Dear Dr. Roach: I’ve heard that there are issues with the enzymes, proteins and chemicals that are found in animal meat and plant matter. Somehow, I’m told, it affects a woman’s brain and makes her go crazy when they’re mixed together. Somehow, this mixture possibly causes postpartum depression. I’m told it’s better to eat either plant matter or animal tissue, but not both mixed together. Is there any plausibility to this assumption?
A: Interaction among the environment (including diet), the body and the mind is complex, so I cannot say for sure the theory is completely fallacious, but I think it probably is completely wrong. Worse, it could give women who suffer from postpartum depression a greater sense of guilt than they may already have.
It’s thought that 10 percent or so of women will experience depression after pregnancy, and symptoms may start before delivery of the baby or after delivery, usually within the first month. Risk factors include a history of depression, major stressful events during pregnancy and lack of financial or social support. While the cause is unknown, changes in hormones around pregnancy and delivery are thought to be important.