No such thing as a “mental disorder”

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There is no such thing as a “mental disorder”. There are coping and survival strategies we have learned that served us well in the drama/trauma and dysfunction and are no longer serving their purpose and are in fact becoming unhelpful. … Continue reading

Part 3 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 III

Sue Westwind

People always want to know what’s left if you yank wheat and milk from your diet. Well, it’s an adventure of discovery, carried by exciting new grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and of course the familiar rice and corn. Milk alternatives are yummy: almond, soy (controversial), hemp, coconut.

I’d been comfortable in this world for some time. But I had to face it: as the gluten-free craze grew, so did processed food choices that were gluten-free. It’s so easy to get busy and just grab something off the grocery shelf, and to convince yourself you’re virtuous by avoiding your food intolerances. I had better things to do than cook, and was so glad the convenience market was meeting my needs!

The link between migraine and food intolerance is pretty well studied. Like many issues regarding our beloved foods, it’s still considered a controversial matter. The thing to remember is that you can have NO adverse gut symptoms, and still have gluten intolerance. This article from Pub Med, the government’s Library of Medicine’s site, talks about this neurological syndrome that includes migraine and depression. Click here to read this article. 

You can imagine my fear when the migraines began to return. That meant the funk wasn’t far behind: depression, self-blame, inertia.  I used digestive enzymes, probiotics and other gut cures on them, which is probably why they would last only one fairly-functional day instead of three, totally-disabled-in a-dark-room days. I was coming across research stating that other grains also had gluten, especially corn. Then I started hearing about the Paleo Diet, and was intrigued. I felt a sea-change pulling at my food choices.

Paleo is short for the Paleolithic Era. The beginning of the Paleolithic period over two million years ago coincides with the appearance on earth of the first apelike men; our current species, Homo sapiens, appeared in the latter portion of Paleo times. So the diet means eating like our very distant, “caveman” ancestors. After all, our bodies and nervous systems are identical.

Stone Age Folks R Us. Think hunter-gatherers. Hint: they were not yet growing grains, nor domesticating animals for milk.

I listened to my body, my head, my pain and I knew it: the carbs had to go.

If you have tried a gluten-free, dairy-free diet—faithfully, no cheating, for at least six months and still feel horrible, think about going Paleo. It worked for me, and I’m still in a semi-cheating phase—I had two gluten-free crackers for lunch today, and the right top quadrant of my head is sore in that old familiar way plus my stomach feels as if it holds a small, nauseating rock.  It’s so hard to change, but pain is a great deterrent!

I’m new at this, but the pay-off seems to be quick. I’ll eat salad and sweet potatoes for breakfast and feel fantastic all morning. Turnip greens sautéed with garlic and dressed with a splash of vinegar for a late night snack, and I actually wake up smiling. (They are loaded with folate.) I’m still tempted to cheat when very tired but, predictably, what follows is feeling more tired, headache-y, ruminative.

The Primal Blueprint suggests eating no more than 150 carbohydrates a day. That’s my goal. Here’s another website by the “founder” of the Paleo way, rated the best on all things “caveman”: click here to go there.

But while this may be the next step for some in the hunt for full human joy and ease, I’d like to suggest another benefit that affects us all. We may end up foraging outside the box, but the path is not lonely. When it comes to corporate greed, we can connect the dots together.

The motives of the psychiatric drug industry and the Franken Foods monolith are the same:  sell more products, get more people hooked, to hell with health and recovery. Ditto the chemical industry, with their phony motive of “feeding the world” to justify selling pesticides and GMO seeds to farmers.

We take back our lives when we get mindful about what we ingest–not just from psychiatry, but also their bedfellows in pursuit of profit to the detriment of our minds, bodies and ever-loving souls. It has been said that these days pursuing our health is doing our part for a global revolution. To take back control when it comes to what we put in our mouths is to dismantle corporate deviousness that leads to say-so over what they have no right to decide.

That, my friends, means empowerment.

Related:

Read part 1 of this series here.

Part 2 here.

We would love to hear your feedback about todays piece….drop your notes in the comments below. 🙂

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 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 🙂

###

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.