My wellness journey started about 14 years ago, long before The Vitality Project, during my first year studying towards my Bachelor of Natural Medicine. At the time I was on anti-depressants for about the fourth time since my early 20s.
Curiosity led me to an extra-curricular weekend workshop on mental health supplements. The day was transformational. An Australian naturopathic doctor speaking about the importance of taking control of your mental health. Through better nutrition, lifestyle, supplements and exercise, he believed that needing anti-depressants wasn’t a foregone conclusion or life-sentence.
"What we eat affects our mental state. Changing what we put into our mouths can change what our stomachs can process and therefore provide to the brain as fuel".
Although seemingly obvious now, back then, that realisation changed my future direction.
Riding the Ups & Downs
What a sense of empowerment ! It led me to wean off the medication in favour for the best nutrition I could afford as a student. This lifestyle change, with regular exercise and healthier life choices, meant that I haven’t taken anti-depressants since.
There has certainly been ups and downs in my life over that time, just like anybody. I now view a decline in my mental wellness as my body’s way of signalling that lifestyle changes are required. When stress waves come, because I’m living healthier, the downs are less deep. The result is a return to a balanced state sooner.
Science and Nature
Life as a practitioner furthered my understanding of neuro-inflammation which can be caused by various factors. These include a diet high in inflammatory foods, non-constructive lifestyle choices, chronic stress, chronic pain and head injury. Research nowshows that a suspected serotonin deficiency is not the primary culprit in depression after all.
I learnt that flavonoids (important chemistry produced by plants including fruits, vegetables, legumes and herbs) have an important evolutionary role as natural anti-neuro-inflammatories, which is fantastic. However, this crucial chemistry is hugely deficient in the modern food supply.
In a nutshell – someone experiencing depression may not necessarily have a serotonin deficiency. They may very well have a dietary flavonoid deficiency. This is something that can be addressed and remedied relatively simply, naturally.
Vitality and Freedom
I have since completed my Masters in Applied Neuroscience through King’s College London. My fascination with the brain and the mind has only grown. I am thrilled and beyond excited to take you on this journey with The Vitality Project team. Our mission to educate and (hopefully!) interest our community in the wonders of brain and mental health. What it is, what it means, the important link between the two.
Wholeheartedly wishing you the vitality and freedom experienced through excellent brain and mental health.
Megan Wilks - Founder and Chief Vitality Officer.