Sott Talk Radio logo
The Health and Wellness show on the SOTT Radio Network covers topics of health, diet, science, homeopathy, wellness culture, and more. Tune in weekly!

Today we'll be discussing mood and mood-stabilizing supplements, four syndromes that affect mood, carbohydrate addiction, the gut brain connection and some possible solutions to neurotransmitter imbalances.

Included, as always, is the pet segment.

Running Time: 01:44:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Hello, my name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today. Joining us in our virtual studio from all over the planet are Doug, Erica and Gaby. Unfortunately Tiffany can't be with us today so we'll miss her. And of course Zoya will be with us later during the Pet Health segment as always.

Today we're going to start off with a few articles. Our general topic is The Mood Cure or how to address mood imbalances using natural means, supplements, things like that. Our first article which is posted on SOTT is Negative Thoughts? Try Probiotics. "New research finds that our gut bacteria is linked with negative thinking and supplementing probiotics can reduce negative thoughts. Negative thinking is defined as a spiralling of thinking that takes a person from one negative thought to the next. Often this is lightly attributed to getting up on the wrong side of the bed but now we find it may also be a case of bad bugs."

This just lends credence to our knowledge of the brain/gut connection that we have been discussing somewhat on the show already; the fact that the gut is linked to the brain. That's why they call it the second brain and that many neurotransmitters are actually produced in the gut. So sometimes when people are eating bad diets they're upsetting the balance of probiotics in their gut or destroying the probiotics entirely. This can really upset the balance of neurotransmitters in your brain and can led to negative thoughts which might be interpreted as depression or anxiety or things like that, which they in fact are, but it's actually caused by an imbalance in your gut.

I think I mentioned this once on the show before but I had a very similar experience myself where I did an overblown fungal detox with oregano oil. I did too much of it and killed off a lot of the gut bacteria that I had and felt really down and depressed for three weeks. Once I finally realized what was going on I started supplementing probiotics and the change was like a snap; I started feeling better and started digesting my food much better. I'm pretty sure that was clearly the case there.

What is cognitive reactivity to sadness? The notion of cognitive reactivity was developed as part of a cognitive behaviour therapy that serves to investigate the source of a person's depression. Reductions in negative thinking have been associated with decreased depression symptoms. The therapy method has found that negative thinking often helps prevent a depressed person from improving. Negative thinking doesn't necessarily produce depression however. Research from Leiden University has studied this element of cognitive reactivity to sad moods along with depression. A questionnaire protocol developed at Leiden - called the Leiden Index of Depression Sensitivity (LEIDS) - has been found to help determine to what degree a person's negative thinking leads to an increase in depressed thoughts.

So you notice for instance your neurotransmitters are out of balance or your probiotics are out of balance, which results in the neurotransmitter imbalance, that you feel sad, you feel this imbalance and then the negative thinking compounds that. It lays over top of that and creates this spiral in which you make your thoughts worse and worse, the initial cause though essentially being a biophysical one.

I thought that was quite interesting and for us here on the show it's not necessarily a new topic for a lot of people. It may be. It was when I discovered it, with "No way!", that my gut is actually associated with my brain. But if you're going through things like this, it's definitely worth looking into, to see if you might need probiotics.

For are next article we'll go to Erica. You have a few points on food addiction and some other things. Erica, do you want to go over that for a little bit?

Erica: Yeah, sure. I found two articles that relate to our topic today that I wanted to share. Both are from Natural Society. One is a study between 2000 and 2012 which reveals how much processed food we really buy. Researchers looked at 157,000 households using bar code scanners to record food items purchased. According to the multi-year analysis of grocery stores in the USA, highly processed foods were found to make up 60% of the calories in foods that are purchased. So for our listeners and our chatters, highly processed foods are soda, cookies, chips, white bread and candy.

I found the article interesting because there are many facets to this issue. One mentioned by Mike Barrett, the author is that these foods are made up of low quality ingredients and often come from GMOs; mainly corn and they're cheap because they have a long-lasting shelf life as a result of numerous preservative-like ingredients that are harmful. He goes on to say further that "processed foods have been shown to be highly addictive in multiple studies. One study has found what many studies already concluded; that junk food plagueing grocery store shelves alters certain parts of the brain responsible for the responsible for levels of hunger, thirst, and the body's natural rhythms and cycles. In other words, processed foods and junk foods are addictive."

Along that same line, another article I want to share, which we may have talked about in previous shows, is Officials Label Healthy Eating as the Newest Eating Disorder, published on April 12th. The author says "Do you consider healthy, clean eating to be a priority in your life? According to the 'psychiatric officials' who want to add healthy eating to the extensive list of mental disorders, you have an eating disorder called Orthorexia Nervosa to be specific."

So basically if you don't eat things like Monsanto's cancer laden chemicals, artificial additives and high fructose corn syrup, you must be crazy. "The Daily Mail reports breaks down the latest declaration from 'psychiatric officials who are heavily pushing the orthorexia nervos eating disorder:

Some clinicians argue orthorexia nervosa should be recognised as a separate eating disorder and have proposed clinical DSM diagnostic criteria. They note distinct pathological behaviours with orthorexia nervosa, including a motivation for feelings of perfection or purity rather than weight loss, as they see with anorexia and bulimia.

Why healthy eating may be the new eating disorder: Raw food and paleo dieters are at risk of a dangerous obsession with nutrition.
So he says "Did you catch that part? Those who eat raw food or paleo diets are at a risk of a dangerous obsession with nutrition. In other words, if you actually refuse to eat the standard American diet due to the realization that you're eating your way to the grave, then you're experiencing an eating disorder."

I thought that was interesting. He goes on in the final part of the article to say "At least they don't have an 'eating disorder because they never question the corporations that completely run our food supply with the cheapest and most toxic food ingredients you can imagine." So if you're eating paleo and you're concerned about your food you may have Orthorexia Nervosa according to this Anthony Gucciardi article on SOTT. So you can check it out.

There was an article published in February last year stating these same kinds of things so it looks like it's coming back in the media again to be discussed, probably because the paleo diet is really growing in popularity and a lot of people are discussing it and using it to have lifestyle changes.

Doug: It's kind of a tricky situation because I think that orthorexia is a real thing. I have certainly encountered many people who have an unhealthy obsession with this sort of thing. I think that the problem is that they aren't really differentiating there; not everybody who wants to eat healthy has any kind of disorder. So it is a weird situation where there is this grey area/fine line that you have to be able to judge. I certainly don't trust the people doing these psychiatric evaluations to be able to make those kinds of distinctions.

Gaby: You're very wise in that.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: I agree. If somebody who wants to eat healthy has, let's say, some form of OCD to the point where they're going to have a panic attack if they can't find grass fed beef, then maybe it depends on the outcome of their reaction to that kind of situation. But if you're simply concerned with eating healthy and you make it a point to find these foods, that shouldn't be a disorder.

Doug: I also should say that I've never come across anybody who's a paleo eater who I would consider to be weird and obsessed, but I certainly have come across many raw foodists who are.

Erica: Exactly! And vegetarians.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely. It might have something to do with the diet too. We've covered extensively the effects that those kinds of diets can have on your brain so the fact that you would get OCD about these sorts of things because you're missing vital nutrients that your brain needs, makes sense.

Erica: My question is what kind of prescription drug are they going to offer for these people suffering from this?

Gaby: No comment.

Jonathan: I'd be really curious to see how psychiatrists feel about this because in my mind, it really discredits the DSM, which in certain cases can actually be a valuable diagnostic tool. I don't think it's worth throwing out entirely, but it's quite damaging to any kind of integrity that they had, personally.

Doug: I think a lot of things in the DSM are questioning its validity at the moment.

Jonathan: Yeah. That leads us into our next article. Gaby you have a couple we're going to cover about depression and leaky gut and some connections there.

Gaby: Yeah, I have a couple of articles which refer to this discussion of psychiatric medicine and so forth. The first article is titled Depression; Why Not Start With a Nutritional Solution? It's written by the author of Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. He reminds us how little diet is discussed in the field of psychiatry but also in psychology yet a bad diet amplifies dark moods and allows demons to emerge, literally and figuratively speaking. Even though a good diet won't erase past trauma or grief, it can still help us adapt to life events more naturally.

He lists several things that in his experience have worked most to lift mood. The first one is eliminating wheat and grain. These have mind altering properties which derive from gluten and gluten-like proteins. They're the equivalent of opiates which introduce paranoia, psychotic symptoms, can produce mania, impulsivity and depression. So that's the first order of things; remove wheat and grains.

Second, in his experience, restoring vitamin D levels worked very well. To achieve optimal vitamin D levels, typically 4,000 or 8,000 units per day are needed. Most people are familiarized with 200 units, 1,000 units, but actually around 5,000 units per day is more like it.

Then the third thing on his list is fish oil. He specifically says that you should not take less 3,000 mg total per day. It can divided in doses but fish oil in good quantity helps with the mood.

Then what you mentioned earlier Jonathan, cultivation of bowel flora; either good probiotics or fermented foods. We talked in previous shows about lactobacillus rhamnosis GG being a good one to choose as a probiotic.

As supplements he also mentions tryptophan which enhances our body's production of serotonin which is for very good moods but it also is a precursor for melatonin which enhances good sleep, which help with good moods. What Dr. Davis gives is 500 mg before going to bed and if that doesn't work, he suggests 500 mg increments, every 2 days, 1,000 then 1,500 and so forth, all at bedtime is his preference to enhance melatonin production.

A couple of other things on his list are exercise, which is not very easy to do when you're depressed so he suggests starting easy; go for a walk, do some gardening, play with kids and build up from there.

The last on the list is laughing which is contagious.

So these are Dr. Davis' favourite things to do as a nutritional solution for depression.

For the second article, one of my favourites, was published in database in 2013. It's called Why Isn't My Brain Working? It quotes from the book called Brain Health Book by Dr. Datis Kharrazian. This article emphasis how our gut health is so important because it profoundly influences the health of our brain, which we've covered in earlier shows and at the beginning of this one. Studies link gut problems with depression, mood disorders, but also, Parkinson's disease, memory loss, even schizophrenia. The article highlights how leaky gut produces inflammation not only throughout the entire body, but also the brain because it allows toxins, parasites, bacteria, fungi and other foreign material to enter into the bloodstream. Brain inflammation produces depression and other mood disorders. In fact anyone who has brain fog or persistent depression or any autoimmune or inflammatory condition, even in the absence of digestive symptoms, should consider having leaky gut.

So if you go to this article you'll find he has a very simple list of foods to avoid and foods to eat in order to help heal this condition. Most vegetables are allowed except for nightshade family which is potatoes, peppers, tomatoes; fermented foods are encouraged such as sauerkraut, pickled ginger, fermented cucumbers and so forth and fatty meats are encouraged as well. So it's a very good starting point for those who are doing dietary changes for the first time or in a long time. Those are the articles I wanted to cover.

Jonathan: Great! Thanks Gaby. As I said our topic today is mood and the mood cure and how these imbalances can affect your mood. I think everybody knows and has experience with those kind of days where even if you didn't do anything particularly bad, like drinking the day before or eating some nasty food, everybody has days where they wake up and the world is just dark and you feel down. Sometimes you just can't shake it. Sometimes even a kind word is not really received and it's like "grumble, grumble". It's been a revelation for me over the last couple of years that a lot of this is due to these physical imbalances in our body. It's unfortunate how often these days that this is addressed with pharmaceuticals which further throw these things out of balance and cause people to spiral downward into this negative thinking. The pharmaceuticals might make you feel better for a day or two or even a bit longer than that, but the problem is you have to keep up this regimen of using these drugs and it just gets worse and worse over time.

I know that we have a few listeners who have personal, intimate experience with this. I personally don't have any experience with pharmaceutical anti-depressants but I also know people that have. It's quite a thing. It's really, really damaging to your mental and physical states and is really hard to get off of. So we want to talk today about some of the things that affect the mood; what are the causes of these? Aside from just negative circumstances in you life there are things that you can do in your diets, in your regimen of supplements, things like that in order to alleviate some of these issues so that you can be more at ease and able to deal with the twists and turns that get thrown at us in life.

To start off, Gaby is going to tell us a little bit about the four main syndromes that affect the mood and mental states.

Gaby: The four main syndromes are based on Dr. Julia Ross' experiences. She wrote the book The Mood Cure which synthesizes over 15 years of experience in her clinic dealing with people with addiction but also other problems as well. These divisions make a lot of sense because they are divided into several pathways. I'll list them briefly and then I'll give a very general overview of each one.

The first group is people who have serotonin problems. The second group is those who have thyroid problems, but also depletion of catecholamine which is epinephrine and norepinephrine. The third group has to do with adrenal fatigue and adrenal problems in general and the fourth group has to do with lack of endogenous endorphins, they are the endorphins that our bodies are able to produce naturally.

So the first problem is serotonin, which is a brain chemical which regulates sleep, raises our pain threshold and elevates our mood. It's our happy chemical. There are more receptors for serotonin in our digestive tract than in our brain. So if we have low or dysfunctional levels of serotonin it can interfere with proper intestinal function. The chemicals involved in these pathways in serotonin problems are tryptophan, which is an amino acid and is a precursor for serotonin and serotonin is a precursor for melatonin, which is our sleepy hormone.

This is where antidepressants usually try to artificially boost serotonin levels in the body. Sometimes, and very often they can make things worse because there might not be enough serotonin to begin with because serotonin gets depleted when we eat too many carbs or where we're dealing with too much stress. Then artificially interfering with these pathways is always a very bad idea. Because of the chemicals involved, people who have serotonin problems may have fibromyalgia and IBS which is irritable bowel syndrome. They can be night owls because they lack melatonin so they find it very hard to fall asleep. They can be very anxious people with low self-esteem and have a tendency to be very negative and obsessive and also crave sweet foods or starchy foods. So these are serotonin problems.

For the second group of problems, which is thyroid problems or catecholamine, such as dopamine, adrenalin and noradrenalin. These are people who use alcohol, chocolate, caffeine as mood enhancers because of the chemicals involved, which are using the amino acids tyrosine, which is a precursor for dopamine, which by itself is a precursor for adrenalin and noradrenalin. Because these chemicals are deficient, we find people that feel very apathetic. They have very low physical energy but also low mental energy. They lack motivation, find it very difficult to concentrate or focus, need lots of sleep and gain weight very easily. They get very cold very easily as well, particularly cold hands and feet. They tend to have some sort of addiction which seek to stimulate dopamine and they end up wearing out those dopamine levels. There are several examples, but ones I can think of off of the top of my head is addiction to cocaine, addiction to porn, addiction to marijuana; video games. Any addiction tries to raise dopamine levels. So this is dopamine and thyroid problems.

For the third group, which is adrenal fatigue, we have to remember that the adrenal glands produce cortisol, reproductive hormones, EHDA which is our rejuvenating hormone, fight or flight response hormones and self-regulation hormones. These are people who are extremely over-stressed, deadline oriented, overworked people. They tend to be very tense, with tense muscles, feel overwhelmed and shaky. They can be sensitive to light, noise or even chemical fumes, and they feel worse if they go too long without eating yet they often wake up without hunger and skip breakfast, often having only a coffee. This just squeezes the last juice out of their adrenal glands. They can also have lots of food sensitivities and hair loss. Women can have more body hair than usual. These are people who tend to fall sick very often with any infection. They also have usually gone through a very big shock recently, such as major surgery, job loss, divorce; any stress, you name it! So that's adrenal fatigue.

And the last group is our natural endorphins, our natural morphine. These are people who are highly sensitive people. There's even a book with that title! Emotional and physical pain really gets to them. They cry very easily. They try to avoid dealing with painful issues because they don't have their own inner morphine so to speak. Yes, they have more pain and then they find it very hard to get over losses or grieve. They crave pleasure or mind-numbing foods like bread, dairy foods, but also drugs such as marijuana. They also crave mind-numbing activities such as reading novels or watching movies to dissociate.

So this is an overview of the four main groups, their problems and the main symptoms. I hope that was clear.

Doug: Yeah, very.

Jonathan: Yeah, thank you Gaby. That gives a broad overview of the different types of syndromes and the different systems in the body that affect the mood and how these are categorized. Next Doug, do you want to go over the diet aspect of this? We were going to talk a little bit about how the diet can affect the mood and especially how proteins are involved.

Doug: Sure. This goes a little more in-depth on why if you're feeling depressed or any other kind of mood disorder, why not try diet. Diet is one of the most important aspects for getting a handle on any kind of mood disorder. This also includes things like sleep, exercise, EMF exposure and meditation. But diet is one of the main pillars.

As everybody listening probably knows we're pretty strong proponents of the ketogenic diet here at SOTT, getting oneself into fat burning mode rather than being in sugar burning mode. You do that by significantly reducing carbohydrates and increasing the amount of fat, making it your main energy source. One of things that a diet high in fat emphasizes are the important components that you need in order to have a stabilized mood which includes things like essential fats, protective saturated fats, all the fat soluble vitamins, ample mineral consumption as well as complete protein sources that emphasize all the essential and non-essential amino acids.

So just to go over that quickly, proteins are chains that are made of strung together amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids and eight of those are essential and one is conditionally essential. But simply adjusting your diet in this way can actually ensure that you're getting all of these necessary components for the optimal function of the human body and that includes all things for maintaining a stable mood.

By contrast, a carb-rich diet, containing grains, legumes and emphasizes vegetable oils and trans-fats, loads the diet with harmful substances and anti-nutrients which can cause deficiencies. So while we all know that a processed fast food diet is really nothing more than a long means of slow suicide, it even includes what is considered to be a healthy diet in common standards, which generally is trying to get as close to vegetarianism as you can.

When someone's in carb metabolism or sugar metabolism, because all carbohydrates eventually end up as sugar in the body, even if you're eating a diet that contains good animal fats, if you're still eating excessive carbohydrates, you're forcing the body to remain in its sugar-burning mode due to the effects of insulin. We've gone over this quite a bit in the past. Just by eating a lot of carbohydrates you are maintaining that sugar-burning mode so you're not benefiting from these fats as you could be.

Having carbs in the diet results in the glycation of proteins. This is where these proteins almost end up caramelized. They get a sugar coating on them and can't function properly. That includes important enzymes, neurotransmitters and receptor sites that essentially make them inefficient or ineffective altogether. So carb metabolism is not only damaging because of this glycation but it's also not as efficient as fat metabolism. So by eating all these carbs you may actually be lacking energy you need for proper mood stabilization.

The fact that the media promotes as close to vegetarianism as possible in order to be healthy, including veganism, which is considered the "pinnacle", but also the other end of the spectrum, which is flexitarianism as they call it, which basically means that you eat vegetarian most of the time but you have non-vegetarian meals sometimes, but it, by necessity relies on non-animal-based protein sources. That means you're relying on incomplete protein sources. If something is an incomplete protein it means it doesn't have enough of all these essential amino acids. So a complete protein is something that has all eight, all the amino acids that you actually need.

So no vegetarian source actually contains all the essential amino acids. More aware vegetarians try to circumvent this fact with what they call protein combining which basically uses multiple plant protein sources to try and buffer the missing amino acids in any one source. So they might have grains but include legumes with them or include nuts with them. So what's deficient in the grains will hopefully be made up for in the legumes of the nuts. The basic belief behind this is that as long as you're getting all these amino acids in some form, it's equivalent to getting a complete protein from an animal source.

The main problem with this is that all vegetarian protein sources are still primarily starch-based foods. They might have relatively high protein levels in them, but they still have more starch than anything else. So it's therefore difficult to get enough of the amino acids because you're taking in a lot of starch with all of them. So you're going to be getting more and more calories from the starch source in them and to be able to get enough of the amino acids that you need, you actually have to eat quite a bit.

There's also the question of bioavailability. How much of the protein is actually available and not bound up by plant fibres that we're able to digest. We're not herbivores so we don't have these long digestive tracts that allow the fermentation of fibre to release all these needed nutrients. We rely on our acidic stomachs and the acid in the stomach is able to break down readily available protein. So by not taking advantage of that we're doing ourselves a real disservice.

Our stomachs are made for animal proteins, protein that is in a dense, concentrated source; it's a complete protein, everything that you need is right there so the stomach is able to take that apart very easily whereas it has a lot more difficulty with plant proteins.

So these amino acids form the structural components, the enzymes and importantly they also provide everything that's needed for the neurotransmitters for proper brain and nervous system function. This includes amino acids like glutamate, aspartate, tryptophan, phenylalanine, and many more as well.

We also get cholesterol from the diet. A vegetarian diet is severely lacking in cholesterol and while cholesterol is completely demonized by the media it's important to remember that it's the precursor to all our steroid hormones, including all the sex hormones. So cholesterol deficiency can actually manifest in a low mood, depression, sexual dysfunction, among many other things as well. While most of the cholesterol that we eat is not actually absorbed, a high fat/low carb diet supports proper cholesterol synthesis and minimizes the damage that can happen to cholesterol that ends up causing a lot of harm.

Another thing that a high fat diet tends to emphasize is magnesium which is lost with the consumption of a high sugar/high starch diet. This can lead to insomnia, headaches, apathy, irritability, confusion, inattention, anxiety, memory loss, even hallucinations, depression, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts, early onset Alzheimer's, ADHD and IQ loss. I've got an even longer list here but I think you get the idea. Magnesium deficiency is pretty much epidemic in our society and a lot of that is probably because of the diet. It's not just because we're not getting enough magnesium although that is an issue as well; but it is because with a high starch/high sugar diet actually you actually tend to excrete a lot more magnesium and you don't even use what you have. Magnesium is also protective against heavy metals toxicities like aluminum, nickel, lead, beryllium, cadmium and mercury which can lead to mood disorders.

Magnesium supplementation is something I encourage everybody to do. I think that in this day and age we all need to be supplementing magnesium regardless of your diet.

There are also concerns with other minerals as well. When you consume a plant-based diet you're exposing yourself to a lot of anti-nutrients and those can actually bind to minerals in the body making them unusable. A lot of trace elements are needed for thousands of different biochemical reactions including the structure of your neurotransmitters and hormones. So deficiencies in trace elements can certainly manifest as mood disorders and just by eating things like grains, eating the diet that is widely considered to be healthy, getting your five servings of whole grains a day, you're actually risking trace element deficiencies.

Another thing that the high fat diet emphasizes is omega 3 fats. Studies have shown that kids low in omega 3 fats are significantly more likely to be hyperactive, have learning disorders and have behavioural problems. Deficiencies in omega 3s are also tied to dyslexia, violence, depression, memory problems. And that's just the mood disorders. There's also a lot of new concerns; cancer, arthritis, other inflammatory diseases. So omega 3 deficiencies are quite widespread. They're thought to be in 60% of the population in the USA.

A properly formulated ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is one that emphasizes omega 3s, particularly if it leans in the paleo direction, emphasizing pasture raised meats and eggs, fish and seafood. Those are all very high in omega 3 fats. A lot of times people will promote things like flax oil, chia oil, nuts or seeds as sources of omega 3s. These are not the long-chain omega 3s that we really need. These are EPA and DHA which are in fish, seafood and pastured animal products. You don't get them from seeds.

So although flax oil does give you a shorter chain omega 3, there's a lot of studies that show that our conversion of this shorter-chain to the longer chain is not nearly as efficient as we would need it to be. A lot of that has to do with genetics. There are theories that say that people who descend from more agrarian cultures are a little bit more able to make that conversion, but just as a safety precaution I would recommend people supplement with fish oil as well as getting their meats from pasture-raised animals because the feedlot and factory farm stuff just does not have the omega 3s in it. This is one of the reasons that we see so much of this deficiency happening.

If a mother is low in omega 3s when she's pregnant, all those omega 3s are going to go to the baby because the fetus needs these omega 3s in order to develop properly. So a lot of times when we see postpartum depression there's a theory that that actually is because the mother is so depleted of omega 3s by the time she has the kid that she just gets completely depressed. This omega 3 deficiency gets passed on to the kid too. If the omega 3s just aren't there, there's nothing they can do so it's no wonder that we're seeing these epidemics in ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity and behavioural problems. A lot of that can probably be attributed to this omega 3 deficiency that's been passed on to these kids since birth.

So the bottom line is if you're suffering from any kind of mood disorder, thinking or attention deficit disorder, what does your diet look like? Are you getting enough fats? Are you getting enough cholesterol? Are you getting the right kind of fats? Are you getting a concentrated, complete animal protein source? Is your digestion sufficient to be breaking down and assimilating all these important nutrients? These are the questions that you need to be asking yourself.

Jonathan: Fascinating. Thanks Doug for that overview. Like you said, it's something that we've been talking about for a while on this show. It's very clear from a scientific and a biophysical point of view that the diet affects the brain. The connection is proven. It's pretty much unassailable and I think that a lot of people still aren't aware of this partly because when you eat these high carb diets and a lot things that have the chemicals that are involved in the processing in them you actually get a sort of high for a little while so you actually feel better. When you continue to eat that thing it's just like with any drug habit; you go back to it and feel better and you're like "Well I feel fine because I just had a sandwich".

Doug: Yeah, self-medicating.

Jonathan: Speaking of that and eating disorders, Erica's going to cover some material here for a little bit from Julia Ross who is the author of the book The Mood Cure. Julia Ross is a nutritional therapist and she has also worked as a counsellor and a psychotherapist in northern California. Erica's going to cover some of the material for us for a little while.

Erica: Julia Ross has a few videos on YouTube that I'd like to share for people who may not have the time or the access to the book The Mood Cure. One of them is called Mood and Carb Addiction in which she talks about food addiction and as Jonathan just said, she has a background in addiction and eating disorders and psychotherapy treatments, combining nutritional plans with psychotherapy so people can have a stable recovery and at least work through these issues.

I wanted to address the food addiction thing briefly because I found her video fascinating. She basically says that addicts are at the mercy of a biological imperative and it's why they can't say no. For those listening, food addiction is a real serious issue. We've carried several articles on the SOTT page about it. You can look some of them up. One is Food Addiction and Drug Addiction - Brain Activity Shows Similarities Study Finds and that was published back in 2011. Also Addiction to Junk Food - More Than Meets the Eye published back in 2013 on Green Med Info.

But for those who are listening, this food addiction issue is a hot topic especially when you share the ketogenic diet with people. The first thing they say is "Oh, how can you not eat that pizza or that cookie?" and there really is this brain component. Just to give a little bit of background, I wanted to share some information on this addiction and how there are actually organizations that help food addicts. This articles is called Food Wars - the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Food Addicts, and was published in March of this year about the different types of programs that are available for food addicts. The Fix is an addiction website where you can read about all the different kinds of programs that are going on and discussing topics around addictions.

But this article was really helpful for me in helping understand that food addiction is real. Just to give you an overview, there are several 12-step programs for food addicts. I'm going to list some of them here: overeaters anonymous, compulsive eaters anonymous, food addicts in recovery anonymous, food addicts anonymous and grey sheeters anonymous. There are also some smaller fellowships as well that specialize in 12-step programs for anorexics and bulimics, called anorexics and bulimics anonymous.

The author has a very interesting discussion about the differences between these types of programs. He says a quick glance comparing some of the programs for compulsive eaters shows only one main difference; of all the other programs other than overeaters anonymous, they have some kind of food plan as a requirement for certain things. All the programs are based on 12-steps and 12 traditions. They only actually require membership with a derivation of a desire to stop eating compulsively.

Other groups began to look at certain foods; mostly refined carbohydrates as trigger foods for most compulsive eaters. Most of this group had come to believe, through empirical evidence of their own behaviour, that curbing compulsive overeating became much easier when these foods - sugars and carbohydrates - were removed from their diets.

Back in 1960 Father Edward Dowling wrote an article called Grapevine at the 25th of AA and he spoke of his own gluttony, needing to stay away from starch and salt and sugar and this led to the low carbohydrate food plan that became known forever as The Grey Sheet. For those who don't know, I just want to give you a little background on the grey sheet because I found this really interesting stuff.

The main focus of almost all 12-step groups with food plan requirements is what was seen as the core of The Grey Sheet; elimination of sugar and flour from their members' diets. The belief is that in trying to equate food programs with programs such as NA and AA there needed to be some solid line from which one could be determined sober or not. It was also felt that these specific foods led their members to phenomenon of cravings spoken about in the Big Book, which is kind of the bible of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Grey Sheet was published and provided scientific proof that low carb diets had been shown to cause fewer cravings in people. Simple carbohydrates have been found to increase serotonin levels which in turn leads to feeling better and fully but only temporarily. The downside is that the increase in blood sugar levels is followed by a drop later in those levels which can cause cravings again and so the cycle is often repeated.

So if anyone's interested in looking into that, it discusses more of the different programs. But this really went along well with what Julia Ross was talking about in this mood and carb addiction video. Basically she discusses a malnourished brain compared to a well-nourished brain. She goes on to talk about how anxiety is tripled. We have an epidemic of depression; we have an epidemic of addicts, stress and that diet is the real problem. Starting in WWII the change from the traditional American diet, lots of good fat was eliminated and things like margarine were introduced. The depressed brain is nervous, anxious and craving.

Then she goes on to say the optimistic brain is calm, satisfied and stocked with amino acids and other nutrients. She talks about the four neurotransmitters that affect food cravings and this is where she was really fascinated by the addiction issue. If you can regulate your brain chemistry, you can leave the sugar behind. In the beginning of the YouTube video she talks about how they have good nutrition changes lead to better moods and then the 10 weeks it took to fully recover or withdraw from bad mood junk foods, food cravings and debilitating moods.

So I just want to give a brief overview of the four neurotransmitters that affect food cravings. It was mentioned already by Gaby and Doug, but serotonin, GABA, catecholamine and endorphins. Having a lack of those can really affect your mood.

Another thing that she mentioned in her food/mood connection video was that they worked with a Dr. Blum who was a neuroscientist I believe, and they studied alcoholics and drug addicts. Their research explained by anxiety, depression and insomnia were part of what they called the reward deficiency syndrome. They said that you can override bad mood genes by supplementing amino acids which radically improve mood and those who took none had larger and longer relapse rates. Aminos only need to be taken for three-to-ten months to see changes. So they called their approach nutritional therapy with psychotherapy.

Just to give a bit of an overview and I'm sure Doug and Gaby can add to this as well, if you have high serotonin levels, you're positive, confident, flexible and easy-going. If you have low serotonin levels, you're negative, obsessive, worrying and sleepless. High catecholamine levels means you're energized, upbeat and alert and with low catecholamine levels you crash, have flat, lethargic feelings of funk. Another one is GABA. If you have high GABA you're relaxed and stress-free and if you have low GABA, you're wired, stressed and overwhelmed. And finally endorphins, which Gaby mentioned a little bit. With high levels you have cozy feelings, comfort, euphoria and low endorphins you experience crying, over-sensitive to physical and emotional pain.

She asks the question "why are your mood engines running on empty?" and then goes through and gives advice and supplementation for how to deal with these high and low issues with these four neurotransmitters. So I really recommend it. Again, Julia Ross, Mood and Carb Addiction from 2014 at the Silicon Valley Health Institute. The other video was Food Mood Connection. You guys might want to add more on that. It just was really fascinating stuff. I'm sure we've all known somebody who's had a food addiction, someone close to us and we really want to help and this information can be very beneficial, especially if people don't have the time to read.

In my own experience, I wish that I had had this information when raising teenage daughters who were experiencing all of these kinds of symptoms and I didn't know exactly how to go about it. I will say the food addiction issue is real. I've seen it in my own children, that they are addicted to soda or fast food and you try and help and give advice and it's like nothing is really helping them and they are suffering.

Jonathan: Thanks Erica for covering that. I think we can all relate to that in some way or another, especially in the process of changing our diets. I don't know personally that I can say that I ever suffered from a full-blown food addiction, but I definitely remember what you might call the Jones, for a pizza or for a giant sandwich. I do think I was addicted for a period of time to diet Pepsi and the aspartame that was in there and just having that all day, every day. It's hard to break out of, especially if it makes you feel a certain way and then when you don't you feel bad. You certainly needs the willpower and the motivation to get through something like that.

To anybody who's listening who might be starting with something like this, I think we can all attest to the fact that once you get onto a high fat diet, the differences are really stark. It comes out in your mood, in your day-to-day and how you deal with stress and things like that. You feel a lot better. I used to wake up with really heavy anxiety in the mornings. Of course it's not completely gone but it certainly is a good 80% less than it used to be when I was recklessly eating whatever I wanted.

Along those lines, things that we can do to help, aside from the diet, there are a lot of supplements that are beneficial with this. Doug wanted to cover that a little bit and talk about some of the things that work.

Doug: Yeah, this list is by no means extensive, but it's the things that I came up with off of the top of my head. I consulted a bit of Nora Gedgaudus' book Primal Body/Primal Mind as well, just to look into some of this.

Like we were discussing before, addressing any kind of deficiency is going to be a huge component in regulating mood. These are some of the things you can try just to see if they help. Omega 3 supplementation is very important. I think it's one of those things that probably everybody could be doing, taking some good quality fish oil. Betaine HCL, which is a form of hydrochloric acid is also on the list. A lot of times one of the big problems with us is not necessarily that the diet is lacking - well in most cases the diet is lacking - but if somebody has converted themselves onto a better diet and is eating all the right things but still seems to be suffering, what might be going on is that they're actually just not digesting and assimilating things properly.

So taking a hydrochloric acid supplement can be very helpful because if you're not producing enough stomach acid, for one thing you're not breaking down your proteins properly and therefore not assimilating all those amino acids you need for all these things we've been talking about for the different neurotransmitters. But you're also not going to be chelating the different minerals that you're getting from your diet so your mineral digestion is going to be suffering as well. Supplementing with hydrochloric acid supplements is pretty key, especially when first starting the diet. Low acid levels are pretty much epidemic.

Magnesium is a very important thing to be supplementing. A couple of different forms can be very helpful. I think the best form that's out there right now according to the research is magnesium glycinate which is also referred to as magnesium biglycinate or bisglycinate. The particle size is very small in that one and therefore is very well absorbed. It also doesn't tend to lead to digestive upset. If you take too much magnesium you tend to get diarrhoea. The magnesium glycinate tends to not do that quite so easily as other forms like magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate. Ionic magnesium is very good as well, which is magnesium that isn't bound to anything. You're taking it in the pure magnesium form which is usually in a liquid form. Transdermal magnesium can be helpful as well so whether that be taking Epsom salts baths or doing spray-on transdermal magnesium; that can be very helpful. Magnesium malate can be very good as well, especially is someone is suffering from any kind of fibromyalgia symptoms because the malic acid that the magnesium is bound to is very helpful for fibromyalgia symptoms.

Iodine deficiency is another thing that should probably be addressed. The symptoms for iodine deficiency are very similar to those of magnesium deficiency; things like brain fog, ADHD, memory problems. The modern diet, especially one that contains processed foods will often lead to an iodine deficiency and it's not just because the diet doesn't contain enough iodine but also because the modern diet tends to deplete iodine. Source of iodine are kelp and seafoods but you might want to just do a concentrated iodine supplement as well.

The B vitamins are very important for cellular energy processes, adrenal health, especially B5 and B6 and B12 is very important for nervous system function. Vegans and vegetarians tend to be quite depleted in B12 because there is no vegetable source for it, despite what some supplements will tell you. Even people who are eating a lot of animal products might also be deficient in B12 and that goes back to the whole hydrochloric acid problem. If you're not producing enough hydrochloric acid you're not going to be digesting your B12 properly. There are sublingual B12 supplements out there. I would recommend getting one that's in the methylcobalamin form and try and get a sublingual one that doesn't have sugar in it. A lot of them add sugar just because if you're putting anything to dissolve in your mouth apparently it has to taste like candy. So try and find one that doesn't have sugar. They are out there.

It's also good to try and get the active forms of your B vitamins. If you're getting a B complex try and find one that has the P5P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) version of B6, the methylcobalamin version of B12 and methylfolate. The methyl forms are important because they have methyl donors. I'm not going to get into that because it gets quite complicated but methyl donors can be quite helpful for things like memory and also mood. So there are other methyl donors out there not related to B vitamins, like SAM-e, TMG, choline, betaine as well as vitamin B6 and folic acid.

There's also a fat soluble form of vitamin B1 called benfotiamine which helps to decrease glycation. Remember before I was talking about how when anybody's eating a high carb diet they end up with this caramelized layer on their proteins that makes them ineffective. Well benfotiamine actually decreases this glycation. So if you're transitioning from a high carb diet this will help to buffer some of the negative effects that eating high carbs had on you and might help your transition go a little bit more smoothly as well as improving your mood because if you get rid of that glycation that's all over the neurotransmitters or the receptors, then you're going to be just more efficient at having those neurotransmitters work.

L-carnitine is an amino acid and is also very good for helping to protect against the glycating of brain tissue. L-carnitine is found exclusively in meat products. You can't find it in a vegetarian diet but supplementing with it can be quite helpful as well.

Phosphytidalserine is another supplement, sometimes referred to just as PS. It's a fatty substance that is needed for the myelin sheath which is the coating that coats neurons and it helps with signal transmission. It's also been found to help with mild brain degeneration. It also helps by reducing cortisol levels, cortisol being a stress hormone. We've talked before about how chronically raised cortisol levels can be quite damaging and obviously doesn't have a very good effect on your mood. Phosphytidalserine also has been found to improve memory, focus and concentration.

There are a couple of supplements called alpha GPC (L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine) and DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) and I'm not going to say what those things stand for because they are a huge mouthful. They are both precursors to acetylcholine which is an important memory and cognitive neurotransmitter. It helps with a wide variety of cognitive problems as well as mood and sleep. Another one called Huperzine A also helps to increase acetylcholine in the brain and has even been found to be effective against Alzheimer's. An amino acid called L-tyrosine which Gaby was talking about a little bit before is an important precursor to both norepinephrine and dopamine. It's a good idea to supplement B6 with that one as well because the B6 is important for conversions that L-tyrosine has to go through.

DLPA, which stands for DL-phenylalanine is another amino acid which is a precursor to L-tyrosine, norephinephrine and dopamine. The D-form and L-form are different structures of the same amino acid. The D-form is particularly useful when there's any kind of pain or addictive and pleasure-seeking behaviours. There's an inhibitory and calming neurotransmitter called GABA which again, Gaby and Erica both covered a little bit. This one's really good when there's any kind of anxiety, racing thoughts or physical tensions. The one thing about GABA though is that it doesn't cross the blood brain/barrier and if you take GABA and you do find that it's helpful, that might actually be pointing to a larger problem, that is a leaky blood brain barrier, that things are getting across the blood/brain barrier that aren't supposed to be. That is a whole other issue in and of itself so I won't go into it here, but usually if somebody is correcting a problem with leaky gut they are also correcting a problem with a leaky blood/brain barrier.

For that reason, theanine may be a better choice. Theanine is another amino acid. It does cross the blood/brain barrier and it increases GABA. So it's also good for anxiety and depression any time it's paired with mind racing or physical tension. It also has a positive effect on serotonin and dopamine and has a neuro-protective effect. A natural source of theanine is actually green tea and that's the reason that a lot of people can drink green tea, which has all this caffeine, right before bed because the theanine actually counteracts the caffeine.

Somebody in the chat room asked what the difference is between L-tryptophan and 5-HTP and when you would want to use one rather than the other. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid but there is a form of it called 5-HTP which is a form that's further along on the biochemical pathway of conversion. It's helpful in hyperactivity in children and is a precursor to both serotonin and melatonin. Generally it's just two different forms and it doesn't really matter which one you take except if sleep is an issue, if you're having trouble sleeping then you probably want to go with the L-tryptophan instead of the 5-HTP because 5-HTP can increase cortisol. So you do want to watch out a little bit for that. If you are going to be taking it close to bedtime it's probably better to go with the L-tryptophan instead of 5-HTP. But you don't want to supplement both of them, just do one or the other.

It's important to note that sugar consumption can actually disrupt the therapeutic effect of 5-HTP or tryptophan and also the absorption of these. Of all the amino acids they tend to get left in the lurch a little bit. They're the least well absorbed. Some of the amino acids compete for uptake and L-tryptophan tends not to be absorbed as well, so take it on an empty stomach. It's also helpful for anxiety and depression symptoms but if you are on antidepressants, don't take it. There can be interactions there.

And finally, vitamin D is found to be quite helpful for seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. So people tend to up their consumption of it in the wintertime when they're not getting as much sunlight because vitamin D, as you know, is produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Gaby mentioned some dosages. She said 4,000 to 8,000 is definitely in a good range. The vitamin D council actually recommends 10,000 in the wintertime. The thing is, I know here in Canada you can't actually buy it any higher than 1,000 because Health Canada is silly about these sorts of things. I don't really know what their concern is because it is very difficult to overdose on vitamin D. But it's hard to find in higher dosages so you might end up having to take a handful of pills unfortunately if you're trying to get up to those 8,000/10,000 IU levels.

Erica: I have a quick question for Doug and Gaby. In the mood and carb addiction video Julia Ross talks about 5-HIAA. She has this funny little thing about how she loves crack addicts because she found that she could get people off of crack cocaine by using this supplement. I don't know if you guys have any experience with that? She just said that it's a breakdown product of serotonin and mood affecting chemical and helps with violent and suicidal tendencies. She did go on to say that Prozac or antidepressant drugs do cause a sudden drop in this 5-HIAA. So I don't know if you folks know much about that but I just wanted to mention that.

Doug: Well no.

Gaby: Yes.

Doug: Oh you know it Gaby? Because I don't know it.

Gaby: When I read her book she did cover that part as well. I guess that is the same material that she covered in the videos, that just because the chemical pathways are disrupted in certain people that way, that formula works better for them. But I don't have any clinical experience with that supplement.

Erica: Yeah, and like you were both saying, in this video she talks about how this is not something that people need to be on for the rest of their lives. It can be four-to-six months if these are taken properly, vitamin supplementation and then for heavy addicts like crack cocaine and heroin, that it may take up to a year. But they've seen phenomenal results, so I found that very interesting.

Jonathan: Doug I had a quick question for you as well, about the precursors. You had mentioned that for instance, GABA doesn't cross the blood/brain barrier and so I guess my question is, is it better in general to take a precursor or a neurotransmitter than it is to take that, for example, theanine as opposed to taking GABA. Is that a good across-the-board thing to find out what the precursors are and take those; with melatonin as well?

Doug: Not necessarily, no. If you're having an issue with something you might actually be having trouble with the conversion, not a problem with the thing itself. There's no hard and fast rule for it. In the case of GABA, because it doesn't cross the blood/brain barrier, it generally is a better idea to take the theanine because it does cross the blood/brain barrier. But every situation is different. There are certain situations where you would want to take a precursor instead but there's no hard and fast rule, unfortunately.

Jonathan: So the precursor essentially relies on the body's ability to make that transition.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: It's not like it automatically gets converted.

Doug: That's right. It's a similar thing with the omega 3s I was talking about before. Some people are taking ALA, which is the short chain omega 3 fat that you find in things like flax oil. In that situation, you don't want to be taking the precursor because we don't tend to convert it to the longer chain EPA and DHA. So in that case you definitely want to go more to the end product than the precursor.

Jonathan: Cool. Gaby you wanted to follow up on supplements specifically for the four syndromes that you had mentioned earlier. I know we might have a little bit of redundancy here since Doug covered that really well, but do you want to take a few minutes just to talk about what things people can specifically look for, for thyroid issues, adrenal issues, things like that?

Gaby: Yeah, I'll cover that briefly. Doug already did an excellent job. I can only synthesize the experiences, especially with core members of the Cassiopaea forum and just to remind people that most members had already made dietary changes when they tried these supplements and that most people who are already one or two years on the diet don't need these supplements. Maybe at the beginning they needed them more often. Eventually it was no longer necessary. Usually when you know that a supplement is no longer necessary, if you feel the symptoms they are supposed to "cure", that's a clear indication that you don't need the supplements and also you feel like you can fare well with the diet alone.

In synthesis, for the first problem which was serotonin problems which Doug mentioned was 5-HTP and tryptophan. In the forum experience, 5-HTP did work better and typically 300 mg per day were needed. You start with the lowest dose, which is 60 mg twice per day and work up every two days until you reach 300 mg more or less. For other people tryptophan works better and sometimes melatonin is needed to achieve a good night's sleep. It also is a serotonin enhancer and that is 300 mg three times per day. Just a reminder that absolute contraindication for serotonin supplements is if you are on an antidepressant called MAO inhibitors. These are rarely used today. It's just for specific types of depression. For other antidepressants there is relative contraindications, not absolute contraindications.

So these are for serotonin problems; 5-HTP and tryptophan. 5-HTP seems to work better for most people.

Then for the second problem which is thyroid problems and dopamine, catecholamine, adrenalin and noradrenalin, the most favoured supplement in general experience is L-tyrosine, 500 mg., three times per day if one capsule of 500 mg is not enough. You have to remember not to take these supplements no later than mid-afternoon because it can energize you. You want to wind down after mid-afternoon to have a good night's sleep. For those for whom L-tyrosine doesn't do the trick, L-Phenylalanine, 500 mg, one to four capsules between meals, no later than 3:00 p.m. does seem to work.

For those who have adrenal problems, there are several substances at work here. For example vitamin B works very well, so you can do that if you don't have iron overload because vitamin B increases the absorption of iron. Another protocol is with low dose hydrocortisone, physiological doses of hydrocortisone which is our natural cortisol that can be tried; 2.5 mg first thing in the morning, up to 10 mg throughout the day, not after 3:00 p.m. This is a very good protocol especially if you have lots of food sensitivities and going through a lot of stress. Another trick is to use progesterone cream or gel applied in the inner lining of the vagina or rectum, according to instructions. That supports the adrenal glands and all the hormones that are derived from progesterone.

GABA which was mentioned earlier helps with muscle tension. The suggested dose is 100 mg three times per day but often more is necessary, 500 mg. And in general any adrenal support such as herbal remedies, adrenal optimizers or adrenal support often help as well.

For the last group which was supplements for endorphin problems, DL-phenylalanine was mentioned, especially if you're dealing with too much physical pain or emotional pain. It is a potent endorphin booster and in the book in general it's suggested for more or less temporary use but not chronic use. In our forum research just a few days seemed to be enough. If you take it chronically you can have a rebound effect or opposite symptoms that you want to avoid. But if you take it for a few days - say you're dealing with a lot of emotional pain, you can take a little bit, like 500 mg first thing in the morning, it can be taken up to three times per day, not after 3:00 p.m. and after one to three days that seems to do the trick and you can keep going.

And then the amino acids that you mentioned in The Mood Cure, a specific blend is recommended which contains lysine, methionine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, valine, leucine, in a blend that you would take twice per day, not after 3:00 p.m. again and the dose is 800 mg. So that's the synthesis of the supplements suggested for each group. It is definitely worth having The Mood Cure book as a reference because she lists doses, how much you can increment your dose or how little you need and when to stop the supplements, which is basically when you have the opposite symptoms you want to treat. It's a really good research resource to have in your own library.

The other book I want to mention that was recommended on the forum is How To Get Off Psychiatric Drugs Safely by James Harper. For people who have specific psychiatric drugs, these healthcare providers go through each drug specifically and which supplements to take so I think that's a good idea to check out if you're dealing with that specific problem.

Jonathan: Thanks Gaby. It's always good to do your research every time and that's why we really encourage people to look things up on their own. I can say from my own personal experience that it's not generally a good idea to just jump into something, even with supplements, and just start taking them. "Oh, this one will be good for me. That'll be good for me." It's very important to know what you're trying to treat. Do the research, get the books if you can. If not do thorough research online and really find out what your dosages should be and what times of the day and that kind of thing otherwise the results can really throw you for a loop.

So as we've been mentioning this book The Mood Cure, we just encourage everybody to check that out. I believe it's available on Amazon by Julia Ross. Let's go to Zoya for the pet health segment here. The topic this week is animal abuse on dairy farms and we're going to get educated on that. So we will be back after this segment with the recipe for today which is going to be tapas which some of you may or may not be familiar with but we'll talk about that in a little bit.

Pet Health Segment

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today I would like to talk about a very painful but also very important topic. I want to talk about treatment of farm animals. I had this idea of sharing about the abuse that goes on in dairy complexes and other complexes for quite some time now, but a couple of days ago through a petition that prompted me to talk about it now.

The petition goes as follows: "Please sign and share this petition worldwide in an effort to bring to life the fact that handlers and workers at the Birnam Wood Dairy Farm have been videotaped abusing and harming the cows. Mercy for Animals placed the undercover cameras in an attempt to further investigate any cruelty and abuse of these poor animals. Owners and family members of this family-owned dairy farm in Birnamwood, Wisconsin appeared to be appalled and shocked when they were presented with the video coverage showing their staff kicking and punching cows, spraying them in the face with high pressure water hoses and cutting off the cows' tails with pruning shears. No one contested the events shown on the video coverage of the Andrus dairy farm taped by an animal rights group known as Mercy for Animals. The proprietors vow that they intended to curb such abuse from ever occurring. The owner of the farm, Mr. Andrus stated that he was "shocked to see some of our employees not following appropriate animal handling practices on the farm. No one in our family was aware of such conduct occurring on the farm."

After that creators of the petition continue to share more details. Well, what can I say about that? First of all that it isn't surprising and nothing new, even if I saw that in countries like the US, their rather serious animal protection laws would provide some sort of protection against such violent cases of animal abuse. On the other hand, why wouldn't such things occur in the country where many condone clearly illegal orders of the President, such as drone attacks and civilian attacks? This is the height of hypocrisy, particularly when American blindly buy into anti-Russian propaganda instead of looking at what is being done in their names, in the Middle East for example.

The bottom line is, as part of my study, I had no choice but to see how many farm animals have been treated here. I see the cost of people enjoying dairy products and I naively thought that it was a local problem due to lack of funds and other similar problems but clearly this is the problem of dairy farms everywhere, not to mention pig farms and others.

So let me try and summarize the terror of the situation many farm animals find themselves in and how we, veterinarians, supposedly the ones with the most noble profession, help to perpetuate the problem. You see physical abuse is only the tip of the iceberg since the entire industry is a crime against nature. Let's take a dairy cow as an example. To produce milk for human consumption a dairy cow must keep giving birth to cows, usually each year. Cows are taken from their mothers within 20-24 hours of birth. If nature was allowed to take its course, cows would suckle from their mothers for several months, even up to a year. Mother cows, like most mammals, have a strong maternal bond. One study found that this bond was formed in as little as five minutes.

When cows are removed, the mother cows will frantically look for their offspring that they will never see again. Separated cows appear frightened and confused. Regardless of how this situation is handled, this separation causes enormous stress for both the cow and calf. New mothers are returned to the milking herd to maximize profit. The milk that nature destined for the cow is then processed for human consumption.

The natural lifespan of a cow is up to 20 years but few commercial dairy cows live beyond the age of seven years and many younger animals go to slaughter. Selective breeding and more recently genetic manipulation has resulted in the selection and production of cows who produce enormous amounts of milk. The modern dairy cow can produce about 35-50 litres of milk per day, about 10 times more milk than her calf would need. Producing large quantities of milk puts a significant metabolic strain on the animals. The great weight of the udders often causes painful stretching or tearing of ligaments and frequently causes foot problems such as laminitis. These foot problems can be associated with significant pain.

Dairy cattle are also susceptible to infections of the feet and udder mastitis, which can be very painful. The milking machine itself may render the cow more susceptible to infection. The front teats may be subject to vacuum pulsing for up to two minutes after the quarter has been emptied and while the hind teats are still lubing. This is believed to be painful for the cow and may also weaken tissue. The nature of the vacuum milking process is known to increase the possibility of infection.

Now let's talk about induced calving. This is a herd management practice that is still being practiced on many farms and it is used to induce the cows in the herd to calve in a short period of time, regardless of when they were mated and conceived. It requires the injection of corticalsteroids by a veterinarian to prematurely trigger the birth of the calf and thereby allowing the cow to re-enter the milking herd at an earlier time. The welfare of the mother cow is often compromised, particularly if it is later than three weeks of expected gestation and the procedure increases the risk of mastitis, metabolic diseases, retained membranes and infections. The welfare of the prematurely born calf is also of concern as the calves may be weak, requiring special care and attention.

Sometimes cows that can't get pregnant are also being treated with hormones which only further jeopardize their health.

As for the docking, or cutting off of cows' tails, the petition cites that this practice is part of the abuse but apparently many farms do it purposely and routinely to all of their cows. Surgical amputation or using elastic rings of the cow tail is quite common, sometimes only a small part of the tail is left intact. It is done because dairy farmers don't like to be swished in the face with a dirty tail while in the milking shed in the mistaken belief that dirty tails contribute to higher bacterial contamination and perhaps a higher level of mastitis. Without the tails the cows are inevitably irritated by flies that they are unable to dislodge. The amputation causes immediate pain and the nerve damage to the stump may result in chronic pain. Sometimes they cut the tail so it won't be injured by the manual collecting mechanism when the cow is lying down.

Also various breeds of cattle will usually grow horns and in the jousting involved during the herding process with twice a day milking, they may injure other cows. Therefore heifers being raised to enter the milking herd will usually undergo this budding procedure at an early age, less than six months of age. This is usually done by applying heat cautherization to horn buds or by using a knife or hook tool to remove all the horn growth tissues in the horn bud.

Currently this painful procedure in many places is still being done without analgesic or sedation. If dairy cows have not been disbudded, older dairy cattle may be dehorned, a painful and distressing procedure that also carries a high risk of infection and even blow-fly infestation in some regions.

There are many other gruesome details, but you get the idea. Now, veterinarians have a very important role in all of this. On one hand it may appear that they do a good and noble job at keeping animals in their best possible condition in such circumstances. After all, we still need their milk, right? Well unfortunately it is very wrong because contrary to the fact that humans indeed require meat in order to maintain optimal health, there is no health justification for drinking cow's milk. The simple fact is that the only creatures that are supposed to drink cow's milk is her baby. Others are simply using her and torturing her in the process. If that isn't a crime against nature, I don't know what is.

During my studies I have to learn countless diseases and disorders in cows that we need to treat and most of them are due to improper upkeep and improper diet meaning, most of the diseases wouldn't even happen if the cow would be allowed to live her life naturally as she's supposed to. Even beef cattle are in a far better condition because they are allowed to keep their babies and no one takes their milk because otherwise they wouldn't gain as much weight as they would, but most of the dairy cows live in concentration camps and experience the same stress and horrors.

I understand that there are probably private and small dairy farms that do treat their animals with respect, but they are very few in comparison to what is going on in dairy complexes all around the world.

So to summarize, the story that is being shared in the petition that I talked about in the beginning of this segment is indeed horrible, but not particularly extraordinary. Not beating the crap out of cows doesn't mean that they are being treated well and as they should be. Some cows in dairy complexes never see the sun or never step on green grass. And while the vegetarian fanatics like PETA call us meat eating criminals, the truth is that, as I said before, meat cows often are being treated far better than dairy cows, but surely still experience abuse but this is a topic for another conversation.

Well this is it for this segment. Have a nice day and good-bye.

Jonathan: Thank you Zoya. That was very informative. I think a lot of people are aware - maybe not as many as should be in this day and age - that these large farms really do mistreat their animals. Certainly not 100% of them, but it does go on and it needs to be made public and people need to be aware of this. I guess there is a certain segment of the population that just doesn't care, but if you have an ounce of conscience about where your food comes from and you think about these animals providing sustenance for us, that they should be treated properly. It's a sad situation and I think we could all do our part in spreading awareness about that.

Today for our recipe, it's not so much a straight "one-half cup of this, one teaspoon of that" recipe, but I wanted to talk about tapas. When we talked before the show, Tiffany who couldn't be with us today, made the comment "Aren't these essentially hors d'oeuvres?" And yes they are. Tapas are essentially Spanish hors d'oeuvres or appetizers. We were talking about The Mood Cure today and sometimes just putting your creative energy into something can help your mood. I know that in my own experience, when I started switching over my diet I had this certain portion of time where I felt like "Oh man, I'm just going to be eating hamburger and butter for the rest of my life" which is not such a bad combination but it can also be really fun to make a creative dish that you then eat and take your time with it. It's very satisfying. This is not to say that everybody should become a foodie and go totally crazy with it all the time but I think that there is definitely something to be said for making a well-crafted, visually appealing meal that is also really tasty.

So just reading from Wikipedia "Tapas is a wide variety of appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine that may be cold or hot. In select bars in Spain tapas have evolved into an entire and sometimes sophisticated cuisine. In Spain patrons of tapas can order many different kinds of tapas and combine them to make a full meal. In some Central American countries such snacks are known as bocas. In Mexico, similar dishes are called botanas. The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused on eating an entire meal that is set before them. Also in some countries it's customary for diners to stand and move about while they're eating the tapas."

So you can see how it's essentially an hor d'oeuvres. It is something you can have a lot of fun with. Traditionally a tapas is a layer of bread and then some kind of meat and cheese or spice or herb on top of that. We have talked a lot about the low carb diet, so for the bread here you can get creative. Last week we did the cashew butter bread which I made a couple of times this week and it was very good. Just to revisit that really quickly, if anybody doesn't want to go back and try to find that in last week's show, the recipe is very small, so I'll just go over that real quick.

1 cup cashew butter
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sweetener like stevia or xylitol
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pulse the cashew butter and the eggs together, then mix in the vinegar, then the sweetener, baking soda and salt and mix that in. You end up a batter.

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes and let it cool for a while.

I found that cooling for about an hour, even a little bit less was fine. I made this in a bread pan so it came out like a traditional kind of bread loaf but you could take a cookie sheet and spread it out and make a thinner version of this in which case you could cut that up into very small segments to use as the base for your tapas. I like this idea because this also results in ultimately less carb content per serving. We figured out that roughly each slice of this bread has 7 or 8 grams of carbs. So you can have a few and you're not going to hurt even if you're on the keto diet, if you're staying below 25 grams of carbs a day you can still stay within that and have one or two slices of this. With the tapas you might even be able to have more. I imagine it would go down to 2-3 grams of carbs per chunk if you cut them into 3'x1" pieces.

So I encourage people to play around with that. If you're going to make tapas, first make a big sheet of the bread on a cookie sheet and then take some kind of meat, whether it's sliced beef or chicken or bacon, mix those together then lay it out nicely on the little chunk of bread. Sometimes what I like to do with this is make chimichurri which I think we talked about in the past, which is a mixture of cilantro, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Cooks those at a very low temperature until they mix together and wilt the greens a little bit so that you end up with a green paste that's really, really flavourful.

Layering the cashew bread chunk with some chicken with a little bacon and then some of the chimichurri on top of that could be a very good combination. You could also do fish like trout or salmon. I know some people avoid salmon, but some people don't so that's an option. And then with the fish you could make whipped coconut cream and mix in a lemon extract with the coconut cream and use that as a faux sour crème topping.

So get creative with the top. Take a little bit of crushed almonds or a little bit of parsley or something and sprinkle that on top then dash some pepper on there, and just make it look nice.

My point in talking about tapas is to put some energy into your food once in a while, take a little bit of time to make it aesthetically pleasing, lay it out on a plate. This worked for me in the past, not from a food addict's perspective, but just if I was feeling down and I had a really long day, I might spend one or two hours in the kitchen making something that's really pleasing and then I would sit down and eat that. Even with a really healthy meal that doesn't have all those opiates and stuff in it, just that act can be very pleasing, very calming, and can help you enjoy your creative output. That's my food recipe for the day, although like I said, not really a recipe, just more of an inspiration. Check it out and look up pictures too and see what inspires you.

That's our show for today. We'll be back next Monday at 2:00 p.m. eastern and we are still discussing what topic we're going to have for next week, so that's a surprise at this point, but we encourage you to come back and tune in to the Health and Wellness Show.
I'd like to say thanks to our hosts for being here with me and thanks to our listeners for tuning in and to everybody in the chat room for offering questions. So have a great week everybody!