Bipolar Living: 2 Foods You Should Avoid for A Better More Balanced Mood
About a little over four years ago I gave up, dairy, gluten and processed sugars.
What happened, my sleep improved, the brain fog I had during the afternoon started to diminish and those anxious thoughts that roamed my mind nonstop started to take breaks.
This was the first time I took action when it had to do with my mental health and more importantly managing my own mental illness and manic-depressive disorder. I had been listening to doctors nonstop for the last six years and never dared question anything they said.
Overall though, my doctors called the shots and even if something didn’t make sense which was 97% of the time I still went along for the ride.
I thought they knew it all. I thought they had all the answers but after years of trying to gain some sort of reality while living with my diagnose I decided to go against everything I had been told and try something new.
It was a year long process but I was able to find peace within my own mind and also gain some sort of reality while at the same time discovering the beautiful connection that food and our minds have.
Wheat and/ or gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, and when I embarked in this new journey my holistic practitioner referred me to a few articles to read before I came to terms with eliminating wheat out of my diet. I can honestly say that within in a month or so I was basking in the benefits.
They say that if you struggle with a cognitive or mental health condition you should try living wheat/gluten-free for a couple months and see how they feel.
PubMed has reported for over 50 years the connection between wheat/gluten and neurological and psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder among others.
Research has shown that when following a gluten/wheat free diet there is a significant increase in serotonin and dopamine production. Remember the importance that serotonin and dopamine have on our mental health.
Like gluten the protein in wheat causes inflammation, casein one of the proteins found in dairy can contribute to inflammation to our body and brain. The immune reaction that the inflammation causes can add to the severity of different symptoms of neuropsychiatric diseases.
Casein is also known to reduce the absorption of cysteine, an amino acid that provides resistance to the body against harmful effects. Cysteine is also in charge of protecting your brain and liver from damages that alcohol, drugs and certain medication can make. Cysteine is also used to produce glutathione and taurine. Gluthaione is your body’s master antioxidant, which protections your body from oxidative stress. People with neuropsychiatric diseases tend to have high levels of oxidative stress.
THE DIFFERENCE OF LIVING A DAIRY FREE + GLUTEN FREE /WHEAT FREE LIFE
The truth is when I went off wheat and dairy as part of the process of embracing this new found way of treating my manic-depressive illness my sleep improved, my mind slowed down and the afternoon slump I often fell in was gone. This past year my relationship with food has been a little rocky, the fear of restricting has lead me to a state of overindulging and feasting on dairy and gluten, my mood has taken a hit. I do feel the emotional rollercoaster a bit more than usual, the anxious thoughts are roaming more than usual and writing this post has reminded me the importance it is to watch what I eat for my mental well being. That doesn’t mean food cannot be fun and exciting that doesn’t mean my inner foodie cannot roam free that just means I get to be more experimental when it comes to playing around with flavors.
The first thing I tell people when they ask me what’s the first step they should take to help tweak out those heavy ups and downs is to do a removal of wheat/gluten and dairy/casein and see how they feel after two months. Keep a diary on how you are feeling, note how you sleep, how your anxiety levels are if you feel like your mood is more steady. All of that write it down and at the end of two months see how you feel. I’m sure you will see a positive difference.
I will never tell anyone that psychiatric drugs aren’t for them, all I want to do is create more awareness on the positive effects altering our diet can have on our mood. Not only that but the magical connection between nutrition and mental illness, more importantly, bipolar disorder.