For instance, your body uses the protein you eat, breaking it down into the amino acid L-Tryptophan (turkey), the essential building block for the production of serotonin. Your body needs foods rich in zinc (oysters and nuts) to manufacture testosterone, which fuels many brain-body functions, besides your sex drive. Your body needs chromium-rich foods (whole grains) to help stabilize your blood sugar and mobilize your fat stores. Your body needs certain kinds of fats called Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fish, to help your nerve cells and immune system to function normally. These are just a few of the many nutrients that will help make sure that your mood regulating machinery has what it needs to work, improving your mental health and your overall health as well.
You need to use food as a medicine rather than as a poison. If you’re concerned about your weight, you’ll find that you’ll be able to lose weight without dieting by banishing your cravings for sweets and starchy snack foods. You will be eating the foods directly provided and intended by nature. Often I say to my patients “If nature didn’t grow it that way, don’t eat it.” (To make the point I ask “Have you ever seen a bread, chocolate or pizza tree?). Choose foods that have been altered from their natural state as little as possible. These are foods that are low in refined flours and high in fiber, that are low in processed sugar and high in whole grains, that are low in artificial ingredients and high in natural nutrients. Avoid preservatives, and, whenever possible, use organic foods which are by definition grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers or hormones. Once you start to eat the foods that were intended by nature, you’ll be restoring your body’s natural balance of nutrients and this will help restore balance to your body-mind.
I’ve given the eating plan outlined in this chapter to more than 300 patients, and I’ve found that over 80% of them have experienced very noticeable and surprising improvements in how they feel. You can expect to see these results:
- Your moods will improve, and you’ll have fewer mood swings
- The beneficial effects of the antidepressants will be amplified
- Your energy will increase
- You will lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- You may have an improved sex life
- You will sleep better
Realize that you are the one in charge. I can only write you a prescription for change. You will be the one to fill it, by fueling your body with the right kinds of foods. Accept the fact that you are in control of your body and that you make a conscious choice every time you put something into your mouth. On the other hand, you realize that you will not be perfect, but will improve your eating habits over time. Some people will adapt more quickly than others, but most important is the fact that you have chosen a new and healthier path.