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Nutrition for Mental Health

Well and Happy

Resources to help you make wise choices to feed your brain, as you feed your body


 Picking GrapesThe brain is a physical organ, just like the heart, lungs, or liver.   Not surprisingly, then, brain function can be impaired by the wrong diet - just as heart, lung, or liver problems can result directly from consuming the wrong substances.   And brain function can be enhanced - or even healed - by consistently eating the foods designed for optimal human health - just as physical illnesses, such as diabetis or heart disease, can often be turned around with a health-promoting diet. 

In an age of so many diverse opinions about health and nutrition, it can be difficult to know what to believe - what to eat or not eat.   Should you go "Paleo," eating only plant foods and a little grass-fed animal meat?  Or follow the plans of Dr. Dean Ornish and others, who have shown a low-fat vegeterian diet to be optimal for turning around otherwise terminal illnesses like heart disease?  Should you opt for the Atkins plan that suggests a meat-heavy diet for quick weight loss; or Weight-Watchers, with its portion-controlled sampling of all the food groups? Worst of all, should you follow the advice of the advertising world, consuming anything that tastes good, smells good, or looks good - regardless of its calory load, fat content, or nutritional quality?

As a mom and mental health counselor, I have long researched these questions, in order to guide myself, my family, and my clients in creating a health promoting (and mental-health promoting) lifestyle.   After sifting through a mountain of books, websites, and online programs - after field testing these various approaches over the process of years, looking for those programs with the best results for myself and for others, I began to assess the value of the various programs by the following criteria:

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Are Fat, Sick, and Depressed…

And What YOU Can Do About It!  (PDF version here) 

6 Fat Factors

#1: Food Choices

         -  Junk Vs. Food

Too much junk, too much of the time (food and beverages);

too little of what the body actually needs, too little of the time.

Radiant-Brain-smallIn this medically-oriented age, the term “chemical imbalance” is often tossed around to describe the distress experienced by individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, or other emotional conditions. This, for many people, is a scary experience – to be diagnosed with a “chemical imbalance” of the brain.

Often, such a “diagnosis” adds to the sense of distress, powerlessness, and hopelessness that individual might already be suffering. Clients have at times said to me (as their counselor) “I’d rather be struggling with diabetis or heart disease or cancer than with this devastating brain disease!” Often, their fear of this “diagnosis” comes from watching the decades-long struggles of a parent or other loved one with a similar emotional challenge – who has perhaps taken medication for years but never really improved. Such clients fear that they might inevitably be destined to a similar miserable fate – and feel hopeless to stop the cycle.

However, after many decades of investigation, there is still no clear scientific evidence substantiating the “chemical imbalance theory” – nor is there any clear test or medical procedure to determine what is the nature or treatment needs of that particular “imbalance.” What has become very clear over decades of investigation, however, is that simple, everyday lifestyle decisions made by individuals and families affect, in a very direct and powerful way, the functioning and health of the human brain.

Contact Info

9055 S. 1300 E. Suite 24, Sandy, Utah, 84094
Phone: 801-598-4175
Email:  carrie@counselinglibrary.org
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Carrie's Depression Talk, Education Week 2005