In this episode – Dietary Solutions for Treating Seasonal Depression. We’re speaking with Amber Gourley, the disobedient dietitian. The topic is, seasonal depression. We set the clocks forward in most of the country during the winter months, because daylight is such a precious thing to us all. Many people look forward to the change of seasons. The falling leaves, chilly sweater weather, snowfall, and cozy nights hugged up with a loved one are some of the things we enjoy. For other people the lack of light during the day leads to reduced melatonin level. This reduction leads to a type of seasonal depression that can leave you feeling flat, listless, and depressed. At times the low mood can be overwhelming. Even a sad song on the radio can make you want to go back to bed and put the covers over your head for the rest of the day. Sound familiar?
Amber believes in uncovering the root cause of health issues and healing them, not just putting a band-aid on them and hoping for the best. Today she’s going to be giving us some tips on how to deal with this phenomena through diet. Amber Gourley is known as the Disobedient Dietitian for good reason. She uses hard science and tests to ensure that her clients are eating properly and getting the best nutrition, not government charts and graphs.
What is SAD?
The name of this phenomenon is called Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as SAD. The acronym SAD also stands for the Standard American Diet. This is ironic, because as a dietitian Amber is not an advocate of how most Americans eat, and the manipulation by food lobbyists in Washington on our health.
You’re not alone – It’s a worldwide problem
SAD affects millions of people worldwide every year. Statistics show that seasonal depression is an issue for up to 8 percent of the population. In Scandinavian countries this depressive disorder is the perceived cause of significant increases in suicide rates, due to the low sun during winter months.The disorder isn’t as significant in countries close to the equator. They’re less affected because the get more sunlight.
People living closer to the equator are probably getting more fresh air and outdoor activity. It’s easier to socialize and engage in fun activities when the weather is warmer. The winter months can especially be a drag for those that struggle with social anxiety. It’s hard enough for these folks to be around others. The winter months gives them an excuse to isolate at home in a dark apartment.
What is it about the sun?
Scientists don’t have a complete understanding of a reduction in the amount of sunlight can initiate depression. The best explanation is that reduced sunshine triggers changes in amounts of the hormone melatonin produced by the body. When melatonin levels go down, so does the activity of certain brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin. The lowering of serotonin activity in the hypothalamus has long been believed to be connected to heightened anxiety and severe depression.
Between 80 to 90 percent of the body’s serotonin, is in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin used in the brain is produced within the gut. This is why it’s essential to eat loads of leafy greens, and bright orange vegetables. These delicious foods are super abundant during the winter months. Nature knows what it’s doing!
It is thought that serotonin can affect moods like depression, and anxiety. It also affects social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function. Amber and I feel that a good diet and getting out in the daylight hours for some exercise can be a great remedy for the sadness and anxiety of this type of depression.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Low Energy
- Lack of concentration
- Changes in sleeping patterns – more or less sleep than normal
- Changes in appetite – also eat more or less than normal
- Unexplained crying
- Negative self-image
- Weakened immune system vulnerability to illness
- Loss of interest in activities which are usually of value or pleasurable
- Possible instances of suicidal ideation
Keywords: Seasonal Depression, seasonal affective disorder, SAD, Sadness, Anxiety, depressed, sad songs, winter blues, melatonin, serotonin, hormones
This episode, Amber Gourley, the “disobedient dietitian”, is talking about Inflammation and Pain Management and how those two things relate to something called functional nutrition, and food sensitivity.
What it’s about:
There’s a lot of conflicting information about what you should eat on the internet. I’m doing an extended series about food facts and fiction. this is the first episode. I sought out registered dietitian Amber Gourley, to talk about inflammation and food. Here’s why food can effect you, give you chronic pain in your joints and other types of inflammation. We discuss the similarities between her ideas and the ancient science of Ayurveda Plus we talk about healthy bacteria and your body’s ability to heal itself over time.
From the Disobedient Dietitian:
“Everyone has an opinion about how to be ‘healthy’. There are the people who tell you not to eat carbs, while others tell you not to eat fat, and others tell you not to eat sugar. (what the hell are you supposed to eat, then?) Then there are the people who tell you to go vegetarian. And the people who tell you to go Paleo. And the people who tell you to go Paleo vegetarian. And THEN there are the people who tell you to cut your calorie intake, or exercise more, or take this medication and everything will be better. (There are even people who tell you that bacon is bad.)”
What you learn
- What is functional nutrition and how is Amber different from a traditional dietitian
- What is inflammation and how does it relate to Chronic illness and pain?
- Can you manage pain through nutrition alone?
- Fermented foods and why you should be eating them.
- Gut microbes and “good” bacteria
- What is food sensitivity testing & LEAP , who is it for and does it really help?
The Disobedient Dietitian Website
What This Episode is about
This is episode #10. Is Ayurveda an ancient practice for modern living? This 5000 year old health practice is the traditional Indian system of medicine, promoting balance in bodily health. It uses diet, herbal remedies, breathing techniques, and practical advice for living. This system is over 5000 years old. Modern Ayurveda has brought this ancient medical system to life. It balances traditional wisdom with evidence based practices.
I recently attended a workshop on Ayurveda medicine and lifestyle at the La Maida Institute. This institute is housed in a beautiful old mansion that’s been converted into a center for healing the mind and body. La Maida Institute’s mission is to offer a new way of approaching healthcare; where the human experience, communal support, and spiritual development are central to the healing process. La Maida commits to delivering participatory and integrative programs that empower transformation and restore wholeness. It’s also less than a mile from my place, as a result – Hurrah for me!
The instructor Anjali Deva gave me useful information that I immediately put into practice – to my benefit. I wanted to share all of this with you, and Anjali was kind enough to answer my questions on this episode of the show.
About Anjali Deva
Anjali Deva is a NAMA-certified Ayurvedic practitioner and Yoga teacher in Los Angeles. She is fortunate to have been introduced to Ayurveda and Yoga at a young age by her father, Arun Deva. Her familial lineage is rich with the desire to preserve and maintain this healing art. To further her pratice, Anjali went on to train with Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Loyola Marymount’s Yoga and the Healing Sciences Program. with teachers both in the United States and in India. Her journey began in the kitchen with a desire to understand how the food we eat influences our bodies and minds. This passion has now grown to include helping people find their inner wisdom, clarity and health through the wisdom of Ayurveda. Through self-care practices she hopes to help people find their inner harmony and resilience.
What You’ll Learn
- What is Ayurveda?
- Why a modern person should apply this ancient practice to their lives.
- How to deal with health and mindset challenges, when you have little control over the circumstances.
- Anjali suggests, “Making food choices based on your internal awareness, instead of external information.” What does this actually mean to a person with little knowledge of Ayurveda? Anjali gives several examples.
- Contact Anjali here
- La Maida Institute
What This Episode Is About
This is episode #9 of Happy and Healthy Over 40, the show where we discuss, health, sex mindset, lifestyle, and relationships as we enter our 40’s and beyond. In this episode of the show, we ask, does your Paleo based meal plan help you meet your healthy goals? Some of you are new to Paleo or just too busy or can’t quite figure it all out. Busy health conscious people don’t have to rely on their same old boring dishes or tear their hair out finding new ones. You can try new foods and learn new tricks to add to your eating plan. It’s great to not struggle to figure out all of the metrics on calories, and macros when someone has already done it for you.
About Kirsty Briscoe
Kirsty is the founder of Paleo Folks; grain free baking mix company, health coaching agency, and curated meal planning service all in one! Their Paleo pancake mix and chocolate chip cookie mix are both top Paleo products at Whole Foods Market and on Amazon! Kirsty struggled with health, wellness, and her weight for most of her life, and Paleo changed it all for her. As a former teacher, sharing the Paleo diet in an easy to understand way is a deep passion for her! She specializes in Paleo for busy people, moms and kids, and budget conscious healthy eaters.
What You’ll Learn
- What is Paleo and why is it a good choice for a modern life?
- How people screw up Paleo, Vegan, or any other lifestyle and eating plan?
- What’s a curated meal plan and why that might be the smartest idea for you?
- Whole 30 Change Your Life – Change Habits. What that’s all about and how can people get a hold of you Kirsty and her delicious pancakes!
Paleo Folks Cheat Sheet
Mark’s Daily Apple
Mark’s Sisson’s books
It’s true, that I advocate plants as the foundation for dietary success and health. It’s no secret that every reputable food plan advocates for eating more plants as a solution to many health related issues. So why am I writing about cooking steaks in my first foodie related article? Three reasons. First, if you’re eating plenty of plants everyday like, leafy greens, broccoli, nuts, and berries, and you’re not eating processed foods, then a juicy grass fed rib eye steak is a delicious source of protein and fat. Second, if you’re going to eat healthfully into your forties and beyond, then you’re going to have to cook at home as much as possible. Most busy folks tend to eat on the go far too much. Even if you’re making good choices at your local restaurant, most restaurants add a lot of sugar and salt into the food that they’re serving. Eating out should be for special occasions. It should not be seen as an option just because you don’t want the hassle of making a big messy meal – or worse – because you don’t know how to cook. Finally, grass fed or organic meats are expensive. You don’t want to screw up your much deserved Sunday sirloin by incineration and then dousing it with steak sauce and ketchup. Yuck! Knowing the following simple cooking tips will make that weekend steak dinner even more enjoyable.
- Buy the best quality meat that you can find. Making tough cuts of meat tender and delicious takes time and a certain amount of skill. For hassle free, quick steak dinners, go to your local butcher and pick up some grass fed sirloin or rib eye steaks. If you can’t find grass fed in your area then get organic. If you can’t get organic or grass fed in your area then there are many online options for you to choose. The point is a good steak dinner starts with quality beef that is free of hormones and antibiotics.
- Get yourself a cast iron pan – The original nonstick surface. Regardless of what you’re making, every kitchen needs a cast iron pan. Cast iron gives nice even heat retention that will brown your steak beautifully and help retain the steak’s juiciness. Cast iron is great for quick and easy clean up too. Just scrape off the grease with a kitchen brush under warm soapy water. Then dry it out on the stove. Done!
- Always let your steak hit room temperature before you put it in the pan. Taking your steak from the fridge directly to the pan will result in a tough a steak as tough as a saddle bag. Let it relax. Season it with kosher salt and fresh pepper while you wait.
- Accompanying your steak with lots of roasted veggies that you can cook up in the same pan is a great way to save time and makes for easy clean up. Assorted peppers (vitamin C, and carotenoids), green onions, and asparagus (loaded with potassium and magnesium) are all great choices.
- Have some good red wine on hand. No beverage complements a juicy steak better than a glass of red wine. This is an excellent choice for an inexpensive Zinfandel.
- Important tip: If it’s your first time cooking grass fed beef please note that you’re cooking time will probably be a few minutes longer. After you brown your steak in a hot oiled pan, lower the heat to about medium. Why? Because grass fed is always less fatty than factory farmed beef.
Great! Now I’m hungry.
If you’d like to share some of your own tips or want more of tips on cooking grass fed beef contact me here: