Part 2 of 3: A series on food, gut health and mental health by Guest Author, Sue Westwind

FORAGING THE PATH: MIND, GUT AND THOSE CONTROVERSIAL CARBS – PART II

Sue Westwind

In sorting out the cause of any number of chronic maladies psychiatry has crammed into their various and expanding DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) editions, it takes courage to face food addictions.

Especially when two of the worst offenders are the most touted staples for healthy living ever:  drink your milk, eat your sliced bread!

Native to the Near East, today’s wheat kernels resemble little of what sustained our near and distant ancestors.

Here’s the cardiologist-author of the runaway bestseller, Wheat Belly:

Whole grains of 2012 are also not the whole grains of 1950, the 19th century, the Bible, or pre-biblical times. Modern wheat, in particular, is genetically distant from its predecessors, thanks to the extreme genetic changes (not genetic modification!) inflicted on wheat in the 1960s and 1970s in the name of increased yield-per-acre…the wheat of today is a high-yield, semi-dwarf variant that stands around 2-feet tall, with marked changes in its genetic code. (Dr. William Davis, www.wheatbellyblog.com).

Those changes are to fluff up the gluten in wheat.

Says the guru of natural health online, Dr. Mercola:

“Gluten” comes from the Latin word for glue, and its adhesive properties hold bread and cake together. But those same properties interfere with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, including the nutrients from other foods in the same meal.

The result is a glued-together constipating lump in your gut rather than a nutritious, easily digested meal.

The undigested gluten then triggers your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine, which can cause symptoms like diarrhea or constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain.

In more recent years it’s been shown that the condition can also cause a much wider array of symptoms that are not gastrointestinal in nature, further complicating proper diagnosis. [Such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Read on. -Sue]  (Why is Wheat Gluten Disorder on the Rise? July 23, 2009)

Experts in gluten intolerance and celiac disease cite depression and schizophrenia as the likely mental health issues faced when following our standard, wheat-engorged diet.

It’s the gliadin in gluten that damages the small intestine, and the gobs of gliadin we’re getting are making us gorge:

Gliadin has been increased in quantity and changed in structure, such that it serves as a powerful appetite stimulant. When you eat wheat, you want more wheat and in fact want more of everything else — to the tune of 400 more calories per day. That’s the equivalent of 41.7 pounds per year, an overwhelming potential weight gain that accumulates inexorably despite people’s efforts to exercise longer and curtail other foods — all the while blaming themselves for their lack of discipline and watching the scale climb higher and higher, and their bellies growing bigger and bigger. (Dr. Davis, “Triticum Fever”)

What about wheat and our moods?

As early as 1966 a researcher named F. Curtis Dohan was studying the effects of a milk-free, gluten-free diet on schizophrenics.

He found they improved, and relapses were dramatically reduced.

Here is a summary of psychiatric issues and celiac disease, or gluten intolerance: http://members.shaw.ca/ron_hoggan//psychiatric%20issues.htm

Yes, milk is also one of those things to avoid if you wish to optimize living large with clarity, energy, and optimism.

One researcher put together the evidence from 100 scientific articles: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/evidence_strongly_links_milk_protein_to_/.

It’s important to understand that this goes beyond “lactose intolerance.” It’s casein that’s the culprit too, the protein in dairy (lactose is the sugar).

There are also yeasts and parasites that can turn a mind toward dangerous states.

Toxoplasmosis (toxoplasma gondii, or T. gondii) is a parasite commonly found in cat feces; it’s the reason pregnant women are told not to empty the litter box.

For a long time researchers felt that those others could be infected and stay asymptomatic.

Not specific to the gut, lately T. gondii has been linked to schizophrenia, bipolar conditions, paranoia and suicidal feelings.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311085151.htm

Perhaps more common but also more diffuse in its physical and mental symptoms, is Candida albicans, a yeast ever present in the gut but problematic when encouraged to proliferate by sugar, antibiotics, processed foods, birth control bills, steroids or NSAIDS. 

So very much has been written on the subject I’d just like to offer one good, solid overview article by the leading expert:  http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/articles/candida.htm.

Here is a helpful how-to from an autism resource that can apply to anyone: http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/what-is-yeast-overgrowth/

All good gut remedies–and they changed my life and energized me for over a decade.

But lately, something’s wrong. I’m sticking with my diet but the headaches are back, and with them the fatigue which leads to negative self-talk.

What the heck is going on?

In the final Part of this article, I’ll forage down the path to play detective one more time.

NEXT POST: Tying it all together…..

You can read more about Sue’s journey with gut health and creating mental health and her path to learning to live well at the website for her book Lunacy Lost here. 

Please consider liking and sharing this post 🙂

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As always – if you are taking psychotropic drugs NEVER EVER just “go off them”. To do so can be life threatening. For more information and resources on how to safely reduce or withdraw from Psychotropic drugs please visit the resources page here and view the powerpoint presentation here. 

It is assumed that anyone reading this blog is capable of taking in information, assessing it and asserting their own will to choose to take action or not. I am not a health care professional and I assume no responsibility for the actions taken by others. The information provided on this web site is for informational purposes only. 

Part 1 of 3: A series on food, gut health and mental health by Guest Author, Sue Westwind

FORAGING THE PATH:  MIND, GUT, AND THOSE CONTROVERSIAL CARBS

Sue Westwind

The subject of food and how we eat can provoke anxiety, guilt, secrecy, defiance and other reactions when we feel put on the defensive. It seems the barrage is non-stop: we are constantly preached at about this or that healthy path, and exhorted to willpower or personal responsibility. But what if there’s more to this than our individual efforts alone?

Despite the constant bombardment about what to eat and what not to eat, one thing remains in the shadows. That is the influence of the gut on the brain.  Often referred to as the “second brain,” look to the intestine to produce 95% of serotonin while the brain makes the other 5%.  Also, 90% of the immune system is in the gut, working against toxins, bugs and irritants that can affect the nervous-system.

Those of us courting a full, loving life free of the meddling of psychiatry should heed what our tummy tells us. Even if you have no overt symptoms of belly distress, but you struggle with agony of the mind, check out the gut-brain connection.

Due to processed foods, bad intestinal bacteria gone wild and chemical cocktails masquerading as medication, our gut linings are leaky. All manner of toxins and undigested food particles that don’t belong there reach the blood system and eventually the brain. They like to sequester in fat, and don’t really give a damn if we feel bad enough to contemplate suicide. The brain is a fatty organ; it holds onto these chemical insults, the way the mental health professionals often accuse some of us of “holding onto our pain.” If they only knew.

I first ran into this theory when our daughter was diagnosed with autism thirteen years ago. Talk about a whole new world: told to get rid of gluten (wheat, rye, barley and others) and dairy products, cutting the sugar, food dyes, and excitotoxins like MSG…it  gave her back to us. I finally woke up and tried these things on my own “treatment-resistant” depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and killer migraines. It was a turning point in my life and mind’s ability to function. I wrote a book about it (www.LunacyLost.com) to issue a wake-up call to the mental health system, and explored what it might mean to abolish so-called “mental” illness.

All because of food.

Let’s look critically at the popular phrase, “you are what you eat.” Literally, of course it’s true. But it’s less than factual to saddle people with the sole responsibility for their food addictions.

David Kessler, former head of the FDA under George Bush, details in The End of Overeating (Rodale Books, 2010) just what lengths the food industry goes to in order to hook you. Billions of dollars in behind-the-scenes conferences and consultants to “research” new products for one purpose only: to make them irresistible, or increase their “crave-ability.”

Kessler focuses on the various combinations of sugar, fat, and salt, and assures us that industrial foods’ final offerings contains no real food. Dr. Mark Hyman, author The Blood Sugar Solution, asks: do you know anyone who can’t stop binging on broccoli or apples? No, but cookies, chips and soda can become addictive drugs. (Huffington Post, 10/16/10) Sugary and bad-fat foods stimulate the brain just like heroin, opium or morphine. It has to do with dopamine stimulation, just as with those hard-core addictive drugs.

But what has this got to do with chronic emotional distress, the kind that garners labels and drugs upon more drugs?

NEXT POST:  Gliadin, casein, and yeast–oh my! Sue reviews the research that stretches back to 1966 and gathers finds some unlikely culprits today.

You can read more about Sue’s journey with gut health and creating mental health and her path to learning to live well at the website for her book Lunacy Lost here. 

Please consider liking and sharing this post 🙂

###

As always – if you are taking psychotropic drugs NEVER EVER just “go off them”. To do so can be life threatening. For more information and resources on how to safely reduce or withdraw from Psychotropic drugs please visit the resources page here and view the powerpoint presentation here. 

It is assumed that anyone reading this blog is capable of taking in information, assessing it and asserting their own will to choose to take action or not. I am not a health care professional and I assume no responsibility for the actions taken by others. The information provided on this web site is for informational purposes only.