Depression and Metabolism
Feeling the symptoms of depression can run from being bluesy, lethargic, having low energy and situational moods, to having a deeper and more severe clinical diagnosis. At this time, it’s really important to work on repairing the adrenals and thyroid to get a better handle on these symptoms. You can impact your mood and psyche by being strategic about the foods you choose.
Many of my clients question if they’re lingering in this lethargic state too long to be considered normal while others have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Here are three top things I tell my clients to help combat symptoms of depression and bring your body to a healthy metabolic balance.
STABILIZE THE BLOOD SUGAR.
The most important thing is to maintain stable blood sugars throughout the day. Make sure to avoid refined sugars in processed foods and super high glycemic foods like juice, dried fruit, and high sugar fruits like bananas and grapes. We want to prevent you from riding the blood sugar roller coaster of energy crashes and spikes that suppress your hormones and adrenal function. To me, the word “D.I.E.T “ means “Did I Eat Today”, and in this case, “Did I Eat Today to protect my energy and mood”? In order to maintain a steady blood sugar, follow these three rules.
- Eat within 30 minutes of waking up
- Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks every day…no skipping!
- Eat every 3-4 hours (except when you’re sleeping). That means if you’re a night owl, you’ll need an additional phase-specific snack like Asian pear slices with sprinkled cinnamon in Phase 1, Lettuce Wraps with Smoked Salmon in Phase 2, or Almond Butter & Celery in Phase 3. Having crash snacks in your car, purse, or desk is a MUST to stay on track with the timing of your meals and snacks. Managing steady blood sugars is crucial, and it’s easy as long as you plan ahead!
EXTEND Phase 1.
When I’m working with clients who are experiencing symptoms of depression, we extend Phase 1 into three days instead of two to support adrenal function. To read more about how Phase 1 supports your adrenal function, click here. You’ll be following the 3-2-2 phase specific FMD plan (instead of 2-2-3). We’ll also add an extra day of cardio in Phase 1 and a phase-specific protein for your Phase 1 Breakfast. It’s also very important that your body metabolizes carbs efficiently. Foods like brown rice, sweet potatoes, sorghum, and higher GI fruits like apples and oranges will help to keep your metabolism efficiently functioning. Follow these rules to adjust your FMD plan:
- Extend Phase 1 into 3 Days. In following the Fast Metabolism Diet, you will spend 3 days in Phase 1 (instead of 2), 2 days in Phase 2, and 2 days in Phase 3. (Your week will look something like this: Monday – Wednesday Phase 1, Thursday & Friday Phase 2, Saturday & Sunday Phase 3)
- Add 2-3 oz. of a Phase-specific Protein to your Breakfast in Phase 1. (This means you will now have a protein at every meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner). Enjoy your typical P1 Breakfast Smoothie or 1 cup of cooked steel-cut oats and 1 cup of fresh berries, but add a protein like 2 slices of nitrate-free deli meat or 2 slices of turkey bacon on the side. To read more about adding protein to Phase 1, click here.
- Add 1 extra day of Cardio in Phase 1
- Be diligent in timing your meals and eating every 3-4 hours
It is so important to have your Vitamin D levels tested to make sure you are adequately absorbing and storing this important hormone-like vitamin. Ideally I like to have my FMD clients aim for 60-80 ng/ml but always check with your Dr. first to see what’s right for your body. Nonetheless, an optimal level should be achieved for healthy brain function. Include these wonderful foods that support Vitamin D storage and will help to pull you out of the blues:
- Beans, Lentils, and Legumes. Try our amazing Lentil Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie or hearty Turkey or Buffalo Chili to have in Phase 1 to boost your Vitamin D storage.
- Nuts & Seeds…specifically Walnuts! Walnuts are a great snack on their own (especially during Phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet). Add chopped walnuts on oats or quinoa with berries and cinnamon, sprinkle over a big leafy green salad for lunch, or try our Carrot-Oat Breakfast Cookies in Phase 3.