Postpartum & Major Depression: A Nutritional Approach
It's not just the winter blahs that can get you down when you have a hard time getting out of bed every morning or have no desire to engage in fun activities with your family or friends. It could be a much more serious problem involving clinical depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 21 million people experience some sort of major depressive disorder annually in the United States. That's pretty serious. Add to that the fact that women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression. We're talking about a deep issue that affects a significant portion of people we know. I have suffered from major depression twice in my life. I also worked on a psychiatric unit for three years as well as sold antidepressants for five years. I have felt and seen first hand the effects of what depression can do. It physically feels like you can not come up for air....like there is no light or solutions to release the darkness you feel. When caring for someone with depression, it can feel exhausting because little you say or do to be that light for someone can lift them out of immobility.
Postpartum depression is much more serious than just the baby blues that are commonly experienced after giving birth. The normal hormone imbalances, physical changes and overwhelming feelings of being a new mother to a newborn baby can have their ill effects. But, post partum depression is more intense than the usual symptoms. It's an exhausting time coupled with taking care of a newborn that seemingly cries non stop for your attention and to fill it's every need. Doctors estimate that between 10 and 15 percent of women experience post partum depression during what is supposed to be one of the happiest periods of their lives. "Supposed to be" is the residual feelings of PPD. Women that suffer from it feel GUILT that they aren't totally over the moon with the entire experience as they are "supposed" to be.
Of course, there are many treatments for the various forms of diagnosed depression, including therapy and medications. I've personally witnessed ECT (electric shock therapy) for patients, have been a part of hundreds of counseling sessions, as well as sold SSRI's, a form of antidepressant for many years which had me in many conversations regarding mood and depression options with psychiatrists. However, these measures don't always resolve the issues. In most cases, it takes a combination of both behavioral and medication methods to get relief. Most often the medications, require long term use and often have their own side effects that cause more problems, too. Specifically, weight gain as many medications that manipulate serotonin, may also increase carbohydrate cravings. After getting my holistic health certification, I learned that nutrition and "super foods" play a very important role in mental health. There are many foods that naturally balance one's levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Consequently, there are also many synthetic ingredients and chemicals added to our food supply that negatively affect our mood, brain function and cognitive function. I am not saying that food is the "cure all". But it certainly should be the first place we can start making changes for the better.
Shakeology®, while seen as the key to fitness and nutrition in many people's journeys to better health or weight loss, may also be an integral part of overcoming your problem with depression. Why? Because it's entire philosophy is based on dense, clean whole food nutrition and is loaded with natural ingredients that help lift depression and stabilize ones mood. The creator of Shakeology, Darin Olien's entire vision behind Shakeology was to bring the worlds 70 best nutritional super foods to your door in one easy meal. Here are a couple examples of what good nutrition can do:
FRUITS and VEGETABLES: Shakeology is the nutritional equivalent to five servings of whole food vegetables. In a recent study of close to 3,500 men and women published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, those who reported eating a diet rich in whole foods in the previous year were less likely to report feeling depressed than those who ate lots of desserts, fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. Previous studies have shown that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower risk of depression. Folate, a B vitamin found in beans, citrus and dark green vegetables like spinach, affects neurotransmitters that impact mood. It’s possible that the protectiveness of the whole-food diet comes from a cumulative effect of these nutrients.
Eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed, a study done at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland recently found. Experts believe it could be thanks to the antioxidants in chocolate. The natural cacao in Shakeology's chocolate is as pure and non-processed as it gets.
There is no shame in taking anti-depressant medication or going for professional help through counseling. However, many people have found that they can ditch their medications and couch sessions entirely after making Shakeology® a part of their normal routines. Another theory is INFLAMMATION. There a many super foods in Shakeology that reduce inflammation. Bottom line---> you reduce inflammation, you may very well reduce the disease and/ or it's symptoms, as well. The 70 super foods is another variable that sets Shakeology aside from all the other shakes you fill find. It's the "medicinal super foods" that may help your body heal. Here is a great article tying reducing inflammation with reducing depression.
Elite Beachbody Coach Brigitte Linford openly shares her story about depression and how Shakeology® helped her break through to happiness. She says, "I have battled depression for the MAJORITY of my life! No exaggeration. There were times in my life I could not see a light at the end of tunnel. I was suicidal and I felt like giving up. But I clung to the idea that someday, somehow, my struggles would provide a way for me to help someone else.
You hear me talk about Shakeology®, and I think most people assume it is JUST a protein shake or JUST a weight loss shake. But it is so much more than that! It is the most nutrient dense thing you can give your body. And I am PASSIONATE about Shakeology® because it has changed everything for me.
Yes, I lost 30 lbs in four months by adding one shake a day to my exercise program. But more importantly, I am off anti-depressants for the first time in MY LIFE! I no longer have to take SEVERAL vitamins a day, I no longer HAVE to take a daily nap. I am able to be PRESENT for my kids instead of going on auto-pilot and tuning out! All I do is take one shake a day and I feel better than I have ever felt before in my life."
She's not the only one to have found a remedy with Shakeology®:
Rachel shared this testimony: "I was on depression meds for nine years and now have been off of them completely for nine months. AND, I just had a baby and NO POST PARTUM! WooHoo! Shakeology® is a nutritional game changer. It is amazing how much better you feel when you start feeding your body the right foods."
Bernadette had a similar experience: "I was on anxiety meds for some time, then stopped during my pregnancy. A few months after my daughter was born, I knew it was time to go back on them. I finally got more involved with Beachbody and healthy nutrition. My next step was to start Shakeology®. I am now weaning off the meds and can't wait to finish! I hate putting that stuff in my body!"
Phyllis commented: "I, too, am off of ALL of my meds for the first time since 1996! Shakeology® TRULY is a wonder product."
Samantha divulged: "I have been taking anti-depressants since I was 11 years old. Doctors have prescribed every pill there is throughout the years. It wasn't until I was drinking Shakeology® for six months that I was finally able to talk to my doctor and GET OFF OF THEM--COMPLETELY! Shakeology® has been a blessing for me. For those who I haven't shared this with, it's made me a better mother. Before Shakeology®, I was battling PPD over my clinical depression and was having a difficult time enjoying motherhood. I wasn't able to breastfeed or play with my kids. I just gave them toys to play with and sat. Since drinking Shakeology®, I was able to produce milk again and enjoyed feeding my daughter. And, I am much MORE involved with my children's lives."
Depression can be such an intolerable and misunderstood disease by society. Unlike other diseases that are measured by a blood or diagnostic test, depression is subjective and often dismissed as a "choice." It can be a debilitating life long struggle. It's even worse when it carries over and affects the lives of those you love the most. Is Shakeology® proven clinically to resolve depression issues? No. But, many people are living examples that the nutrition in it has enabled them to lead a lifestyle free from the symptoms that previously plagued them. Not only that, when you fuel your body well, you tend to have more energy, so you get out and do more and exercise is on of the most effective way to boost serotonin.
It could or could not be the combination of the super foods paired with really dense nutrition. Regardless, I truly believe that what we consistently put in our body MATTERS- not just for our physical health, but our mental, as well.
Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach
For a "Dear Doctor" letter to provide to your doctor on your next visit to find out if Shakeology may help you, contact me at Seay.Stanford@gmail.com and I will send you a printable copy. Results may vary. Please consult your physician before beginning any supplement or meal replacement product, particularly if you have any unique or special needs or conditions, such as food allergies, dietary restrictions, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding. The content on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.