Men face some serious challenges when it comes to mental health. Men make up nearly 80% of suicide deaths and are less likely than women to seek help for problems like depression. To make matters worse, the mental health resources geared towards helping men in a way that is authentic and appealing to them are sparse and hard to find. One place men can start right away is with their own nutrition. Bottom line? Your food affects your mood. And diet and nutrition make up a big piece of the puzzle for many people.
Did you know that the food you eat can have a significant impact on your mood? It comes as a surprise to many people, but it’s true!
Like Stephen, I too am passionate about helping men. Before I get into information about nutrition for mental health, let me tell you very briefly about myself and why I do the work I do.
I started MoodFood Clinic to help men with practical solutions to physical and mental health issues.
I became a Nutrition Therapist because of my own experience with bipolar disorder in my early 20’s. I went through a suicidal bipolar nightmare, during which time I went to years of talk therapy and took more psychiatric medications than I can recall.
After multiple suicide attempts I was eventually hospitalized. I even tried electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) before finally discovering that a junk food diet was at the root of my struggles.
By fixing my diet and healing myself with good nutrition, I was able to recover from bipolar disorder and go back to work after years of being too sick to hold a job or go to school. I am now recovered from bipolar disorder and no longer take any psychiatric medications.
I was so moved by my recovery that I quit my previous career in IT as a computer technician to attend nutrition school to learn everything I could about nutrition for mental health. My passion in life is bringing that knowledge to other men who are struggling.
My approach appeals to men because we discuss their feelings in the context of their biochemistry (aka the millions of chemical reactions in the body that determine things like whether you have enough serotonin to feel happy, and whether you have enough dopamine to have good energy, focus and concentration). If this sounds interesting to you, keep reading and I’ll give you some pointers you can implement today to improve your mood just by changing what and how you eat!
I tell my clients, “Fix your biochemistry and you will fix your mood.” I’ve seen it work.
MoodFood Clinic’s approach is science-based and supported by an ever-growing body of research. Common problems that contribute to depression and anxiety are gut infections and dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria in the intestine. Yes, really! Gut health is strongly correlated with mental health and chronic gut inflammation resulting from gut infections like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), candida (a yeast overgrowth) and Clostrium difficile, or C. diff for short.
These problems are all strongly implicated in depression and anxiety. They are also scientific examples of root causes that can lead to serious mental health issues. I work with my clients to identify whatever root cause is leading to their symptoms of depression and anxiety. Then, I use advanced lab testing to identify these conditions and targeted nutrition with high power supplements to address them. At MoodFood Clinic, clients can reclaim their lives and get back to doing the things they want to do instead of dealing with depression and anxiety.
Yet another common cause of these depression and anxiety symptoms is blood sugar imbalance.
Many Americans over-consume sugar and refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta. Unfortunately, this puts them on what I call a “blood sugar roller coaster.” And, when you’re on a blood sugar roller coaster it’s very difficult to maintain a stable mood. So, if you struggle with depression or anxiety, this is one step you can take on your own to improve your mood today!
Try these simple tips to keep your blood sugar more balanced:
- Start the day with plenty of healthy fats and adequate protein for breakfast
- For example, eat two eggs fried in butter, half an avocado and a small apple
- Good quality uncured bacon is another good choice
- Eat healthy fats and protein with every meal
- Eat a portion of protein like chicken, beef, lamb or bison the size of your palm
- Include nuts and seeds like walnuts and hemp seeds
- Eat regularly and don’t skip meals
- Snack on organic beef jerky and celery sticks with almond butter
- Make sure not to skip meals – this deregulates blood sugar
- Minimize refined carbohydrates and sugars
- Eat lots of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, onion and bok choy
- Cut down on bread, pasta, tortillas, pancakes, candy and soda
Want to give it a try? Try implementing these changes for a period of two to three weeks and see how you feel. After making these relatively simply changes, many people are surprised by how much better their mood and temperament become.
As you can see from the recommendations above, supporting your mood by eating well doesn’t mean you are doomed to a fate of eating a vegetarian diet or one made up of nothing but salads, smoothies and rice cakes. In fact, the opposite is true! I recommend foods that real men eat. Consequently, there are no fad diets or juice cleanses at MoodFood Clinic.
If you have benefited from talk therapy but feel like there is another piece missing from your mental health, or if you’re interested in natural alternatives to psychiatric medication, contact Aaron at MoodFood Clinic today!
I offer a free 20 minute introductory phone call. In the call, we’ll discuss your specific symptoms and needs. It’s a great way to determine if MoodFood Clinic is a good fit. Additionally, we can answer any questions you may have about what it’s like to work with me.