How I Kicked My Wine and Chocolate Cravings

by Ann Marie Michaels on September 13, 2011

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I used to drink 2-3 glasses of wine every night. I always made sure I had wine in the house. I’d typically have a glass of wine while I was making dinner, then have another with dinner, and often another after that.

I also used to crave chocolate and sometimes carbs in the evenings. I have a stash of chocolate chips that I would eat after dinner — just a small bowl. Or sometimes I’d sneak some potato chips. While I craved chocolate (and sometimes carbs,) I didn’t need those every single day. By far, the bigger vice was the wine.

I’m thrilled to report that I no longer crave wine or chocolate in the evening. Since I’ve been eating 3 square meals a day and taking amino acids 4 times a day, the cravings are kaput!

What’s Wrong With Wine and Chocolate?

If you need wine and chocolate, it’s a problem. (Psst: same goes for those of you who drink coffee every morning.) Maybe I wasn’t drinking wine to get drunk, but needing a glass or two of wine every evening is an addiction.

I love wine and chocolate. I will continue to enjoy them. On occasion. Now I’m free to indulge when I want to — and not on a daily basis because I can’t help myself.

Julia Ross & The Mood Cure

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I gave up coffee over a year ago. It was one of the best things I ever did for my health. Click here to read how I quit coffee with the help of real food and amino acids.

I figured if traditional food and amino acids could help me quit coffee, they could help me get rid of my nightly cravings for wine and chocolate.

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been following Julia Ross’s protocol in her book,
The Mood Cure
. I took a weekend seminar with Julia last summer and I learned a ton. Click here to read about my weekend with Julia Ross.

Some of you have been asking me to write a post about exactly which amino acids I’ve been taking.

But first, a disclaimer: Please keep in mind this is not medical advice. I am not a doctor. These are not suggestions for you to take. This protocol really depends on the person.

If you are looking for help for yourself, I recommend that you read Julia Ross’s book,
The Mood Cure.
In fact, I highly recommend that you work with Julia Ross one-on-one if you can. Especially if you’re an alcoholic, have an eating disorder, or are trying to get off of an antidepressant.

Neurotransmitters and Mental Health

I first need to go over a little brain chemistry. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt!

There are four major neurotransmitters in the brain:

Serotonin
Catecholamines (norepinephrine)
GABA
Endorphin

When we have deficiencies in any of these neurotransmitters, we start having emotional and mental problems.

Neurotransmitters and Addictions

Being low in neurotransmitters can also cause addiction. When we are low in neurotransmitters, we tend to use substances — alcohol, tobacco, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, and drugs — to get a boost, or relax, take the edge off, or just make ourselves feel better.

Do you need your coffee in the morning? Do you become irritable and tense, or tired without it?

Do you need a glass of wine or two in the evening to help calm down and relieve stress?

Do you crave carbs or sweets on a daily basis? Do you keep a stash of special treats that nobody else knows about?

Do you need your daily dose of chocolate? Do you justify it, saying it’s healthy because it’s organic, dark chocolate? (I hear that one a lot.)

Do you smoke cigarettes?

All of these substances are ways we use foods, drinks and drugs to artificially feel better. The bad news is: if you need these things, you are already deficient. And many things, including caffeine, actually reduce your neurotransmitters. A vicious cycle!

Amino Acids

Amino acids, found in protein, are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Many (most?) of us are deficient in neurotransmitters, partly because we don’t eat properly (who eats 3 square meals with 20-30 grams of protein anymore?) and partly because we take drugs that actually deplete our neurotransmitters — for example: caffeine, nicotine and aspartame.

When we are deficient in neurotransmitters, it’s usually not enough just to eat a good diet. Many of us need to supplement with amino acids for a short period of time in order to overcome addictions, banish depression or anxiety, sleep through the night (lack of serotonin causes insomnia,) stop obsessive-compulsive behaviors, etc.

Whether we overeat (or undereat,) drink too much wine, smoke, or are depressed or anxious, it’s not a moral failing — it’s brain chemistry.

How I Did It

According to the questionnaire, I was low in all the neurotransmitters. I have low blood sugar, too.

If you read The Mood Cure, you’ll find that you have to eat 3 square meals a day with 20-30 grams of protein, lots of good fat (butter, lard, coconut oil, tallow, olive oil) as well as lots of vegetables and whole grains. (Essentially a WAPF diet, although Julia recommends more vegetables. I do my best.)

In addition to my 3 squares, I’ve been taking the following amino acids:

Glutamine – For low blood sugar; this helps keep me balanced between meals. If I miss a meal or am late making dinner, I literally get dizzy, get a blinding headache, and become irritable and tired. This was my old 5 o’clock pattern. I’d skip lunch or not eat enough for lunch, and by 5 o’clock, I was starving. And I’d reach for a glass of wine. Now I just make sure I take my glutamine and I don’t skip meals. I take 1 pill three times a day (morning, mid-morning, afternoon, and bedtime) and more as needed.

DLPA – For low endoprhins. This is probably my biggest deficiency. DLPA is what helped me kick caffeine last year. Now I take it three times a day — morning, mid-morning, and afternoon.

GABA – For stress/anxiety/irritability. I’ve had a TON of stress lately (selling the house, moving, etc.) so for a while I was taking up to 750 mg 4 times per day. Now I’m taking 100 mg 4 times a day. If you’re trying to get off of alcohol or carbs or other addictive substances, you may need more for a period of time. I take the chewable kind and let it absorb in my mouth (faster than swallowing and waiting for it to go through my digestive tract — in fact, I take all the amino acids this way; I just chew up the capsules.)

Tryptophan – For low serotonin (the happy brain chemical). Serotonin also converts to melatonin when it gets dark — which helps you get tired and helps you sleep. I’m taking this twice a day — in the afternoon and at bedtime. I used to have a hard time going to sleep and now I drop off almost instantly.

I’m also taking a B-complex supplement. Vitamin B6 helps us properly utilize amino acids, so if you suspect you might be low, Julia Ross recommends that we take it.

I need to order some NOW True Balance (recommended by Julia Ross) — a multivitamin that also contains chromium and other things that help balance blood sugar. Julia also recommended a the 2-stage release melatonin supplement to take at night since I’ve still been waking up at 2 or 3 am.

I did notice that since I’ve been using a sleep mask for the past couple nights to block out the light, I’ve been sleeping even better. I still woke up last night at 2 am, but I got up, went to the bathroom and went straight back to sleep within 5 minutes. I did not have to take any tryptophan or melatonin to help me fall asleep like I normally do. I love this sleep mask!

How Long Do You Have to Take the Amino Acids?

I know people are going to ask this, so I’ll answer here. You take them as long as you need them. Most people only need to take them for a month or two. When I quit coffee, I only took the amino acids for a few weeks. If you’re trying to quit something stronger, like heroin or Prozac, you might need to be on them longer (and I recommend that you work with your doctor, and with Julia Ross.)

Oh, and if you’re pregnant or nursing, you don’t want to take the single aminos. Julia Ross recommends an amino acid blend.

Take the Questionnaire

If you’re curious about your own neurotransmitter deficiencies, go and take the mood questionnaire on Julia’s site. If you’d like to share your results, please post a comment below.

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Larsen September 13, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Wow! I tested very low on every single section! I need to get this book! I think I suffer from adrenal fatigue and plan on going to the doctor to get tested. I’m not sure how all this ties into adrenal fatigue but I sure it’s related very closely. Great article!

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cheeseslave September 13, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Stephanie,

Yes, it is closely related — Ross writes about hormone health as part of the overall picture in The Mood Cure.

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Stacy September 13, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Aren’t sleeping masks great? It made a huge difference for me too. I used to have so much trouble falling asleep, and now I don’t. (I also eat three squares a day, WAPF-style, and avoid grains.)

Was it my comment from this past weekend that made you try a mask? If so, I’m glad. I think they are a great help.

Another trick is to avoid (if possible) looking at anything with blue light for an hour before bed. This means your iPhone, iPad, computer screen or television. Only yellow reading light. It means of course that if you use your phone as an alarm clock you have to set it earlier in the evening. But it’s much easier to sleep if you avoid the electronics.

Anyway, thanks for the info on amino acids. Interesting stuff.

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cheeseslave September 13, 2011 at 6:06 PM

@Stacy

I think it was your comment! After I read it, I told my mother-in-law that I wanted to buy a sleep mask and she let me borrow hers. So thank you!!!!

I wish I could turn off all screens an hour before bed… that’s the next addiction I’ll have to conquer. I wonder if there’s an amino acid for that? ;-)

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Rosemary September 13, 2011 at 7:05 PM

i have had some success with the screen lighting problem by #1 – dimming my screen brightness in the evenings, and #2 installing a program called f.lux (http://stereopsis.com/flux/ for Windows/Mac/Linux) which cuts down the blue light levels from your screen at dusk and runs your colors on a profile to match the indoor lighting type you have. i do notice less of a compulsion to stay on the computer late at night since i’ve installed it!

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Cheryl September 14, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Rosemary – THANK YOU for that recommendation!!!!! I work mostly through the middle of the night, from home, on my computer. I just downloaded this program and my eyes thank you!!! Now, if only they had an app for my Android. :)

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM

What a great idea!

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Just downloaded it! Thank you for the recommendation! I love it!!!!

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Heather September 14, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Rosemary, this program ROCKS!!! I just downloaded it and my eyes thank you! I’m hoping it will help me not stay up so late at night, too, which is definitely a problem for me. Thanks, again!

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ValerieH September 13, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I read her book Diet Cure a few years ago. The only amino acid I added was L-Glutamine between meals. There were a lot of vitamins that I had to spread out over the course of the day. I bought a bunch of weekly pill sorters and used one week for a whole day. Each day of the week was for each time I had to take vitamins: breakfast, between, lunch, between, dinner, bedtime. It took a while but it did help with carb cravings. Sometimes I use L-Carnitine when low on energy but it can rev me up if I take it too late at night. If I need help sleeping, valerian root capsules help.

I’m grateful this advice and the supplements are available. I recommend it every chance I get. It isn’t that hard to implement and it makes a big difference. I think I need to look into GABA. I have been using brainwave entrainment audios for meditation and relaxation for 7 years. That helps me de-stress too.

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Candace September 13, 2011 at 6:38 PM

I followed The Mood Cure protocol over the summer and feel SO MUCH BETTER. Before, I was wondering if I needed medication and my husband was asking if I needed to go to counseling (both wonderful things in certain situation). Now, however, I feel great after 5-HTP and DLPA, plus vitamins and better food.

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Jennifer Jansky September 13, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Oh my….my scores were beyond awful. Oh wow, before I the book arrives where should I even start to fix this? :(

I feel a tad sad at this but at the same time a tad glad that I can see a possible fix for all my issues. I thought I just lacked willpower or something but wow….yeah….I am shocked.

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Definitely read the book first!

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mister worms September 14, 2011 at 4:21 AM

I used to be the same with sweets/carbs both early morning and night. I felt like I “needed” something carby to start the day and always something sweet after dinner. I kicked sugar and grains for the most part and I don’t have those cravings at all. I never thought I wouldn’t miss bread or sweets.

I LOVED the Mood Cure book. I think I’m going to need some guidance with my coffee habit. Even with the tyrosine, I feel like I’m not alive without that one morning cup and keep relapsing. I might give it one more go and be more conscientious about all of the tips she gives.

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Linda September 14, 2011 at 4:22 AM

I don’t sleep well at night. Typically I wake up at least 2-3 times and have a hard time getting back to sleep. I have tried the amino acids she recommends for sleeping, but I’m not good at taking capsules several times a day. The ones I tried didn’t really help. I think I need to do a lot more than I’m doing or maybe I haven’t been taking them long enough. I’m just not a pill person. I will say I go to bed earlier than I used to. I have The Mood Cure and I know I’m not eating as much protein as she recommends. I really can’t eat 3 eggs for breakfast with all those veggies. Do you eat that much?

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marina September 14, 2011 at 6:14 AM

Hi Linda. If you can’t eat eggs for breakfast, why don’t you try cottage cheese or greek yogurt, they have at least 18 grams of protein per cup. This is also from Julia’s book.
Also, you can try putting raw organic eggs into a smoothie. I make one with coconut milk, frozen wild blueberries, 2-3 eggs, a frozen 1/2 banana and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for B vitamins. It goes down very easy! :)
Also, try 5-htp for sleep, right before bed, especially now that the fall is starting. Read about 5-htp on page 50 of Julia’s book.
hope this helps :)

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Jill September 14, 2011 at 4:37 AM

The Mood Cure is a fabulous book and Julia’s protocol is very good. While it is hard to take a lot of supplements each day, it is only temporary and can really help. You just reminded me about it and I am going to get a few to help my interrupted sleep patterns and cravings.

I also find that once you stop eating all those carbs, after a few days you stop craving them as much. You also have to break the “habit” of eating them, i.e., don’t sit in that comfy chair with the class of wine after dinner — go do something else that is not associated with drinking the wine or eating the snacks. A little behavior mod goes a long way and is also part of the picture.

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mindy September 14, 2011 at 5:09 AM

Wow, my serotonin scored way low! The question about having sores on you legs that take a long time to heal struck me! I have that! How is that related to blood sugar? Intrigued indeed!
When we get visitors in town everyone winds up drinking a lot of wine. They leave and I continue to crave wine every night. I’ll go three weeks drinking 1-2 (rarely 3) glasses of wine a night almost every night. It seems like once I drink for a couple of nights straight, I keep it going. I have to remove all wine from the house and fight cravings for a couple of days before they go away. I’m trying to lose weight and all that alcohol sugar is not helping! I also have way more energy the next day if I didn’t drink wine the night before!

The coffee issue interesting. I’ve been drinking a daily coffee for 18 years! It’s part of my identity! I love coffee. Sometimes when I’m laying in my bed waiting to fall asleep, I think about my morning coffee, and how delicious it’s going to be in the morning. OK yes, I sound like a serious addict!! I really have no desire to quit coffee. Maybe it will make me feel better in the long run. But it’s such a ritual. I don’t know if I could or even want to give it up!

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:26 AM

I never wanted to give my coffee up either. I loved it.

But I don’t miss it now. I drink decaf when I want coffee, or a decaf latte.

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Norma September 14, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I hear you, I love my coffee. There is nothing better in the morning than smelling it brewing and that first sip of HOT, strong coffee!!! Life is so good. ;-) w/ coffee. I do mostly decaf…….

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Susan October 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Ladies- I so hear you about the coffee thing. After being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue I gave up everything: The sugar, the wheat and the cocktails. But I was slow to give up my coffee. I did immediately cut back to one cup only, but I refused to give it up. I liked the taste, the smell and the warmth.

Recently I read about Teeccino (an herbal decaf coffee drink) and gave it a try and I am so glad I did. It’s yummy! Don’t get me wrong: It is not exactly like coffee and doesn’t smell like coffee, BUT it tastes close enough to coffee to trick my brain into believing I am not being denied. And the cool thing is, on those gloomy morning I want a second cup of “coffee,” I can have it!

The first week we did 2 scoops coffee and one scoop Teeccino, the second week 1 coffee to 2 Teeccinos -until we were completely off the coffee. I buy the Maya French Roast flavor. It has the body and taste of coffee to me. I read about Teeccino on their website and then bought it from Amazon on their auto ship. They even sell the “coffee” in tea bag form so you can have your coffee when eating at a restaurant, traveling, etc.

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Christy September 14, 2011 at 5:13 AM

You had already healed your adrenal fatigue before you read this book right? Does she address how to heal the adrenals as well as taking the amino acids, or do they have to be done separately? My baby will be weaned within the next month, and I was planning on working on adrenal fatigue then, but I’m wondering if I should just skip straight to her book!

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:25 AM

She does address adrenal fatigue in the book and does recommend getting tested. I did work on my adrenals prior to reading this book but you can do both at the same time.

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Jagrati Buggia September 14, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Christy,

Julia Ross addresses Adrenal Fatigue and tons of other physical issues in her prior book, “The Diet Cure”. Be careful of the original edition though that recommends soy products. She changed her stance on this (and rightly so imo) for the later edition. FYI, this book also has a small compact section about mood.

HTH,
Jagrati

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Luci September 14, 2011 at 5:46 AM

I got the Mood Cure and worked through it about 6 months ago, and it made such a difference in my life! I scored desperately low on EVERYTHING, which was pretty overwhelming. But I started one supplement at a time, and once I got in a routine with it it was quite easy. I set up reminders on my computer for all the times I needed to take supplements, and that helped me stay on track during the weekdays (I am on the computer all day long at work). Weekends were a little more hit and miss, but I still made progress. I feel SO much better. I’ve actually been reading through it again now, because I’ve crept back into some bad eating habits and am now struggling with low blood sugar again. I will always keep this book on hand!

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Chiot's Run September 14, 2011 at 5:47 AM

I have found that after switching to a more traditional diet and eating bigger meals each I have fewer cravings than I used to, I think I was just undernourished. I’ll have to look into the amino acids, something new to read about! Thanks for the book recommendation – I’ll have to see if my local library has this.

I drink coffee each morning, but don’t really “need” it and I don’t really have problems if I miss it. Growing up in Colombia, I’m not really of the mindset that coffee is evil as many people are. In moderation, I believe it can provide some great health benefits.

As far as sleep goes, I agree with Stacy. I think our current lifestyles of watching TV, CFL & LED light bulbs and not spending enough time in the sun during the day are all affecting our natural rhythms. The more I avoid lights at night and make sure to spend 15 min in the sun every day, the better I sleep. I’m trying to achieve a more traditional lifestyle along with my more traditional diet.

(smiled when I noticed that one of the “you might also posts” at the bottom of this article is a recipe for Chocolate Pots de Creme)

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Amy September 14, 2011 at 6:22 AM

A big reason people crave carbs is they’re not eating enough carbs! It’s your body calling for help. Since I started eating whatever I wanted, my cravings stopped. A lot of people following diets that are either low-fat or low-carb or low-protein will get cravings (including for alcohol and sweets) because their bodies are in need of eating more of something. I learned this in recovery from my eating disorder and rarely have cravings anymore because I listen to what my body is asking for.

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Julia doesn’t advocate a low-carb diet. She advocates eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein, good fats, as well as complex carbs like potatoes and whole grains. She’s also a big fan of eating fruit. She does say we need to avoid all refined carbs like white flour and sugar.

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Hannah September 14, 2011 at 6:36 AM

What sleep mask do you use? Where can I buy one? Any ideas about making one?

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Just one from a travel store. Works great!!!

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Stacy September 14, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I’ve learned that it’s impossible to find the perfect sleep mask, because you have to choose between two things:
1) Organic Fabric (who wants polyester or chemically treated cotton on one’s eyes?)
and
2) Convex shaped eye panels that are raised so they don’t interfere with REM sleep.
So I go back and forth between a convex one from the travel store, and an organic one I got in the whole-body section of Whole Foods.

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Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health September 14, 2011 at 6:39 AM

This is a fantastic book! I use some of these protocols in my practice. Just a word, though, please use caution when working on this on your own. Like AnnMarie said, what she mentions above is just for her needs. There are also some cautions in the book- certain amino acids to avoid if you are taking other medications (or supplements in some cases) or if you have certain medical conditions. Most of the time I am able to make huge shifts with my clients in diet alone, while supporting digestion (that’s a biggie! GAPS can be also be helpful in some cases- serotonin is produced in the gut after all) and blood sugar handling (this includes the adrenals- and it’s the other biggie!) but when we get stuck, sometimes adding in a certain amino acid (or a blend) can make dramatic improvements. Great book and a great post! :)

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Good point Amy

Read the book or work with someone if you need to — don’t just go by what I say! Julia does LOTS of tests with her patients — so you can find out if you have gut flora problems, thyroid issues, etc. etc.

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Sara September 14, 2011 at 6:44 AM

Do you know why not single aminos while nursing? Did she perhaps talk about this at the weekend thing? I have read the book, and I don’t remember that part. I have taken single aminos while nursing! Also, what blends? I have HTP, but does tyrosine come in a blend? Wouldn’t you be taking a lot of extra aminos?

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:19 AM

I don’t remember. I don’t think she had a specific reason… maybe she said they are just being safe? I can’t remember.

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Heather September 14, 2011 at 6:45 AM

I just ordered the book after taking the online survey/test. What actually brought our family to a WAPF style of eating and nutrition (that we are still learning!) was my husband’s health. But so many of the symptoms on that list fit me to a T – I can’t wait to see how this helps my mood and health. My husband would love to have a wife he didn’t have to walk on eggshells around all the time. :)

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Heather,

One other benefit we have experienced so far (that I didn’t mention but should have) is I am much happier and relaxed. My husband said I don’t yell or snap at him when I’m making dinner anymore. I realized it was because my blood sugar had dropped and this was when I’d reach for a glass of wine. But I would get cranky and snap at him when I was making dinner. That is not happening anymore!

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Jagrati Buggia September 14, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Hi AM,

I just want to mention a tiny caution about 5 HTP and Valerian root. I used to sell suplements and found that some people (including myself) have an unhelpful reaction to these when taking them at bedtime. Valerian can have the complete opposite effect and give you the jitters all night. 5HTP seems to wake me up at night. For most people they work wonders, but just be aware. I still LOVE 5HTP and just use it earlier in the day. It does wonders for my serotonin issues! I will try L-Tryptophan one day to see if it’s even better.

Regarding L-Glutamine, I buy the powered kind from Jarrow and put a tiny amount right under my tongue for an immediate effect on a craving. I know of alcoholics who used this to help them stop drinking. I have a friend who personally consulted Julia for alcohol addiction and has now been sober for years. She said that the amino acid protocol took away her cravings.

Cheers! (no pun intended)
Jagrati

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Jo September 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Hi Anne Marie,

Thank you for this post. I have to say it puzzles me. I have never drunk coffee and am very disciplined with food and I do not think I have any cravings…no chocolate, no wine, no grains. Yet I have had many more health problems that my ‘relaxed’ friends or much older people. I have never wanted to eat anything that could further harm me, but I believe some of us cannot take even one single abuse. I am better thank you to Gaps and I know I will get better and better and that my problems showed me how to be disciplined and to treat food for what it is, a nourishment, but at times I am also angry that people can go through years and years of abuses and then just as easily decide to revert to better habits with no major impact on their health. I feel like shouting: it is unfair!!! But I know this is not the right attitude.
Thank you for letting me rant… am sure someone out there can understand what I am talking about.

Jo

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Dawn September 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Thanks for this post. I really like the Mood Cure and have found some success with her recommendations. However, soon it will be impossible to buy amino acids and other natural supplements because the FDA is on the verge of banning most of them, unless we do something.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/13/fda-to-ban-new-supplements-and-classify-them-like-food-preservatives.aspx?e_cid=20110913_DNL_art_1

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Paula September 14, 2011 at 12:02 PM

what amino acid is useful for raising cortisol? This would go a long ways towards healing my adrenals!
Paula

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Julia Ross has a whole chapter on how to rebuild your adrenals in The Mood Cure. She recommends the tests you should do and how to treat the different levels.

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Cat September 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Can you tell me more about the amino blends? I’ve not been able to come up with anything in searches.

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 5:40 PM

I really need to go back and find my notebook that contains information about the amino acid blends. Not sure where it is since half our house is packed right now. I can try calling Juila Ross’s office and ask. I will try to remember to do that tomorrow.

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Cat September 15, 2011 at 5:23 AM

Thank you so much. I have been struggling for years, feeling that there was no hope for change, yet not content in believing that this was really my personality. I read The Mood Cure and it was like someone turning on a light in a blackened room. I would love to begin to apply these principles now, versus waiting until I’m finished nursing (which has generally also happened to be during a pregnancy). I am looking forward to hearing what you find!

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Robin September 14, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Hey cheeseslave-If a person is dealing with pretty severe OCD/anxiety, what are your thoughts on trying The Mood Cure protocol versus trying GAPS? I admit that I haven’t actually read either book but have read a lot about both, and both have been mentioned as helpful with these issues. Just wondering which might be better to try first? I have wondered about doing GAPS for a while, but obviously, it is pretty intense and requires a huge commitment, so I was intrigued when I saw your post on The Mood Cure.

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cheeseslave September 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I guess it depends on how many other issues you have. If you have abnormal gut flora, a leaky gut, food allergies, and/or skin rashes, etc. I would do GAPS. If your only problem is OCD/anxiety, you may be able to just do The Mood Cure.

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Norma September 14, 2011 at 7:06 PM

I have tried taking amino acids several times and end up w/ horrible hunger. Beings I have healed my gut I wonder if it would make a difference now? I have amino acids in the house, I think I might give this a try again. Do you have a particular brand you like? I have the NOW brand.
Coffee……….my friend. :-) I love the taste of coffee, I do very little caffeine, not sure I want to give up on coffee. I know I can go a day w/o it as I did a liquid fast one day, sans coffee and survived very well. It’s the taste I love.
Is it the caffeine that is harmful or coffee in general? Thanks for the article.

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cheeseslave September 15, 2011 at 5:35 AM

NOW is good.

Coffee is not your friend. It is a serotonin thief. Every cup steals your serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel happy, relaxed and confident.

Alcoholics will tell you long, elaborate stories about how it was the taste of a particular type of Scotch they loved, or how they only like fine wines, etc. etc.

30 Reasons to Quit Coffee: http://www.cheeseslave.com/2010/12/03/30-reasons-to-quit-coffee/

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Heather September 14, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Ann Marie,
Thank you so much for posting this!!! The hardest part of following a WAPF diet (of which I am totally convinced is the way we should all be eating) is that I get so depressed, grumpy, tired, etc. when I don’t have sugar. I’ve actually been telling my husband lately that I need to find something other than sugar to make me happy. I am ordering the book, and am really excited to learn more. I tested low on all but the Endorphin section, with the Gaba and Norepinephrin sections being extremely low. Thanks so much!!!

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cheeseslave September 15, 2011 at 5:36 AM

I’m so glad!

As I said to someone on Facebook, I don’t really like airing my dirty laundry online; I do it with the hope that it will help someone.

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Mary September 14, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Great post (as always!), thanks for sharing openly your hangups and your amino acid schedule. my self-medication choices closely mirror yours, and because I didn’t get quite enough help from just True Focus (though I did quit coffee, it was more by will power than the end of cravings, and I do have a glass of wine about every other night still), I’m going to try a regimen more like yours.

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BeccaOH September 15, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Wow. This was very helpful. I tested low in first three and extremely low in the thyroid area. My apathy lately has been pretty extreme. I’m ordering the book, but I’m headed out on a work trip next week, and I’d like to get started on some supplement ASAP. Is there something I could get started on now? I have been trying to adapt to a WAPF type of diet and have seen some less dependency on sugar and caffeine, but I need to see more drastic changes.

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cheeseslave September 15, 2011 at 8:39 AM

I don’t think I would try to supplement without reading the book. If you have an iphone or Kindle, you could download the Kindle version and get it right away.

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BeccaOH September 15, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Thanks. I did have a Kindle that broke and now have an ipad, but I’m one who doesn’t like ebooks. LOL I’d rather hold, feel, mark up, and share a real book. :-)

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Nissa September 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM

I scored pretty bad! I knew I had some issues but have never really dealt with them and never thought that they would be related to the food I was eating or even amino acids!! About a year ago my sister introduced me to real foods and all the benefits. It’s been a struggle, especially with 4 boys and a full time job. I think I might have to invest in the book. My sister sent me this link because I LOVE chocolate. I don’t hide it but it’s rare for me to go a couple days without it!! I always told myself that if I could give up pop (which I have been without for over a year) then I should be able to give up sweets but it hasn’t been that easy!

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Karen September 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Do you know what the amino-acid blend is that she recommends. i just got my hands on her first book called the Diet Cure, but have yet to get the Mood Cure. I am starting reading it but wonder if she will talk about what to do if you are pregnant in this book? I have long suffered from being over-weight and struggle to take it off, even with low-carb, no grains and such. Since I feel so much better this way I am continuing this with my pregnancy but eating more food in general and more fruits. I am wanting to get my amino’s in balance now instead of waiting until my pregnancy is over. i would really appreciate if you could let me know what combo she suggests during pregnancy. Thank you so much for you blog and this post just confirmed to me that I am heading into the right direction!

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cheeseslave September 16, 2011 at 5:18 AM

I’m going to call them today and find out. I’ll post when I get the info!

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Christy, The Simple Homemaker September 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Very interesting and informative! Thank you. Interesting, my cravings and low blood sugar issues have lessened drastically since our diets have improved. But…you’re not surprised. :)

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Rayelle September 15, 2011 at 8:10 PM

I was shocked to see that I’m off the charts deficient in all areas except blood sugar. That explains a lot about how much difficulty I’ve been having cutting back on coffee and wine, and why I’m struggling so much with my weight. Plus all the mood problems I’ve been having for at least a year.I am already WAPF and actually grain-free (Primal) but apparently that’s not quite enough. I will be hunting down The Mood Cure tomorrow.

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cheeseslave September 16, 2011 at 5:20 AM

@Rayelle Aw, I’m so glad I wrote this post. If it helps one person — like you! — it is more than worth it!

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Rayelle September 16, 2011 at 5:30 AM

Just after I posted last night, I suddenly realized I’d just polished off two glasses of wine. (Sigh)

I am glad you wrote the post too. I have heard of The Mood Cure but like a lot of things, I don’t put too much thought or research into it until somebody that I ‘know’ and respect brings it to my attention.

Where do you purchase your supplements? Any preferred brands?

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Kasi September 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I totally want to try this – and ordered a bunch after reading both books. Then two things happened: a) husband let me know he wanted to try to have a baby, so I need the info on the amino blend too! and b) I realized I don’t know that the impact will be as far as our mandatory urinalysis tests. We’re both active Army, he has some mild PTSD-related sleep issues that I think would be aided by the aminos…. but we also have random UAs that we go to jail/lose our job if we fail. I’m not clear on how taking the aminos will present in a drug test. I tried emailing Julia’s side and scanned the book, no answer. Do you know if taking any of the aminos will make us run the risk of a false positive on a drug test?

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cheeseslave September 26, 2011 at 7:05 AM

I don’t know the answer to that. Call Julia’s office — they will know

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Jenny September 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Wow! Good for you. I’m the same way with wine and chocolate. I seem to be craving both every night. And, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trying to quit both, or at least curb them. Thanks for providing info on how to do so.

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Rayelle September 21, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Update:
I knew I couldn’t wait until I got the whole book read through, then got the supplements ordered online and waited on shipping. I read through chapter 3, and ran down to the health food store for a bottle of 5-HTP (50 mg) for serotonin deficiency. I ended up taking three yesterday afternoon, about an hour apart as she suggest, to find my dose. WOW that was more effective than an entire bottle of wine. I was so relaxed and chilled out, it felt like I was drugged. I’ve been living ‘under the dark cloud’ for so long that I forgot what it felt like to be somewhat normal. I took two more before bedtime as she suggests, and had the best night of sleep that I can remember in the last year. My brain started down its accustomed route of worry, stress, and panic, and found it couldn’t muster the effort. Ha ha!

The best part? No interest in coffee at all this morning, and I’m still feeling relaxed and pleasant!

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cheeseslave September 26, 2011 at 7:06 AM

Yay!!!! Thanks for the update! That is just wonderful!

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Bob September 25, 2011 at 11:59 AM

So you quit wine and chocolate, foods that are beneficial in
Moderation, only to take 4 new supplements several times a day….. Where’s the thought process here? How much is this new supplement habit costing? Have you thought about maybe meditation, sex, exercise, music, creative activitys, And other things you can do almost for free that would help you kick the habit? Seems strange. One could hypothesize that you are now addicted to these supplements.

This is the same sort of “logic” that made me
Laugh at your Lumiscope Thermometer post.

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Cheryl September 25, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Bob,

If you bothered to inform yourself, you’d know that taking the individual amino acids are a form of treatment to replenish the neurotransmitter deficits. According to Ross (author of the book The Mood Cure), these amino acid supplements are for the most part not needed beyond 12 wks or so, IF a person is also eating appropriately (enough protein, veggies and good fats) so as to be adequately nourished to maintain the right level of neurotransmitters for optimal functioning.

You might try actually checking the book out of the library and reading it.

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cheeseslave September 26, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Yes, your need for the amino acid supplements goes away over a period of typically weeks to months. Exercise, sex and music will not help much if you have neurotransmitter deficiencies. You may get temporary benefits (i.e. a rush of endorphins) but not long-term effects.

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Cat September 27, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Have you been able to find out anymore information regarding the amino blends?

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Andrea October 9, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Do I need to worry about the ingredients in some of these supplements conflicting with the SCD diet? I am currently taking NOW Gaba and Natural Factors 5-HTP. I am not clear as to what the ingredients are and if they could be preventing me from following the SCD diet 100%? Any ideas about this would be very helpful!

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Shellye January 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Andrea (or anyone), did you ever get that info on supplements that are SCD-legal? Looking at the ingredients on the NOW 5-HTP (and other brands) I saw rice flour and other illegal ingredients. Does anyone have a reliable source that’s SCD/GAPS-compliant?

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Susan October 15, 2011 at 9:34 AM

I have a question that I hope someone can answer. I have adrenal fatigue and have tried 5htp in the past, but gave it up because of weird dreams. I need my sleep and it was making me tossy/turny. So when I read Mood Cure, of course I was off the charts for every test. I’m low on everything. I went back and tried the 5htp (50 mg) again and it was worse than I remember. I did take it late afternoon and loved how I felt during dinner; dozed off quickly at bedtime, but my husband said I flopped like a fish all nite. I knew it was true because I felt it. My brain never felt like it went to sleep. Does that make sense?

I am starting slowly with the supplements, so I know which ones makes me feel what. I am on day 2 of DLAP and tonite I will try the GABA. But I am very concerned about adding back in the 5htp because the sleep is so bad on it. Has anyone else felt this way on the 5htp? Would the GABA balance that feeling? I pondered trying trytophan but I’ve read that it too can cause vivid dreams and restless sleep. (although I’ve also read that about GABA)

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Billy Chipp January 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

This is one post that I really enjoyed because it just might be the thing that will get me Kick Started to doing something about my habit of the beer and booze every night before supper. When I was young it didn’t seem to be a problem but in the 80′s it is a problem and I’m going to give the book a try. TNX Billy

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The Nourishing Road February 8, 2012 at 4:19 PM

I was wondering if this is a good amino acid blend for a nursing mum?

http://genesaliving.com/products/total-amino-solution/

I have nearly finished the book, and really want to buy the correct amino’s! I live in England, so it might be harder for me to buy them?

Natasha

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The Nourishing Road February 9, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Opps…I added the wrong link to my blog in my comment above. That’s what happens when your using your android while nursing the baby!

Here’s my correct link if anyone fancies a peek:

http://www.thenourishingroad.co.uk

Natasha

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Sonja Pauly HHC June 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Hi,
I was wondering if your melasma worsened while taking DLPA since it is converted into tyrosine which is a precursor to melanin?

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www.5-htp.org February 26, 2014 at 1:25 AM

Hello, I check your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is awesome,
keep it up!

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