Let me start by apologizing for my leave of absence. It was never my intention to leave you hanging or let you think that I forgot about you. Quite the opposite. I’ve been thinking about how I can offer more to help you and anybody else that comes across my little corner of the internet.
Life has been crazy and full of changes since my last post, even before the pandemic started. We had losses and challenges, but also a lot to be grateful for. The beginning of the school year was extra exciting this year because not only did my daughter start kindergarten and my son 1st grade, I also started back at school! I spend the last half of 2019 completing a certificate in Nutritional Psychology through JFK University. As soon as I finished that, I started working on a Master’s degree in Nutrition at the University of Bridgeport.
Why am I going back to school at 36 years old? Over the past year, I had an epiphany about what I want to do “when I grow up”. Building Taste Abounds has been a wonderful experience. I enjoy developing recipes and learning food photography has been a blast! But I miss the work I did as a nutritionist before my kids were born.
As often happens when you’re “meant” to do something, a series of events made my path clear. The time has come for me to step out of my comfort zone, to share more about my personal journey and jump into a gritty conversation that is just starting to gain traction – the conversation about mental health. It’s scary to think of sharing so much, but I’m going to take a leap of faith and join the conversation. As part of it, I’ll be rebranding my blog.
Taste Abounds will soon be Neurons and Nourishment
You’ll still find the same great recipes that are low carb, keto, paleo and/or whole30 and always gluten-free because eating nutritious food is critical for mental health. More on that in a minute. If you’re here for the recipes, I want you to know that I’ll still share recipes! But I’ll be adding information and articles on nutrition for mental health, as well.
Why nutrition for mental health? Because in addition to the isolation of social distancing, a staggering and rapidly growing number of Americans are struggling with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and our children are being diagnosed with ADHD and autism at an alarming rate. Mental illness is painful and debilitating, but unlike most other chronic illnesses, it carries a stigma that prevents too many people from getting the help they so desperately need. But research is showing that relief may be as simple as a diet change. Tragically, most doctors and therapists receive little to no training about the crucial role nutrition plays in mental health. The result is that the world doesn’t know and those who are suffering don’t get the information they need to feel better.
It both breaks my heart and lights a fire under my ass at the same time. I want to help everyone struggling with depression or anxiety or has a child with ADHD or autism. It’s why I've spent the past eight months back in school, completing a certificate in Nutritional Psychology and starting a Masters in Nutrition that I'll be working on for the next couple of years. I want to be an influential voice in the conversation.
While the science behind the impact of diet on mental health fascinates me, I have to admit that my passion for this subject involves far more than that. The truth is, I have struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. I know how crazy it can make you feel and how debilitating it can be.
My Journey through Depression and Anxiety
My battle with depression and anxiety began when I was a young. I can remember feeling hopelessly depressed and anxious when I was as young as 10 years old. I began self-medicating as a teenager and young adult. I managed to get good grades, hold a job and maintain a guise of success, but meanwhile I was numbing myself with whatever I could get my hands on. After years of living like this and trying to find a better way by myself, I decided that I needed help.
Eleven years ago, I started my own personal adventure of finding a treatment for my depression and anxiety. Life since then has been a rollercoaster. Five years of regular therapy and a radical diet and lifestyle change helped a lot for a while, but then postpartum depression hit and wow, it hit hard. Really hard. I did everything I could to work through it myself, but nothing touched it. I finally accepted that I couldn’t fix it myself and saw my doctor. He was shocked at the state I was in and recommended that I start on medication. I probably wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t.
Digging myself out of such a deep, dark hole wasn’t as easy as just taking a pill. It took three different medications over the years, a lot of therapy, a lot of doctor visits and a lot of tests. All of that effort has paid off, though, because I finally have some answers.
It turns out that not only was my body totally depleted after making two small humans, my genes made it difficult for my body to recover. It explained why nutrition and lifestyle alone didn’t work for me. Armed with this knowledge, I now know how I have to eat and the supplements that I have to take. That, along with counseling and neurotherapy, has made a huge difference. I actually feel like a happy, functioning human being!
But I’ve been at the end of that dark, suffocating tunnel. I know how awful it is. Now that I’ve come out the other side, I want to help others find their way through. My sincere hope is that by sharing my personal story, all that I have done, what worked and all that I’ve learned along the way, I can offer some hope to others out there struggling with mental illness. I’ve made it through depression and anxiety and feel a million times better. So can you!
What to Expect
By now, you have probably guessed that I’m going to tell you that a big part of keeping that brain of yours happy is eating a nutritious diet. You guessed right! But as a fellow foodie, I know how important it is to not only be nourished by your food, but also to enjoy eating it. Taste will still abound! I’ll transfer all of my recipes from Taste Abounds to Neurons and Nourishment and continue to share new recipes. Curious how I eat or what I feed my family? I’ll share my meal plans, which will include my recipes and recipes from others, in my newsletters to subscribers. If you need information on nutrition for mental health or help planning nutritious meals for you or your family, sign up below!
In addition to recipes, I’ll share research, resources, and more details about everything I’ve tried over the last 11 years. At the end of my masters degree, I plan to put all that information together into classes that I will offer online and in person. I also plan to offer nutrition consulting both in-person and online. All of that is a little ways away, but of course I’ll post updates! In the meantime, you’ll be able to find plenty of information and inspiration on my new blog, Neurons and Nourishment.
So there you have it – my plans for my blog and the next few years of my life. I bet you didn’t expect all of that when you started reading this! But in all seriousness, I can’t wait to see where this road goes, and I hope you’ll join me. I have a lot more recipes and tons of helpful information to share. I hope it helps you find the relief that I’ve found, and I hope that together, we can change the way people think about diet and mental health.