Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yay! Another Post on Food and Psychology!

I'm pretty sure I came here and griped when, after the Newtown school shootings, someone I followed on Facebook said that all we need to do is feed our children lard and they won't need psychiatric meds. Listen up, folks: I've concluded in a very non-scientific, please-don't-quote-me-on-this kind of way that madness has always existed and this whole business about an epidemic is just the result of people actually getting treatment. British mental health blogger Seaneen Molloy put it best on Facebook:
I should also make some apologies. I used to sneer a bit when I saw people speaking out in things like Time to Change about panic and anxiety. Be a bit like, "Yeah, the common cold of mental health". Dudes, I'm sorry. I'm going through shit panic attacks and anxiety right now and its as horrible as anything else I've ever experienced and messing me up quite a bit. I was a bell end. Forgive me.
This "epidemic" isn't a problem of everyone deciding they have "the common cold of mental health" and getting drugs to dull the pain better than a healthy dose of Glenlivet. My biggest shock upon going to a crowded psychiatrist's waiting room for the first time was how sane people look. I can look pretty sane too--I can look pretty sane when I'm having a mini anxiety attack and my head is swimming and my heart is pounding and I have weakness I can't explain. The whole waiting room looks sane when you're all just messing around on your iPhones. Doesn't mean we're all mental hypochondriacs. 

So. Diet. 

There's a diet that's gaining popularity right now (no names) that claims to have had success with mental disorders like schizophrenia. Color me skeptical. Load up on butter and coconut oil and watch your problems melt away. I fell for its cousin, the "real food" movement, until I read something that said that vegetables are best as a vehicle for more butter. I started eating like a sane person again after that. (I swear, I've gone through more diet fads.) My very non-scientific, please-don't-quote-me-on-this mode of thought is that these diets may have a slight impact on mental health but probably have greater influence on diseases of the gut. I won't say that there's no impact on the mind--after all, I heard a BBC documentary on alternate prison techniques where one compulsive thief was taught to eat properly instead of having just sugary snacks and stopped his crime sprees. But it makes little sense to me that a diet filled with meat, butter, coconut oil, and lard is going to cure your major mental health disorder. Sorry. 

So when I came across the article Gut feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach, I had visions of lard replacing lithium dancing in my head. But it was actually a fascinating read. It wasn't about changing your diet and having your disease get marginally better--it was about taking therapeutic levels of probiotics and having your disease get vastly better. And the article is not without moderation: Seems the probiotics work best in younger people, although adults can see different sorts of results. Read it--it's great. My window may be closed age-wise (and I doubt my psychiatrist will prescribe super-doses of probiotics), and I may be the biggest fool of all for not trusting diets yet trusting capsules, but I think I'm might throw in a probiotic to see if it can't help with my brain. I got a powerful kind when I was going to make nut cheese (which I still haven't done) so I may take it out of its lonely home in the pantry and give it a shot. 

Concerning my brain: Summer is ... very slowly ... coming to an end, which means I'll probably perk up a bit. (People are fascinated by my reverse SAD.) I don't know how I'll tell if the probiotics are doing anything or not as cooler, happier weather kicks in, but it can't hurt my diet apart from my mind anyway. 

Toodle-loo, comrades. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On a More Positive Note


This year's hats for the homeless haul in August. Eleven hats and one scarf. Knitting continues. This has been a good year!

Bad Dreams


I just awoke from a dream about my biggest enemy. You remember the one: the girl who lambasted me on Twitter because I'm pro-life. I can't seem to let it go. In the dream she wouldn't give me a Christmas present, so I stuffed her in a bag and threw her down the stairs. Yes, very Christian and charitable of me. Then I had to explain what was happening to other high school friends far more liberal than I. I just love dreams like that. They really make sleeping fun.

Here's the pro-life stance that my old friend never bothered to find out: If you think abortion is going to be illegal someday soon, you're delusional. My take is that it's better to reduce the numbers of abortions rather than try to eliminate abortion altogether because the latter simply won't happen. My husband's cousins run a crisis pregnancy center in rural East Texas (East Texas Pregnancy Help Center) that doesn't just get you to swear not to have an abortion and hand you a Bible. They teach classes that help you deal with the situation of having a young child--I recall a class on how to cook the foods you can get with WIC. Places like these are going to do more to help curb abortions than blithely voting Republican and leaving it in the hands of people who may not actually be pro-life. (Remember the pro-family politician who tried to give his mistress money to have an abortion? Yeah, so do I.)

I'm not pro-life and trying to take away women's choice. I'm pro-life and trying to help women make the better choice.

As for my old friend, she'll never know my slightly complex thoughts (unless she is indeed cyber stalking me). When I pray for her (which I had to do right after the dream), I'm praying more for myself to love her. The fallen human in me thinks, "She really was always a lousy friend"; the Christian in me thinks, "That doesn't matter." And I may come off as pretentious and stupid for being a Christian, but I don't much care. Anyone who thinks that is actually just doing me a favor.

But if you're so petty and childish as to break off a friendship because someone doesn't agree with you politically, I don't want you for a friend either.