depressionTag Archives

Eat fat, lose fat

I’m currently reading Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. Mary Enig was a key scientist in the fight to get trans fats listed on our nutrition labels. She was actively opposed by the Institute for Shortening and Edible Oils (ISEO). This is an organization that pulls political clout to prevent the funding and publication of research intended to study the harm of vegetable oils and shortening. This organization was incensed about the fact that Mary Enig’s initial paper on the subject had gotten published at all. They have industry watchdogs to prevent such an occurrence, but somehow the paper managed to slip through their scrutiny. Doctors and scientists had been questioning the use of vegetable oils and trans fats since the 1920s when they were beginning to come into popular use. Myocardial infarctions (what we know of as heart attacks) were unheard of prior to the advent of the use of these fats. But their concerns got drowned out by the proponents of the cholesterol theory of heart disease, which would include organizations such at the ISEO and the pharmaceutical industry since they stand to gain from it.

According to Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, lack of healthy fats contributes to several diseases including chronic fatigue, low energy, anxiety, depression and mood swings, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, food cravings, gallbladder ailments, bacterial infections, fungal issues, viral infections, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, gas and bloating, eczema and dry skin, sagging and wrinkled skin, dandruff, and cellulite. They propose a diet that has coconut oil and cod liver oil to correct these issues that they believe to be the result of lack of healthy fats. They also say that dietary cholesterol is important for maintaining the health of the intestinal wall and preventing leaky gut. Their list of sources for healthy fats: coconut oil, butter, cream, nuts, meats, and eggs as well as cod liver oil.


I thought the section in The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek about “bonking” or “hitting the wall” was particularly fascinating. It happens to athletes when they engage in endurance sports. It has applicability to the NutriSystem diet as well in that it could happen to us to a lesser degree if meals are delayed or skipped. Bonking is the result of the brain running low on glucose. The first symptom is intrusive thoughts about food. Then, after a while if nothing is eaten, anxiety and the shakes can set in. If the person still fails to eat something and he reaches the end of his glucose supply, he’ll feel a profound depression. This is why you might see a marathoner in tears toward the end of a race. He’s hit the wall. This has applicability to my business as well. I doubt that hypnotic suggestions are much of a match against physiologically induced cravings caused by skipping meals. If a client chooses to do an ADA style low-fat/high-carb diet like NutriSystem, then it makes sense to give him suggestions to eat small meals at regularly scheduled frequent intervals the way NutriSystem recommends so that he won’t bonk. Those ketoadapted to a low-carb diet don’t bonk because their brains are running on ketones, not glucose. As long as they’ve got body fat, there’s a continuous supply.

Adjusting my diet to avoid potential health issues

It’s important to do the best we can with the plan we’ve invested in. That’s certainly my goal. My big issue with the NutriSystem plan is making sure that my cholesterol level doesn’t tank, and I’m not entirely sure how to do that or even if it can be done. One of my lowest cholesterol readings ever was 125. This was measured following a round of NutriSystem back around 1990, and this also happened to be when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was suffering with major depression at the time. Somehow, I still managed to function. It’s critical that I don’t let my cholesterol get that low again this time because low cholesterol is a risk factor, and I’ve already seen that my mood dips with my cholesterol readings. My cholesterol readings went down when I was vegan, and I was also beginning to develop depression, so there’s a hint. My intake was very high in fiber while I was vegan, and I know that can lower cholesterol. My guess for this round is that I need to lean my intake toward more fat while, of course, staying in calorie range. I will have blood tests done to make sure that my cholesterol levels stay where they need to be. My mood is good at present at least, so that’s a good sign.

Given the unexpected challenges I have had with my own health, I would advise anyone contemplating making a major dietary change to do so with the assistance of their physician, no matter what your age or how good you think your health is.  At minimum, get a lipid panel done before the change and again a month or two into it.

Veganism is not for me

I have decided that veganism is not for me.  I followed what should have been a good diet with lots of vegetables, legumes, and some sprouted grain bread.  I was eating whole, natural foods.  I was having problems with lethargy and generally low mood.  My primary medical issue is a mood disorder.  It is vitally important that I do what is necessary to protect a stable mood.  Apparently, that includes eating meat.  My total cholesterol was 147.  That is too low.  Low total cholesterol below 160 is linked to depression and other mental disorders; so I must keep my cholesterol levels up, and eating meat helps do that.

I’ve read posts from other failed vegans.  I did well to give it up after only three months.  The health problems could have gotten much worse.  They say the average vegan lasts about six months before they give it up due to health issues.  Given that the problems I was developing are hot-button issues for me that I consider to be potentially fatal, I did not delay my exit from veganism.

[Edit: This post was recovered from my old Exploring Veganism blog.]

Splenda and depression

Yesterday, I made meringues sweetened with Splenda.  Later that night, I noticed that I was feeling a little off and moody.  I wondered if there might be a link to my little snack.  So today I did a bit of research.  Here is what I found:

Link between Splenda and depression? Blog: Psychdata – Dedicated to exposing the fraud of psychiatry.
Depression, anxiety, panic, thoughts of suicide or death, agoraphobia, feelings of hopelessness, feeling alone. Splenda Sickness.
Splenda’s Dangers: One Man’s Personal Story That You Should Know 11/8/03.

There were other articles about people having problems with Splenda as well.  I’m thinking maybe anything with any large amount of Splenda may not be a good idea for me.  Those meringues definitely had a lot of the stuff in them.