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Escape Depression.

Escape Depression.

One of the very first things to consider and eliminate when trying to heal from depression is the possibility of depression due to other causes. Certain ailments and conditions such as insomnia have long being associated with depression, as has thyroid conditions and diabetes to name a few. Certain prescription drugs have also been linked to depression, so, before reading on,  do a mental scan of drugs and illnesses you currently have and visit your doctor to eliminate any of these causes.​​​

Due to the complex and independent make up of each individual as well as the variables and depths that trigger and maintain depression; this article will focus on mild depression called Dysthymia.

The advice and tips stated have very high success when considered and applied conscientiously and routinely while your symptoms and mindset are healing and the long-term cause is being addressed.

Also note that although applying all the following information may seem overwhelming, the key is to actually start applying the habits you are comfortable with! For example, if exercise is not your thing, don’t pressure yourself! Start with food changes and find a therapist to start with. Any change is better than none!

The Mental Driver- Seek a Therapist.

Reason 1: Research has shown that patients who seek and ensure a mental support system, have encountered lower relapse rates, more effective and faster recoveries compared to those who only used physical treatments such as anti-depressants.  

Reason 2: There is usually a mental anxiety associated or driving depression, you need to address this, it’s probably the most important thing you need to do. Something within your lifestyle and day-to-day life is bringing you down, wearing you out and depleting your physical resources. 

What is it? 

Hate your job? Bored and unappreciated within your marriage? Previous trauma? Or just not where you want to be? Whatever the reason, seek a therapist, dissolve the stress surrounding the issue, and resolve it. As you can see, keeping it in your mind growing and niggling at you isn’t working very well. 

Don’t skimp on this step, you’ll be amazed at how efficient therapy is when you find someone that’s right for you, whether it be a Counsellor, Kinesiologist or whatever modality you’re most comfortable with, the results on your wellbeing, future, and lifestyle will pay you back ten-fold the initial investment you injected. 

​You’ll need to find someone specialized in depression, someone you are comfortable with but also have respect for and trust. ​​

The Physical Driver- Does Your Body Have What It Needs To Feel Good??

Alright, so, people seem to freak out about this one, they seem to think you have to turn into a major health junkie, the idea of making even a small change is just ‘oh yeah’, but can’t be bothered. 

I have never quite understood this, food is the BIGGEST fuel your body needs, yes, it is a kind machine that will adapt and do its best even when we feed it junk. BUT of course, you will feel the effects if you simply do not provide it with what it fundamentally needs to serve you and run efficiently. 

Having said that, I think that overdriving ourselves and putting too many restrictions in our lifestyles is counter-productive, so, ALL YOU NEED TO DO is increase certain foods and drop others. Think of it like tipping the scales back into a better equilibrium

That way, you don’t have all the cravings and torment but you are essentially going back into the right direction. Once started, the inertia increases; you feel better from having made small changes and that new found energy and motivation will provide you with further resources to further improve your lifestyle and make the necessary changes. 

Make a plan and hold yourself accountable for it; again, don’t go super health crazy; that’ll ensure you plunge back into the abyss! Pick 2-5 things to increase and 2-5 things to drop on a daily or weekly basis. If your day-to-day motivation is low, find a way around it; why not do a big Sunday cook-up to last you the week? Maybe juicing is best for you, or maybe hubby can back you up and cook a little more? Like I said, make a plan that you can credibly stick to and just do it, just do more than what you’re doing now!

Salmon and liver are packed full of goodies for creating an abundance of hormones and neurotransmitters! Whenever I feel blue, my go-to meal for the evening will consist of one of these, and I always feel perky again the next day. Win!
Green Vegetables will alkalise your body and help replenish many vitamins and minerals you may be deficient in, that, as a result can often cause anxiety and depression. 
Natural Fats particularly flaxseed oil, walnut oil, fish oil and avocados. These provide you with energy and particularly Omega 3 fatty acids that ensure cell and brain function, deficiency in Omega 3s have a strong link to depressive states- load up!
Legumes and Cereals not only provide you with rich sources of vitamins and minerals essential for your optimum function but will also help maintain stable blood sugar as opposed to white flour products, resulting in fewer mood swings. 

Why? Here we are essentially dropping sugars (alcohol and flour products), minimising acidity in the body (meat and dairy) and caffeine. Caffeine and sugar combined have been found many times over to be even worst than either substance consumed alone AND to drive depressive states in patients. 

Exercise- The Most Potent and Underused Anti-Depressant.

Review any study and you will see that exercise has profound anti-depressant effects, decreasing also anxiety and malaise. Furthermore, those who exercise benefit from increased self-esteem and happiness levels, due to a heightened levels of endorphins which are linked with mood. 

Pick something you actually enjoy doing! Like dancing?? Join a salsa class! Maybe you find tennis more exciting? Do it! Exercise doesn’t have to be running and weights, find an activity that you ENJOY! Join a club, mingle with others, get active and simply have fun. 

Nutritional Supplements and Botanical Remedies. 

Give yourself a boost when climbing out of depression with the following; High Potency Multi-Vitamin depressed individuals often have a nutritional deficiency and a single lacking element will have a strong effect on the body. By taking a multi-vitamin, you are essentially building a solid framework to build upon. 

Fish Oil if your consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids is low.

Saint John’s Wort has long been a recognized herb against mild-moderate depressive states, it has excellent results with far fewer side effects than standard anti-depressant medication, lower cost and greater patient satisfaction. In 1996 physicians prescribed it eight times more frequently than Prozac for the treatment of depression. Unfortunately, it’s safety and efficiency became so popular that a giant drug company at the time conducted a ‘study’ discrediting it’s efficacy. 

Bach Flower Remedies 
Elm- When you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed because you are overworked or have too many responsibilities, Elm is the remedy of choice.

Gentian -When you feel pessimistic, discouraged, or have lost faith.  It is used for depression when a person knows the reason for his or her sadness.

Gorse- When you feel hopeless, that there is nothing that can be done for you, or resigned to your less-than-ideal fate, gorse may be helpful.

Mustard- Mustard is used for sadness or depression that has no apparent cause.  It feels like a dark cloud has blocked out happiness and joy.

Sweet Chestnut- Selected for feelings of hopelessness, Sweet Chestnut reflects a long, courageous battle that feels lost.  It is particularly suited when it feels like an inner transformation is occurring and a “dying off” of a person’s old self is taking place.

Willow- Willow is best suited for negativity and a tendency to blame others for the problems in life.  Alternatively, if your sadness is linked to a grudge that you’re holding onto but would like to let go of, Willow is a good choice.

Rescue Remedy- When you’re not sure which remedy to choose, Rescue remedy is a good choice.  It is a combination of five remedies and is used to help manage stress, trauma, and, of course, sadness.

I’d love to hear from you, so let me know how you go! If you have any questions or would like to have an adapted and personalized treatment plan to suit you, contact me here

Why You Should Be Tripling Your Weekly Dose Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Salmon.

Why You Should Be Tripling Your Weekly Dose Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Salmon.

You may already know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, but, did you also know that cultures that consume diets rich in this golden goodness also display lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease?
More and more studies are finding that the plant compound responsible for this is called Oleocanthal; and it happens to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. It’s so powerful in fact, that it helps the brain clear itself of the amyloid plaque found in toxic levels in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers by increasing the activity of enzymes that degrade this plaque.
Got your attention yet? Perfect! Let’s delve a little deeper into fats and oils. 

If we look into the brain we know that certain foods feed it’s capacity to function clearly and efficiently in conjunction to the plethora of variables and changes happening in each second, hour and day. We also know, just like the rest of the body, that certain foods and interferences cause it’s functioning to reduce. The more challenges; the greater difficulty it has doing its job. 

Enter the Omegas…
On one hand, we have Omega 3s- Supplier of brain proteins, champion fighter of inflammation and facilitator of neuronal and neurotransmitter communication and fluidity. (Think fish, nuts and Avocados) On the other hand; Omega 6s- Competitor for prime seats in cell membranes of the brain, pro- inflammation lobbyist and very susceptible to oxidisation. 

Now, when eaten in moderation, Omega 6’s are good for us, the problem is while our ancestors had a ratio of 1:1, our current diets now resemble whopping ratio of 1:25!
​This means that every gram of Omega-3 we consume, is being washed down at least 25 grams of Omega-6. 
This kicks the ageing process into high gear, accelerating the degenerative processes which underlie MANY of the chronic illnesses burdening our society today including but not limited to Alzeimer’s, Parkinson’s, Vascular Dementia and MS. 

Putting aside Chronic Illness and brain degeneration, on a day to day function alone, healthy fats (eggs, avocado, fatty fish and and extra virgin olive oil) aid the absorption of critical fat soluble vitamins such as Vit A, E, D, K as well as important carotenoids such as Beta-Carotene. Just the function of acting as a nutrient ferry makes it a non negotiable to add to our diets. 

For those who love study based evidence; I’m sure you’ll agree the results are quite substantial: 
– By supplementing with a daily dose of good quality fish oil, a study from Ohio State University found a 20% reduction in student anxiety. 

– Researches have found that children with lower Omega 6’s in their diets perform significantly better with regards executive function. Another study by Berlin’s Charité Hospital found a 26% increase in the executive function of subjects, increased grey matter volume and “superior white matter integrity”. Just with a daily Omega 3 supplement.
(For a bit of context on executive function, it’s the capacity to pay attention, plan and organise, regulate emotions, stay focused and self monitoring. ADHD for example is a disorder commonly referred to as a problem with executive function.) 

– The last study I’ll refer to, (just in case you had any doubts) takes place in Melbourne University. Again, just a daily dose of fish oil was given to people in their teens and early twenties with a history of psychotic symptoms. Over three months, they noted a DECREASE of psychotic episodes, but even more impressive was that when doctors assessed the patients seven years later– the found only 10% converted to full on psychotic disorders. As opposed to the 40% placebo group. A four fold risk reduction! Layered onto this, they were higher functioning and needed less medication to manage their symptoms. 

Incredible, right? 
So, what to do? Decrease the very volatile polyunsaturated fats- found in cheap oils such as canola, vegetable oil, spreads, fish and chip shops and inside packaged foods and cereals. 
Increase monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and Avocados (tip on choosing the right one below). 

Each fatty fish multiple times a week or supplement with a high quality fish oil (ask your health food shop naturopath)

Choosing the right Extra Virgin Olive oil. 
Now before you go out and buy a bulk container EVOO, here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting your oil.

According to Nicholas Coleman- an Oleologist who specialises in the cultivation of Extra Virgin Olive Oils; A good quality oil should taste grassy, never greasy, regardless of it’s colour. Because Oleocanthal is responsible for the peppery taste in EVOO, it can be used as a measure of how much is actually present in the oil, so the spicier and more peppery the oil the better it is. If it makes you cough, you’ve found a winner and your brain will thank you for it.

Lastly, store the oil in a bottle shielding it from sunlight, in a cool, dry place and lather it in as many food sources as you can!