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Looks like a very cool website! congrats on putting something out there.
I’ve recently been looking for a quick fix for my various non-life threatening ailments. IE lethargy, depression (not the bad kind, Just the boring everyday kind), laziness (maybe same as lethargy), inability to concentrate et cetera, you know. Anyway I’ve been reading up on different diets (Raw, vegetarian, Vegan) and all the books say different things. Can you recommend a book that you trust that might enlightenment me on some pros and cons of the omnivorian diet?
Aiko, good to hear from you! I hope it’s not the linguist life that’s getting you down. Your question is something I couldn’t answer right off. Depending on your situation, different diets and life changes might help you. I’d love to tell you that an animal-free, organic diet would cure all of your ills and have you bouncing off the walls with energy, but I can’t do that (not with a clear conscience, although maybe with a fat check from PETA…) But I have asked my experts and we’re working on that question!
For now, I’d say eat less processed food (see my upcoming post on eating well for 1) and make sure you have whole foods in your diet. This means brown rice instead of white, a slab of tempeh or beans instead of a veggie burger, etc. Plus exercise and enough sleep and as little stress as possible. Wouldn’t we all love the luxury of those three magic bullets?
My good friend and budding doctor Ellen provided an answer for you, and it goes like this:
Rhea forwarded your question to me because I work for a holistic doctor and am currently learning a lot about both disease and good health from the patients who come in to see the doctor I work with, and from my own
research. My doctor’s main focus is endocrine system health, which means
we see a lot of people with hormonal imbalances, fatigue, depression, etc.
It sounds like you might be suffering from some of the same things a lot
of our patients suffer from, so to that end, I’ll try to offer some
advice. What my doctor has found is that a lot of people in today’s world
have some level of adrenal fatigue. The adrenals, two little glands that
sit on top of the kidneys, are the main organ that deals with stress, be
it physical or emotional. You may have heard of the “fight or flight
response”. The adrenaline that kicks in during times of stress is secreted
by the adrenals. The adrenals also secrete a number of other really
important hormones, like sex hormones and cortisol, a hormone that
regulates important daily functions in the body. Since, in these modern
days, there are a lot of stressors in our lives, the adrenals end up
working overtime and eventually have a hard time producing the right
amounts of hormones at the right time. So many of our patients come in
with a variety of random symptoms that don’t seem connected but are
actually all linked to the health of the adrenals. Some of these symptoms
include: fatigue, mild depression, PMS, irregular and/or heavy periods,
waking up at 3am unable to fall back asleep for an hour or two,
hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, over-active immune response (allergies,
etc.), easy startle-response, panic attacks, brain fog, poor short term
memory…and there are a number of other symptoms too, but these are some
of the more prominent ones.
Another possible organ to look at for fatigue and depression is the
thyroid. Again, a lot of our patients are hypothyroid, which means that
their thyroid is under functioning, producing less thyroid hormone, and
thus causing people to have less energy to get through their day. Some
times this is because the thyroid has an inherent problem with producing
thyroid hormone such as an autoimmune thyroid condition, but frequently it
is because the pituitary (which tells the adrenals and the thyroid how
much hormones to release) has down-regulated the thyroid hormone release
because the adrenals are fatigued and the pituitary knows the body can
only handle so much energy. Often, once the adrenal problem is corrected
the thyroid starts releasing more hormone and you have more energy again.
One book I would strongly recommend checking out if any of what I’ve
written above speaks to you, is “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress
Syndrome” by James Wilson. It’s a very easy and interesting read. There’s
a great self-test in the book, which will tell you right off the bat if
Adrenal Fatigue is in fact something you are suffering from.
So, now to your original question of what diet to eat for the problems you
are suffering from… If, in fact, your fatigue and depression is related
to an underlying adrenal problem, the book I mentioned above has some very
good suggestions for what to eat. Certain vitamins and minerals are very
important for rebuilding the adrenals and the author goes into these in
great detail. One important thing to consider is that the adrenals need a
lot of good fats and good proteins to rebuild properly. I personally think
that the current low-fat craze is a little mis-guided and that one of the
most important health considerations (for vegans and vegetarians
especially) is to make sure to get enough good fats and protein in the
diet. What are good fats? One website to check out for one perspective on
this is http://www.westonaprice.org/ The diet described here is one that
the doctor I work with recommends all the time for his adrenal fatigue
patients. It’s not a very vegan-friendly diet, although I haven’t looked
through the website in detail, so there might some modifications for
people who want to stick to a strict vegan diet. I really like this diet
for a number of reasons, one of them being that the promoters of this diet
encourage supporting your local and organic farmers, which I think is an
excellent way of promoting good health not only for yourself, but for your
local ecosystem, and local economy.
Another diet that I’ve been researching recently is the Blood Type Diet. I
recently read the main book on this diet that became popular in the late
1990’s, and found the arguments very convincing. The book I’m referring to
is “Eat Right for Your Type”. An updated version of this is “Live Right
for Your Type”, which offers some great tips on understanding exactly how
stress impacts your life, and how different blood types will respond to
and take on stress.
The quest for good health can be a long and, ultimately, if you think
about it this way, exciting one. I’ve certainly enjoyed everything I’ve
learned in my own personal quest, and in my quest to understand a little
better the conditions that the doctor I work with treats. All I’ll say in
closing is, that when it comes to diets, since there are so many of them,
and they are often so contradictory, you should listen to your intuition
and experiment till you find what seems to address your health problems. I
think there are probably a lot of good tips you can pull from many of the
different diets available these days to create your own tailor-made diet.
Oh, just one more thing. Whole, fresh, local foods will generally have
more nutritive value than imported, processed or refined foods, so
sticking to these is probably one of the most important health choices you
can make. And of course, we can all look to Rhea for some very tasty
recipes that incorporate fresh, local and whole foods! Thanks Rhea, for
making it fun, easy, and of course delicious, to eat healthy!
hey rhea, hope you dont mind, but i linked your blog to my blog. feel free to link mine if you want too! thanks for being so inspiring