Whole Foods Lifestyle - Healing anxiety with whole foods?

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12-24-2011, 01:41 AM
Has anyone improved an anxiety/panic disorder by incorporating whole foods? To be honest my diet is crap. Lots of sugars and simple carbs which I am completely addicted to. My anxiety is high and i don't want a med adjustment until I have altered my diet and lifestyle to see if that works. Any hints or advice?

rocket pop
12-24-2011, 07:01 AM
I found that reducing my refined sugar intake and cutting out caffeine really, really helped me. I have generalised anxiety disorder and used to have panic attacks nearly every time I went out, but I rarely have them now.

Of course, it's not the only thing that I changed- I also changed my lifestyle (did more gentle exercise, ate more mindfully). I also went on (more) medication but it wasn't a long term solution for me.

However I am in no way an expert beyond my own experience!! If nothing else, reducing your junk food intake isn't going to hurt. Surely someone else has a better idea of all of this than I do- I'm interested to hear what other people have to say, too!

12-24-2011, 10:17 AM
I'll agree, when my refined sugar intake is high, my mood suffers.

12-25-2011, 01:55 PM
I think eating good, real food (and not too much of it), will help somewhat - but, in my opinion, hardcore cardio - especially fast walking or jogging - will help much more. This is because you mimic the "flight" response, which gives you a temporary release from the anxiety.

Of course diet and exercise are not cure alls - don't listen to any of websites or blogs that say so.

In the majority of cases, how individuals will uniquely cope with the external world is acquired in very early childhood. Other events that occur subsequently can reinforce issues that already surfaced before you were conscious of them.

Certain triggers create an overwhelming feeling of anxiety within you; you currently have fallible coping mechanism in place to integrate the experience, which leads you to then panic. To panic is a dreadful experience because it is similar in nature to what one would experience before he/she dies.

What I've described here is simply the tip of the iceberg. It is quite complex. No diet or exercise regime will help you learn to work-through it. Of course having a sound diet and regular "flight" exercise routine can help - but I'd be apprehensive to even estimate how much it could help.

Oh, and simply writing is an effective way to creatively work-through psychological issues - maybe find forums where you can truly write about and discuss your anxiety.

12-27-2011, 01:22 PM
Exercise helps even my moods when I can get it. Going paleo with my diet has almost eliminated my anxiety. No gluten, sugar, dairy or caffeine and I have a handle on it. I haven't had a panic attack since I started cutting carbs in August.

01-04-2012, 05:28 AM
I'm with Raven on this. The Paleolithic Diet has made a huge difference for me. And as for exercise, if I don't start my day with Pilates, it's not a good day. Also, I find pumping weights a couple hours before bed has helped me with anxiety attacks when I go to bed.

Also, divorcing myself from toxic people...that helped A LOT!

01-05-2012, 12:42 PM
Exercise helps even my moods when I can get it. Going paleo with my diet has almost eliminated my anxiety. No gluten, sugar, dairy or caffeine and I have a handle on it. I haven't had a panic attack since I started cutting carbs in August.

I had a doctors appointment yesterday and had a slight med increase, but I was talking to my doctor about the best way to eat and she just wasn't sure. She has read so many things, and one article is complete opposite of another article. She pretty much said it's trial and error. She's into natural medicine so I was hoping she'd be a bit more knowledgable on the nutrition aspect, but even just reading on my own, there's so much info that is complete opposite. Oy.

01-08-2012, 06:59 PM
Getting a lot of magnesium is good for reducing anxiety.

01-14-2012, 09:21 PM
Getting a lot of magnesium is good for reducing anxiety.

Thank you! I went to the health food store and got another bottle of natural calm, some b stresss blend vitamins, and a good quality fish oil.

01-14-2012, 09:46 PM
I suffer from anxiety, social phobia and severe depression. I was "prescribed" a low GI diet by my psychatrist and to reduce my caffeine intake.. and he kept on and on and on about it.. but wow doesn't it make a massive difference to me.. it really really helps me. Helps cut down on the swings and round abouts and also just generally reduces how jittery and anxious I am... also don't get those massive slumps of energy from the depression quite as bad as I used to either... sounds dramatic to say it has worked better than medication for me but it really has.

I really recommend cutting down the instant sugar, the highly refined carbohydrates (not totally cutting them out either here... it's easy to fall into extremes that aren't healthy psychologically a lot of the time) and balancing your meals with protein and fat... complex carbohydrates, whole grains etc are your friends. Really worth doing some research on it and I really recommend this book as well http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gi-Diet-Revised-Updated-Permanent/dp/0753509180/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326591298&sr=1-1

It's a little bit more complicated than just cutting out sugar and eating "whole foods".. like how you cook food makes a massive difference- boiled new potatoes are much lower GI than a baked potato (which is high GI) for example but both can be low glycemic load if balanced with protein and fat.. but it's also less restrictive than you imagine too and once you've understood the basics you don't really need to follow any plan with it just apply what you've leant. It's basically good sense healthy eating too but a lot of people (myself included beforehand) have no idea what that looks like because they've never been taught or witnessed it. It's an eating plan for life but it has 3 (or is it 2? I can't quite remember.. I follow a low GI diet now but not the plan in the book anymore as I don't need to) the first of which is a weight loss plan which is much more restrictive than the eating for life plan (but of pretty much all diets I reckon less so than nearly any others out there) but does also work very well for continual sustained weight loss which you can keep off which is also one doctors tend to recommend and endorse as it is healthy. Not a fad, not extreme. Doesn't cut whole food groups out or have any insane rules or extreme restriction.

There's also an utterly awesome thread on here about all this that I stumbled across the other day. Well worth reading.

Oh I do feel like saying this unfortunately isn't a cure for anxiety.. it's just something that stops it being worse mainly and helps.. therapy, medication, exercise, getting to the root cause, finding coping strategies etc are all essential in beating and managing anxiety.. sorry to be a bit of a downer at the end.. but yeah I really recommend a low GI diet for anxiety or depression problems...

01-18-2012, 10:55 AM
I agree with so much that's been mentioned already. Decreasing (I'm working on the cutting out part) refined sugars, carbs, and caffeine will definitely help with the mood swings which then helps with the anxiety. I had horrible anxiety issues about a year and a half. Since then I've been working with a therapist who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and have been able to release myself of a lot of toxic behaviors and people in my life that were feeding into my anxiety.

Like PaintedButterfly was saying, it's a combination of things; therapy, medication, exercise, root causes, coping strategies. I'll also add practicing gratitude, filling your life with things you are passionate about or LOVE to do (that are not related to food, dieting, or anything that can cause you anxiety) can be life changing too. Every aspect of our health is integrated and changing just one thing usually isn't enough.

But, I"ll also say, when I was trying to do everything on my own, just the thought of everything I just said used to cause me immense anxiety because it was A LOT to think about. Helpful to have some professionals to walk alongside you to guide you on the right path.

I'll also add that spirituality has been key on my path. I've leaned on prayer, worship, and the strength of my spiritual community for courage and positivity to keep moving forward.

Great question! All the best to you.

03-09-2012, 06:54 AM
I've only been on the diet for 2 weeks, but my mood has been stable but not happy like I thought it would. I still have anxiety perhaps not quite as high. The carbs and processed foods and sugars actually made me upbeat and improved my mood. Carbs and fat are large happy molecules but aren't always great when you come down.

03-09-2012, 08:58 AM
I do not have an anxiety disorder or any other clinical diagnosis of emotional issues, but I always thought I was at least a little "crazy" because of mood swings (so bad during pms that hubby called me "werewolf.")

I thought I was fat because I had emotional issues. But the emotional issues disppear when I eat low-carb or paleo, and reappear when I eat too much sugar or starch. I wasn't fat because of emotional issues, I had emotional issues AND was fat because of too many quickly-digesting carbs in my diet.