This is the fourth article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.
At the end of 2003, I hit rock bottom – again. Looking back, I think it would be appropriate to say that I had a nervous breakdown. The stresses of a bad relationship, living a life not authentic to who I was, working long hours at a high stress job, my past drug abuse, and undiagnosed PTSD all took their toll. But, as many of you know, once you hit bottom, the only way out is UP. So once again, I pulled myself together to find a way out.
I had been practicing yoga and going to Buddhist meditation classes for about a year after this breakdown when I decided to go on an elimination diet. My gut was totally messed up and I was hearing a buzz about how going gluten free could fix that. So for two weeks, I ate all veggies and rice. When I introduced bread again, I thought I was going to die. The stomach pains and racing heart were unreal! I had my answer and stayed entirely gluten-free after that.
As I remained gluten-free, I noticed after a year or so that my mood began to improve. What the heck?? How did that happen and why?
While psychiatrists don’t necessarily agree that a gluten-free diet can help depression, many holistic healthcare practitioners will tell you that there is a HUGE correlation between the brain and the gut. For me, as my gut health improved, so did my mood and I was eventually able to get off all antidepressant medications!
There is a TON of information out there about how to conduct your own elimination diet, but here is one article that covers how I did it: https://blumhealthmd.com/2017/07/20/effectively-navigate-an-elimination-diet/
Here is a more scholarly article about the body’s microbiome and the gut-brain axis. The research presented may help you understand why an elimination diet could help you if you experience mood disturbances. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5611854/
The field of nutrigenomics has also helped me understand how and why some foods that are superfoods for some may not always be the best for me and my genetic makeup. I encourage anyone who has been on a super-strict diet and is still struggling with food sensitivities and other seemingly unrelated symptoms like inflammation, brain fog and fatigue to get your DNA tested through 23 and Me and find a healthcare practitioner to help you understand how to get to your next level of health.