I missed a day of my 30 day writing challenge and I’m super bummed. I took one for the team last night and sat at a sports bar (not) watching UCLA basketball because it was really important to Brittany. We didn’t get home until super late from downtown and I needed to take some photos in the morning for an upcoming campaign so I opted for sleep instead of writing. Major fail but also, I really need like 8 hours of sleep or else I am a raging b*tch and I can’t form coherent sentences.
Moving on. I’ve had several people inquire about that time I did Whole30 and what ever happened with it. In case you missed it, I wrote a whole post about how I was doing the Whole30 after reading Kelly Brogan’s book (A Mind of Your Own) to prepare my body to get off of antidepressants. I definitely owe everyone a follow-up.
Kelly’s book basically terrified me about being on antidepressants even though I’ve never experienced any negative side effects myself. I come from a long line of people who suffer from pretty severe depression and those of us who have turned to anti-depressants have seen huge improvements. Like massive, life changing improvements.
Regardless of my positive experience, I began to question the safety of antidepressants and their effect on my health and overall well being. Kelly Brogan’s book is extremely compelling and it made me think twice about that pill I pop on the daily.
So I went ahead and eliminated all grains, alcohol, dairy, sugar (other than fruit), and processed anything. It was hard. I was pretty bitchy those first 10 days and I felt like I was gaining weight which made it even more challenging. Since I wasn’t going on this “diet” to lose weight, I had to just let that go. Sure enough, it worked itself out. There is NO cheating on Whole30 but I did have a glass of wine on day 21 or so. Melissa Hartwig would have understood (trust me, I met her and she’s awesome). By the end, I was SO ready to eat grains again and I was missing my morning toast with eggs so bad. But I survived.
Prior to Whole30, I would definitely consider myself a healthy eater. After Whole30, I think I am an even healthier eater. I am far more aware of every little ingredient I am putting into my body and way more reluctant to eat something if I don’t know the ingredients. It opened my eyes to some of the really harmful ingredients in supposedly healthy foods as well as the dangers of vegetable oils. Yuck.
Around the third week of Whole30, I started to think about what would happen after my 30 day journey ended. That was the moment I was supposed to start weaning myself off of my medication (under the guidance of a doctor). Dr. Brogan recommends doing it extremely slowly and over a long period of time. But the more I sat with the idea of no longer taking my medication, the more I felt like it wasn’t the right decision for me.
My medication is working and when I take it, I feel like a normal human. I don’t get unnecessarily sad and low for absolutely no reason like I once did. I feel appropriate emotions at appropriate times (except when I am PMSing, then all shit hits the fan). I’ve also never experienced any negative side effects.
I’ve stopped taking my anti-depressants before and the results were pretty dreadful. My depression came back, not immediately but with a vengeance, and I felt powerless in controlling it. No amount of running, yoga or meditation could make me feel better. It was hard to get out of bed and face the world and I just didn’t feel like I could cope.
I was hoping to heal my depression byway of healing my gut. However, my intuition tells me I already have a healthy gut. While I know there is a strong gut-brain connection and our microbiome certainly plays a large role in our mood, I just don’t believe it is the cause of depression in me and my entire family. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t believe food has the power to heal MY depression. I wholeheartedly believe it has healed so many others in that way but we are complex human beings and our experiences are all very different. I think it is always a great idea to first try healing your body with diet before anything else, but sometimes, it takes more than that. It doesn’t mean you failed, it just may mean you need to go another route. Again – just my opinion. Please no hate mail.
In her book, Kelly Brogan argues that depression is not hereditary and it is not due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. I am yet to be entirely sold on that idea because of my firsthand experience with all of this. I love what she is doing by putting research out there that supports a more natural approach to healing depression, but we all have to find what works for us.
I have, however, made many adjustments to my diet after reading her book and doing Whole30. I’ve decreased my grain consumption by a lot and I eat a lot more healthy fats. I also cut way down on eating out at restaurants because of their use of harmful cooking oils. I choose much higher quality meats and only buy the best pasture raised eggs these day. I took a lot away from my experience and I would honestly do Whole30 again if I felt I needed it. I make an effort to listen to my body and respond accordingly, so when it’s ready for another round, I’m sure I’ll give it a go.