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Justin Bethoney (he/him)

Justin joined Momma on October 23, 2023 live on Twitch to talk about The Connections Between Nutrition, Lifestyle & Mental Health

About Justin

Justin has a private practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Bend, OR. He has been practicing as a "psych NP” for a little over 10 years now, seeing both children and adults for psychiatric medication management and therapy in the outpatient setting. His practice primarily focuses on those who are functional (working, attending school) but suffering with emotional distress (anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD). Justin graduated from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in 2011. In 2020 self-published book entitled The Mental Wellness Diet: Ancient Wisdom - Evolving Science - Modern-day Options. TMWD book based on the idea that if we feed our brain the nutrients it craves, we will be better able to feel and function at our best.

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Episode Summary

Dig into the delicious insights of this episode where we unravel the secrets of mental wellness, connecting the dots between nutrition, lifestyle, and your daily dose of joy – a must-listen for anyone craving a sprinkle of wisdom in their taco-filled journey to well-being!

In this insightful interview on the podcast "Even Tacos Fall Apart," MommaFoxFire engages in a conversation with Justin Bethony, exploring the connections between nutrition, lifestyle, and mental health. The overarching theme of the interview revolves around the impact of dietary choices and lifestyle on mental well-being.

The interview begins with Justin introducing his book, "The Mental Wellness Diet," which serves as a guide to understanding the relationship between nutrition and mental health. The book is structured around five functions: respond, fuel, build, balance, and protect. Each function corresponds to a specific aspect of mental health, providing a holistic approach to well-being.

The first function, "respond," delves into the role of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in regulating emotions and reactions. Justin emphasizes the importance of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the synthesis of these neurotransmitters, offering practical insights into supporting mental health through dietary choices.

Moving on to the second function, "fuel," the discussion centers on the brain's need for oxygen and glucose. Justin emphasizes the significance of healthy blood flow to the brain and the role of mitochondria in energy production. A well-nourished brain, he argues, supports cognitive functions, particularly in the frontal cortex, aiding in decision-making and emotional regulation.

The third function, "build," explores the fatty substances that coat neurons, enhancing the speed of message transmission across the brain. Justin compares this myelin sheath to insulation on a coaxial cable, highlighting its role in maintaining efficient neural communication.

The fourth and fifth functions, "balance" and "protect," are interconnected and focus on neuroinflammation. Justin explains how an imbalance in the immune system and inflammation can contribute to mental health issues like ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Nutrients such as flavonoids, vitamin D, omega-3s, magnesium, and zinc are identified as essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing excess neuroinflammation.

Throughout the interview, Justin emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach to mental well-being, considering both lifestyle choices and nutritional intake. He encourages listeners to move beyond misconceptions and take the first step towards better mental health, even if the science isn't always definitive. He suggests that individuals can find their own answers by starting the journey and adapting to what works for them.

A notable aspect of the conversation is the discussion on stress and the modern lifestyle's impact on mental health. Justin suggests that aiming lower, understanding one's character strengths, and finding pursuits aligned with those strengths can help manage stress. The walkie-talkie, as he humorously terms it, symbolizes the benefits of physical movement in reducing stress and fostering relaxation.

In the latter part of the interview, Justin shares insights into the gut-brain connection, emphasizing the role of prebiotics and healthy fibers in supporting gut health. He provides practical dietary suggestions, including root vegetables, garlic, and onions, which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and contribute to the production of short-chain fatty acids that positively impact the brain.

The interview concludes with Justin offering advice on making sustainable changes to support mental health through nutrition and lifestyle choices. He highlights the significance of movement as a starting point, advocating for a gradual approach to building healthier habits.

Overall, the interview provides a comprehensive exploration of the intricate links between nutrition, lifestyle, and mental health, offering practical insights and empowering listeners to take charge of their mental well-being.

"Many men go fishing all of their
lives without knowing that it
is not fish they are after."

Henry David Thoreau