In this episode, Dr. Toni talks with naturopathic doctor and author Dr. Christina Bjorndal about her personal experience addressing mental health struggles growing up and into motherhood. This conversation includes discussion of Dr. Chris’s experience with an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, as well as the role of naturopathic medicine and self-love in her ability to move from denying to owning her truth.

Christina Bjorndal is a licensed naturopathic doctor and established keynote speaker on how to regain your mental health using a naturopathic approach. She is the co-founder of Natural Terrain, a naturopathic clinic in Edmonton, and author of the books “Beyond The Label: 10 Steps To Improve Your Mental Health With Naturopathic Medicine” and “The Essential Diet: Eating for Mental Health”.

Her books, courses and workshops can teach you how you can regain your mental health using a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual approach to health, especially if you have been recently diagnosed with a mental illness or if you are struggling in your life. 

In this episode, we cover:

  • How everything between mania and suicide fits in the range of human experience and is not necessarily a problem
  • Your 3 macro-systems involved in your mental health on a physical level
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Endocrine or hormonal
    • Detoxification organs and immune system
  • The importance of nutrition for mental health: amino acids tryptophan for serotonin production and phenylalanine for dopamine production
  • How learning how to say no and sleep are critical for your mental health as a mom, while a huge challenge for new moms
    • Ask yourself the reason behind saying yes to what you put on your plate in life, especially if you have the tendency to be a people pleaser
    • Resentment is a cue or red flag that you are not managing your boundaries properly
  • Some common myths around mental illness
    • You should not have children if you have a mental illness because it’s genetic
      • The scientific study of epigenetics shows that genes load the gun, while lifestyle pulls the trigger
    • You cannot manage mental illness without medication
    • You create mental health issues with “poor mental hygiene” and bad psychological habits
      • Learning to navigate your inner critic and manage your mind and thoughts so you’re not at the mercy of them is a key step for mental health (and can take time)
      • The scientific field of psychoneuroimmunology shows that your thoughts create neuropeptides that affect the hormones produced in your body and how you feel
      • Negative thoughts push you into a sympathetic stress mode
      • Steps can include recognizing your thoughts, refraining from following your thoughts by relaxing into your breath
      • We all form beliefs, judgements and opinions based on what happens to us but sometimes they are not correct – it’s important to critically examine these pieces
    • Your mental health issues are completely negative, there is no gift in them
      • Depression can be calling you home to you

For more information on the impact of nutrition on your health, see Episode 85

You can connect with Dr. Chris at https://drchristinabjorndal.com/

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Chris believes that every mom needs to cultivate and practice good boundaries.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Dr. Chris’s book Beyond The Label, and loves to get outside for a walk to shift her emotional state, even if it’s just around her neighbourhood to experience nature in the city.

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Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.