Nutrition for mental health: The importance of protein

This is my first post for AVfM. I’ll be writing about men’s health and nutrition, and nutrition for mental health in particular. Many men who are dealing with the kinds of problems we discuss on AVfM also experience depression or anxiety. Whether their situation involves a vindictive ex wife, domestic violence, or something else entirely, mental health problems are often a result.

I focus on helping men improve both their mental and physical health through nutrition. I realized Paul Elam is already aware of the importance of healthy food when he put out his video “White Food is Evil” last year. I want to expand on his ideas and provide more detailed, useful information that men can implement in their own lives to improve their health and manage their mood.

If you find yourself in a trying situation like a biased battle in family court it’s easy to fall into a diet of fast food or just skipping meals. But you need to be as clear-headed as possible to give yourself every advantage you can. That means eating good food! Today I’m going to talk about the importance of protein when it comes to mental health. Protein is a natural mood stabilizer and I’ll explain the science behind this shortly.

A little bit about me

But first, so you know I’m not full of shit, let me tell you briefly about myself and where I come from. I became a Master Nutrition Therapist after my own experience with bipolar disorder in my early 20s, during which time I went through a suicidal psychiatric nightmare. I took more psychiatric medications than I can recall, I was hospitalized in both outpatient and inpatient programs, and I even tried electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) before figuring out that the missing link in my debilitating depression was a junk food diet.

By fixing my diet and nutrition I was able to recover from my illness and go back to work after years of being too sick. I was so inspired by my recovery that I quit my previous career in IT and went to school to become a Nutrition Therapist so I could bring nutrition for mental health to other men who are suffering. After recovering enough to go back to work, I became interested in the men’s rights movement when I discovered a second causative factor in my depression was internalized misandry. Misandry had led me to conclude that I had no positive role to play in the world as a “patriarchal oppressor” and I realized I had to unlearn that toxic self-flagellating bullshit in order to truly recover.

I won’t bore you too much with the details of my story. I just want to make it clear that I’m not some male feminist in disguise, here to tell you to talk more about your feelings like a woman would while eating celery sticks and drinking herbal tea. I know how devastating depression can be, and how misandry can twist the knife and make you feel like you don’t even deserve to get better.

We all know the hateful feminists who want men to kill themselves are out there and I believe one of the best ways we can fight back is to take care of ourselves by looking after our health. I tell men, “fix your biochemistry and you will fix your mood.” When you’ve got that solid biochemical foundation through good nutrition, you are that much more capable of fighting gynocentrism and feminist misandry.

The importance of protein

These days a lot of self-professed “nutrition experts” will tell you about the benefits of what they call a “plant-based diet,” which is really just a euphemism for a vegetarian or vegan diet. And if you’re dealing with depression or anxiety, that is about the worst diet you could choose. Vegetables are important and many people don’t eat enough. But that doesn’t mean the solution is not to eat any meat. As I said earlier, protein is a natural mood stabilizer, so it’s important to eat adequate protein with each meal. That doesn’t mean you need to eat a steak the size of your plate, but a moderate portion of quality meat is important to keep mood stable.

Protein stabilizes mood through several mechanisms. For one, it slows the metabolism of refined carbohydrates, which can lead to a blood sugar rollercoaster that can exacerbate mood issues. Protein helps keep blood sugar more stable, as do healthy fats. In a future post I’ll write more about the role of healthy fats in a stable mood, but for now just remember that every meal should include adequate protein as well as some healthy fats, like avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, and/or butter.

In addition to stabilizing blood sugar, protein plays an essential role in mood by providing the amino acids from which the body builds neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. If you’ve ever gone to a medical doctor or psychiatrist for help with depression, chances are s/he offered to put you on a “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor” (SSRI) antidepressant such as Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil. These drugs work by boosting serotonin in the brain. Some other SNRI antidepressants work by increasing norepinephrine, which is related to dopamine.

What you might not know is that these neurotransmitters are all made out of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. You can probably see begin to see why adequate protein is so important for men dealing with depression, and why a vegetarian or vegan diet is probably not a good choice for a guy in this situation. In addition to being important for building muscle, the amino acids which make up your steak, fish or chicken breast literally become the neurotransmitters which promote a stable mood and alleviate depression.

Tryptophan and serotonin

You’ve probably heard of tryptophan in the context of your Thanksgiving dinner and the drowsiness you feel after eating a heaping portion of the Thanksgiving turkey. This is not just an urban legend. Turkey is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted in the body into serotonin, which promotes feelings of happiness, contentment and relaxation. And in fact, some serotonin is further converted into melatonin, a primary sleep hormone which some insomniacs supplement in order to sleep better. If you’ve experienced that blissful post-Thanksgiving happy drowsy feeling, you’ve felt the power of tryptophan in promoting a good mood.

Tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine

Tyrosine is another important amino acid, especially for people with what I call “blah” depression, a type of depression characterized by low energy, low enthusiasm, and difficulty concentrating. Tyrosine is converted into dopamine in the body, which helps with energy and focus. Some tyrosine is further converted into adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, which is what courses through your blood when you’re racing a motorcycle or driving go-karts with your kids. It’s what helps you make split-second decisions and is sometimes referred to as the “fight or flight” hormone. If your depression is the “blah” type, low tyrosine might be at the root of your struggles.

Boost your digestive fire

If you’re struggling with depression, it’s worth taking a look at your diet. If you’re on a low-protein diet or if you skip meals, simply eating protein with every meal may be a good starting point to get back on the right track. And for most people, a reasonable portion of animal protein is the best source of these crucial amino acids. Some preachy vegans might tell you that animal protein is hard to digest, and they do have a point. It does take good, strong stomach acid to digest protein. But that doesn’t mean you should give it up. Instead, strengthen your digestion.

An easy way to strengthen your digestive fire is to boost stomach acid by drinking fresh squeezed lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar in your water shortly before a meal. If you’re at a restaurant, just ask for lemon slices to squeeze into your water at the beginning of your meal. If eating meat tends to give you heartburn or you feel like you have a rock in your stomach after eating a big meal, boosting your stomach acid will probably help, as heartburn is paradoxically often a result of too little stomach acid, not too much. Important: if you are on an acid blocking medication for hearburn or GERD, do not try this step without first talking to your doctor or a Nutrition Therapist!

Picking healthy proteins

When I say to include adequate healthy protein in your diet, I’m not talking about Spam or hot dogs. Healthy proteins are real meat that is minimally processed. Here are some things to look for when preparing meals and picking out healthy protein at the grocery store:

  • Pick an appropriate serving size: A piece of meat about the size of the palm of your hand
  • Eat protein with every meal
  • Emphasize beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey and cold-water fish like wild-caught salmon
  • Eat real meat, not processed “meat products” like hot dogs
  • Choose organic meat whenever possible (yes, it really does matter)
  • Look for grass-fed or pasture-raised options
  • Eat eggs that are labeled pasture-raised, not just “cage free”

Image result for organic grass fed meat  Image result for pasture raised eggs vital farms   Image result for wild caught salmon

In conclusion

Eating adequate protein is an important component of supporting a healthy mood through diet. If you’re on a vegetarian or vegan diet, try reintroducing meat. You might be surprised how much better you begin to feel! Taking care of your health is something you can all do to help us all combat the gynocentric feminist juggernaut that seeks to destroy men and masculinity.

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