This blog is mainly interested in the connection between mood disorder, such depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD and nutrition. Articles are for educational purposes only. Self-help therapy should only be in partnership with qualified health care practitioners

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Simple Dietary Rules

by Jurriaan Plesman, BA (PSYCH), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr

The question often arise what to actually eat in nutritional therapy. It is rather what NOT TO EAT!! Here are some simple rules:
  1. Try to avoid food that has been processed by the food processing industry, because they are usually denatured and laden with toxic (preservative) chemicals, despite their advertising.
  2. Avoid as much as possible sugar, caffeine, alcohol, artificial colouring, commercially bottled drinks like coke, sugar-laden drinks and other drugs, but ...
  3. If you suffer from sugar withdrawal take Glycerine.
  4. Drink plenty of fresh water at least one litre a day, which helps in detoxification of toxins.
  5. Have frequent high protein, low refined carbohydrates (sugar) snacks, avoid feeling hungry. See Hypoglycemic Diet .
  6. Treat any possible Candida infection as a result of high sugar diet that encourages candida growth in the intestinal tract. See treatment .
  7. Take nutritional supplements among them: vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, calcium, chromium, omega-3 fatty acids (fishoil), vitamin D (the sun-shine vitamin), vitamin E, single nutrients seldom do the job. See Rich Sources A cheap way of obtaining vitamins and minerals is by way of juice therapy (See books )
  8. Eliminate foods that are heavily processed and have been adulterated in any way with any kind of food additives, preservatives and colouring.
  9. Avoid as much as possible Genetically Modified Foods, such as Soy, Corn, Cannola and Cotton that could possibly affect your digestive system.

  10. Start off with foods you like. Home cooking is the best!! It is important to enjoy your food in order to produce digestive enzymes such as saliva and hydrochloric acid for proper absorption of nutrients. When you force-feed yourself with food, that you "should" eat but you don't like, you are surely going to develop an allergy. For the important role that hydrochloric acid plays in metabolism and diseases see here.
  11. If you suffer from any form of indigestion, it is likely that you may be vitamin B12 deficient for lack of the "intrinsic factor". B12 needs to be combined with the "intrinsic factor" produced in the lining of your stomach for proper absorption down the intestines. Vegetarians are often found to be deficient in Vitamin B12. J Sabaté et al 324 . In that case ask your doctor for vitamin B12 injections and a prescription for folic acid. These nutrients are required for serotonin production.
  12. Ask yourself: "Is what I am about to eat, nature-made or man-made?" Home-grown food is the most natural food. I know this is well-nigh impossible in the industrial western society. But try at least.
  13. Avoid allergies, treat digestive disorders and there are many of them. Look out for foods that you feel you are addicted to (milk, chocolate, coffee, cakes). They give you an initial high, and followed by a low.
  14. Having a gluten sensitivity is one of many allergies. If you have celiac disease go on a gluten free diet , avoiding wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats. There are many other allergies and if you want to find your own allergies, you can do so by keeping a daily food diary .
  15. Have regular exercises suitable to your ability, age and body.
  16. Lap up sun-shine for its vitamin D, essential in serotonin production.
  17. Remember: Nutritional Therapy is about treating a specific disorder in a unique person with a unique biochemistry, and one man's diet may be another man's poison.
These are some of the simple rules. References:


  1. it's great that we can help ourselves through a careful diet. keep up the good work J.P.

  2. Hello,
    I have suspected that I have a blood sugar problem since the birth of my last child, over 10 years ago. The symptoms have been much worse lately..find myself suddenly shaky, sweating...have to stuff something sweet in my mouth to calm down. The anxiety and fatigue are terrible, but the lack of any desire to do anything is probably most depressing. I see that I need to make changes in my lifestyle and diet but it's all very overwhelming. Thankful for the info. Sheri

  3. Hi Sheri, It is best to adopt The Hypoglycemic Diet, as at:

    to avoid these symptoms. Eating sweets is just about the worst you can do.

  4. I'm 50YO Male with history of anxiety, depression, OCD, and ADD. Always angry and depressed about events of years ago. Lethargic, hopeless, etc. I have always had a very sweet tooth.
    Changed diet avoiding all refined sugar, honey and excessive fruit. I feel much better! Have done this for about 6 months.
    Each time I give into my sugar craving I regret it because for the next few days I am obsessing about old injustice and feeling angry and looking at my world and seeing nought but desolate waste, and I'm ready to get into an argument at the drop of a hat! - A bit like some rum drinkers I've met. I've been good for a few weeks straight now and yesterday bought some stingose because my ankles were so itchy, I thought I must have insect bites. - no effect. This morning I woke up and my hands were itchy! Then I read your article about allergies coming to the fore!!! Anyway, I wish I'd known all this 30 years ago. -All that money, time and love I've missed!
    Sugar packets should have warnings!

    Now I don't feel angry, I don't obsess about old injustices. I don't feel like a loser. I have more energy, and am optimistic about the future.
    I now think that diet has to be the first step to mental health... I think if one fixes the diet and is still having problems, then throw money and time at therapy.

  5. HI,
    I had gestational diabetes with my son 7yrs ago (insulin dependant) and i have had hypoglicemia since. Diabetes is through my family. I am 30 and i am about 8kg's off my ideal weight and when i exercise i find myself with the shakes and then headaches from the low. How can i eat to loose weight and exercise with hypoglicemia?? Sonia

  6. Hi,
    Just wondering if using some of the sugar substitutes, e.g. xylitol, stevia, would be ok on this diet?

  7. Xylitol and Stevia are the best alternative sweeteners. Look them up at our web site at

    Jurriaan Plesman
    Editor of
    The Hypoglycemic Health Association of Australia.
    Author of "Getting off the Hook"
    Freely available at Google Book Search
    Skype: jurplesman

  8. Dear Mr Plesman,

    It's late here in USA, so I can't type all I'd like to. I'm grateful for your work and blog. I've been reading (much on for hours. I especially appreciate the copious amts of helpful and interesting scientific references. I'm sure my life would have been very different if I'd been fortunate enough to read your work years ago, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to read it now. I don't usually join blogs, but I'm sure I'll be posting more soon. Thank you again.
    Melba in Oregon

  9. Hi, I have been basically following the hypoglycemic guidlines for some time.

    -I eat every 2-3 hours of appropriate foods, and meals
    -The supplements I use are 1.Red star flake yeast containing B1, B2, Niacan, and B6, Cod liver oil, and 200-600 mg magnesium citrate

    I am having a hard time fullfilling my appeitite though. As I have been adding a variety of foods to each meal it has helped, but the hunger is quite ongoing. Are there any appetite suppressing vitamins out there?
    I was also considering antidepressants to help with mood, could st johns wart be a possible addition to this regiment? Any pointers would be appreciated, if this blog is still active. My email is


    1. HI Anonymous
      Perhaps you should consider adding animal fats to your diet. This may give you more satiety and stop the ongoing hunger. Let us know whether this helped. Read:L
      Animal Fats are Essential to Overall Health

  10. dear mr. pleasmen,
    im 27 years old with 2 kids and have been in and out of the hospital for the past 6 years with low pottasium and other issues. but now im having issues where my vision is blurry ,i cant think straight at all , and the anxiety and fatigue are overwhelming . after i eat my sugar level drops to 60 and the symptoms get worse im currently taking 40 meq of pottassium chloride a day otherwise it drops . i need help any suggestions ?

  11. Hi birdie84, I cannot give you advice without seeing you. Please get a referral to a Nutritional Doctor, who will be able to help you. But as a first septa it is advisable to adopt the hypoglycemic diet.

  12. I go, I have just been diagnosed with severe Flat Curve Hypoglycemia. I am going to get well again!!!
    I am wondering when it comes to fruit juice has anybody got any suggestions what I can drink....I dont own a juicer and I cant afford to buy one. If I drink apple juice diluted with mineral water is this ok?

  13. Flat curve hypoglycemia usually indicates hypothyroidism. My best advice is to have this confirmed by a doctor and get treatment for this. See: What is Hypoglycemia at:

    Fruit juices tend to concentrate the carbohydrates without the fibres and tend to aggravate hypoglycemia. Vegetable juices is a good way of obtaining your nutritional supplements, but it requires the purchase of a juicer.

  14. Hello,

    I went to the doctor's today and the nurse told me that she could not test me for hypoglycemia unless I was feeling shakey at the moment. I do feel shakey at times before a meal. I was wondering if this is a sign of hypoglycemia?

  15. This is not correct. You can be tested anytime for hypoglycemia with a special test by Dr George Samra at:

    Testing for Hypoglycemia By Dr George Samra

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