About Mood Food Clinic
Aaron Mello is a Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT), founder of MoodFood Clinic, and author of Nutrition Therapy Institute’s monthly blog post about men’s health and nutrition called Dude’s Foods. He also serves on the board of directors for Planned Manhood as the Men’s Health Director.
In all of his endeavors, Aaron focuses on creating a space for men to improve their health in a way that is authentic and meaningful to them. At his practice, he focuses on men’s mental health and uses nutrition to address issues like depression and anxiety. It may come as a surprise to many of us, but the foods we eat have a direct impact on our mood!
Aaron became passionate about nutrition when he discovered that a junk food diet was at the root of his personal struggle with bipolar disorder. Upon changing his diet and lifestyle, Aaron’s debilitating depression, bouts of mania, and intense suicidal urges subsided. Over time he was able to reclaim his life from his illness and discontinue all psychiatric medications.
As Aaron began to talk to other men dealing with depression and anxiety, he became aware of other factors that appeared to be exacerbating these problems. Some men reported feeling depressed after being alienated from their children following unfair treatment in family court. Other men described struggling with homelessness, a problem that affects men at nearly 5 times the rate it does women. Some of these men became homeless after fleeing domestic violence and being unable to get help from battered women’s shelters and law enforcement services unwilling to help a male victim.
Young men sometimes identified severe anxiety and depression around their difficulty engaging in university education, where they have been a steadily decreasing minority since the mid-1980s. Other young men became depressed and suicidal after being the victim of a false rape allegation on campus. Some men expressed grief over the loss a close friend to suicide, addiction, or a workplace fatality, three other issues that are disproportionately male. Other men reported intense despair after a sexual partner terminated a pregnancy against his wishes, leaving the father-to-be feeling empty and powerless. It became clear that many environmental factors outside the scope of nutrition were negatively impacting men’s mental health, and these issues intrigued Aaron. These men’s stories resonated with some of his personal experiences and he began to realize that many men were facing significant obstacles to health and happiness. Some men went on to explain that their support system – their spouse, friends, psychologist or psychiatrist – had expressed dismissive or even hostile attitudes towards these issues when men attempted to discuss them.
With compassionate curiosity, Aaron began to investigate these issues, as well as others not listed here. What he learned along that journey changed the trajectory of Aaron’s life and approach to men’s health forever. No longer did he see the common male stereotype of a man stubbornly clinging to a stoic tight-lipped silence about anything related to feelings. In fact, he saw the opposite. He observed men tackling their fears head on by attempting to discuss their most painful, vulnerable issues. But he was saddened to observe that these efforts were sometimes met not with compassion and understanding, but with indifference or even ridicule.
Awareness of this problem became central to Aaron’s philosophy, which shapes the vision of care that MoodFood Clinic provides to men: Because we want men to talk about their feelings and express their vulnerabilities even when it’s uncomfortable, we must be willing to listen, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Aaron sees clients at his office in central Denver as well as online via Skype. For more information or to schedule a free phone consultation, contact Aaron by phone or email.