Nutrition and Mental Health: What is the Connection? Christina Veselak, LMFT, CN
Join our host Kristin Walker as she learns about focusing on Mental Health and Nutrition with Christina Veselak MA, LMFT, CN. Christina’s experience and training as a Mental Health Nutritionist has led her to see how our personal biochemistry affects our mood and behavior. By practicing Mental Health Nutrition she is able to help her clients identify nutritionally based issues such as protein intake, blood sugar balance & hypoglycemia, food intolerance’s and genetic issues in order to reduce depression, anxiety, insomnia, relapse, and even some psychotic symptoms. Most complex disorders have both emotional and biochemical components to them, therefore, we need to address both at the same time.
Christina Veselak’s motto is Feed the Brain First before tweaking it with psychotropic medication. Veselak points out that our brain mediates all of our behaviors, perceptions and feelings. For it to work optimally, it must be fed all the nutrients that it requires, in sufficient quantities. These nutrients include specific amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and the right fats. Further, missing a meal appears to be the number one relapse trigger for all addictions because of what happens to the pre-frontal cortex when blood sugar drops. Low blood sugar also can cause many symptoms such as violence, panic and anxiety. Addiction is first and foremost a biochemical disorder, with psycho, social and spiritual elements. It is driven by depleted neurotransmitters. This is not truly addressed in traditional treatment. Cravings and post acute withdrawal are generally caused both by low blood sugar and low neurotransmitters. Once blood sugar is stabilized by eating protein every 4 hours, and neurotransmitters are supported using amino acids, cravings and relapse have been shown to drop dramatically, leading to a much more serene and successful recovery.
One of Veselak’s most poignant points is that she does not want to just treat symptoms. She wants to identify their underlying biochemical causes. Christina even shares that she will feed clients in her office if they haven’t eaten for a long time, so that they can make better use of the therapy hour. This is a true paradigm shift in the treatment of mental illness and emotional disorders and brings a new light to Functional Medicine in the field of behavioral health.
Christina will be in Kansas City this week to talk about these very topics. See Christina’s Kansas City Schedule and download course information:
She also has an online certification course that will start in mid October. The Certification in Biochemical and Nutritional Approaches to Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, Level 1 & Level 2 will be offered to participants which will include a Core and Advanced Training. The purpose of these programs are to thoroughly train mental health and addiction counselors, therapists and any qualified practitioners who are interested in learning how brain chemistry re-balancing and diet play a vital role in addiction recovery, relapse prevention and sustained mental health. This online program leads to a certification as a Certified Recovery Nutrition Coach, (CRNC). Learn more about the courses here.
The Mental Health News Radio Network team is working with Christina to get our self-care in the best shape possible. As the show has grown, we realize we need to take care of ourselves first in order to deliver our advocacy to you! We’ll be talking about our healing journeys on our weekly Empowered Empath shows with counselors Melanie Vann and Melissa Richards with our host Kristin Sunanta Walker. Join the journey with us and stay tuned about our progress!
Christina Veselak, MA, LMFT, CN is the founder and director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition and runs Garden Gate Counseling & Consulting in Southeast Denver, Colorado. She has been a licensed psychotherapist for over 30 years, and specializes in individual counseling, addiction recovery and Mental Health Nutrition. She has also consulted for supplement companies, IV detox programs, and residential addiction treatment, helping them integrate nutritional approaches into their programs.. She is an experienced public speaker, and has presented at conferences and trainings around the country. Christina is also a founding member and former Executive Director of The Alliance for Addiction Solutions, a non-profit organization which promotes the use of nutritional and other natural modalities to support repair of the addicted brain. She is committed to staying abreast of the rapidly growing science of orthomolecular psychiatry and functional medicine and presenting it to the general public and professionals in the fields of addiction recovery & mental health.