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Most of us know at least one person who has been treated for mental illness. While treatment of the mentally ill has come a long way, there are many pathways yet to be uncovered. Due to mental illness in our family, and having seen the suffering of too many people, in the late ’80’s, I decided to search for alternative/complementary methods that would enhance outcomes. I was intrigued when I learned about Orthomolecular Medicine and glad I found the health professionals that use it in their practice.

I discovered from the Canadian Society of Orthomolecular Medicine (CSOM) and the International Schizophrenia  Foundation, (ISF), www.orthomed.org, that a diagnoses of mental illness doesn’t have to mean the end of a patient’s life as he or she knew it. It was good news.

What is Orthomolecular Medicine?

Orthomolecular medicine, a term coined by Linus Pauling, double Nobel Laureate involves treatment by optimizing health and treating disease by providing correct amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids and other substances which are natural and essential to the human body.

Your body is powered by your dietary intake – nutrients. We can get these nutrients though high quality food and through supplementation. The brain is living tissue and must receive nutrients to do its work. The brain is a ‘nutrient hog’ taking 25% of all nutrients you eat to sustain itself.  The brain is 60% fat and it needs quality fats, vitamins and minerals to thrive. The quality of your food will influence the quality of your brain and its functioning. For example rancid fats from French fries on a repeated basis can get lodged in our bodies in places where healthy fats should be to power the body – especially the brain.

Why Don’t You Know About Mental Health and Nutrition?

Vitamins, minerals or other natural substances can’t be patented. No vitamin sales people knock on physicians’ doors with free samples. Also, nutrition is low on the list of subjects in medical schools. However, those who practice orthomolecular medicine – evidence based medicine, check for nutrient deficiencies as possible causes for mental disturbances. Every other branch of medicine does lab testing, why not psychiatry?

What Physical Problems can Affect Mental Illnesses?

  • High or low blood sugar levels cause mental symptoms to peak.
  • Vitamin B12  deficiency causes confusion, fatigue, weakness and severe mental symptoms. Other B vitamin deficiencies including folic acid can contribute to many forms of mental disorders.
  • Anemia (low iron levels) is sometimes confused with dementia.
  • Low thyroid has been shown to be common for those with schizophrenia.
  • Low levels of Vitamin D stores directly relate to depression.
  • Those with mental illness often have food allergies or digestive problems.

Orthomolecular psychiatrists also use medications since they were traditionally trained psychiatrists. They found that adding nutrients to patients’ protocols reduced medication side effects and enhanced both mental and physical health. Many medical doctors, naturopaths, registered nutritional consultants or other health professionals use these adjunct orthomolecular treatments for both mental health and physical problems. Abundant Information is available about nutrition health benefits.

Are Vitamins/Minerals Safe?

Some fear that vitamins in high dosages are “not safe”. View testimony before the Government of Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, regarding nutritional supplement product safety (Ottawa, May 12, 2005) by Andrew Saul PhD, at: www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm

Ignorance abounds on the subject of vitamins. Using orthomolecular treatments can help people recover, enjoy life and become productive members of society. Other therapies that are helpful include: exercise, relaxation techniques, having adequate housing, social support. Like all people, those with mental illness cannot spend endless time alone unattended. Stigma of mental illness still abounds and must be countered.

CSOM provides peer to peer doctor and other health professional training programs on this subject of therapeutic nutrition. ISF promotes the wide use of orthomolecular medicine and provides public seminars, hosts an annual professional conference, publishes the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine and a quarterly newsletter.

If you suffer from mental illness or know someone who does, check out www.orthomed.org. You’ll be glad you did.

Are you feeling sluggish from too many sweets, chips, bread, wine or fast food consumed over the holidays? Now is the time to fine tune your brain and body for a great year ahead!

1.   Balance your blood sugar

  • Eat whole grain breads, rice or pasta (complex carbohydrates). Don’t overdo these. Reduce white bread, white rice or pasta.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Reduce tea, coffee, sugary foods, sugary drinks and cigarettes.
  • Reduce alcohol.

2.  Essential fats – these keep your brain (and heart) “well oiled”.

  • Eat fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, herring mackerel or mackerel a couple of times a week.
  • For snacks, have seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin and nuts such as raw walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. Use cold pressed olive oil on salads.
  • Stay away as much as possible from fried foods or fast foods.

3.  Phospholipids – helps memory and boosts the brain.

  • Eat fish (especially sardines) at least once per week.
  • Eat at least three eggs per week; (omega 3 eggs are beneficial).
  • Include lecithin (on your cereal or in yogurt) to help memory. Also available in capsule form

4.  Amino acids – these are the brain’s messengers.

  • Include protein foods such as meat, dairy, fish, eggs, and tofu which contain amino acids at least once or twice per day
  • Beans, lentils, quinoa, seeds, nuts, whole grains are vegetable sources of proteins that contain amino acids. Include some each day.

5.  Smart nutrients – vitamins and minerals fine tune your mind and body..

  • Five to seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables are necessary each day.
  • Include one portion of a dark green vegetable each day.
  • Take a multi vitamin/mineral supplement each day.

Reference: Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, Patrick Holford

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  I wish all of you a happy and healthy New Year.

Rushing! Heart is racing! Frantic – frustration at traffic jams. Now we know it’s holiday time! Time to take a breather – even in the midst of stress, over commitment, plus money, time and family pressures. There are ways to stop the pounding heart and anxiety and to cope in a healthier fashion.

1) Right now take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold for a few seconds, then breathe out slowly through the mouth. Do it a few more times. If you do some deep breathing a few times a day, this small act can actually bring down blood pressure and calm anxious feelings.

2) Get hold of your day and become more organized. Make a list the night before of all the things you need to do the next day. Decide when you can do those chores and mark it in your calendar. Don’t drive from one end of the city to the other the same afternoon or evening. Try to schedule stops around the same areas if possible.

3) Walk slower, even if you’re in a rush. When you hurry, there’s more chances of slips, falls, accidents – which will really put a dent into your holiday fun. Decide you are not going to act frazzled, look frazzled or talk in a frazzled manner.

4) When shopping, bring a water bottle with you to keep hydrated. Keep healthy snacks in your bag, in your car – almonds and an apple, cashews and some dried cranberries, a healthful power bar. Don’t skip meals.

5) Don’t overdress in shopping malls; getting overheated will make you feel exhausted. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes or boots. Aching feet will exasperate stress levels. Try not to do all your shopping in one evening – spread out your purchasing over a few visits.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah or best wishes for other enjoyable holiday celebrations. Especially spend time with those whom you love and make you feel happy.

All the best,

Rosalie Moscoe, RHN, RNCP

http://www.healthinharmony.com

You bet. If you feel tired, run down, are irritable a lot of the time with stress levels going through the roof – look to your diet.People forget that each cell is power by nutrients – even your brain cells. Many people know about serotonin and that the brain needs it for good moods. However, the brain also needs vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

 Is your diet giving you all the raw materials to keep you calm, feeling energetic? Or is it the cause for your being tired, bloated, poor digestion and not being able to cope?

 So where do you start? Just by eating more vegetables in a day (even in soup), plus 2 or three pieces of fruit each day is a great start. Make salads your best friend. Can’t be bothered to prepare? Then at least stay clear of the fast food fare, or if you really must have a burger – order a salad. Nutrients in fruits and vegetables increase your nutritional status – give you vitamins, minerals, such as magnesium that calms nerves.

 Lack of adequate protein in your menu plan can leave you exhausted and cause brain fog. Proteins contain amino acids, necessary for many functions in the body including making neurotransmitters in your brain.. You don’t need a lot, but include 2 – 4 oz. per meal depending upon your weight – (low amount for a small woman and the higher amount for a large man). Don’t forget the fat! Eat a handful of raw almonds, pecans or pumpkin seeds to keep you fueled and your brain happy.

 Simple changes can give you dramatic results. Try it!

For nutrition health benefits that include enhanced brain power, relaxation and a happier mood, try these simple, tasty, yet powerful breakfasts for your children (or yourself!)

  • 1 or 2 eggs, 1 slice of whole grain toast, a little butter or almond butter, and ½ cup of berries
  • Vegetable omelet and a slice of whole grain toast or scoop of brown rice
  • ½ – ¾ cups cooked oatmeal mixed with 2 tbsp. of rice or whey protein powder, milk or yogurt. Sprinkle on almonds or pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
  • Turkey breakfast sausage (organic) with 1 egg and whole grain toast with a little butter.
  • A slice of mozzarella or havarti cheese on a slice of whole grain toast. Include a small piece of fruit or ½ cup of berries.
  • Brown rice with beans, add melted cheese.
  • Home made muffin or one from a health food store – (whole grains, low sugar). Add a handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds or a slice of cheese.
  • Bowl of cereal with milk, soy milk, or almond milk. Cereal – no or low sugar; choose grains other than wheat for a healthy change. Add berries and sunflower seeds or almonds.
  • ½ – 1 cup of cottage cheese – ½ – a whole small banana or other fruit and a if still hungry, add a slice of whole grain toast with butter.

 

Clip taken from a radio talk show in which Rosalie was featured on. A caller asks about Avocados hearing mixed opinions on how healthy it is for you.

Too Busy To Cook? (Or is it just too much trouble?)

Busy people seem to have forgotten the fun and pleasure of the ‘home cooked’ meal.

The following are suggestions to help you make smart, healthy, simple, fast meals.

  • Purchase and use a grill, such as a Foreman or Hamilton Beach for easy healthy cooking of meat, fish, chicken or vegetables. Use spices, olive oil, tamari (pure soy sauce) or get some recipes from the Foodnetwork.
  • Use frozen vegetables in bags – always ready to cook up in 5 minutes. Broccoli, peas and carrots, mixed vegetables are sure anti-oxidant winners. Dress with cow’s or goat butter, or olive oil.

  • If you have a microwave oven, you can prepare a sweet or Yukon Gold potato, a healthy starch, in under five minutes. Add some butter or olive oil.

  • Bags of fresh spinach, lettuces, serve as a good base for a salad. Toss in some goat cheese, dried cranberries, pecans. Add slices of English cucumber. Use an organic prepared dressing, or olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper.

  • Buy prepared jars of soup in the refrigerated sections of your grocery stores or buy cartons of organic vegetable soups for easy storage. Ready to go.

  • Keep in your freezer, bags of cooked shrimp or other cooked seafood. Cook whole grain pasta; add pesto or any natural or organic sauce of your choice. Defrost in minutes and toss in the cooked seafood. A quick and easy-to-make dish. Serve with a salad as above.

Looking for Low Cost Items? The following fit the bill!

  • Bags of brown rice
  • Natural oatmeal
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Apples and pears
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Plain yogurt
  • Cans of tuna or salmon
  • Chicken

Eating In Restaurants

If you eat in restaurants a lot, choose heart healthy choices when you can – those with less fat, sugar, or salt than other selections. Fill your plate with lots of green vegetables at buffets. Keep clear of the deep fried, high starch fare and large glasses of soda if you care about your heart, your weight and blood sugar regulation.

On The Road?

Carry healthy snacks. Raw nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, banana, apples, healthy power bars with seeds in them, celery, mini carrots, and raw snap peas are good choices. Drink water often.

If you must eat fast food, order a plain burger without the cheese (usually it’s processed), bacon and mayo. If you order chicken in fast food restaurants, order roast chicken, not fried. Resist the fries if you can (or have a small amount) and order a salad. If you order pizza, add a salad, or a piece of fruit. Order a slice or two instead of a whole pizza for yourself. Better yet stay away from fast food restaurants. Home cooking style restaurants are often your best bet (as long as they don’t pile on the gravy.)

Dessert? Fruit is always the best choice, but you could just eat a small piece of cake or a few spoonfuls of dessert. Don’t let others push food on you. Bon appétit.

Excepts from Chapter 8, Frazzled Hurried Woman! By Rosalie Moscoe