May has been observed as Mental Health Month in the U.S. since 1949. The color of Mental Health Month is green. It symbolizes hope, health, renewal and good luck. 2019’s key intention is connecting the dots between our physical health and the role it plays in our mental health.
This month is set aside yearly to help us all become more comfortable about addressing the subject of mental health because there still remains a stigma around talking about this intricate subject. When I was growing up it was considered airing your dirty laundry if you let anyone know how you were really, really coping with life. You were expected to white knuckle and pull through.
Even today people often say “How ya doing?” That’s not really necessarily a question. Usually it’s just a generic greeting. No one really feels comfortable hearing that you were abused as a kid, that some mornings you can barely get out of bed from depression, that you’re struggling with an eating disorder, that your self esteem is in the tank, that you hate your job (when you hold down a job), that you’re suffering from severe migraines during you monthly periods, that your not sleeping well….but that may be the truth…..true mental health is still tricky and embarrassing to talk about.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Now when clients come to me with mental overwhelm, I begin by first listening intently. In today’s busy world, few people have anyone to just lean in and listen deeply with an open heart. Then I ask them to embark on an organic detox cleanse, using a combination of live plant-based foods and Super Foods. Not because it will solve every problem in life, but because the foods most of us are eating today are loaded with synthetic hormones fed to dairy cows to force them to produce more milk or to fatten them up in a short amount of time. These additives can rattle our delicate inner balance. Toxins in all the foods we consume have a tremendous negative impact on our mental health. It is the job of the FDA to approve the thousands of chemicals in our food. Some of these chemicals were approved by the FDA decades ago when we had far less understanding of their impact on human health. Because of flawed laws, weak enforcement and FDA budget cuts, many chemicals are inadequately tested or not tested at all and others are never even independently reviewed for safety. Many of these chemicals are known to affect the fragile balance of our brain health, and all the systems connected, to it’s exquisite operation.
Another culprit in the foundation of our mental health is so simple it may be overlooked: Late night eating. Overeating at night tends to be refined carb foods, refined sugars and processed foods. The mighty sabotaging foods. Feasting late at night slows the bowel’s eliminative functions, leading to constipation. When we eat late at night, the body is way too tired. There is incomplete digestion and the process of putrefaction sets in.
Constipation can contribute to bowel toxemia. Some of the main bowel toxins are ammonia and high concentrations of histamines. Histamines can make you edgier than 10 cups of coffee. You may feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. And what tends to calm edgy? Alcohol. Bowel toxins have a serious effect on the mind and nervous system. An increased concentration of ammonia in the blood has been found in people suffering from mental disturbances, tremors, brain wave changes and even schizophrenia. Intestinal toxemia has been found to attribute to mental sluggishness, loss of concentration, irritably, sleeplessness, hypochondrias, and phobias.
Our culture has created a mass-conscious diet of synthetic, denatured, fast, frozen, cooked, pesticide ridden foods, high in refined carbohydrates, trans fatty acids, and low in fiber. Many un-organic fruits and vegetables are grown in nutrient depleted soil. This deficient diet I believe is significantly impacting the physical as well as the mental health of our whole society. For years the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food. The emerging field of nutritional psychiatry is finding that the food you eat directly effects the structure of your digestive tract as well as the structure and function of your brain. Your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium, clean fuel. Sugars and chemicals promote inflammation, oxidative stress, and can contribute to brain tissue injury.
THE POWER OF CLEANSING
Our mental health is vast and deep. Recovery from past wounding is a no nonsense endeavor and I pray for all of us to find peace. Cleansing is one of the oldest forms of conscious eating. Cleansing allows rejuvenation on every level of the mind, body and spirit. It invites rebirth. I have personally seen people get clean, release toxins from the body, commit to a 100% organic diet and, over time, experience relief from ADHD and bi-polar symptoms that they assumed were a life sentence. I have witnessed people who were too depressed to live a normal life find new meaning when they shed their toxic burden, ate clean foods, consumed fresh pressed juices and added a live food probiotic-rich regime to their daily diet to address the gut-brain connection. This is the power of Food As Medicine in action.
Mental imbalance often needs foods that help us feel rewarded. I recommend making best friends with your blender. Vanilla is one the world’s miracle foods. The exotic aroma alone is enough to change our perspective on life. Bananas and extra virgin coconut butter as well are very grounding.
I NEED GROUNDING SMOOTHIE!*
> 1 cup frozen ripe banana
> 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
> 1 cup frozen berries (wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
> 2 cups fresh made almond milk
> 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut butter
> 1 tablespoon pure agave
> pinch of sea salt
* Be sure to keep it All Organic!
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