It’s time to start something that I hope will bring relief to many. It’s time to start the movement towards understanding. It’s time to start learning about the real link between food allergy and depression.
I have been quite passionate about this subject for the last six years, ever since I started my own research into answering my questions. To clarify, I’m not talking about a single connection between food allergies and depression, but also to anxiety, autism, fibromyalgia, OCD and a whole host of other diseases. Do I think I have the answers that will cure everyone’s depression and anxiety? Absolutely not. There are a lot of causes for those illnesses, but many people suffer from them without a known origin. I am starting this blog to explore who those people may be (I am one of them) and what role food allergy and sensitivity may play. I am going to present my theory, for at this moment, as far as I know, it is just a theory, with scientific references and I will approach my argument from a molecular and immuno-biological viewpoint.
But I also would like this blog to evolve into something more than a place for me to preach. I would like it to eventually become a place where we can share ideas, post recipes, life stories and expand our knowledge of what a strong link there is in the foods we eat and our mental and emotional health.
Depression is never easy to talk about. But in order for me to describe the path I took to get where I am, I have to talk about my depression and anxiety. I’d say that my struggle with depression started as a teenager. How often has anyone said, “You know, when I look back, I didn’t realize…”? Well, I didn’t realize how much I was affected by depression for most of my life and how much it affected my relationships with other people. I only realized what a hold it had on my life when it was gone. I had just accepted depression as a way of life, my life, and there wasn’t much to be done about it. I could function, love, enjoy the company of my friends, have a lot of fun doing the things I loved, but depression would always be there, lurking in the dark background, ready to come out when things didn’t go my way or I felt unloved. Then the blackness and despair would take over and I would think unthinkable things.
Then the path to curing my depression was laid at my feet when I became infected with a stomach bug. Up until this point, I had never suffered from anxiety, but a few hours before I started showing the classic symptoms of the stomach “flu”, I had a very bad anxiety attack. I actually didn’t even know what it was. I felt like I was jumping out of a plane without a parachute. I was confused and scared and then the stomach bug hit and after spending much of the day next to the toilet, I felt better. But the anxiety didn’t go away, not completely. It would return, in waves. I had other symptoms as well. Dry eyes, neck pain, dizziness and vertigo. I had a sense of impending doom without a reason. I visually perceived the world was slightly a kilter. Very strange. So I sought help from my GP and OB/GYN. Both suggested that I take Xanax to see if it helped. Of course it did, but I was convinced there was a physical reason for all my symptoms. I was desperate to find out a cause so I could cure it, not treat it.
Nearly a year went by and I wasn’t feeling better. I felt worse. I was eating what most people eat, the Standard American Diet. I didn’t eat too much junk. My sandwiches were made on whole wheat bread, I ate whole wheat pasta, ate plain yogurt with frozen pineapple, kept sweets to a minimum and only occasionally indulged in fast food. Then a very good friend of mine, Gry, suggested I go to see Cari Schaefer, a nutritionist who started me on the path to permanently ridding myself of depression and anxiety.
Cari suggested I stop eating gluten and dairy, along with a regimen of whole food supplements. I followed her instructions and in about 3 months, I felt 90% better. I had actually gone to see her to rid myself of the anxiety. Remember, the depression was such a part of my life I had really forgotten it wasn’t a natural way to be. I remember the morning 6 years ago when I woke up. The sun was shining and I ambled out to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. That’s when it hit me. My anxiety was mostly gone, but more profoundly, my depression was COMPLETELY gone. This was not something I was looking to cure, but yet it was gone. The constant sadness, the indescribable feeling of not being worthy, were gone! What had happened to cause such a miraculous thing? That’s when I started to ask questions.
Photo by Larry Boman
Categories: My Story