Trying again... Scared but excited.... thoughts on diet and depression? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-18-2014, 10:31 AM
 
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Trying again... Scared but excited.... thoughts on diet and depression?

I was on these boards a few months back and doing great. Then one day, I saw myself eating kale and tofu while my husband was eating a steak, and I feared for our marriage. I got scared that if I kept eating differently we would drift apart and he would leave me.

The next day I wrote an article in elephant journal and gave up vegetarianism - http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/...ant+journal%29

In theory, I get that there are other ways to care for animals and the earth while eating meat, so that's where I was going with my article. But, lately I've been feeling that this is not quite correct. I practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, and the father of this practice, Pattabhi Jois, stated that the most important part of the practice is a vegetarian diet. This makes sense to me, and when I eat meat I often get terrible thoughts of the suffering of the animal while I am practising yoga. After a weekend away where we ate lots of meat, I honestly felt like an animal cemetery as I did yoga the following morning.

So, while I won't tell my husband or anybody yet, I'd like to re-embark upon my vegetarian journey.

Another challenge is that I suffer from depression, and I recently went to a health practitioner that blamed blood sugar issues and the little meat in my diet as the cause. She told me to start eating more meat, and to take out most grains except for quinoa, millet and rye, nuts and soy. This led to my meat-frenzy weekend, which led to the terrible experience of feeling like an animal cemetery during my practice this Tuesday morning.

So I'm going to try again, but I'm scared and particularly afraid that my diet may be contributing to my depression. Any tips on a vegetarian diet that could contribute to less depression and anxiety would be greatly appreciated!

I will work on the trust piece with my husband, too. I know that ultimately he will love me whether I eat meat or not, and whether we drift apart or not has more to do with how we relate and communicate than what I eat.

Thanks for being there.

Lots of love,
Paula
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#2 Old 09-18-2014, 11:46 AM
 
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I also suffer from depression and have for the majority of my life, and I actually noted an improvement when I became vegan. Now everybody is different, so that's clearly just anecdotal, but I can let you know I did have a failing experience as a vegetarian before going vegan. The difference in my health this time is night and day. The most important difference is taking my vitamins every single morning, and cooking my own meals from whole foods with a variety of vegetables and fruits. I try to look up what is commonly lower in vegetarian diets and add in more vegetables rich in that vitamin to compensate. I'm not sure what your diet was like as a vegetarian, so I'm not accusing you of eating junk food! However, that was my issue when I first went veg is that I ate a lot of not necessarily 'junk' food in the traditional sense (although I did enjoy my french fries), but just prepackaged processed foods rather than cooking whole produce. Also I didn't take my vitamins regularly or get any sort of exercise.

As far as the relationship aspect goes, I too am with an omnivore. He's pretty accepting of my dietary habits and we both try to keep a light hearted attitude towards our differences. We will tease each other, but we just have to remember it's all in good fun.

I hope that helps!

-Lys

PS. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plant...n/378985915313 is a good facebook page, she posts a lot of information on where to get different sources of protein, b12, iron, and a lot of other interesting things!
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#3 Old 09-18-2014, 02:01 PM
 
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Thanks so much, Lys! That is really helpful and encouraging advice.
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#4 Old 09-18-2014, 04:28 PM
 
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Any time! I hope to hear of your progress!
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#5 Old 09-18-2014, 06:13 PM
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Most people with depression are meat eaters. What do you think your health practitioner would prescribe in those cases? Less meat more meat?

Some people are just more prone to depression than others, I am one of them. In my experience, there is no easy fix. I exercise, try to eat well but still often have a cloud of dark thoughts circling in my mind. I've felt this way ever since I was a child but only went vegetarian and then vegan later in life.

I can't imagine why a vegetarian diet would cause depression.
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#6 Old 09-18-2014, 07:23 PM
 
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there are good points made already. I just want to wish you courage to do what you know you need to do.
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#7 Old 09-18-2014, 10:28 PM
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I've never heard of eating meat helping depression. Particularly if it disturbs you so deeply I'm surprised your doctor suggested it. At least for me yoga and learning to love and care for myself has been a big step in working to heal my depression, and if you're that troubled by eating meat I'd follow your feelings. Eat what makes you feel good and nourishes you, don't worry about comparing your plate to your husband's, and enjoy your meals as times to connect with him.
FWIW: I'm pretty sure your husband will want you to follow your heart and feel good about your eating choices, particularly if they make you happier. You don't have to give a huge guilt-tripping epic speech about being vegetarian again - just mention you've switched again and are happy about it.
Here are some nutrients my doc has talked to be about boosting, and where I get them from (there are many other vegan and vegetarian sources of them too)

omega fatty acids- avocado, nuts
vitamin d- sunshine (this is combined with cardio in addition to yoga- getting my heart rate up and getting endorphins going)
b vitamins- I get these in fortified almond milk and nooch
iodine- potatoes
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#8 Old 09-19-2014, 03:32 AM
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I found this article that shares plant based foods to help boost the "feel good" hormones. Just thought it might be helpful.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/feel-good-foods/
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#9 Old 09-19-2014, 03:46 AM
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Good luck. I suffered a very severe depression in my 20's in the 80's. I do have those tendencies today. I can't think of a time since then when I've followed a healthy diet and exercised regularly...exercise is very important in keeping depression at bay in myself, that I've slipped into depression. On the contrary, I've been positive and full of energy.
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#10 Old 09-19-2014, 07:54 AM
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It will be really hard if your husband eats meat and you vegan food. Someone of you will need to turn I am afraid. About depression I think you should meditate and have no fear. From start don't watch TV, commercials, you don't need to hear more fear nonsense from corporations.

Why don't you turn your husband to vegan food? Don't call it Vegan, don't talk about animals, their rights or anything that could scare him. Tell him why meat is bad for his health or better yet show him that scary documentary Earthlings.
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#11 Old 09-19-2014, 08:36 AM
 
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I may be mistaken and please correct me if I'm wrong, but what I have taken from your post is how you are very concerned with what is right for others.....what about what you want? You obviously don't want to eat meat, so don't. As for your husband, wouldn't he want what makes you happy? My husband doesn't understand why I don't like steak just like I don't understand why he doesn't like quinoa, but we respect each other's differences and don't make it a part of our marriage. You can't force your husband to become a vegan just like you wouldn't want him to force you to eat meat. The most you can do is show him how incredibly tasty meat free meals can be and how good you feel by not eating meat. As for your healthcare professional, she may be a bit misinformed. I don't believe meat can be a remedy for depression, but a lack of vitamins found in meat sure can be a cause of it. I would definitely look into supplements rather than eat a steak....an informed dietitian can help with that. Good luck!
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#12 Old 09-19-2014, 09:02 AM
 
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Thank you thank you thank you everyone for your most kind and thoughtful replies! I feel so grateful and happy to have found this forum of supportive people to help me on this journey.

Anissa, you are so right about my being concerned with what others think, I will take this challenge as an opportunity to follow my own intuition and get advice from people who support my vegetarian choice.

Naturbound, I love the article on feel-good foods! Thank you!

While I still felt sad this morning during yoga (and I do practice daily - it helps a lot!), I can see that getting through this and learning how to do it in the most compassionate way possible to animals is something that I feel excited about.

I will share a lot as I go through it!

As cold-turkey didn't work for me last time, I may try a more gradual approach... meat once a week for a few weeks, then once every two weeks, then once a month... we'll see how that goes. I will also try to find a nutritionist or health practitioner who supports my vegetarian choice and helps me find good options.

Thanks everybody!

Love,
Paula
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#13 Old 09-19-2014, 09:03 AM
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'Meat' is a euphemism for slaughtered animals. Your body is literally telling you to quit eating animals. The animal protein causes diabetes, cancer, other diseases. Read the book 'the China Study' which you can read online for free.
Also, Have your husband watch the documentary "Earthlings", here is the link:
I was with my partner a year before he went Vegan, and he says it's the easiest thing he has ever done, now he has been vegan for eight years (me, 9 yrs). I have much more information along with nearly a decade of experience on my site at Vegans Living Off the Land.
Hope this helps,
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#14 Old 09-19-2014, 03:40 PM
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^^^sillybunnns, from what I know of "Earthlings", the original poster doesn't need to watch that. She already cares about animals, wants to go vegetarian again, and is battling depression. That documentary will do her absolutely no good.

Namaste35, I'm not a dietitian, but you might want to consult another doctor. I didn't go vegetarian for health reasons, or even because it grossed me out; I don't necessarily think it's poison in moderate amounts, but neither is it necessary for health. Good luck!

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#15 Old 09-19-2014, 11:19 PM
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I've never heard of eating meat helping depression. Particularly if it disturbs you so deeply I'm surprised your doctor suggested it. At least for me yoga and learning to love and care for myself has been a big step in working to heal my depression, and if you're that troubled by eating meat I'd follow your feelings. Eat what makes you feel good and nourishes you, don't worry about comparing your plate to your husband's, and enjoy your meals as times to connect with him.
FWIW: I'm pretty sure your husband will want you to follow your heart and feel good about your eating choices, particularly if they make you happier. You don't have to give a huge guilt-tripping epic speech about being vegetarian again - just mention you've switched again and are happy about it.
Here are some nutrients my doc has talked to be about boosting, and where I get them from (there are many other vegan and vegetarian sources of them too)

omega fatty acids- avocado, nuts
vitamin d- sunshine (this is combined with cardio in addition to yoga- getting my heart rate up and getting endorphins going)
b vitamins- I get these in fortified almond milk and nooch
iodine- potatoes
I think this sums it up pretty well. You must stop being so hard on yourself in these early days. Going vegetarian/vegan is a process - it's a lifestyle and it can be for many reasons - health, animal welfare, religious beliefs etc. I believe like the quote above, you need to follow your heart. Start with two or three vegan days and if you make wholesome foods then your husband should be able to eat what you eat and also feel good.
Obviously you know him - but if he's used to having what you serve without any drama, then just serve up your wholesome vegan meal and don't say anything. It may surprise you how he will eat and enjoy it. If he does, then what's to say that he'll not come on the ride with you (even if it's only for a couple of days a week).

Being a healthy vegan is definitely the
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#16 Old 09-20-2014, 01:21 AM
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Glad to see you back here!

Feeling like a cemetery- I've never stumbled with meat, so I don't know how that feels. But I can imagine (in fact I dream of it from time to time and wake up distressed). It must be terrible. Instead of using that guilt to beat yourself up, use it to move yourself forwards.

You don't want to eat animals again, that much is clear. Being vegetarian made you feel better, keep that in mind as you move forward.

As far as depression goes, I've suffered from depression at various times in my life and no amount of meat or anything else has made me feel better (though, my mac and not-cheese is pretty amazing). What HAS made me feel better getting out in the sun, doing things I enjoy and not allowing my negative thoughts to dictate my actions. (I still have the thoughts, but I'm the one who controls what I do).

What you could do, if you think your diet is affecting your mood, is to go and get your levels checked. Lack of vitamin D is a thing for EVERYONE and not having enough of it can hurt our mood. Eating well can help lift anyone's mood though. So, it's probably important to look at where you are at the moment and go from there.

Remember, this is a forum that is here to support you....So ask us for help if you feel yourself slipping. And get a doctor that is at the very least accepting of your vegetarianism. It's obviously something that's important to you.

Finally, good on you for coming back!
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#17 Old 09-20-2014, 09:11 AM
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Paula, I didn't read your blog post before I wrote my reply to this thread above. I still maintain that watching "Earthlings" would not be a good idea for you, but I'm glad you're moving away from the excuses many people make to eat other sentient beings. I know meat tastes good- that's why people eat it, when all is said and done. But it feels even better to do right by the animals we care about. It's true that many sentient beings eat other sentient beings, but there's nothing at all sacred about that.

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#18 Old 09-20-2014, 09:37 AM
 
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Hi Paula. I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling but for what it's worth I think you already know what you need to do, your body is telling you. I don't agree with one poster who says that it won't work if your Husband eats meat, I'm vegan but my Husband eats meat and it works just fine for us, no issues what so ever.


I do think that you should change your doctor though!


I suffered from severe depression for most of my life. Aside from medication (which I no longer need) the most helpful tool I had was meditation. This helped me to calm my chaotic mind but also gave me clues as to what the real causes of my depression were. With that knowledge, I worked on resolving my issues and it was no easy feat but slowly I started to see an improvement, so much that with time I was able to come off strong anti depressants, that was 4 years ago.


Since going vegetarian I noticed a change in my energy levels, I also have less physical pain. Not surprisingly I also noticed an increase in my psychic energy levels and even more so since going vegan. Consuming animal products greatly reduces your vibration which in turn will leave you feeling not right, tired and sometimes ill. They say that if you eat meat, the suffering of the animal is absorbed into your system....


Veganism for me is a gradual process, I only decided on that path a few weeks ago as I couldn't justify using animal products when alternatives are available. I've replaced most of my toiletries, household products etc and all my food is now vegan so I'm almost already there and to be honest it's all fallen into place much quicker than I'd imagined!

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#19 Old 09-20-2014, 11:32 PM
 
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i dont understand how depression ties into being a vegetarian.. food and depression can go hand in hand.. such as bulimia and anorexia.. but in no way does a specific way of eating interfere with your psyche in a way such as depression.. reduces your vibration.. thats absurd.. vegetarianism has a political aspect such as being against the slaughtering of animals and a medical aspect such as health.. and true it does give you more energy.. you obviously will feel more functional.. but a vegetarian diet from a medical standpoint is used to prevent diseases.. not for depression.. and if you are a vegetarian and taking medication for depression it kind of defeats the purpose of being healthy.. because though you may need the medication.. its being put into your body just as recreational use of the anti depressant medications would.. the only difference is one is prescribed and one is recreational.. but still.. and i am not saying mediation isnt helpful but meditation is like holistic medicine.. theres nothing factual.. if you want to learn how to be healthy, how to diet, and how to deal with depression medical books will help far more than the newest trends, misinformed people, and holistic practices..
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#20 Old 09-21-2014, 05:12 AM
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l.. and i am not saying mediation isnt helpful but meditation is like holistic medicine.. theres nothing factual.. if you want to learn how to be healthy, how to diet, and how to deal with depression medical books will help far more than the newest trends, misinformed people, and holistic practices..
Most medical books and many doctors tend to recommend medications, psychotherapy, exercise, and meditation etc to deal with depression, but if you know of any specific medical books that discuss underlying causes of depression and how to overcome them in some other regard I would love to see those.

And the thing about depression is that it is not black and white like a disease with only specific symptoms and a specific treatment. Though there are similar symptoms for most types of depression, there are also vast differences and each person responds and deals with it differently. For example I know someone with profound depression that only responds to Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Diet and medication over many years of trial and error did not help. Also, sometimes when we think what we have is depression it turns out to be something else entirely, maybe anxiety, maybe thyroid problems, or a vitamin deficiency. I think it is important to look at depression holistically, to look at the whole person and how they live and cope such as diet, sleep patterns, family and community support and friends, other diseases the person might have that contribute, personality (are they hard on themselves, a perfectionis, or are they extremely introverted or usually very social etc), whether they exercise or isolate or whatever. Just treating the symptoms without all the other stuff to me isn't going to really help the person.
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#21 Old 09-21-2014, 06:24 AM
 
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.. but in no way does a specific way of eating interfere with your psyche in a way such as depression.. reduces your vibration.. thats absurd.. vegetarianism has a political aspect such as being against the slaughtering of animals and a medical aspect such as health.. and true it does give you more energy.. you obviously will feel more functional.. but a vegetarian diet from a medical standpoint is used to prevent diseases.. not for depression.. ..

So simply because you do not believe you label it absurd? I'd rather keep an open mind and let my own experiences tell me what works and what does not.


If a person eats processed crap it affects them on a mental, physical and spiritual level, what is so hard to believe about that? It dumbs you down. Meat is also pumped full of all sorts of nasties. Eating a healthy balanced diet and yes meat free, has the power to transform your life.

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#22 Old 09-22-2014, 08:47 AM
 
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Wow... I continue to be so impressed with the support here. I am so thrilled to say that while I allowed myself to eat meat on Friday, I simply didn't feel like it and didn't eat it. I feel so great when I make such a choice, I am empowered and it feels right.

I was so tempted to eat meat last night, I felt sad and tired all day and I heard in my head the voice of my mother, and of this particular health practitioner, that told me if I eat meat I will feel better. But I also felt all of you and also the experience I had last week where I had eaten meat and felt WORSE, so I did NOT eat meat. I ate a delicious healthy vegetarian meal, and made sure to get adequate protein. Today I feel MUCH better and I have also taken some vitamin D so I think that may be helping as well.

In the past when I get depressed I get scared, and want to do whatever it takes to get out of it right away. This time, I am going slowly, loving myself through the process, and taking my time to find the adequate tools and supports. I don't think eating meat is the way, and I'm sure I will find what I need to get through it.

I am loving this journey and am so grateful! Thank you!

Lots of love,
Paula
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#23 Old 09-23-2014, 02:21 PM
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Wow... I continue to be so impressed with the support here. I am so thrilled to say that while I allowed myself to eat meat on Friday, I simply didn't feel like it and didn't eat it. I feel so great when I make such a choice, I am empowered and it feels right.

I was so tempted to eat meat last night, I felt sad and tired all day and I heard in my head the voice of my mother, and of this particular health practitioner, that told me if I eat meat I will feel better. But I also felt all of you and also the experience I had last week where I had eaten meat and felt WORSE, so I did NOT eat meat. I ate a delicious healthy vegetarian meal, and made sure to get adequate protein. Today I feel MUCH better and I have also taken some vitamin D so I think that may be helping as well.

In the past when I get depressed I get scared, and want to do whatever it takes to get out of it right away. This time, I am going slowly, loving myself through the process, and taking my time to find the adequate tools and supports. I don't think eating meat is the way, and I'm sure I will find what I need to get through it.

I am loving this journey and am so grateful! Thank you!

Lots of love,
Paula
I am so happy to hear you are staying true to yourself and doing what feels right. You rock!

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