Latest posts by Lara Jezeph (see all)
- Your Digestion Holds The Key To Your Moods - January 3, 2018
- Bread: The Real Reason We Can’t Tolerate It! - December 27, 2017
- Top 10 Simple Ways To Boost Your Energy and Slim Down - December 20, 2017
I suffered from depression and food intolerances…I removed both by healing my gut, naturally, simply and stripping things back to basics when it comes to health.
Gut health seems to be a hot topic in the health and wellness world at the moment, and the research is growing about how important our gut health is in optimising our overall health. Research ranges from skin  and weight loss  through to depression  and autism  as well as the benefits of gut bacteria.
It’s early days in terms of gut health becoming a mainstream issue which people are aware of, but through personal experience I know it is possible to get rid of low mood and food intolerances, as well as a range of other negative symptoms, through listening and responding to our body, making positive changes to our lifestyles and ultimately, improving our gut health and overall wellbeing.
Research shows that the gut and brain are strongly connected, so what we put into our guts, must be affecting our minds in someway and vice versa, right?
“A big part of our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut,” writes Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral science.
“The gut is known as the second brain and everyday emotional well-being relies on messages from the gut to the brain”. 
Depression is debilitating, and on and off throughout my 20s, I struggled with it, alongside my sister who has a learning disability.
I saw three different counsellors and twice tried antidepressants but none of this seemed to help and I wanted alternatives to just taking medication as I didn’t like how I felt when I was on them. Symptoms included lack of concentration, lightheadedness and fatigue. My sister suffered in a much worse way, with violent mood swings, which was totally out of character for her.
I was getting increasingly frustrated with the poor results I was experiencing using the conventional route so I started looking into my lifestyle, especially my diet. I was a fan of processed, quick, low calorie foods as I hated cooking and didn’t really have the patience or time.
I paid more attention to how I felt after eating rubbish, processed foods compared to eating more nutritious whole foods and I massively reduced my alcohol consumption.
This started to shift things but I was still not 100% happy with my health.
I had more energy and my moods had improved but it took time for me to find the right combinations of foods to calm my gut issues, which included frequent bloating and gassiness. I became intolerant to yeast, gluten, dairy, eggs, lentil and peaches. What a nightmare. Can you imagine trying to enjoy a birthday cake?
I removed all of these foods and concentrated a lot on my lifestyle, eating healing foods, such as fermented and whole foods (local and seasonal) to combat gastrointestinal inflammation and even opened my mind to meditation.
Serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ is responsible for keeping our mood positive, and 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels  making our gut 95% responsible for keeping us in a positive mood.
I was already exercising but as a way of relieving stress, and primarily to lose weight. It wasn’t an enjoyable or healthy experience. So instead, I began trying out different ways to exercise; doing things that I enjoyed; getting outside and walking making exercise more of a positive, enjoyable experience rather than a means of punishing myself.
For exercise to positively affect our moods we should focus on frequency rather than duration or intensity to help with depression. 
The more I researched, the more interested I became and the more my health changed. I never used to look at food labels, only paying attention to the calorie content, but now I look at everything. It’s very important to understand what you are eating as this will all affect our health and our minds as research now show. Something else which also surprised me, that I didn’t even realise was an issue, was that my eczema had gone as well as fungal infections on my toes.
I did a total lifestyle overhaul, looking into everything from sleep, stress, exercise and fresh air, to pesticides, environmental toxins and medications. Since then, I have become a happier, more energetic person, and have removed my food intolerances.
Since making changes to her diet, my sister also no longer suffers from depression. She replaced heavy, processed foods and fizzy sugary drinks with a more wholefood based diet and she does lots of cooking now. She has started to do more exercise and daily has to walk up and down a steep hill to her home. Her IBS symptoms have reduced greatly. Could it all be linked? I believe so.
The power of changing our lifestyle over conventional methods like medication is just starting to be recognised in the UK with the latest news stating new training for GP’s on lifestyle improvements.
Dr Chatterjee, NHS GP, says “There can be many other important factors to consider with mental health problems, such as emotional trauma and stress, but we should not underestimate the power of changing our food to improve our mood” .
I believe from my own experiences that our gut health plays a huge part in our moods and it’s not all about the food we eat, its our the lifestyle choices as well. This inspired me to work in health and I want to use my own and my sister’s transformation to help others do the same, naturally and simply. Yes, these simple solutions can make a difference.
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 Skin [https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-004-1205-4?LI=true]
 Weight [https://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v32/n11/abs/ijo2008155a.html]
 Depression [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223613000088]
 Autism [https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11920-012-0337-0]