I do not know how to answer this briefly. It is a huge subject. For me, my food plan and supplements are vital, as are proper rest, sunshine, avoiding unhealthy stress, such as difficult people, too many EMFs, fluorescent lights, fragrances (petro-chemicals), etc.
I eat beef, beef fat, pastured butter, liver, brains, yoghurt made from cream, fresh and dried herbs, and a few plants. Current vegetables tend to be lettuce and parsnips.
I avoid FODMAPs, nightshades, high salicylate, oxalates, and nuts/seeds/their oils. I don't drink coffee or eat chocolate (alkaloids). Of course, no alcohol or tobacco.
I take magnesium, CLO, EPO and Vitamin E, nutritional and brewer's yeast, Vit. C and D, iodine, PicMins minerals, extra zinc. I take the D and CLO with a bit of pastured butter.
I eat no packaged, prepared foods, except for beef bacon. Avoiding preservatives, additives, and mystery ingredients is key.
I do yoga and eat yoghurt to increase GABA.
I eat 20-30gCHO/d, 50-75g/PRO/d, and usu. 120-150gFAT/d (per Dr. Jan Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet recommendations.)
This food plan has given me a poise, calm, and ability to smile and enjoy life which, before eating this way, I could not imagine would be possible.
Here is a page on Ketogenic diets and Mental health, in case it is of use:
Mental Disorders and Diet
Did you know a healthy diet is critical to your mental health? In fact, many physical and mental disorders are caused by a disruption in the digestive process and compromised intestinal health. When your digestion is sick, it's likely all of your body systems will get sick, including your brain.
How Digestion is Linked to Mental Health
Your digestive tract is just a long tube which is open at both ends. To protect itself from toxins and bacteria from the outside, your digestive tract or "gut" is coated with a layer of healthy bacteria, much like the grass which covers healthy soil. This bacterial layer of healthy and essential "gut flora" has many critical functions.
For instance, healthy gut flora:
act as physical and chemical "guards" against the unhealthy, toxic bacteria and other toxic substances which you ingest with your food
maintain and protect the lining of your intestinal tract
are necessary for the normal digestion and assimilation of nutrients, especially fiber
manufacture many different types of vitamins and other substances that your body depends on for good health
When the health of the intestinal lining is compromised, the healthy bacteria take a hit, and this allows the populations of toxic bacteria to increase and further degrade the health of the gut.
It's like a line of dominos. Once the good bacteria are reduced, the first domino falls, the gut wall becomes compromised, and very bad things begin to happen.
Once the bad bacteria get a foothold in the gut, the cellular lining of the digestive tract gets inflamed and can't function properly. The digestion and absorption of nutrients becomes impaired. Once digestion is compromised, food particles aren't broken down properly, and the gut begins to "leak". Undigested fragments of food particles flow into the body cavity.
These foreign molecules, especially if they are grain or dairy based peptides, result in an inflammatory and autoimmune reaction within multiple body systems, including the blood-brain barrier.
Once these toxins get into the brain, mental disorders such as autism, depression and schizophrenia can develop. In addition, because digestion is compromised, nutrient and micronutrient deficiencies occur, and these aggravate the body and brain further.
What Causes the Digestive Failure That Results in Mental Disorders?
Poor gut health is a function of the world we live in today, and the standard American diet and medical practices so common in our daily lives. Natasha Campbell McBride writes about this in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia. She writes that some of the most common factors involved in gut health and mental disorders:
Diet can have a direct effect on gut health. A diet high in carbohydrates, especially refined and processed sugars and starches can seriously degrade gut flora. Sugar and starches are the perfect food for toxic bacterial species, parasites, and yeasts, all of which can overwhelm the healthy bacteria in the gut.
Fiber from a diet high in wheat and other grains can degrade gut flora and set the stage for bowel inflammation, cancer and other digestive issues.
Antibiotics, which are much more prevalent in the food supply today. Commercial beef, pork and chicken operations routinely use antibiotics, which infiltrate the flesh of these animals. Commerical fruits, vegetables, nuts and other fresh food stuffs are sprayed with antibiotics. If we develop an infection, the doctor prescribes powerful antibiotics. All of this antibiotic exposure not only kills the bad bacteria but the good bacteria in our guts as well.
Drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, steroids, and contraceptives can compromise gut flora, especially if used frequently over long periods of time. Sleeping pills, heartburn medication, neuroleptics, cytotoxic drugs and other powerful drugs can also compromise gut health.
The gut health of your parents also has an impact. Babies are born with a sterile gut, and breastfeeding from a healthy mother helps the baby's gut get populated with the right type of flora. If the mother's gut is compromised, she will pass on those unhealthy bacteria to her infant, and if the baby is bottle fed, a whole other set of unhealthy bacteria is introduced.
There are many studies which link neurological and mental disorders to the health of the gut:
This study reported that patients with celiac disease, a gut disorder associated with wheat gluten allergies, were 51.4% more prone to develop neurological disorders such as ataxia, chronic headaches, developmental delays, hypotonia, learning disorders and ADHD.
This study discusses the behavioral effects and persistent depressive symptoms in patients with untreated celiac disease.
And this paper discusses the prevalence of neurological disorders in those with celiac disease.
So as you can see, keeping your "gut flora" in good shape is a critical part of staying healthy, both physically and mentally.
The ketogenic diet has a very beneficial effect on mental disorders because it eliminates the sugars, wheat and other grains which are known to effect mental and neurological health.
In fact, sticking to a low carb, ketogenic diet has been shown to be an effective depression treatment, because it gets you off the blood sugar roller coaster associated with a high carb diet.
Low carb diets have also been shown to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia, and help those with bipolar disorder.
The GAPS diet, one version of a grain free, lower carb diet is being used very successfully to treat ADHD, autism, and other neurological disorders.
Dr. Emily Deans' blog, Evolutionary Psychiatry is devoted to brain health. She has much good information on food, supplements and brain function, how what we eat affects how we feel and function, etc. This is from her Basic Premise page:
My overarching theory is that our bodies and brains do best in conditions for which they are evolved. I dig up scientific information and present it in that context. I may not be right, and that's okay too. However, I feel that by studying evolutionary medicine, we come closer to the answers for optimal conditions for health and vitality. The basics of evolutionary medicine are simple: don't eat very much fructose, omega-6 rich industrial vegetable oils, grains (such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, quinoa, oats, corn, etc.), or processed "fake" food in general. Eat as much local, farmstand, grassfed, pastured, wild-caught as you care for. That's vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, eggs, fruits, and high-fat dairy, red wine, and dark dark chocolate in moderation. Also, get plenty of sleep and play. While a very healthy diet can be mostly plant-based, I do contend that it is exceedingly difficult to get by on a strict vegan diet due to lack of B12, zinc, phospholipids, K2, poor omega 6 to 3 ratio, and other issues.
Also Emma Davies at the FailSafe diet blog, has a great post on GABA:
Here is the basic page on the FailSafe diet, which I have found to be of great help in pinpointing which categories of foods trigger unwanted symptoms, and which foods within those categories.
There is much, much more which could be said. I hope this is good for "starters". I wish you happy success! :)