Nutrition and Whole Person Care
We often hear people speak of personal wellness in terms of “being in balance.” It relates to all facets of our life – work hard, but set aside time for family and vacation; eat healthy, but don’t overeat; allow ourselves to get excited and jubilant, but avoid periods of depression, if able.
While it makes sense, living “in balance” can be difficult. Work can consume us, leading to stress. Our access to healthy foods, our “American” diet, or our lack of understanding of proper nutrition can lead to a lack of energy and health issues. Life situations can lead to depression and addiction to drugs or alcohol can have a powerful grip on us.
Maintaining balance through our entire “whole person” is our focus at The Center • A Place of HOPE, and is the foundation of our wellness care. Whole Person Care involves three main pillars of health:
- Maintaining, or returning to, a strong and sustainable mental health
- Maintaining, or returning to, a balanced, healthy body through nutrition and fitness
- Maintaining, or returning to, a healthy and fulfilling spiritual walk and relationship with God
Without any one of the three, your whole person is not completely healthy. At The Center, our clients come to us from some position of brokenness. Many are struggling with a mental health issue – depression, anxiety, trauma, abusive relationships resulting in anger or low self-esteem, PTSD, an eating disorder and others – or addiction to drugs or alcohol.
After thirty years of treating thousands with these disorders, two by-products are consistent: while the individual arrives emotionally “broken” or has a serious mental health or addiction issues, more often than not they are also struggling with poor eating habits and/or a lack of understanding of the need for proper nutrition, and they quite frequently are struggling with their relationship with God.
Of all three components required for whole person wellness, often all are out of whack. And we know from experience that if all three are not addressed separately, the chances for relapse goes up dramatically.
While we provide mental health doctors and counselors to treat each person for their mental health and addiction issues, we also employ a full team of nutritional experts to work closely with each person. The team works with the client to educate them on the critical importance nutrition and fitness play in their overall well-being.
We know at The Center, for treatment to be effective, the client must have enough energy and focus to engage with their counselors and retain the information presented. If the brain is malnourished, which is often the case, we need to “feed the brain” first to have productive therapy sessions. If we avoid the nutrition component and go straight to therapy, we skip the critical “Body” component of wellness and, from experience, know that the overall treatment will suffer.
NOTE: There will be much more in depth information on our brain’s nutrition needs in the next newsletter. Can we improve our focus, alertness, memory, vocabulary and learning abilities through dietary nutrition? The answer is a resounding “yes”!
How Nutrients Help Your Brain
What you eat can determine how you feel. Food – whether healthy or unhealthy – and the chemicals in our brains interact to fuel us throughout the day. It is important to eat a variety of healthy foods, as they provide different dietary needs and produce different effects on our brains. For example, carbohydrates increase serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect. But certain carbohydrates are better than others.
Protein-rich foods increase tyrosine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which help increase alertness. In addition, certain healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids) become part of the membranes of brain cells and control many brain processes. Certain essential natural elements can raise the brain’s magnesium levels, which lead to enhanced learning abilities, improve working memory, and support better short- and long-term memory. That’s significant.
A poor diet, or lack of a variety of healthy foods, can contribute to depression by limiting the availability of these specific nutrients. This is often the situation we find ourselves in with new clients at The Center. We immediately begin a diet of healthy fruits, vegetables and dietary supplements to nourish the brain. We augment that with a dietary supplement, Redd Remedies’ Brain Awakening. We have cataloged outstanding results from this all-natural product.
Studies show that a variety of nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including magnesium, amla, lion’s mane fruiting body, omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and amino acids. More on this in the next newsletter.
What Deficiencies Can Do to Overall Mental Health
Because we work with clients who are struggling with their mental health, it is important for us to understand the effect that certain dietary deficiencies can have in this area. Thiamine (vitamin B1), found in legumes, some seeds and fortified grains, is helpful for maintaining your energy and coordinating the activity of nerves and muscles. Thiamine deficiency can therefore lead to weakness, irritability, and depression.
Folate (vitamin B9), which is found in leafy greens, legumes, and fortified grains, is essential for supporting red blood cell production, helping to prevent homocysteine build-up in your blood, and allowing nerves to function properly. Folate deficiency can result in depression, apathy, fatigue, poor sleep, and poor concentration. To provide these energizing nutrients, The Center prepares leafy green salads with legumes, seeds and vegetables with high quality oils.
To provide ongoing energy for the body over time, it is important to provide Vitamin B-6 and other natural elements like Rhodiola root extract, Cordyceps, White Panax Ginseng, Licorice Root Extract, and Royal Jelly among other components. At The Center, we use Redd Remedies’ True Energy for this purpose.
A healthy diet is something we all can control, every day of our lives. Variety of healthy foods, supplementing with quality products as needed, helps shore up the “Body” portion of the whole person care approach to wellness.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 30 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.