Depression is partly phenomenological (relating to the direct experience of “you” instead of the abstractions of yourself) and partly biochemical. Both systems influence each other in a feedback loop, meaning both systems can act as cause and symptom.
For example, if you’re seeing a therapist to no avail, ask about supplements (but avoid pharmaceuticals, unless they’re absolutely necessary). And if you’re taking handfuls of pills but still feel depressed, consider talking to a licensed mental health professional in your area.
What’s explicit, however, is that, “[lifestyle and diet are] just as important as meds and therapy — sometimes more so” . Why? Because lifestyle and diet immediately and radically change both your phenomenological mood and biochemical composition. Not only do they improve your body’s function, but they also empower you to continue taking care of yourself.
A depression mind-hack
I want to go on a tangent here to show you an impressive mental trick you can play on your mind. Doing this will have a stronger, more immediate effect on your depression than anything else you try because this trick, in the moment, alters your thought patterns.
Take a moment to stop thinking of yourself as someone who is depressed and start thinking of yourself as someone who has depression. By redefining yourself, you change how your mind relates and talks to itself.
Suddenly, you’re no longer a lowly human whose mind works against them every day – now you’re just another person with another treatable condition.
This state of mind is easier to function in. For example, if you identify with a broken bone, then why bother going to physiotherapy – it won’t change who you are.
But if you merely have a broken bone, you’ll make it to your weekly physiotherapy appointment because you have a life beyond your problems.
Now let’s get back to one of the many ways you can treat this condition.
I apologize to any readers who may be allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the following recipes. If that’s you, please email us with your allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance, and we’ll adjust the recipes, or direct you to supplements that can replace those ingredients, or do both.
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie (breakfast)
Total time: 5-10 minutes || Serves 1-2
Strawberries and bananas deliver antioxidants to reduce the reactivity of free radicals while the omega-3 in chia seeds bolster circulatory health. Mint is a revitalizing stimulant that combats depression and anxiety, while nut milks or water hydrate your organism to perk you up all over.
1 banana, fresh or frozen, roughly chopped. (If you freeze it, peel the banana first and thank me later).
1 cup organic strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked
4 mint leaves, medium size
1/3 cup coconut milk, organic almond milk, or good ol’ water
1. Soak the chia seeds in water for 20 minutes. Alternatively, soak them in the fridge overnight.
2. Drop all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If the smoothie is too thick for you, just keep adding liquid until it hits your desired consistency.
Guacamole (lunch)Total time: 15-20 minutes || Serves 1
Oleic acid in avocados strengthen cell membranes. Allium from onions & garlic bolster immune health. Anti-microbial apple cider vinegar also helps lower blood sugar.
1 avocado, pitted and scooped
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
1/2 small tomato, diced
2 tablespoons red onion or shallot, diced
Enough apple cider vinegar to cover the onion/shallot when diced into a small bowl
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Optional: organic hot sauce to taste (note: hot sauce and other spicy foods further aggravate inflammation)
2 bell peppers cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick strips
1. Dice the onion/shallot first, and, before prepping other ingredients, put the onion/shallot into a small bowl and cover (but not drown) them in apple cider vinegar. Let them soak while you prep everything else.
2. Set aside your bell pepper strips. These are for dipping into your guac. You can also dip with celery sticks, corn (not potato) chips, or spread the guac onto whole-grain sourdough (the healthiest of the breads). Or feel free just to eat the guac with a spoon.
3. Scoop one whole pitted avocado into a medium-sized serving bowl. Then, with a fork or potato masher, give the avocado a preliminary mash before adding the other ingredients.
4. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients into the slightly mashed avocado. Feel free to use all the apple cider vinegar from the onions, or don’t if you find the flavour too sharp.
5. Pack into an airtight container and line top of the guac with saran wrap to prevent browning before eating.
Kale Salad (dinner)Total time: 10-15 minutes || Serves 3-4
Kale is a vitamin-&-mineral-dense anti-inflammatory leaf. Pomegranate, “one of the healthiest foods on the planet,”  supplies antioxidants, vitamins, and more anti-inflammatory benefits. Walnuts provide omega-3, fibre, and more antioxidants. Apples and radishes add vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. Topped with the protein and healthy fats of goat cheese, and you’ve one powerhouse of a salad.
1 bunch organic kale, rinsed, dried, de-ribbed, de-stemmed, and thinly chipped widthwise
3-4 medium radishes, thinly sliced
1 organic apple, skin on or off, thinly sliced into semi-rounds (note: the skin contains most of an apple’s fibre and antioxidants)
1/4 cup cranberries, dried (or fresh if you like the tart, tanginess)
1/3 cup walnuts, crushed
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons apple cider or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 small shallot, minced
1 glove garlic, minced or crushed
1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients except goat cheese. Add dressing and let sit for 10 minutes (this allows the vinegar to soften the kale leaves).
3. Crumble goat cheese over the salad, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Health is habitual
There you have it: a day’s worth of recipes to ease your depression.
To truly capitalize on this information, you’ll need to implement your new eating strategy consistently. It’s true that lifestyle and diet change how you feel and how your body works immediately, but changing old patterns and shifting your baseline health will take time.
Don’t stop when you’re through the recipes on this page. Play around with the ingredients. Move them from one recipe to another to create an entirely different dish. Switch out a couple things here and there to refresh the recipe so you can use the same (general) idea for multiple days.
Keep it fun and get excited for a better life!
Yours in good health,
Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D.
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