We tend to think of food-related health issues as affecting the body rather than brain/emotion, yet most food-related disorders have one symptom in common more than any other symptom: Depression. Depression is an untraceable shadow that invades the system and blurs the mind. Untraceable, but not invincible. Redefining depression might help in conquering it.

Depression (noun) versus Depressing (verb)

A change in grammar can change our approach to depression. Used as a noun, it sounds like a virus or a bug we contract, but there’s no antidote. When said as a verb, depressing, it changes things. This seems like a nuance, but it’s not. When a person is down, and their health (body, mind, or both) is in a state of dis-ease, they are “doing” something. They are falling, degenerating, depressing. It’s a verb, which is empowering because it means there are actions we can take to change the verb. We just went from intangible shadow to tangible verb.


People are always surprised that depression is the number one manifestation for those reacting to gluten (1).  It’s also often strictly a neurological issue (2) with no other symptoms. Gluten hits the brain hard.


Casein (from cow’s milk) has been linked to migraines (3),  bi-polar (4), schizophrenia(5)…  which of those don’t run parallel with mood issues? Schizophrenic patients put on a strict gluten and dairy free diet showed improvement (6) with no other changes apart from removing gluten and dairy. Re-introduced to those foods, they relapse, then recover once more when gluten/dairy-free again. Kryptonite for the intangible shadow is apparently taking away its food.


There’s no question to the fact that certain foods can cause depression and other neurological issues. There are an overwhelming amount of case studies showing gluten and dairy can cause depression. Soy is also on the list, though this study (7) found it was only those eating soy two or more times a day that were experiencing depression. In another study: “Our results suggested that high consumption of soft drinks was significantly related to a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms among adults in China.” (8)

The disruptors are the foods we see on the problem list over and over: Gluten, dairy, soy, unhealthy fats, over-processed food, and sugar in its 500 forms.

Eliminate the cause and you eliminate the problem, right?

Yes, for many cases the issues disappear quickly. For others, the body needs a little extra time and help:

1) Gluten antibodies can linger for months,and then the body may need yet more time to rebuild. You generally see other symptoms disappear after 1-4 weeks gluten-free, but depression can take months and longer.

2) Identify all causes.If both gluten and dairy are disrupting the system, but the person’s only been diagnosed with celiac disease and unaware they’re also reacting to dairy or soy or any other food, the depression stays. Six weeks on 100% raw food does wonders here. It also makes it easier to do an elimination diet and single out which foods are guilty.

3) Do a comprehensive metals cleanse.No one is free of metals, it’s just a question of what level. Metals are in the air we breathe, water we drink and bathe in, and in places you would have a hard time imagining. These are neurotoxins that will affect the brain short and long term, obviously getting more severe with time and build-up.

The verb depressing can be de-actioned when the wrong foods are out and the right foods are in.


(1) Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002; 16:1333-1339

(2) Neurology, Vol. 56/No. 3, February 13, 2001

(3) Brennan KC, Bates EA, Shapiro RE, Zyuzin J, Hallows WC, Huang Y, Lee HY, Jones CR, Fu YH, Charles AC, Ptáček LJ. Casein kinase iδ mutations in familial migraine and advanced sleep phase. Sci Transl Med. 2013 May 1;5(183):183ra56, 1-11. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005784. PubMed PMID: 23636092; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4220792.

(4) Severance EG, Gressitt KL, Yang S, Stallings CR, Origoni AE, Vaughan C, Khushalani S, Alaedini A, Dickerson FB, Yolken RH. Seroreactive marker for inflammatory bowel disease and associations with antibodies to dietary proteins in bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2014 May;16(3):230-40. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12159. Epub 2013 Dec 6. PubMed PMID: 24313887; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4075657.

(5) Severance EG, Gressitt KL, Halling M, Stallings CR, Origoni AE, Vaughan C, Khushalani S, Alaedini A, Dupont D, Dickerson FB, Yolken RH. Complement C1q formation of immune complexes with milk caseins and wheat glutens in schizophrenia. Neurobiol Dis. 2012 Dec;48(3):447-53. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Jul 16. PubMed PMID: 22801085; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3465075.

(6) Dohan F. C., Grasberger J. C., Lowell F. M., Johnston H. T., Jr., Arbegast A. W. (1969). Relapsed schizophrenics: more rapid improvement on a milk- and cereal-free diet. Br. J. Psychiatry 115, 595–596. 10.1192/bjp.115.522.595

(7) Yu B, Yu F, Su Q, Zhang Q, Liu L, Meng G, Wu H, Xia Y, Bao X, Shi H, Gu Y, Fang L, Yang H, Sun S, Wang X, Zhou M, Jia Q, Guo Q, Liu H, Song K, Niu K. A J-shaped association between soy food intake and depressive symptoms in Chinese adults. Clin Nutr. 2018 Jun;37(3):1013-1018. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.04.014. Epub 2017 Apr 30. PubMed PMID: 28511998.

(8) Yu B, He H, Zhang Q, Wu H, Du H, Liu L, Wang C, Shi H, Xia Y, Guo X, Liu X, Li C, Bao X, Su Q, Meng G, Chu J, Mei Y, Sun S, Wang X, Zhou M, Jia Q, Zhao H, Song K, Niu K. Soft drink consumption is associated with depressive symptoms among adults in China. J Affect Disord. 2015 Feb 1;172:422-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.10.026. Epub 2014 Oct 22. PubMed PMID: 25451447.

 Jaqui Karr, CGP, CSN, CVD, is a best-selling author, speaker, and corporate consultantJaqui Karr who specializes in educating about gluten, celiac disease, specialty diets, and health through nutrition. Her popular “NakedFood” brand has helped thousands include more power raw and healing greens in their diet. Ms. Karr is a certified gluten practitioner, certified sports nutritionist, and certified vegan/vegetarian educator to dietitians. http://jaquikarr.com

Note: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer, not necessarily those of the publisher.