The Cure for Depression: Eat Something Healthy

Good morning/afternoon/evening/midnight/snacktime everyone! I am ready to very professionally talk to you about one of my favorite subjects: food.

Fruit smoothies in glasses topped with pieces of fruit and marigold flowers

I just spent five luxurious minutes searching for food pictures, and now I’m hungry. There are so many pictures of food! WHY are there so many?

Duh. Food is life.

That, and it’s delicious. During one of my no-sugar diets, I sagely told a friend, “I’ve decided the problem with chocolate is that it tastes good.” I hope I come up with better quotes when I’m not dieting.

So…. why bother monitoring what we stuff in our faces? This is one of those answers that we all know, like how we ought to be getting outside more, or exercising. We know that eating well is better for our health.

Anyone with food issues like me also knows that an entire bag of Snicker’s “fun” size is really appealing at depressive moments. As appetizing as a picture of odd fruits with flowers (why flowers?) is, I’m apt to choose something meatier and fattier and baddier.

Oooh yeah. People don’t believe me when I tell them I like meat and have issues in general, because I happen to look rather svelte when not pregnant. It’s because I periodically diet and usually exercise. And if random good behavior keeps me looking passable, then you have my personal assurances that such a plan will work for you.

First, let’s list why eating well is such a great idea:

  1. Vitamins, minerals, nutrients, madeupwordsals are ESSENTIAL for complex creatures such as us. They’re our fuel.
  2. Eating the right things really helps to not get sick often.
  3. A balanced diet definitely helps with mental illness. Seriously, Google found me so much proof -like on a Harvard Health blog.

Hmmm… I probably should have put #3 first. I blame not eating breakfast yet.

Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood (Harvard Health Blog).

Oops. I’m just gonna hide this bag of …Snicker’s. *crinkle* *crinkle* Hey, look at this beautiful picture of a salad!

Right-o. We know that good food is good. We also mentioned that most of us knew that fact since learning about the (incorrect) food pyramid in grade school. If not -hey! I taught you something new!

The tricky part is application. Take one little tiny baby step with me here:

You don’t have to starve yourself and only eat rabbit food.

In fact, if weight loss alone is your goal, you can eat only McDonald’s and still shed pounds. McDonald’s, even the salad, is NOT healthy. Just so’s you know. Processed foods tend to not be. And, you have to put up with only Mickey D’s for six months which would be hell for me.

I likes my variety, and you can too!

Rambling point: Small Step #1 is to eat less. You can feed your OCD tendencies if you have them and write down how many calories if you wish. Use a website to estimate what your daily calorie burn is, then eat less of that each day. Eat a little less; we’re not encouraging any anorexia here.

Eating less than what you burn leads to weight loss. Ignore this advice if you are already at a good weight. In that case, eat close to what you burn in order to maintain.

Small Step 2 is when you eat. Your body will burn calories or hang onto them differently at different times of day and different times of year. Generally, avoid eating after 8:00 p.m. and/or two hours before sleeping.

On the same page, make sure you are stuffing your face at regular mealtimes. I also need to eat between meals, like a hobbit. I keep the calorie count low (see Step 1), but don’t starve.

Step 3 is what you eat. If you consider lettuce a food fit for hopping creatures, that’s totally cool. I especially understand if you only ever eat iceberg lettuce. That crap is just water. Get yourself the more green and leafy varieties like Romaine, wrap your protein in it, and salt and pepper the thing.

Everyone has some foods he/she likes that he/she knows are healthy. If not, buy some of your friend’s favorites and sneakily eat them in your closet. I won’t tell. At the end of such an experiment, you will have a few that you can stomach.

Use the old internet for searches like “low-calorie recipes,” “healthy snacks,” and “edible and appetizing ways to prepare kale.” -Okay, that last one was a joke.

I recommend AGAINST anal counting of minerals and vitamins and whatnot because it’s a very tricky process that is probably not entirely accurate. Fresh foods have a different value than ones that have been canned, dried, frozen, or covered in chocolate to actually make them taste good.

The advice I follow myself is to lower sugars and white flours and rices, keep the calories low, and include a treat in that count. If you’re following my other advice to exercise, you’ll need the extra calories.

A possible Step 4 is to cut out stimulants and booze. Ya know, like coffee and alcohol. I think this is a great step, but I don’t touch the stuff myself and therefore wouldn’t presume to lecture you on how to do so. There are plenty of internet and local areas to help, however. (Like, the addiction national helpline, if it’s that serious: 1-800-662-HELP [4357].)

You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, but I thought the same thing when my paid friend told me she hadn’t consumed sugar since 2003. She still has valid ideas in many other categories, so I’ll probably keep seeing her.

As a final note, I don’t even have to be an expert to mention a vital consumable related to eating well: drinking well. As a human, you need water.

Water is life, more so than food even.

I live in a desert environment, and even I skimp on the “recommended amount.” That’s because I don’t like peeing all day. I’ve been told that regular, consistent drinking of water should make that problem disappear.

Wherever you live, make sure you drink water. It improves skin, helps organ function, helps singers sound better, and keeps you from dying.

So, class, let’s get started today. Keep your diet tasty, consistent, and manageable. Drink your water. These simple steps will help you be better able to fight those depressive tendencies.

This has been a part of our Cure for Depression series. Tune in next time James approves my article, and we’ll talk about joy.

unsplash-logoBrooke Lark
unsplash-logoHaseeb Jamil
unsplash-logoVitchakorn Koonyosying
unsplash-logoLacey Williams
unsplash-logoYasuo Takeuchi

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19 Replies to “The Cure for Depression: Eat Something Healthy”

  1. I am not the healthiest eater. I know that my biggest issue isn’t how much I eat, but what I eat and when. I eat a variety of foods, but I tend to skip meals…like I did today, and then consume a single monster meal between 6pm and 12am…depending on how hungry I am.
    I started exercising again in September and stopped Mid-May. I just got lazy.
    My Mom always tells me to stop eating after 8pm but because I never eat breakfast or lunch I end up snacking late into the odd hours of the night.
    Even right now, I’m thinking about what I want to eat. I had breast of chicken…and was too lazy to cut it up and throw it into a salad….
    I don’t think skipping meals so much is healthy. I want to fix my eating habits, but I’m just never hungry during the day time. :-/ Should I force myself to eat at proper meal times?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, but not a lot. I can’t look inside your body, but most people do not metabolize well after 8.
      When I first started exercizing in high school, I was not hungry at all in the morning before my run -but felt ravenous around 10:00 a.m. I forced myself to eat a piece of toast and drink some water no later than fifteen minutes before the run.
      The best person to ask about your specific eating habits would be a nutritionist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the advice. I’ll try and eat something light like toast in the mornings even if I’m not feeling hungry so that I can maybe fix my eating habits.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for posting, this was a great read. Healthy eating really can make such a difference. What are your favorite health foods that you’d recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In terms of favorite health foods, I like to buy a bunch of easy items for when I’m hungry but too weak and lazy to pull together a fancy masterpiece. String cheese, nuts, baby carrots, sunflower seeds, wheat tortillas, all-natural peanut butter, raisins, and these healthy chip thingies from Costco are my standbys.
      I also recommend good flavorings. Newman’s Own makes an oil and vinegar dressing that’s not half bad; I use it to liven up sandwiches, marinate fish, add flavor to my wraps, and for salads. Most additives are “free,” having no calories or extra sugars or whatnot.
      Unlike others, I do not use any butter product besides actual butter, use 2% milk when I need some (I don’t like drinking milk plain anyway), and try to make my own things to avoid additives. I don’t care about the organic craze because it’s expensive and wasteful. I’m not a fan of ketosis or any other diet plans that remove something a body craves for an unsustainable result.
      So, take my recommendations with the proverbial grain of salt. 🙂

      Like

    1. Oh, good! 🙂 I’m like your water conscience.
      Keeping a bottle is an excellent way to remember. You helped ME realize I haven’t kept mine around in a while.

      Like

    1. 1. Don’t buy the crap.
      2. Buy good crap like nuts, those expensive premade nuts and cheese fridge snacks (or assemble your own), wheat toast, fruits, veggies, etc. Use “90 calorie” types as a last resort.
      3. If you’re trying to lose weight or cut back on excessive snacking (like, you’ve had a complete meal, and eaten your healthy snack), chew “healthy” gum (Trident) or brush your teeth. Sometimes when I’m dieting, I brush and put in my nighttime removable retainer. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 😦 To me, beer is hard to be cut out but I’m trying to minimize the amount. The reason is that they always make me feel better from time to time…

    Liked by 1 person

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