retired from teaching. At that point, she had some health problems. But she was changing her food choices from processed grab-and-go foods to actually cooking some of the Weight and Wellness recipes. In a short time, she was feeling better. She lost 50 pounds.

CAROLYN: Wow. That's a lot.

NIKKI: Yes. And then the pandemic hit.

CAROLYN: Oh boy.

NIKKI: But despite the numerous changes in her lifestyle due to COVID-19, she consistently made monthly appointments with her nutritionist and sought out new ways to stay motivated. She cut out sugar and gluten and discovered she no longer had cravings.

CAROLYN: That's, that happens to almost all of our clients, right? I mean their cravings just go away when they start eating the way we teach them to eat.

NIKKI: Yes. Yep. And which, those cravings had, she had struggled with since she was 10 or 12 years old. And I can relate to that personally. And I think a lot of our clients can relate. It's a lifelong battle with cravings. So now her cravings are gone. She's now sleeping better. Her bone density has improved, and she's lost another 10 pounds since beginning of, since the beginning of the pandemic. She just signed up for a Weight and Wellness cooking class with Marianne so she can maintain her determination and enthusiasm as she continues on her path of good health. She said, “I dieted my entire life and now I just eat for my health and I lose weight. No more low-fat, low-calorie starvation for me.” That is so impactful. “I dieted my entire life and now I just eat for my health and I lose weight.”

CAROLYN: That's just so good.

NIKKI: It's so good. It's like a dream come true. Now that she's retired, she's able to spend more time volunteering helping people who are receiving cochlear implants for hearing loss. She continues to be motivated to make good food choices so she can feel good and have the energy to do the things she loves.

CAROLYN: That is a great story. Thank you very much, Nikki, for sharing that. So, okay. Let's get back to discussing some of those simple, natural solutions for depression and nutrition. The food choices you make, you know, are currently the most important missing cause of mental health in our country. It's just a simple concept. What we eat affects our brain. So Nikki, let's talk about maybe some snacks. What's your, one of your favorite snacks?

NIKKI: I really love the deli meat roll-ups with pickles and cream cheese. And that's one of my go-tos. I feel like I'm, I hate the word cheating, but that's what it feels like.

CAROLYN: It feels like you’re cheating.

NIKKI: I don't like that because I don't think you should cheat on your diet.

CAROLYN: I just, I, you know, and I think what's really important for our, for all of our listeners to learn is it needs to be in balance. You need to have a protein, a fat and a carbohydrate. So one of my go-tos: lately, I've been on this kick of, again, it's a little bit of cream cheese, a little bit of hot sauce. And I melt that and I put it on my chicken legs; baked chicken legs. And then I have a few raw vegetables on the side. And sometimes when I have blue cheese in the house, I'll add blue cheese to that. So it's kind of a, a buffalo.

NIKKI: Oh my gosh; another one that feels like a cheat, but guess what? It's real food; healthy, balanced food.

CAROLYN: Yes, exactly.

NIKKI: So some of our listeners, back to the depression topic. Some of our listeners might be wondering how prevalent depression is. It may surprise you that one in 10 people take a psychic psychiatric drug to treat a mood disorder. However, one in four women in their forties to fifties take an antidepressant. So that means a quarter of middle aged women are taking very powerful drugs that are typically prescribed for clinical depression. Actually, depression is the leading cause of disability and depression may soon replace heart disease for cost of care.

CAROLYN: Wow.

NIKKI: Yeah.

CAROLYN: That's eye opening, isn't it?

NIKKI: Yes. The sales of SSRIs have increased by 400% over the past 20 years. These drugs treat the symptoms, but not the cause. So backing up; wait a second.

CAROLYN: What’s an SSRI, Nikki?

NIKKI: So it stands for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. And I'm going to have Carolyn explain what that means.

CAROLYN: Well, these SSRIs don't actually make serotonin. Isn't that interesting?

NIKKI: Yes.

CAROLYN: Okay. What they do is they help your body use what you do have more effectively. So what we're talking about nutritional impact of mental health, we're trying to make more serotonin in our bodies. So when you eat that protein, it breaks down, you know, into amino acids. And that helps build those neurotransmitters like serotonin. So as we look at the cause of depression, again, we have to look at our food choices. A new way of thinking about depression is to think of depression as an inflammatory disease. Just as rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease affecting your joints, depression is an inflammatory disease affecting your brain. So here are a couple of questions. What is an inflammatory diet?

NIKKI: Well, I can hop in there.

CAROLYN: Okay.

NIKKI: I think, you know, we're talking about brain health and decreasing inflammation. I think of an anti-inflammatory diet being real food. So real, you know, animal protein, vegetables, fruit for carbs and those healthy fats. And what, and when you eat those in combination together every two and a half to three and a half hours, we get a balanced blood sugar, which helps reduce inflammation in our body.

CAROLYN: Yeah. When we have that blood sugar rollercoaster that increases that inflammation. So the foods that are going to increase inflammation in your brain or body; we've kind of already touched on a number of them. But any of those high carb foods, like the pasta and the bagels and the baked goods or any of those highly processed foods that have ingredients that we can't even pronounce or contain nitrates or dyes or MSG; any of those things can be really bad for us. So we're, it's already time for the second break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. As many of you know, a vast number of people have put on a few extra pounds during COVID-19 pandemic. So I'd like to recommend and getting back to healthy eating to stop the weight gain, to actually lose weight. And we have a new Nutrition for Weight Loss Zoom format starting the first part of March. So sign up.

BREAK

CAROLYN: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. So before we went to break, I was talking about a new Nutrition for Weight Loss Zoom format starting the first part of March. So it starts March 1st, another one on March 3rd and another one on March 6th. So friends are signing up together. Sisters are signing up together and teens and mothers are signing up together to make it maybe a family affair. So give us a call at (651) 699-3438. Or you can sign up online at weightandwellness.com.

NIKKI: Well, and Carolyn, February is heart-healthy month. And I want to share an article that we, one of our dietitians, Britni Vincent, just wrote. And it's called Heart-Healthy Fats (and Recipes too!). In this article, Britni explains why it is okay to eat eggs, but not okay to eat margarine. So she shares that cholesterol in foods has very little impact on your cholesterol numbers, those numbers you'd get from the doctor on your labs, and that our cholesterol numbers actually come from foods containing sugar and refined oils. It's a great article and it's free; always a bonus. To read this informative article, just go to weightandwellness.com, click on the blog; click on blog on the main page and then click on articles and videos. So coming back to kind our topic, inflammation and depression, you know, how do we have an anti-inflammatory diet? When I'm working with a client who is really struggling with a lack of energy and a lack of motivation, I find getting in the kitchen to cook breakfast is more than they can ever imagine doing. And I can really relate to this because I've had struggles with that after my concussion; cooking. And I've been there. On a previous show, I shared that I had a car accident and I experienced a concussion from that car accident. And I actually suffered from depression and anxiety because I had brain inflammation. I thought I was just too tired to cook, but as a dietitian, I knew to recover and to decrease the inflammation, I needed to eat real food. And I actually heard that message on this show, Dishing Up Nutrition. It was before I worked here. And I learned about healing your brain with real food.

CAROLYN: Really? I didn’t know that, Nikki.

NIKKI: Yes. So it's fun to actually be here talking about it. So real food is the anti-inflammatory diet. So I started cooking and eating a real food anti-inflammatory diet. I know I wanted sugar, but I knew that sugar and flour were inflammatory. So they were absolutely the worst thing I could possibly eat for my inflammation. If I wanted to heal my brain, I needed to eat real food, not just processed fat and sugar.

CAROLYN: Yeah, right. So Nikki talked about that inflammation in the brain. So as dietitians, we know that our typical Western diet of all those refined, processed carbs and highly processed, man-made fats are associated with a high level of something called C-reactive protein. And that's just a marker of inflammation. An eating plan filled with foods that are high on the glycemic index, so that, that means it's going to bounce your blood sugar up, right?

NIKKI: Yup.

CAROLYN: …Is also associated with those higher levels of this C-reactive protein. Again, this is just a blood test. That's a marker for inflammation. So I bet some of you are thinking, “Oh, okay. So what is that glycemic index?”

NIKKI: Yeah. I was wondering if we were going to go into that.

CAROLYN: Yeah. So it is something that bumps your blood sugar up. But the glycemic index is basically a scale of zero to a hundred with foods that have higher values, indicating foods that cause your blood sugar level to go up the fastest, right? So cereal, bagels, waffles, English muffins, hamburger buns; all of those are high glycemic foods and are very inflammatory. These are foods that are high on the glycemic index and are known to be very inflammatory. So we just discussed the bad. Nikki, what's your favorite mood-boosting meal?

NIKKI: Oh, I have a mood boosting meal and it's, I think it's pretty simple. But I can actually feel my moods change. I can feel, I just feel good when I eat this meal. Here it is: salmon, broccoli and butter. I mean, super simple, but very effective. Now, if you're not a salmon person, pick another fish or even a different protein, but very simple.

CAROLYN: So again, a protein, a fat, the butter, and the carb is the broccoli.

NIKKI: Exactly. Yes. I may have had sugar cravings, but as a dietitian, I knew high blood sugar is one of the biggest risk factors for depression and for Alzheimer's, and also to slow down my healing after that concussion I had. I knew this because in 2010, when I was finishing up school and starting my dietetic internship, there was a study of 65,000 women that was published in the archives of Internal Medicine. And that studied showed women with diabetes were 30% more likely to develop depression, so I think inflammation from the sugar roller coasters. Women who had to use insulin to control their blood sugars were 53% more likely to develop depression.

CAROLYN: Wow. 53.

NIKKI: Yeah. And so when I think somebody taking insulin, I think of someone that has insulin resistance. And what insulin resistance is, is when our cells of our body don't respond to the insulin our body is making. And so our pancreas needs to, which is an organ in our body that creates insulin, needs to make more and more insulin. And that creates that blood sugar roller coaster, which equals inflammation, which equals inflammation in our brain and equals, it equals those mood changes: depression, anxiety, the list goes on.

CAROLYN: And yes that's because with the low-fat, high-carb diets, we have seen the rates of diabetes soar in the past 20 years. And the rates of depression have also been increasing dramatically. We also know that those low-fat, high processed carb eating plans has seen people's weight increase significantly. Obesity is a real problem. And obesity is associated with those increases in inflammation and obesity is connected to 55% increased risk of depression.

NIKKI: That's incredible, Carolyn.

CAROLYN: Yeah.

NIKKI: That's incredible. So how we need to help people get back into the kitchen and get back to cooking real food meals; like we need to help them cook like their grandmothers, cook like their great-grandmothers. I look back at how my great-grandmother and my grandmother cooked. And I think I, it reminds me of a story. I remember going through dietetic school and my, going over to my grandma's house one day and she told me she ate real butter. And I was like, oh. She went through a stick of butter a week. And my eyes almost bugged out of my head because I was being taught low-fat and butter was bad. And so I remember that and now I think back and I go, oh, that was so silly. My grandma was so healthy eating that butter, that real butter. And now I love butter.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Who doesn't love butter?

NIKKI: Exactly. So I know I need to start my day with real food breakfast. So today I did a protein shake just for simplicity sake, getting up early to be on the radio. Carolyn, what did you have?

CAROLYN: I kind of broke with tradition. I did kind of a deli roll-up. I bought some of those cheese wraps.

NIKKI: Yes.

CAROLYN: I wanted to try those out, so, and I had some deli meat. So I put the cheese wraps, some deli meats, some cream cheese, a little bit of mustard, Dijon mustard, and some red peppers and some lettuce. And I rolled them up. I made a couple of them and I was actually able to eat one on the way here. It was so simple. It was really good.

NIKKI: Well and real food. Wow. That sounds pretty delicious.

CAROLYN: Yeah, it was good.

NIKKI: So if I start my day with a bowl of cereal, for instance, and an English muffin topped with raspberry jam without butter, I would crave sugar. And in about an hour, I'd feel really hungry. When I look at the glycemic index of those foods, I understand that cereal and an English muffin both pop up my blood sugars and my cells let me know my blood sugar is too high. And then we talk about the pancreas sending out more insulin again. Excess insulin leads to inflammation, which leads to depression. And then I crave sugary treats all day long; not a fun experience. I've been there. Since my concussion, I've learned so much about the negative effects of eating sugar and flour products. Eating sugar and bread inflamed my brain. Even today sugar and gluten can give me headaches.

CAROLYN: Wow.

NIKKI: And that's a physical sign of inflammation.

CAROLYN: Yeah. So how many years ago was your concussion?

NIKKI: Three years.

CAROLYN: Three. And you're still kind of fighting coming back to normal.

NIKKI: Yes.

CAROLYN: Wow. So listeners, as you look at your diet, are you still eating foods or drinking beverages, maybe with some of that high-fructose corn syrup? So research has connected high-fructose corn syrup to depression and also to dementia. So oftentimes people think that a little container of fruit-flavored low-fat yogurt is a great treat for kids and a grab-and-go snack. But several brands of low-fat yogurt contain over 40 grams of sugar and that's equivalent to like 10 teaspoons of sugar. And that sugar is often high fructose corn syrup. So, you know, a better choice would be full-fat, plain yogurt; add your own fruit.

NIKKI: Yes.

CAROLYN: And maybe add a couple chopped nuts or something to the top of that.

NIKKI: To make that balanced.

CAROLYN: So it's time for our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. In honor of heart health month, we are offering 15% off our Nutrikey Omega-3 fish oil, CoQ10, and DHA, which is of a vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA. And that's the fatty acid found in the brain. So this supplement is great for long-term memory. And all of those are available at Nutritional Weight and Wellness locations and also online at weightandwellness.com. Call us at (651) 699-3438. And we will answer your questions and help you with your order. And we'll be right back.

BREAK

NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you check out our Dishing Up Nutrition radio show schedule, you will notice that next Saturday, Dar is back with Jennifer Anthony to talk about anxiety, a very timely topic. I would definitely agree.

CAROLYN: Definitely.

NIKKI: Dar and Jennifer will focus our discussion on how you and your team can get relief from anxiety. Do you need to feel a sense of calm in your life? If that's you, I encourage you to listen to “Relief for Adolescent and Adult Anxiety” next Saturday, here on Dishing Up Nutrition. That's going to be a great show.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Yeah; right.

NIKKI: So before break, we were talking about high-fructose corn syrup and kind of talking about some healthy, you know, better healthy options, like the yogurts without added sugar, berries and some nuts. So right now we're in a pandemic. And I think it's hard not to know that. I think most everyone knows that we're in a pandemic and it's been stressful. Many of my clients are asking, “How do we eat to support good moods? What do I feed my family so they also experience good moods?” Because we're all living close, so we want everybody to be in a good mood. What are good mood foods? We certainly need protein. We at Nutritional Weight and Wellness recommend a variety of animal proteins from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals, or wild-caught fish. And that, those types of wild-caught, pasture-raised, grass-fed, they're, those animals are eating their natural diets, so they're more nutrient dense for us.

CAROLYN: Right.

NIKKI: So really important there. So daily, we really want people to eat, and women specifically, 12 to 14 ounces of protein daily. Men need a little bit more, probably closer to 16 or 20 ounces of protein. And so that, what does that look like? It looks like three to four ounces, because we're talking every three hours we want to be eating. So three to four ounces of protein for women and maybe even five to six ounces at a meal for men. And then snacks, maybe two to three ounces between meals. So we're eating that protein. And why is, why do we talk about protein? I feel like we talk about protein a lot.

CAROLYN: It goes back to those neurotransmitters. Let’s connect those dots for our listeners, Nikki.

NIKKI: Yeah. So we eat protein. It gets digested into what we call amino acids. So those amino acids: think building blocks. So they build, they're the building blocks of our tissues and neurotransmitters. Those amino acids mixed with our gut and the bifidobacteria in our gut, so those healthy gut bacteria, specifically the bifido strain or family of bacteria. Those two combine and they make those neurotransmitters, those happy brain chemicals.

CAROLYN: So back to those SSRIs. They don't make those neurotransmitters. We make those in our gut. So that's really important. So really because of this high stress level we're all experiencing, we need to eat a variety of vegetables with each meal. So those are our healthy carbs. Use raw vegetables for snacks. You can have a healthy fat that could be maybe some raw vegetables and some guacamole or, or like the cream cheese and hot sauce. That's a, that's a favorite dip of mine. You know, other, you could have some cream cheese with some herbs and spices. But most importantly during this stressful time we are in right now, we need to eat those natural fats, you know, with each meal and snack like butter and olive oil or vegetables cooked in butter or olive oil, blueberries and cream, peanut butter and celery, salmon and cream cheese. They're all great snacks and are all great brain foods. So avoid those man-made refined fats that are most, really processed foods that are in almost all of those processed foods, because our brain is actually 60% fat. So bad fats; what's that going to lead to? A bad brain, right? Bad moods. So to have a really good functioning brain, it requires that you eat those beneficial natural fats and that you get away from those damaging fats. So I tell people, stay away from anything in a clear bottle or, you know, it's just, they, all fats are destroyed by light.

NIKKI: Yes

CAROLYN: Or damaged by light. And so the good, healthy fats that don't have the preservatives and stuff in them, they're in dark bottles. So to avoid some of those man-made fats and refined fats that are in most of those processed foods, you're going to have to give up those fast foods, the pizzas, the fried foods, the chips, most cookies, unless you're making them at home maybe, muffins and cakes from those convenience stores or big box stores, candy bars, Coffee mate. I still find a lot of clients are using that when they first come to us.

NIKKI: Well, so Carolyn, I hear you saying, look at your labels.

CAROLYN: Yes.

NIKKI: Because you'd be surprised. I have clients all the time and I myself will bring something home thinking, I see the billboard on the front. I say, oh, this looks really good from the front. You know, that's the billboard, that's just the advertisement to get us to pick it up. If I even as a nutritionist don't look at the label, I will miss some of those bad oils.

CAROLYN: Right. Exactly. Exactly. I was looking at the cauliflower wraps. Have you seen those?

NIKKI: Yes.

CAROLYN: Some of them…

NIKKI: Or the cauliflower pizza crust.

CAROLYN: Those, it may sound like it's healthy. It sounds like it's healthy to me, but I looked at the ingredients. I couldn't pronounce some of the things on there, so that's really, really bad. So again, you know, French fries and margarine and most breads and rolls. And the list really, really goes on and on. Sadly, these foods that are served at many restaurants are often contain those man-made refined fats. So as difficult as all of this really may sound, it can be done, especially with help. Right? So that's what we're here for. The field of nutrition has finally, I think, come of age.

NIKKI: It’s getting there; at least it’s working on it.

CAROLYN: I mean, I, I went to school in the seventies, Nikki, and believe me; we've come a long way. I, I mean, I, one of my first jobs, I was really thrilled. It was a health club.

NIKKI: Oh, yeah.

CAROLYN: A women’s health club that hired me. And, I, I mean, I was just thrilled. I could actually talk nutrition and I didn't have to do kind of that hospital dietitian. There was no doctor telling me or no diet manual that the hospital gives you.

NIKKI: That kind of indicates what you can say.

CAROLYN: So I was able to really talk about nutrition. And I think many of our listeners know, I, I went to school in Canada and I was talking trans fats in the eighties.

NIKKI: Wow. That’s early.

CAROLYN: That's really, really early. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So I, I, you know, I, I was able to talk about real foods then, but I was like you, I was taught low-fat, you know? But I still, I didn't do low-fat real well. I, I loved my butter from day one. But, you know, so I, I did keep kind of butter in mine, but I remember getting, you know, some of those low-fat salad dressings and thinking I was doing myself a favor on that, but obviously I wasn't doing any favor.

NIKKI: I know a lot of dietitians can relate to the low-fat struggles at one point of their lives.

CAROLYN: And that just starts you on that, you know, kind of cravings and, and blood sugar, roller coaster, cause you're, you're all over the place in eating. So if you're really struggling with any low moods or depression, you can call our office today and make a one-on-one appointment to meet with your nutrition expert, either by phone or via Zoom. We're doing a lot of appointments via Zoom aren’t we? So she's going to help you and encourage and support this life changing information. That's going to help you to have a well-functioning brain. And that's going to give you good moods and avoid falling into the emotional abyss of depression. 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. Thank you for listening.

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