How to Cook for Someone With Anxiety

You can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting someone who experiences ongoing scuffles with anxiety. It always amazes the Mormodonna that we, as individuals, don’t remember that this is a new problem.

IMG_0456The figures are shocking: “…anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population). Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to ‘The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders’, a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999). This was 10 years ago.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why problems with anxiety are skyrocketing, even among children? Are we experiencing a “genetic epidemic” (is this really a thing?), or is it more likely that altered environmental factors are at work? We got our first big clue not too far back when mankind discovered that a healthy gut flora was crucial to overall health. But some really groundbreaking discovery has been made in understanding just what exactly is disrupting the microbiome to the extent that millions of children and adults now suffer with chronic anxiety (not to mention all the other dodgies of the day).

IMG_0453Cook organic food. Organic food is certified to be grown without the use of certain herbicides and pesticides that are known to kill the healthy micro organisms your body depends on to produce essential amino acids. If you haven’t heard of glyphosate,  do your homework. It’s the main ingredient in RoundUp. It’s used on everything these days from soy to sugarcane to beets and wheat. It is pervasive in our food supply and it has been given the green light by government agencies because it is thought that it is harmless to humans. The way glyphosate works so well is by disrupting an essential enzyme pathway in plant cells. We humans may not have the same pathway but all the little inhabitants that live in our gut do! And we rely on them to make things like serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and methionine – essential for mental health!

The only way to avoid RoundUp is to eat organic food. All you mormodonnas out there — I know you’re cringing, thinking about that moment at the cash register of the local healthy foods store when they tally up how much organic food costs compared to how much you’re used to saving by eating conventional food. You want to get the best deals for your hard earned money, it is only natural. But what’s not natural is what’s IN the conventional food. Pay the farmer or pay the doctor.

And you have to watch out for one of the worst offenders…meat. When it dawns on you how much it costs to buy meat that’s worth a darn, you will begin to understand why eating it “sparingly” is not only healthy for your body but also for your wallet. Life is precious! If it wasn’t treated as precious (which costs money), you don’t want it. GMO corn and soy are cheap and plentiful, but studies show they cause severe depletion of manganese in the blood of animals that eat them. GMO means “Roundup ready” for all intents and purposes. Manganese deficiency has been linked to everything from anxiety to autism. (This is only one of the ways Roundup has been linked to anxiety).

Eat healthy fats. No, I’m not talking about avocado and olive oil (they’re ok but not as spectacular). I would urge you to find yourself the rare and valuable grass-fed lard and tallow. Lard is the fat of pigs – and if those little piggies have been munching grass in the sunshine their fat is going to be simply magical for your brain and everything else. Same goes for the fat of pastured cows, called tallow. I guarantee if you sizzle your next batch of eggrolls in some creamy white lard, your family’s brain cells will tingle with delight. Brains are composed of mostly saturated fat! This whole vilification of animal fats is a tool of the edible seed oil industry, beginning early in the 20th century. It’s reign of horror has got to end. Find a local farmer who sells pig fat and render it into lard yourself at home to save tons of money. YouTube will show you how!

Creamy white, home-rendered lard

Make a steady supply of broth. Women have known pretty much forever that nothing is more healing than broth. Learn how to make “bone broth” – that slow-simmered building block of life that gels when chilled and can truly repair guts. Give it to those kiddos when they’re sick but also use it to build gut/brain health.IMG_0455

There’s so much more that could be said about things like raw milk and fermented vegetables, but Mormodonna’s first wish for you is the courage to leave the cheap, polluted food behind and be able to commit to cleaner, healthier fare.

          “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.
But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.” ~ Malachi 1:11-13