Nutritional Remedies for the Winter Blues

Hay House Radio Episode Recap

  • Episode Name: “Nutritional Remedies for the Winter Blues”
  • Live Broadcast: January 23rd, 2018 at 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Episode Replays: Tuesdays at 9:00 pm Pacific Time / 12:00 am Eastern Time, Saturdays at 2:00 pm Pacific Time / 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Sundays at 4:00 pm Pacific Time / 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Episode Summary Re-cap

Seasonal Affective Disorder, sometimes referred to as the Winter Blues, affects up to 20% of people worldwide
If you’ve been experiencing anxiety, depression, low moods, fatigue, memory issues, binge eating, weight gain, relationship challenges and more, this show is for you! Call in with your questions. We’ll cover kitchen remedies, nutritional solutions, all-natural supplements and simple lifestyle adjustments that will help lift your spirits and have you feeling like yourself again!

Are We in A Brain Drain Epidemic?

More than 20% of people worldwide suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also referred to as “the winter blues.” On top of this, over 100 million Americans (that’s one person in every group of 3), struggle with depression. For decades, modern medicine has been prescribing anti-depressants, in hopes that they can fix what they label as “all in our heads.” But it’s not working. And what’s worse, it seems as if these “broken brain” issues – anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, brain fog, insomnia and more, continue to increase at epidemic proportions.

Why is this happening? And if it’s happening to you or someone you love, what can you do about it?

Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is the term used for recurring major depression during the fall and winter season that resolves in the spring/summer season. While there’s no absolute certainty on why this happens, there’s pretty good evidence that it’s related to the following:

  • Brain chemical (neurotransmitter) imbalances
  • Shorter days and less light (less vitamin D, less serotonin – which both boost moods and are supported by sunshine)
  • Genetics – certain genetic variances may make people prone to depression
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Sleep dysregulation
  • Stress
  • Other psychological reasons
Interestingly, many of the older studies never mention one of the key aspects affecting mood: diet.

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects women more often than men and the symptoms tend to involve:

  • Carbohydrate cravings, sugar cravings and overeating
  • Low moods
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent crying
  • Low energy and less activity
  • Social withdrawal
  • Weight gain

Studies show that the main issue is the inability to balance the brain chemical, serotonin, also called the happiness hormone.

Depression is more than the occasional sadness that everyone experiences. When sadness becomes chronic and sets the tone for everything in your life, including your self-esteem, it could be depression.

Symptoms of depression include the same as Seasonal Affective Disorder, but go beyond it with: lack of motivation, thoughts of death or suicide, inability to concentrate, too much or too little sleep, guilt and feelings of worthlessness, and sometimes even inability to function in your normal, day-to-day activities.

The Mind-Body Connection

When a baby is conceived and in the embryo stage, an interesting thing happens. There is this tissue that breaks apart and some goes into the brain and the rest goes into the gut. The thing is, they stay connected by a nerve, called the vagus nerve. This nerve serves as the chief communicator between the gut and the brain.

Some highlights about this second brain in your gut:
  • The enteric nervous system is embedded in your entire digestive tract from end to end.
  • The second brain relies on, and in many cases creates, more than 30 brain chemicals that are identical to those in the first brain.
  • It can operate all on its own, without any input from the brain, to control the movement and absorption of food throughout your intestines.  A feat No other organ is capable of.
  • 50% of neurons and 70 – 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. 50% of the neurons and 70% of the immune system are in the gut. The neurons and immune system are our mind-body connection. (or mind and body). So your immune system and neurons are inextricably connected from the time you are born.
  • Approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin is located in your gut.
  • Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep and learning and can influence your happiness and self-esteem. Serotonin also plays a critical role in digestion by helping to secrete enzymes that help you digest food.
  • Scientists are now recognizing that the health of your digestive tract is key to the health of your body and your mind.
  • Your gut sends signals north to your brain that directly affect feelings of sadness or stress, even influence memory, learning, and decision-making.
  • The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.

Studies are now showing that food affects mood and that gut health has a big impact on disease, including osteoporosis, autism, depression and autoimmune conditions.

In other words, what you eat matters. What you digest or absorb matters. Your gut is responsible for how you feel, how you act, what you focus on, whether you sleep or not, your overall health and your overall enjoyment of life.

10 Top Remedies for Resolving Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder

#1 – Take a Note from Your Ancestors: Rest & Replenish

When our ancestors lived off the land, they were in harmony with nature. After putting in all their work during the harvest (fall season), they would slow down, spend the winter indoors, reading, resting, getting more sleep and spending quiet time with family. Modern technology has allowed us to stay up as late as we want and continue our 24/7 go-go-go lifestyle. In Chinese medicine, winter is the season of water element, a time to nourish your kidneys (willpower) and adrenals (energy). If we live according to nature, we would be resting and replenishing these organ systems, so that we have enough energy for the lighter, longer days of spring. This is the season we heal from adrenal fatigue. Where we celebrate the rewards of the recent harvest and dream up what we want to create in the springtime season of rebirth.

#2- Eat Local and In-Season

The foods that nourish your body in the winter season are: warm, hearty soups, whole grains, nuts that you oven-roast at home, beans, seaweed, burdock root, chicory root, steamed greens and winter squashes. Here are some recipes:

Blended Soups that I call Hot Smoothies

Fast Thermos Soup

5-Minute Soup

Easy Good Luck Soup

Burdock Root Tea

Lovely Millet Loaf

Bone Broth Demo Video 

#3 – Eat Gut-Healing, Inflammation-Reducing Foods

Leaky gut and leaky brain – Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine, says “all disease begins in the gut.” 70 to 80% of immune system in the gut. Bone broth is wonderful because it helps to heal, seal and protect the gut.

Leaky Gut – In a healthy gut, the wall of the small intestine acts as a gatekeeper, letting through water and needed nutrients and keeping out harmful substances. However, poor diet, medications, and bacterial or fungal overgrowth can compromise the lining, causing leaky gut. Symptoms are varied but can include food sensitivities, allergies, headaches or migraines, arthritis, eczema, hives, and chronic fatigue.

Leaky Brain – A leaky gut can contribute to oxidative stress or inflammation in the body, causing the blood-brain barrier to become “leaky,” whereby molecules and toxins that are not supposed to enter may get into the brain. These conditions are associated with a permeable or leaky blood-brain barrier. Symptoms include: ADD, brain fog, memory issues, mood disorders (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.), and Alzheimer’s.

One of the best foods to heal your gut is bone broth. The gelatin (collagen) in bone broth lays a protective barrier on the small intestine to help heal and seal the intestines, which helps to resolve leaky gut, reduce inflammation and therefore, resolve leaky brain. The gelatin also helps to absorb more nutrients in other foods, while protecting your small intestine from other assaults from processed foods and pathogens.

Other foods that help heal your gut and reduce inflammation are:

  • Herbs and spices like: thyme, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and fenugreek
  • Leafy green vegetables, like Romaine lettuce, kale, collards, broccoli
  • Berries
  • Fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi made without vinegar

#4 – Mind Your Minerals

Minerals are food for your adrenals. They support your moods, energy, sleep and stress levels. 80% of people are deficient in magnesium, which I like to call the “master mineral,” because it is responsible for 3,300 enzymatic functions in the body, including your moods! Depression and anxiety are also linked to potassium, zinc, and copper imbalances.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency – including depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and chronic stress.

Calcium Cascade

Myths & Truths About Minerals

Adrenal Mineral Elixir

Adding 1 dropoperful of Anderson’s Sea MD (a wide-base of liquid minerals) over your eight glasses of water for the day can be super helpful for reducing stress, getting more sleep, boosting energy and feeling more grounded.

Using sea salt and Himalayan salt are great options for getting minerals in your diet. Make sure to avoid processed, refined table salt!

#5 – Pay Attention to B Vitamins

B vitamins help with cellular metabolism, moods a, d energy. They also help with a process called methylation, which supports energy, digestion, sleep, hormone balance and detoxification.

Learn more about B12 deficiency symptoms. For people with severe gut issues, supplementation with a sublingual form of methyl B12 may be incredibly supportive until your gut heals and you can get vitamin B12 through your food, or natural supplements like Dessicated Liver. B6 (as P5P) is also a key mood booster and a co-factor for magnesium.

Methyl Folate, also called 5-mthf, is a great mood booster because it supports dopamine, the motivation and rewards brain chemical. I typically recommend waiting to take this until after being on B12 supplements for 3 months. Start low at 1 mg or less, and go slowly if you need more. Never take folic acid, which is synthetic folate that your body will likely not be able to break down.

You may benefit from B complex supplement that contains all of these, along with B5 (pantethine), active forms of B12 (as methylcobolamin and adenosylcobolamin), folate as 5-mthf. A good option is Innate Response B Complex.

#6 – Eat Healthy Fats, Especially Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

These days, people are eating too many processed, unrefined vegetable fats. These fats are rancid and negatively affect your liver and brain health. Instead, focus on healthy, unrefined fats and oils and if you really want to boost your moods, look for omega-3, unrefined fats. You can find these unrefined healthy fats in grass and pasture fed animal protein, egg yolks, raw butter, and the animal fats from grass and pasture fed organic or antibiotic and hormone free animals. Other great options are fatty fishes, like wild-caught salmon and sardines. And unrefined organic extra virgin olive oil.

Primal Fat Burning to Slow Aging, Feel Better and Live Longer

#7 – Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Stable

If you have moods that go up and down like a roller coaster, blood sugar imbalance could be an issue for you. To learn more, read:

Blood Sugar and Your Mental Health

Willpower and Your Blood Sugar Levels

Delicious Blood Sugar Balancer and Gut Healer Recipe

#8 – Get Rid of Gluten

Gluten creates an immune response, contributes to inflammation, leaky gut and leaky brain symptoms. To learn more, read: How to Say Goodbye to Autoimmune Symptoms.

#9 – Remove Sugar, GMO foods and Processed Foods

Sugar, GMO foods and processed foods are all foods that humans have messed with to change them from whole foods to convenience foods. They have been stripped of their nutrients and the result is unstable foods lacking in nutritional value. To learn more, read:

10-Day Sugar Detox

Autoimmune Disease Nutrition

Toxins and Natural Detox Strategies

#10 – Listen to Your Body

Your intuition speaks through your body and can give you clues about when to rest, when something is right or not right for you, and what foods are most nourishing for you. Here are some tips for listening to your body.

Join Me for Heal Your Immune System to Heal Your Brain

Join Dr. Judy Mikovits live online or in-person at our first program in THE WELL PROJECT®, a non-profit educational and support program to support you in your healing journey! This program is offered on a sliding scale, so that anyone can attend, regardless of budget.

Join us live on February 9, 2018 for Solutions for Immune System Health Revealed. In this course, we will cover:

  • What Immunity Really Is & How It Works – Find out what a healthy immune system is along with factors important for developing good immunity.
  • What Has Gone Wrong with Immunity Today – Discover key reasons the immune system is being modulated with disease, instead of with the modulators of health.
  • Natural Solutions for a Healthy Immune System – discover which foods to eat, foods to avoid, little-known natural remedies, medical cannabis and more.
  • Q&A – In depth-Q&A with Dr. Judy. Participants who attend live or online will be able to ask questions.
  • Recording – All participants will receive a recording of the event.

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Dondi Dahlin PortraitTune in Next Week

Tune in next week to Loving Yourself to Great Health, when Dondi Dahlin joins me to show you how to nourish and nurture your kidneys and adrenals with energy medicine, Native American medicine and nutritional remedies!


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!