D is for Depression: Holistic Approaches to Find More Light -- By Amy Bousman
Many of us have experienced depression, but too often, we don't look at how we can work with our diet and emotions to help us find greater balance and clarity. Both entail listening to our whole selves. Along the way, Nutritional Therapy, as well as other approaches, can help us through.
Recently, when a long-time friend came to me about her depression, I reached out to lend a listening ear and an open heart. I acknowledged her courage to open up and offered her some Nutritional Therapy support.
These methods are effective and safe, and what's more, they can help any of us suffering from depression replenish our health, and from there, bring greater lightness to our lives:
Get your gut straight. We have a vagal nerve that runs from our small intestines up our spine and into the base of our brain. The way we nourish our gut, including the medicines and toxins we ingest, literally impacts our brain’s health. Some of my favorite ways to support the gut are daily doses of L-Glutamine powder, collagen, gelatin, and bone broth. You can find bone broth in the freezer section of health food stores. The GAPS diet is a good food starting point, but it often needs to be customized.
If your health and diet allow, nourish your brain and adrenal glands with healthy fats. Examples include high-quality olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nuts, coconut oil, MCT oil, and saturated animal fats like butter from organic pasture-raised sources. Organ meats, especially liver, from organic pasture-raised and pasture-finished animals are packed with vitamins D and B, which your brain and adrenals will love. You can find high-quality organs locally at the Merc or have them delivered to your door via businesses such as grasslandbeef.com.
Get off coffee. If you have to, wean off with half-caffeinated, or switch to black or green tea, but eventually, get yourself off the coffee wagon. Caffeine blocks the absorption of certain nutrients (most importantly, the B vitamins, which the adrenal glands adore), pulls nutrients out of cells through its diuretic properties and increases anxiety symptoms.
Stock up on Ds and Bs. These vitamins can lift our mood and health. here are some of my favorites:
Vitamin D drops WITH Vitamin K (K helps with the uptake/absorption of D).
Start processing your feelings. Work with a therapist with whom you feel safe and comfortable. Opening up Pandora’s box can feel impossibly scary and overwhelming, but it is as important as anything else.
When necessary, take a break with modern medicine. Although the practitioners at Atma Clinic are holistically-minded, we know when our clients need to use pharmaceuticals. Sometimes, you need this extra support while your body adjusts to the natural methods, and you get over the hump of your initial emotional processing. Or when living through a highly stressful or traumatic time, such medicine can be helpful.
If you or someone you love needs support, please reach out to the Atma Clinic team. We are here for you and are ready to help guide you through your healing process. You never need to go it alone.
Find out more about Functional Nutritional Therapy with Amy Bousman and more about holistic mental health counseling with nurse-practitioner Sharon Burch. Sometimes a collaborative approach is just the ticket! Give us a call at 785/760-0695.