Yesterday a client asked me a really excellent question:

“How should I eat when I am depressed?”

  1. Make sure you get at least 150 grams of carbohydrates every day. If you limit your carbohydrates too severely, your brain may not be able to make enough serotonin.
  2. Make sure you eat protein at every meal. You will need the amino acids in protein to rebuild your brain chemistry. If you are on a low protein diet, or not getting enough protein to match your exercise or stress level, you may not be able to produce adequate amounts of dopamine, an amino acid that gives you enough drive.
  3. Take in plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with chi.
  4. Ditch microwaved food, processed food, fried food and gluten. These are dead foods and won’t give you the energy you need.
  5. Avoid gluten. What a lot of people don’t realize is that 90 percent of your serotonin is produced in your GI tract. Gluten is one of the most common brain allergens. Gluten is pro-inflammatory, which means that even if you are not celiac or allergic to gluten, you may not be able to produce adequate amounts of serotonin if you are eating gluten.
  6. Balance your blood sugar!!!!! This is absolutely essential. Every time your blood sugar drops, your serotonin level goes down and your stress hormones go up. How do you do that? Eat 5 to 6 little meals throughout the day, making sure you eat protein every time you put anything into your mouth. Ditch the junk food and the sugar.
  7. Consume adequate amount of good fats. Scientific research shows that eating a low fat diet leads to severe depression. Make sure you include organic coconut oil, which is the only oil able to withstand high heat cooking. Use olive oil at room temperature. Ditch hydrogenated fats, which create inflammation in the body.
  8. Drink enough water. All your neurotransmitters work in water.
  9. Come and visit me for a session to balance your brain chemistry naturally. I use kinesiology to balance 26 neurotransmitters in your brain and also to determine if you have nutritional imbalances that are aggravating your mood. Remember that you are biochemically unique. That means your body may need nutrients that are unique to you! Many depressed people do better with amino acid supplements if they are missing key amino acids that their brain needs to make their brain chemistry.

Catherine Carrigan is the author of Healing Depression: A Holistic Guide (New York: Marlowe and Co., 1997) and the author of the upcoming book, What Is Healing? Awaken Your Intuitive Power for Health and Happiness. For more information, please visit or