Simple Dietary Changes That Helped End My Crushing Anxiety

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Simple Dietary Changes That Helped End My Crushing Anxiety

After being diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder at age 24, I spent 15 years on medication.  I took Cipralex and it felt like being wrapped in cotton wool. I desperately wanted to be in touch with my feelings again, and tried to become medication-free four times before finally succeeding.

 

A number of things helped me finally become medication free. I developed a daily meditation practice, I exercised vigorously at least 3 times per week, I started to get at least 8 hours sleep a night, I made new friends that were into wellness as opposed to drink and drugs, I started to do kundalini yoga, I uncovered what I believe to my purpose in this life and I changed my diet. The dietary angle is super important.



There is an intimate connection between what we eat and how we think, feel and behave. If you aren’t eating foods that fuel you and get the right chemicals going to your brain, your anxiety is unlikely to subside. A poor diet will also make you less likely to want to go to that yoga class and more likely to reach for a glass of wine to numb the pain. 

Dietary and nutritional imbalances can even make it tough to get out of bed. Never mind sitting cross legged on a meditation pillow. 

While I worked towards becoming less anxious and medication-free, I researched lots of foods and ways to approach my diet. Here are two of the changes that made a big difference:


There is an intimate connection between what we eat and how we think, feel and behave
— Tommy Rosen (Author of Recovery 2.0)

I started to drink green juice for breakfast 

Prior to juicing I ate sugary cereals for breakfast. It turns out, fast-releasing sugars actually make anxiety worse.  On the other hand, green juice loaded with magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C can improve it.  

Celery has long been used in Chinese medicine to control high blood pressure, and I find it to be one of the most powerful foods to diminish my anxiety.  It’s a great source of tryptophan, which calms the nervous system and improves quality of sleep. (Low levels of tryptophan contribute to generalised anxiety and panic attacks.)

My favourite anxiety-busting juice made with my NutriBullet is made up of:

Apple x 2

Celery x 4 stalk

Cucumber x 1

Ginger Root x 1 thumb

Kale x 6 leaves

Lemon x 1 

(This makes 1 serving)

I nourished my body and mind with an alkaline diet

If the PH level in our body is out of balance it can affect the nervous system by depriving it of energy.  This can lead to depression and anxiety. Nutrients found in alkalising foods (the opposite of acidic) and water can bring the body back into balance. Alkalising foods include spinach, kale, broccoli and avocado, among others. 

I increased my intake of raw veg and raw fresh fruit and grains and started drinking half my body weight in good quality water every day. I now try to make sure my plate is made up of 80 percent green vegetables.

 

Eat your way to a happier life

This isn’t just my story -- the science backs it up. About 95% of our serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut.  Serotonin is the chemical produced by the body that acts on the nervous system and is associated with feelings of well-being. Your gut has a direct-line to your mind, and a huge impact on your mood.

Anxiety and depression are difficult to overcome no matter what. But a healthy, nutrient-rich diet gives you the strong foundation to do the work. The better you eat, the better you’ll want to eat and the more emotionally stable you’ll feel.  If I eat poorly now (and I occasionally do!) always notice the difference with my mental health. It’s a swift reminder to stick to the greens, and lay off the junk.


YOU’LL LEARN:

  • 95% of our serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut

  • If the PH level in our body is out of balance it can affect the nervous system by depriving it of energy

  • Fast releasing sugars make anxiety worse


Michael Andrew - The science behind the Mental Health Pillars

Michael talks about the science behind 4 of his Mental Health Pillars

In this episode you'll learn:

  • Why the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders thinks mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for people with anxiety

  • Your brain only functions best when it gets premium fuel

  • Journaling can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, cope with depression

  • Life purpose and meaning are the “missing links” when it comes to emotional and mental health.


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