I firmly believe that anxiety and mood disorders have their root in the physical, emotional, and spiritual spheres of life. We must address each one to get to a place of complete freedom. I’m going to address each one from my experience. Please don’t use these posts to self-diagnose or treat anything that may be a real problem. My goal is to inspire you reach out for help and wisdom with what you’re struggling with, and to give you hope.
I believe there is a place for drugs – sometimes it’s the only thing that will quiet the voices long enough so you can deal with the emotional side of things.
But keep in mind that though they may address a root problem like chemical imbalance, they needn’t be a long term solution. I strongly believe that if you have an anxiety issue, you should be looking at nutrition and your over-all health. Food sensitivities, undiagnosed allergies, digestive issues, stimulant addiction – these can all put a physical strain on your body that can have a huge impact on mental health.
Malnutrition can also be a factor. Listen to this: moods are triggered by hormones. Hormones regulate themselves only when proper nutrition is available to fuel them. The main fuel for the hormone system is fat. If you say, “Oh, well, I’ve got plenty of that!” you’re thinking of the wrong kind of fat. I’m not talking about body fat, I’m talking about adding rich, saturated, nourishing fats in your diet like butter, lard, and coconut oil. (Learn more about good fats here!) If you think you’re not getting enough saturated fats in your diet, coconut oil is one of the tastiest ways to supplement your fat intake. With its mild, pleasant favor and workable constancy, it delightfully incorporates into many familiar recipes, or you can simply add a dollop to your next smoothie. (Remember, it ain’t fat that makes you fat, it’s usually carbs and sweets!)
I feel one must take a holistic (whole-body) approach to anxiety disorders. Realizing there can be many factors and triggers to your symptoms can do much to alleviate guilt — it’s not just in your head or all your fault! A holistic approach gives hope because you have more than one place help may come from.
So, did I do drugs? I would have if necessary, but we began by addressing the nutritional area and never got to the point of needing drugs. I went off all processed foods, especially refined grains, because we knew my digestion was weak and breads and pastas were putting a huge strain on me. I also avoided all sweeteners except honey, and any stimulant like caffeine. I focused on regularly consuming super foods like yogurt and bone broths, and a fresh vegetable fruit juice blend I made fresh each day. (To learn more about my favorite, nourishing diet and see a menu plan, visit this page.)
Wonder how we learned all this about my system? My naturopath had me do a simple urine and saliva test (pee in a cup, spit in a cup – very simple) as well as a single blood test (one finger prick, with a drop of blood transferred to a slide and viewed under a microscope). That was all that was needed to reveal the areas my body was struggling. Naturopaths are great at non-invasive diagnostics!
The good news is that I did not have to restrict my diet forever. Learning to properly prepare grains and adding lacto-fermented drinks and condiments to my diet have allowed me to add much back into my menu without adding strain to my system. Also, a diet focused on nourishing, whole foods such as homemade soups, whole milk, and good fats has restored and renewed my body so that I am healthier and have more energy than I’ve had since my teens.
If you are on drugs, think you need them, wonder if you would be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder if you went to a doctor, or suffer from insomnia, I encourage you to look at everything that might be affecting your mental health – mind, body and spirit. All three collectively hold the key to emotional health. I highly recommend seeking the advice of a naturopath or holistically-minded doctor for non-invasive diagnostics and whole-body support. Think outside the box and your health blueprint and consider that the answer may come where you least expect it. Like a delicious, full fat, coconut yogurt smoothie. Mmmm.
Next Time…The Mental Fix…Quick and Easy?
It’s been great to connect with other women who have struggled with anxiety through this series! I recently ‘met’ Amy (we’ll meet in person at Relevant – Whoo-hoo!) and she has willingly shared her story of getting a diagnosis on a life-long anxiety disorder, treating the chemical imbalance with medication, and, most recently, discovering that gluten intolerance may be at the root of her health issues. I hope you’ll jump over and be encouraged by her story – to be assured, yet again, that you are not alone and there IS hope!
Today I found you. Your story is my story. I added fats in my diet and cut on sugars long ago. But now I’m anxious about the fat intake. I read that fat is related to breast cancer. I had a case of breast cancer in my family that i lost. Do you have such fears?
I honestly would appreciate your reply.
Hello! I believe that as long as you are eating the right fats, and as clean and organic as you can afford, you needn’t be anxious about this. Most of the studies done on the “dangers” of fats are based on bad, overprocessed fats. Before you get caught up on what a study says about this or that, dig deeper into what tests they actually did. Most of these studies are not based on a whole foods diet at all. Relax. You’re doing great. 😉
One more very important thing i forgot. Greens. These adds are amazing.
You can add them to each meal (smoothies, salads, soups) but mostly in their raw form. Last year during May i had access to a field of dandelion greens. I ate a hole week dandelions and coconut oil. Don’t remember to eat smth else. I felt so relaxed. I had no more stupid fears. My mind was very clear. This year i hope i’ll find some dandelions.
I used to have panic attacks until i tryed suplementing vitamin D. Now it’s the 4th year i’m doing this. Every time i don’t take it for a week my problem returns. I don’t follow the dosage on the package because it has no effect on me (probably because of the malabsorption i have related to my candida overgrowth) and take 5 times more.
About candida. I have a severe form of it. I tryed to beat it with medication but it only worked shortly after the treatment. A whole month of drugs when i felt horrible because of them but the next few weeks i felt better then ever in my life. I was not afraid to talk with strangers, i was not depressed any more and very happy! Hope i’ll get rid of it someday.
Thanks so much for this informative blog article on nutrition and how it relates to mood! I want to learn more about holistic approaches to mind, body and spirit.
I love this series! Thank you Trina for posting. I suffer from anxiety and stress for most of my life and now I have chronic fatigue. It developed just last year and I’ve been doing all the research I can to get better. I’ve done the diet change – getting rid of sugar does wonders for the body. I am working on the emotional/mental part now. Renewing my mind and overcoming fear has been my biggest battle, but I truly believe once this area of my life is better then I can expect a full recovery from fatigue.
Oh, Pearls – I’m so excited for you! I’ll be praying for your journey. Blessings, Trina
oh yes… the elephant sitting on my chest that i was just sure was a heart attack turned out to be a panic attack. when i went to the doctor– i was utterly confused.. because i didn't feel panicky?? they wanted to do the drugs… i walked out with a prescription and straight to the trashcan. i went to my natural health doc and he put me on vitamins specifically for adrenal health and then my vitamin D spray supplement is my best friend. glad you are feeling better! 🙂
I just added your web page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you!
Hi, Amy! I'm not sure why comments aren't working – I'm no techy. Perhaps you could change how comments are viewed on your post (pop-up, embedded below post? these should be options in blogger)
Finally just got over to read your post. Glad to see that diet helped you as well. Maybe I will have to check into that some more.As far as Kateri not being able to comment on my blog…hmm maybe I can do something to fix that? Any idea what the problem is?
Well it is good to know you can heal on an non organic diet. I'm not sure what I will do this winter…
I went over to Amy's blog and tried to comment…I don't know what is up with me and trying to comment on blog posts when the comments are inbedded below the posts (as opposed to opening in a new window like yours does. I am consistantly unable to leave a comment when the comments are ibedded below the posts. Anyway, I wanted to let her know I enjoyed her blog and the two posts you linked to.
Belle, I certainly hope you can make some positive changes in your diet – I know it will help!
No, Kateri, I was not eating all organic at that time – or now! just too expensive! I do what I can.
I'm so glad I can be an encouragement to you ladies who are trying to address your health with your diet. I'm a firm believer that therein lies the key to better health…
Did you eat all (or mostly) organic when you were on the diet to heal? My doctor is strongly encouraging all organic (which is fine right now when I still have lots of my own veggies and berries an a source of free organic apples) but I know it will get very expensive in the winter…
This post was actually very encouraging to me as I continue to look for answers for chronic fatigue…It gives me hope that the diet I am currently will help. 🙂
Very informative and helpful post. I know I would feel better if I ate better foods and gave up caffeine. I went to a naturopath once and she was very helpful.