BEFORE I FOUND THE RIGHT DIET
I was exhausted. I would sleep 10 hrs a night and another 3-5 a day and slam coffee to function. I had arthritis that was triggered by the coffee - but I needed it. Even in my 30's my skin was never clear; I had chronic UTI's and PCOS, and severe depression with mood swings. My salt and sugar cravings were awful. I never knew what brain fog was till after it was gone - it was just normal for me.
When I was diagnosed with a tumour I decided to stop playing around and really dive in.
I feel like I woke up for the first time...
can you relate to these testimonials?
If so, you need to read on...
Hi, I'm Nonie De Long, founder of HOPE Health and creator of the Mood and Metabolism Reset. And I'm also the first testimonial in the slides above!
But my journey with food as medicine actually didn't start there. It started about 11 years earlier, when I was seeking - and found - something to help my very ill child. That's how long it took me to crack the code.
What code? Well, to figure out what it was about the interventions I employed that was so transformative and why, and how to duplicate the results I had for others suffering with their mental health.
To explain properly, I'm going to have to share a bit of our story...
I became a mother at the age of 22. My son was born by emergency C-section because I was told he was breech. He was healthy for the first year of his life while I breast fed, almost exclusively. But when he started to wean onto solid foods he began having horrible ear infections, mood swings, and fevers. This lasted on and off for 3 years, during which he was given antibiotic after antibiotic and his mood swings became ever more difficult to manage. He was also vaccinated during this time, despite being ill, because as a young mother I didn't know better and was not told any different by our physician.
He was kicked out of daycares and even held back from kindergarten because he didn't seem to get along - he had rages, continual drooling and nose picking, aggression, odd fixations, poor speech, learning difficulties, and continual body rashes and troubles with his bowels. He also had red ears and red cheeks, as well as dark circles under his eyes, which I now recognize as a clinician to be telltale signs of food intolerances. But I had no idea at the time and doctors could not help me; they had no answers.
When he was 7 a psychiatrist hired by the school board gave him the formal diagnoses of bipolar disorder, ADD, and defiance disorder.
If you're like I was, you mistakenly believe a diagnosis will lead to treatment and improvement. It didn't.
It led to recommendations for medications and a stay in a residential 'treatment facility'. I was told these would help him, I was told he needed Risperdal (a new drug at the time). I had hesitations about giving my son drugs. When I researched the medication I found that the prescribing doctor was participating in collecting data on the drug. This was not disclosed to me in our meeting and I felt afraid to give it to my son. The drug has since been the subject of a class action lawsuit for damage to young males who were given it and developed gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue). I was not informed of this or any other negative side effect of the drug when it was prescribed.
In the 'treatment centre' I was horrified by the techniques used - from social shaming ,to secure isolation, to intramuscular sedation whenever a child was acting out in anger, to restricting family contact during a voluntary stay (I had voluntarily placed him there because physicians told me it was best). Still, I was not allowed to call him or speak to him because it 'interfered with programming'. My son was 7. The 'treatment' did not help him. What it did was traumatize and scar him for life. He returned home 9 months later, far worse than when entered, with health problems from the medications and psychological problems from the trauma. This 'treatment program' is now the defendant in a class action lawsuit for - you guessed it - abuse and neglect in the treatment of vulnerable children.
The foundation of the institutionalization, I'm sure, was a barrage of discrimination, which people with mental health issues understand all too well. The person who is ill is judged, as is the family. Which makes no sense at all if, in fact, mental illness is sickness of the brain.
But as anyone who has ever been mentally ill and shared that with others knows, almost everyone treats you as if you could 'snap out of it' if you just wanted to. I was endlessly told my son's behaviours were simply behavioural dysfunction - he just needed to be punished enough to stop doing them. This is despite the fact that a neurologist used MRI and EEG imaging to prove my son had brain damage and was having seizure activity, which he felt was a better explanation of the behaviour.
Years later my son was rediagnosed as PDD-NOS, meaning he was on the Autism Spectrum. I had originally inquired about this when he was diagnosed, as I felt he met the criteria. But, possibly because the school informed the psychiatrist and felt my son was intentionally defiant rather than having disabilities that caused his maladaptive behaviour - he was misdiagnosed.
With this 'recommended treatment', by the age of 9 my son was so violent he had 2:1 workers in the home, the community, and at school. We had approval to have plexiglass on our windows, as well as a number of other home modifications to make it safe for us to function in our home. I was isolated, unemployed, and impoverished because my son required round the clock supervision. I was desperate for help!
Instead what I got was pills. Pills that I discovered are not allowed to be tested in children, so all safety and efficacy data in children is discovered only through 'off label' prescribing - using sick children as guinea pigs. But of course, this is not disclosed when the drugs are given to the parent to administer.
I just didn't feel right giving mind altering drugs that had not been proven to be safe for a child without exploring dietary interventions first. I didn't really understand much about how diet affects the mind, but I knew fish was 'brain' food, coffee gave a good buzz, and chocolate could definitely impact my mood. Was there a diet that might help my son before I gave him drugs he would probably be on for life? When I asked the psychiatrist, she told me what we ate had no impact on mental health. But how could that be? The pills she was prescribing would go into my son's stomach to affect his mind. Why would pills work that way, but not food?
That's where my journey down this rabbit hole began.
If you're like me, you have seen the impact of crappy food on your mood and focus and sleep and energy. And so has everyone around you! Hell, I'm writing this now fuelled up with 3 cups of strong espresso to push through the pain of these memories. And, I'm sure all the parents out there can relate when I say there are times you do things for your kids you would never dream of doing because something just crosses a line in your heart - without really knowing what you're getting yourself into. As I said, that's where my journey down this rabbit hole began.
I want to be clear up front that I am no conspiracy theorist. I have no problem with medication when it improves a person's quality or duration of life.
So I'm not against meds if they are indicated and can make a difference, but I don't exactly trust pharmaceutical companies to disclose - or even know - all the long term side effects of drugs. I mean, there are no lifelong studies on these things, no studies in kids, and usually, no studies on taking more than one med at a time. And yet they are prescribed - often for life - and often many at a time. More and more often, to children. Indeed, my son's psychiatrists talked about finding the right 'cocktail' of meds to manage his care.
A 7 year old needs a cocktail of mind altering meds to function? Surely I cannot be the only person to think this diseased thinking.
Out of all of this I became determined to find any safer alternative that had data to support it. And I did. It's called orthomolecular psychiatry. I found the man who began it, more than 50 years before I found his work online, and flew my son to see him. This was no little thing since I had very little money and was travelling with a child who needed to be restrained for regular episodes of extreme violence. But we did it. And within a week of seeing the doctor my son was markedly improved. Within 6 months he was a different person. I saw it, my circle of friends saw it, and support staff saw it.
What did the doctor tell me to do? Change his diet and add vitamins. And he had over 50 years of clinical data to support his recommendations. Psychiatrists I have seen with my son since have told me that there is no 'data' done on this therapy, but this only demonstrates that they have not done their research. The first ever double blind studies in psychiatry were done by this man, Dr. Abram Hoffer, on vitamin therapies for the treatment of schizophrenia. And there have been no drug studies with such hopeful outcomes since.
Orthomolecular psychiatry transformed my son – and our lives – and drew me in. The change was miraculous. I returned to school to study this treatment and now operate a clinical practice where I use nutritional and orthomolecular interventions (including functional medicine and incorporating herbs and homeopathics where indicated) for mental and physical health issues.
I define the treatment model I've created as HOPE: Holistic, Orthomolecular, Preventative, and Educational vs DOPE: the Diagnosis based, Overspecialized, Pharmaceutically driven, and Emergency focused healthcare that dominates mainstream medicine today.
Simply put, I help people get to the root of their mental health issues, which in fact has as much to do with the gut and the liver as the brain! To this end I've created a 5 month, step by step program tested and honed over 10 years - unlike any other program you can find. This program uniquely addresses why diet and vitamins are not enough to fully correct deep mental health issues, and is individualized according to the biochemistry and genetic predisposition of each client. I use 5 different sets of lab analyses to ascertain the biochemical imbalances of each client and ensure every person receives treatment specific to her or him. My course exclusively offers both online and in person components.
I'm here to help you if you would like to explore what this type of healthcare can offer you or a family member who is mentally unwell. Just click on the link below to book your free consultation. A healthy, vibrant body and mind is our birthright. Let me help you and your family realize that.
Orthomolecular practitioners use nutrients in supplement form as an adjunct to diet for optimal health. Food alone may not be enough when people have long-standing imbalances (disease) due to poor lifestyle or compromised digestion and assimilation, or due to weaknesses in specific organs, creating greater than normal need for certain nutrients. Furthermore, our depleted soil does not create foods that are nutritionally optimal today. Thus, supplements targeted to address imbalances in biochemistry can be very beneficial.