Remember how I mentioned I’d be prioritizing my time and closing down my Paleo AIP blog? Here’s the rest of a series of posts that I wrote for that blog but will pull back to this site so that everyone can read them. Thanks for sticking with me!
The connection between diet and mood is well-established. And Chris Kresser’s recent article “Is Depression a Disease or a Symptom of Inflammation?” was especially informative on this matter. But I know how powerful personal testimonies can be, despite the fact that everyone is different, so I’d like to share mine.
I’ve been on and off low grade antidepressants since 2004, shortly after knee surgery and shortly after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (which means it felt really good to read The Paleo Mom’s post on her recent diagnosis). I’ve felt a lot of different kinds of sad in my life — sad from a bad day, sad from hormones crashing, sad from emotional pain or injury. But depression sad is different. It’s a deeper, darker place with less drama. It just feels like there’s nothing worth doing and there never will be again. On worse days it’s worse. But on most day’s it’s a dull, blank feeling of hopelessness.
I imagine everyone experiences depression differently, and I understand that there might be other biological factors at play, such as bipolar disorder, in which depression is a completely brain-related chemistry problem.
But here’s the big what if: What if, for you, it’s environmental? What if, for you, it’s dietary? What if — by changing your daily habits and eating habits for just a few months — you could feel healthy and vibrant again without pharmaceutical intervention (that may make you feel worse)?
I know I shouldn’t go tooting my horn about my first winter without depression medication… but I got to say, it feels AWESOME.
Not awesome because depression is weird (it’s not, it’s something to sympathize with).
Not awesome because I’ve beaten it for the rest of my life (I have no way of knowing if that’s true).
Not awesome because I don’t have mood ups and downs any more (those are a natural part of life).
It’s awesome because I’m fighting a good fight for my well-being and my body (and making sacrifices to sleep more, cook more, and eat a clean diet) and… this is a major sign of progress!
If you haven’t read much about the Paleo or Paleo AIP world, we probably sound a little crazy. “Give up your favorite treats and change your life!,” “The things you’ve eaten since childhood are making you sick!,” are pretty strong accusations.
But if you are struggling with anything in your life like mood disorders, weight problems (too high or two low), skin problems (adult acne, anyone?), sleep problems, or chronic heartburn, I strongly encourage you to click around a little bit to see if changing your lifestyle could change your life — for the better– significantly. These are common problems that are not normal, and not a “natural sign of aging.” These are problems that can be significantly alleviated or KAPOOF gone by adjusting your diet and lifestyle.
As Chris Kresser often says…. there are so many chronic health conditions in this day and age that our options are often “Pills or Paleo.” I have chosen Paleo, and I encourage you to consider choosing Paleo, too.
So I guess this is a little bit of a horn toot… Eating Paleo (for normal people) and Paleo AIP (for people with autoimmune disorders) helped me lose 60 pounds and not feel the need for my usual winter antidepressant prescription. If you struggle with these things, maybe it could work for you?
Do you or have you struggled with depression? Have you ever tried any dietary intervention?
PS I’ve taken on a bit too much with this blog, so I’m going to be combining my thoughts back into my original blog Life [Comma] Etc. On that blog I write about personal finance, freelancing, and relationships, too… but I’m going to figure out a way that you can subscribe to just the food stuff if you want to. I’ll make another announcement later when I make the move, but I thought I’d warn you now!