Monday, March 1, 2010

Natural Cures for Depression...That Don't Involve a Sledge Hammer and Jack Daniels

When I was a kid I loved bologna. I can remember really digging one of my favorite snacks...cold McDonalds french fries rolled up in a piece of bologna. Seriously. That was three decades ago. Everyone loved bologna didn't they? I mean, wasn't there was even a song dedicated to our Bologna's first and last name, extolling all it's processed and saturated fatty virtues? I believe there was, and don't lie, you know you loved it too. Shoot! That song is the only reason that I even know how to spell B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

Now when I think of eating a piece of bologna, or even cold McDonalds french fries, I can choke back waves of nausea. What we know about food, and the way it is processed and handled before it gets to us is so much more than we knew thirty years ago. It's just like cigarettes really. Everybody was gleefully lighting up and puffing away, unashamed, before they knew of it's full dangers. And so it is with our food. The age of innocence in regards to what we eat is drawing to a close. It comes on the heels of widespread and various cases of tainted food, recalls, and sick people and animals around the world.

Movies like Food, INC and The Future of Food have opened the eyes of a large and growing group of Americans. We are demanding better options for our ourselves and especially our children. We've taken the red pill and there's no going back now. Words like red # 40, yellow #5, BPA, and high fructose corn syrup don't puzzle us anymore. They're not just words on the back of pretty paper boxes. They now translate to: DANGER. And maybe we don't know exactly what danger, but we know enough to say no. No more. And that is how change is affected. That is how you fight the Goliath of food corporations, an FDA that doesn't seem to have our children's best interests at heart, and a government who is too slow to act. We fight those Goliath's with our voice and in true American fashion, we fight them with our wallets.

We choose to buy foods that don't contain those ingredients, foods whose ingredients we can pronounce and are familiar with. Ingredients which we probably already have in our cupboards and refrigerators at home. But, I've gotten on my soapbox again when all I really intended to tell you about was my battle with depression. Let me shove this weathered soapbox back under my bed and have a seat at the kitchen table. Come, sit with me. Let me tell you a personal story. And don't worry, this time I promise not to talk about child birth. Well, not ALL about child birth.

After I had Ari I would wake up in the morning barely able to walk upright; my joints and back ached so badly and I had little bruises all over my body. I attributed these symptoms to the recovery process. I also suffered from bouts of seemingly incurable sadness tempered with fits of rage. And sadly, the rage was often times directed at my family, not The Machine. I saw three different doctors, explained my physical and emotional symptoms and the issues and medications I had dealt with because of my eye. They all chalked it up to stress, depression, and child birth. They sent me away with advice to seek counseling and a tidy little prescription for Zoloft.

I desperately wanted some relief for my symptoms, but I had a gnawing suspicion that this Dr. prescribed remedy was merely treating my symptoms and that we weren't dealing with the problem. The propensity for American doctors to do this, hand out RX's like they're candy and never really trying to get to the root of our problems was causing me to have a growing distrust of our current health care system. Almost everyone I know is on some kind of anti-anxiety/ anti-depressant and has been for years. What I wonder is, at what point does that stop? Does it go on forever? That was not something I was ready to discover.

I took the RX home and started googling. Sure, I was depressed. But I was also a nursing mother and just had a nagging feeling that there was something else causing my problems. The doctor had said that my joint pain was probably just the depression manifesting itself physically, but I knew that it was something else, I just didn't know what.

In the course of my internet research (and this is the part where any doctors reading this go: Oh geez, another one of THOSE people. Self-diagnosing, self-medicating coo-coo birds) I discovered that depression can be caused by a lack of several essential vitamins and minerals. The doctor had told me that with the Zoloft I may have to take it for several months before I noticed a difference, and even then we may have to adjust the dose and wait months again to see the effects. With these vitamins and minerals there were no warnings and no waiting months and months. I had nothing to lose, so I headed to the closest health food store, which happened to be a Whole Foods market. I bought every thing the internet article had recommended and took them home.

Within three days I was a different person. The pain in my body was completely gone and the bruises vanished within a week. I had energy, I was happy, I yelled a LOT less frequently. (Don't get me wrong, I have two small kids...I still yell sometimes).

Because of my success with these things and willingness to tell just about everyone about it; people frequently ask me to tell them exactly what I take. I thought I'd consolidate the effort and put it all on here for your viewing pleasure.

I will say right now, and for the record though that I am in NO WAY a doctor, nor do I have any formal medical or health training. I am merely one person who had a hunch that my body was trying to tell me something. That maybe it needed something that I wasn't giving it, and I just couldn't believe that my body could request a chemical compound synthetically created in a lab. So, I took a leap of faith in myself, and listened to what I thought my body was trying to say.

Here is everything I take in a day (minus the Calcium/Vitamin D/Vitamin K tablets I take twice a day...I'm out of them). Now, not all of these were found in the article about naturally curing depression, but some of these things I have been turned on to by various other health nuts I associate with and I have found every thing you see here to be essential in my feeling my absolute best. I am thirty years old, still have baby weight to lose and don't workout nearly as efficiently as I once did, but I feel better physically and mentally than I ever have, and I attribute much of that to these things. I would be happy to discuss at greater length with anyone any one of these items, just send me an email at

*Every morning I take one flax oil capsule, 250mg of magnesium, a women's multivitamin, a B-complex, and a shot of Bragg Apple cider vinegar.
*After every meal I take a scoop of Green Super Food and Fiber smart in about 6oz of water. Warning: it is NASTY, but totally worth it. You can also mix them in smoothies if you just can't handle it.
*I use really raw honey in my tea with a sprinkling of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. I also give everyone (minus the baby) an spoonful when they have a cough or sore throat. In addition to that, when my face is dry or needs to be exfoliated, I mix 2T really raw honey with 1T Raw sugar for a wonderful scrub/mask.
*I drink a couple cups of green tea every day...I've heard that there are beauty treatments you can do with this stuff too, but have yet to discover or try them.
*Every evening I take another 250mg of magnesium, a calcium combo, an iron pill, and another flax oil capsule.
* And then there's the coconut oil...some people I know swear by it's weight loss promoting abilities, but I'm not so sure about that. I use it as a deep conditioner on my hair about once a week, as lotion for the whole family, and even as diaper rash ointment. And then sometimes I just eat a spoonful to make me feel like I'm in Hawaii.

On top of ALL of that, I only drink green tea and water (well, I have 2 cups of coffee in the morning...but that's it) and I eat about 80% all natural, non-processed, non GMO, organic foods. I think this has also played a HUGE part in my overall health.

** Click on the above underlined words and phrases for links to great articles and information regarding the dangers of common ingredients in our lives and food.


melissious said...

Hey Jill!! Is that coconut oil I see too? Did I miss it, or did you say what you do with that? I cook with it, but I understand there are other uses?

Jillian said...

Hey Melissa! That IS coconut oil you see! I forgot to add it so I went back and ammended the port to include can use it for a variety of things, supposedly it's up there with honey for it's amazing benefits...and it smells like a pina coloda...minus the pina.

Freth :-p said...

No St John's Wort/Kava-Kava in the foto ... I've heard that it is supposed to be good for depression too. But I don't really know for sure.

This is a nice blog on your site ... could be helpful for others of us ...

Did you get too many embarrassing questions? (I noticed that that little gadget disappeared)

Jillian said...

Freth~ I have heard good things about St. John's wort, but as I'm still nursing a baby, it is not recommended that I take it.
As for the embarrassing questions, that site kept acting strange and locking me out, so I just got rid of it.

melissious said...

Hi again! Sorry for bombarding you... but any reason you do the superfood after the meals? We went through a whole canister in about a week & a half. I have been doing it before meals, though, and mixing in a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Eek! Not unbearable, though! Also, do you know anything about pomagranate juice, or do you think it's just a bunch of hype about nothing?

Jillian said...

No problem Melissa! I like talking about it here so others can perhaps benefit from the converastion.
I take it with meals (but I think doing so before would work just as well) because I read that we need digestive enzymes to properly digest our food. And since the green food has those in there, I figured I'd just gulp it down with my food so they could all have a happy little party in my tummy. I order it from a subscription on save 15% that way and can set up how frequently you want it delivered.

As for pomegranate juice...I have heard good things about it and if you can't get a real pomegranate then I think the juice would be good. I just feel like when we only drink the juice of something we are missing out on some of the other good things in the fruit or veggie, like fiber, etc that can benefit us as well.