How Nutrition is Linked to Depression

img_0354What does it look like? Depression can mean having a hard time getting out of bed, not wanting to talk, even to the people you love the most, feeling like it’s a chore to do things that used to be fun, having trouble concentrating or even remembering. It might sometimes mean having to pretend everything’s just fine.

The musician, Kid Cudi, recently shared that he has suffered from long-standing depression. Although we know success does not equate to feeling joy, some may wonder why someone like him would feel depressed. Unfortunately, depression can have many causes, including difficult life circumstances, medical changes or genetic predisposition. It can be a complicated process to understand, even for the person who is suffering.

I appreciate that Kid Cudi shared about his mental health, because at least for a little while, the media is accurately describing depression for what it is, not a shameful secret, not something that happens to someone else, and especially not a weakness of character, but an illness that may be affecting our colleagues, loved ones and even us. And we don’t have to pretend it isn’t.

There are ways sufferers may naturally manage symptoms or in some cases, even resolve them (under professional medical and psychological care), depending on the source, especially if they may be partly or fully due to nutritional imbalance.

  • One of the most common biological factors involved in depression is unbalanced blood sugar. Even if a person doesn’t have diabetes, fluctuation in blood sugar can affect mood negatively.
  • Chromium deficiency is another nutritional issue that can cause mood issues. It reduces insulin resistance so again, there’s the relationship between blood sugar and mood.
  • Food allergies are found to be related to depression. A food and mood log might help determine which foods are causing problems. To determine a pattern, it might be helpful to continue logging for a couple of months.
  • Omega-3 fats help build connections in the brain, so a deficiency can contribute to  negative mood.

Check out Food for the Brain to read more about natural options for depression. Speak with your primary care physician or psychiatrist, as well as a clinical therapist for appropriate care. An article in The Atlantic  gives some insight into Kid Cudi’s challenges with depression and his decision to receive treatment.

Really Mom, Coconut Oil? Moms and Their Myths.

imageI sat reluctantly on our living room floor as my mother roughly applied coconut oil to my hair. She ignored my bratty, ten-year-old complaints as streams of oil made their way down my face. I protested, fidgeted, and tried to escape her grip, only to be drawn back to my seat and jostled around into a near concussion as she continued the greasy ritual.

“You have to use coconut oil every night so you have nice, healthy hair,” she’d remind me. Yet, along with all the other pieces of random tales she’d offer, I placed her nuggets of advice into the section of my mind labeled, “Myths That Mom Makes Up.”

Coconut oil for hair and skin, turmeric for colds, hot tea for itchy throats, ginger for indigestion, they were all such weird remedies. Mom is a large advocate of I told you so’s, but I’m going to say it anyway. After many, many years of ridiculing her suggestions, I have found that she’s right. Ugh.

Although used for hundreds of years to improve health and nutrition, coconut oil is only now receiving popular attention. It is used in cooking, hormone imbalance, and even deodorant. Think of all of the preservatives that can be avoided by substituting coconut oil for everyday products that are often loaded with toxins, such as coffee creamer, soap and toothpaste. Check out this article to learn about its many benefits.

There are various methods of extracting oil from coconut. This article provides information on the types: It’s a bit lengthy but informative. If you’d like to skip to which extraction types are best, there’s a chart toward the bottom of the article. I’d love to hear how you’ve used coconut oil.

By the way, thanks Mom.

Some Commonly Found Preservatives

I’m including some commonly used preservatives that you might find in an ingredient list. This isn’t an exhaustive list, because unfortunately there are so many preservatives out there under various guises. If you’re not sure what something means on an ingredient list, its best to do some research before buying it.

BHT (Butylated hydroxyanisole and BHA (butylated hydroxytoluene): used to preserve shelf life, and spotted in a variety of foods, including cereal to foods with high fat content

Sodium Nitrate: mainly used to preserve meat; linked to higher incidences of cancer

Sulfites: used to prevent discoloration in drinks such as wine and beer, fruit juice, fruit fillings and other products; can trigger asthma symptoms

Sodium Benzoate: fights bacteria and fungus under acidic conditions; it is known to contribute to hyperactivity when combined with food coloring

Remember… preservatives are sneaky. Always stay on the look out.

Paleo Do’s and Dont’s


A quick guide to paleo eating:


  • Grass-fed meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)


Find out more in the Ultimate Paleo Diet:

The Paleo Diet

IMG_4859It’s always better to know what we can do versus what we can’t. Hearing what we can’t do makes us want to do it more, in fact. The paleo diet, named after the paleolithic era, is formulated around eating foods that were found through hunting and gathering. Therefore, farming, which only came along a little over 300 years ago isn’t actually completely natural, according to paleo followers. I have to say though, I personally have no problem with farms who follow ethical practices. Organic? Free range? I’m down. Then again, I love food so I’m going to try not to narrow down my options whenever possible.

Anyway, there are many options to choose from within the paleo diet, so you won’t feel terribly restricted in what you eat. Full disclosure: Do I follow the paleo diet strictly? Ummm, sort of. I don’t prescribe to any one diet. Instead, I incorporate ideas about eating based on what I know to be healthy or harmful, research, and my body’s reaction to various foods. So far, the principles of the paleo diet I’ve applied have gone very well.

Why paleo? Find out more…

Let me know how it’s going with your attempts and success at a paleo diet.

Mindful Eating


As promised, I’m sharing a link to an article about mindful eating. How is this relevant to avoiding preservatives? Well, focusing on our food will reduce the chance that we’re mindlessly eating less desirable, preservative-filled foods (like I do from time to time and my puppy, Juno attempts to do every chance he gets).

The beautiful thing about mindful eating too, is that you are intentionally considering the cycle of nourishment and life – the creation of a piece of fruit sitting in front of you, for instance. Think about it as a seed, the way in which it was nurtured with time, water, sun and soil…

Enjoy the mindful eating exercise included in the article:

Update on That ‘No Preservative’ Thing

So we’re getting through a week of eating preservative-free. Journeys usually start out as idealistic, courageous notions where everything will work out seamlessly. Why else would we choose to venture out on them, right? Only problem is, reality sets in really quickly sometimes. For instance, I was super pumped about going preservative-free. I’m walking around the house like, “Hey, who needs preservatives anyway? Why would anyone want to eat stuff that doesn’t belong in our bodies? That’s nasty!” Yup, I was pretty self-righteous and annoying. And that’s probably why I very mindlessly popped dye-filled bites of food into my mouth here and there without thinking about it until it was too late.  But so what? I didn’t stay on the plan 100% of the time. And that’s okay because Ladybug and I promised ourselves we would take small steps. That’s the thing about change. It just doesn’t work out well to do too much too fast. So we’re slowing it down. In fact, it’s a good time to focus on mindful eating, which has so many benefits.I’ll share an article about it soon.

Why Preservatives are Harmful

Researchers have found multiple reasons why preservatives are harmful to us. They are not natural and therefore, interact negatively with our bodies. Some preservatives can potentially cause breathing difficulties, negative behavioral changes such as hyperactivity, heart damage and cancer. Check out this article by