“Potential Affect of Food on Mental-Health & Recovery”


Mesculun-Mix Salad Greens, Chives & Onion

By Howard Lovely, Jr.

Ten years ago in 2002 I got very aggressive toward my eating life-style by basically inverting the way I had been culturally trained to eat as a child. Keep in mind that as a child,….there was plenty of each of these items provided in the home,…which is where I started / learned to garden as an 8-year-old. Nevertheless, my [eating habits or life-style] consisted of roughly 50% meat(beef, pork, poultry & fish); 20% refined starch such as white-flour in the form of bread, white rice, and corn-meal; 10% dairy(milk & cheese); 10% Junk(processed meats, candy, sugar,….etc.); 5% legumes; 5% fresh fruit & vegetables and as a young adult I started to eat more fast-food. By 2002 I had long since increased my daily plain water intake and stopped consuming alcohol in 1997 while taking anti-depression medication because of the uncomfortable way my body felt with the combination. The once fun feeling “buzz” of alcohol had become an uncomfortable out of control sensation. My eating life-style and habits currently consist of approximately 80% fresh fruits and vegetable; 5% meat(poultry, fish, pork & beef); 5% dairy(cheese); 4% grains(oats, white-flour, brown-rice, corn-meal, etc.,.); 2% junk(typically pizza,…etc.,); 2% nuts; 1% legumes; 1% sweeteners (agave & refined sugar).

Choosing to make and follow through with the radical alteration of my eating habits was difficult at first but I got used to the change for one simple and practical reason, I noticed that I felt better. A habit of feeling better / good was beginning to form. Ironically I felt more energetic by eating less calories / food. Calories derived from [food] with minimal,…to no exposure,…to pesticides. Food packed with huge amounts of nutrients and [complex carbohydrates] that released energy via the metabolic process within my body. This type of release of nutrients is much slower and consistent throughout the day for me. Gaining the basic understanding of the relationship between food and the bio-chemical dynamic within the body has helped me manage blood glucose(sugar) levels. Blood glucose can have a big impact(up, down or balanced) on my mood in terms of depression or anxiety. Twenty years ago in 1992 I was tested and diagnosed as Reactive-Hypo-Glysemic after temporarily loosing my eye sight,…at that time,…I thought that I had become diabetic due to my family history of the medical condition. Until I became aware of all this,…if I was already anxious or depressed,…eating a sugary or refined starchy food item would just exacerbate my mood in a unfavorable way by altering my blood glucose level much like being on a roller-coaster. In short,…It adds a type of bio-chemical stress and is not a good feeling when I’m trying to maintain or manage a balanced mood within a range that feels comfortable and will allow me to function. What I have learned is to keep in mind that managing a mental-illness can be a complex juggling act. This may include the vigilance of [amounts, types and frequency] of food intake, hydration, living environment, common chemical exposure and other medical conditions that potentially add stress to an already stressed-out body-system(nervous, digestive, emotional, psychological & immune). It can get to be a “cobweb” of a mess in a hurry and I’ve been there many times to say the least. This last note is why I continue to take an [active role],…via trial & error,…to figuring out what works best for me and use what I call a,…”food-awareness-tool”,…..to manage my eating life-style. I make minor adjustments daily to allow my body to maintain some sort of balance within a [range],…that is appropriate for me and it can be different for each individuals. I can choose to,…and do,…allow myself to eat anything [within reason] at this time,…..while still maintaining balance. I’ve discovered that finding and maintaining this individual “balance range” or “sweet-spot” within my eating life-style is one benefit of putting in the effort on a daily basis; it allows wiggle-room for my 2% of standard commercialized junk(pizza, potato chips, etc.,…) that tastes so good.



Google the subject to read many research based scientific articles…


What is Mental Illness: Mental Illness Facts

“In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.”

Quote sourced from NAMI.org

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