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Food and Mood: Losing 100 Pounds!

Zucchini "Noodles" With Raw Tomato Sauce

The evidence has been around for thousands of years: What you eat affects how you feel physically and emotionally — only I ignored it for a long, long time. Finally, after medical tests showed I better eat right—and my physician said “or else”—I got with the program. In order to kick-start my weight loss I switched to a six-day-a-week raw and living-foods diet overnight.

I had been a meat and potatoes kind of guy. The change was brutal. I don’t recommend making a switch so quickly, by the way. Better to start slow with any attempts at eating healthier. I couldn’t believe I was eating bean sprouts and flax seeds and wheatgrass juice and salads. I really missed burgers and fries and ketchup and pie.

At first my mood fluctuated and I was alternately fatigued and exhilarated. (I was also pretty cranky). But after three weeks my blood sugar levels evened out and after five, my (bad) cholesterol levels had dropped 72 points! My cholesterol ratio also stabilized and my blood pressure plummeted to 120 over 80—where it’s been ever since. Oh, did I mention? I lost over 100 pounds in just five months (hey, I’m a big guy—a former athlete). And except for the first couple of weeks, I was never irritable or hungry.

After a while I began to incorporate a variety of cooked whole foods into my diet and now I eat what I call “seasonally smart”— more whole, natural cooked foods in colder, wetter weather; more whole, natural raw and “living” foods in hot, dry weather. This is what works for me.

And I’ve also been (gently) encouraging people I know with mental illness and/or in recovery from addiction to add more living and raw and cooked natural foods into their diets. In fact, we feature a column in our newsletter about easy ways to eat healthy that includes some terrific recipes and nutritional research. The science is far from complete, but there is some strong evidence that suggests that adding certain foods and supplements (and eliminating others) can help lessen some of the symptoms of everything from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder to depression. But even the best diet can’t eradicate symptoms, so do not go off your medication or stop going to therapy.

Sure, I knew that what we eat is important to our physical health. But until I actually saw for myself how much better I felt, not only physically but emotionally, too, I didn’t think it really applied to me. Now I know that you can’t go wrong with eating right.

Coming soon: In Part 2 of Food and Mood we interview Jenna Norwood, former model and award-winning filmmaker and raw food expert.

*Nobody should make serious changes to their diet without consulting their physician.

Food and Mood: Losing 100 Pounds!

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2012). Food and Mood: Losing 100 Pounds!. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Sep 2012
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