By Elizabeth Szlek
There are so many people out in the world giving advice on how to live to be happy, healthy and sane, it’s no wonder a lot of us are becoming totally confused. It shouldn’t take a Ph.D. to know what to have for lunch. Yet, it seems as though this is what we need!I found an article today, written by one of my favorite people, Felice Jacka, who actually DOES have a PhD., in the field of nutrition and mental health, which gives simply, yet expert advice. Dr. Jacka is famous for starting the organization International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, expanding knowledge of the interconnection of these two fields, nutrition and psychiatry. At present, though, psychiatrists, in general, are operating as legal drug dealers to their clients. That’s about it. Hand out dangerous, addictive, life-destroying drugs, and all will be well. But for those who are taking them, the Yellow Brick Road is paved with disaster.
So what is someone who is depressed, or anxious or having other mood problems to do? What should parents do with children who are hyperactive and cannot focus? Their teachers are pleading that these children be put on psych drugs so they will be “manageable” in the classroom, and no one can argue that they are not model students. But could there be a better way?
The answer, of course, is proper nutrition. If I can just make one point in this little article, it would be this: The brain has requirements too! You might be eating to please your palate, but your brain might be getting short shrift! And, sadly, few of us know what our brains actually need for proper functioning.
Well, then, what do they need? This is easy! Humans need a diet that is heavy on vegetables, fruit, fish, good meats, and whole grains and other whole foods. If there is any question about the term whole foods, it just means that the foods you eat should be recognizable as to where they came from. A Pop Tart is not a whole food, because you could not, by looking at it, determine what it is composed of. Things are made into a paste and then additives and other chemicals are added to make that paste perform a certain way, and then you get to eat it. If it comes in a box, it is more than likely not a whole food. If it comes from the outside aisles of your grocery store, it just may be a whole food!
Do you buy vegetables, and then clean and process them yourself? That’s whole food!The opposite, of course, is processed, or industrial food. Someone else has turned the whole food into another kind of product, and it is probably lacking in any significant nutrition.
Whole foods contain more usable nutrients for our bodies and brains, but the study by Dr. Jacka proved that a diet of whole foods makes the development of depressive disorders, anxiety and other mood disorders less likely. So, you don’t have to be a nutritionist to understand that for millennia, everyone ate whole food diets, simply because that was all there was. No big conglomerates making strange, new concoctions every day. No thousands of processed foods sitting around boasting of “long shelf life”. You got your food, ate it, or watched it decompose in a short time.
This is not a difficult concept to grasp, it’s just that the lousy foods are more “convenient”. But they are not convenient for your brain!! Please, try to go back to nature, and eat foods that are actually going to promote good health!
Elizabeth Szlek is the Director of The Door Counseling Center of Yorkville, NY. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and a certified GAPS Practitioner. She can be reached at (315) 768-8900.