One perk of working in a health food supermarket is that you probably are going to eat better. A tough part is that it can expose the weaknesses of your diet and make you feel some pressure to eat better.
After years of being a slug around food, in denial about the effects of diet on mood and overall health, I know now that I need to change my relationship to food – but I only have intuitive glimmers of how.
I have four factors waking me up.
- My shrink put me on a new mood stabilizer (Zyprexa) that he all but guarantees will cause me to put on weight. He recommended a low glycemic diet and gave me a handout with the glycemic index of various foods.
- After years of being dormant, my prostate cancer is getting more noisy (my PSA blood test numbers are going up). After the biopsy I have scheduled in a few weeks, my urologist may start pushing me to have radiation – and I’m pretty clear I don’t want to go there. I’m taking a new anti-inflammatory supplement that I’m pretty excited about (Zyflamend from New Chapter) and I want to give it time to work. And I want to explore various cancer prevention diets.
- My sugar addiction is still out of control.
- Now that I’m willing to really look at my diet, I’m ready to really face the possibility that factors in my diet negatively affect my mood – and that there might be one or more diets out there that would be good for my mood.
I’m not very knowledgeable in this area, but have some intuitions about where I need to go:
- I need to stay off of sugar. I don’t know how to do refined sugar in moderation. But I’m lousy at negative discipline – just saying no to something. I need something positive to focus on – an optimistic new diet that includes no sugar.I’ve always just focused on sugar desserts as the culprits, but there’s sugar in lots of things. How scrupulous do I need to get? What about fruit? I sure don’t want to give up fruit, but we’re talking about a potentially fat cancer patient here.
- Do I need to go gluten free? Grain free? I’ve been hearing about the book Grain Brain. I’ve tried being gluten free for a couple of weeks two times, then abandoned it when I saw no change in my moods. Someone told me once that you should see a change in that amount of time, but someone has told me it could take longer. Lots of carbs turn into sugar pretty quickly in the blood stream. I bet I need to stay away from processed grains – white bread at least is going to have to go, but maybe bread period. I think I’m going to get a loaf of Ezekiel sprouted bread for starters – maybe as a transition, maybe as a new regimen.
How important is system acidity in all of this? I’ve come to believe that we are meant to be alkaline, but most of us are actually running acidic. (I’ve been testing myself with little strips of paper and am definitely acidic.) I’ve heard a couple of people claim that cancer needs an acidic environment to grow. I have started drinking high alkaline water. I’ve got a hunch my beloved coffee is too acid-producing.
- My friend Mary said that it sounds from the way I talk like I might be migrating towards the Paleo diet, about which I know very little.
- She also talked about macrobiotics as an option for me.
- Lydia, who came through my line today and seemed very knowledgeable about all this, talked about
- the GAPS diet (“gut and psychology syndrome”) and
- the Gerson diet.
I’ll keep you posted on all this – and will welcome any information or experience you might want to post in a comment.
As I have been writing this, I have – in my over-tired state – been bingeing on all the desserts I have stockpiled here over the last few days. That settles it: I can’t wait for after the holidays to clean up my act around sugar – we start tomorrow with no refined sugar. Then we’ll see what comes next.