Sharing Wellness – Pay It Forward

About 5 years without needing medication and 17 years since hospitalization, I am spending a lot less time on bipolar and a lot more time with family and working on new business ventures.

I am keen to ‘give back’ locally – kind of ‘pay it forward’… If you live near Nottingham in the UK you will be very welcome to join us at any of these events. The first is this Monday 19th Sept 2016.

SHARE Wellness

Printable pdf of this invitation: sharing-wellness-in-a-well-bingham-invitation

An Optimum Diet for Mood Stability and Long-Term Good Health #notjustbipolar

Real Food: The Best Diet – Andrew Weil, M.D. explains what to eat and drink more and less of:

(This talk is largely about USA diet. USA has the highest incidence of bipolar and many other modern disorders. Elsewhere in the world we need to learn from America’s mistakes.)


Can there really be an optimum diet?

It perhaps depends on what we mean by optimum (or maybe it is optimal?). If optimum diet means the best diet we can work out for ourselves, and a diet we can stick with, to keep us healthy then, yes, it just takes a while to figure out what is good for us.

Why did I start searching for my optimum diet?

Stress caused indigestion, such that I could not sleep and this led to a psychiatric admission where I was heavily sedated, and started to rapidly gain weight. I reacted badly to some of the newer sedative drugs and was diagnosed as bipolar. Eventually coming off the drugs I then had gut pains almost every night. I had to work out what was causing these pains. It took me years to find most of what works and does not work for me. Even with my current optimum diet my quest continues as there is always room for improvement.

It is all about balance

What has worked for me is finding out more about our daily needs for moisture, protein, fat, carbohydrate and fibre.  That makes five ‘macro-nutrients’ to be balanced. There are plenty of micro-nutrients#1 to be considered too, just that I have found that getting the five macro-nutrients in about the right proportions at each meal time to be life changing.

Modern myths were the biggest challenge to overcome

  • I was once told, “eating fat makes us fat”. It sounded so believable. It is so untrue. What I was eating that was putting weight on was a lot of carbohydrate, and the same was true for every person I knew who was getting fatter. We were all addicted to carbs and we were cutting back on fat. It wasn’t working.
  • I came to believe that “eating lots of protein is a good way to get slimmer”. This is half-true. Protein is more slowly digested than carbohydrate and usually makes us feel fuller for longer. Changing to a high protein/low carb diet is slimming. However, it is rarely a good long-term plan, as high protein diets are often not high enough in fat. On high protein I lost 40 pounds in weight but gradually felt weaker and was not sleeping well. See point 7 that I have just added below – 25th August 2016.
  • I was told that “fibre does not provide any energy and so is slimming”. Yes, fibre can help with slimming, however gut bacteria can partially digest some fibre for us, giving us extra energy. This turns out to be a good thing for moods as this energy is released gradually and helps our guts to work better.
  • I believed, “fruit is slimming”. If you look around (in UK) you may well notice that most over-weight people are eating lots of fruit and very little of green vegetables. Fruit is high in the fruit sugar, fructose. Unlike glucose (the main ‘vegetable sugar’), fructose is not used as energy by the muscles but can be readily turned into body fat by the liver. Fruit may be good, just rarely as good as salad and vegetables.


When we get past the myths we come back to looking for balance. Here is some good information#2 that works for me:

1)      Proper meals need to have a good percentage of both protein and fat as once digested these can travel through the blood together as lipoproteins, to allow the right fats to be delivered to the right parts of the body and brain to allow repairs. This seems to help a lot with steadying mood.

2)      Most of us are not getting enough good quality fat and are often short of fats known as omega-3 and MCFAs.

3)      It is close to impossible to have fried foods not containing damaged fats, so my current optimum diet is one with no fried foods.

4)      The brain needs glucose, so although we can live with almost no carbohydrates, this is likely to lead to misery. I can get enough glucose by digesting vegetables without needing to eat grain/cereal every day.

5)      There are many types of fibre, so eating a range of vegetables and just a little fruit every day helps with steadier digestion, which in turns helps us to have more of the moods we want to be having.

6)      There can be no set amount of water to go with our diet. Learning to be guided by thirst and drinking as soon as I start to get thirsty works for me. Carrying a bottle of water on all but the most local journeys makes a lot of sense.

7)      It is 2 years since I published this article (16th July 2014) and reading it through today (25th August 2016) the only thing I want to add is: It is so easy to eat too much protein. If you have always eaten meat and fish it takes a while to get used to eating a little less protein. I believe it does help for long-term health and mood stability. For me, a diet with only about 15% protein and close to 50% healthy fats (including; avocado, nuts, seeds, olives and butter) seems to be helping my liver and kidneys to heal after all those years on prescription drugs and lithium.  

From disorder to order

Eliminating the disorder part of bipolar is likely to require dietary changes. For me the most outstanding results have come from increasing#3 my variety of fat sources and ensuring every meal has a good content of healthy fats. It was the extra fats working with the protein in each meal that allowed my brain and body to heal and allows me to go longer between meals. Balanced meals help us to avoid slumps in energy and periods of despondency.  This approach continues to work for me.


#1 I will be writing more about micro-nutrients and how these link to common modern disorders.

#2 I have written about or am writing about these aspect of balancing diet and mood. Contact me if you would like to learn more now.

#3 Overall I am only eating a bit more fat as I cut out fried foods. Eating more fat and being more active go together. If we eat more fat then we are going to need to walk more. When I do eat more fat I find it easier to be doing more exercise while being less tired. I will write more about this later.

Roger Smith – – article 14th July 2014

Nutrition and Cancer – Dr Gary Fettke #Fettke

Nutrition and Cancer – what has this got to do with bipolar?

Nutrition and Cancer 2016-06-11

Once anyone has one diagnosis they seem to be prone to a whole lot more.

bipolar diagnosis overlaps other diagnoses

There has to be a connection.

I have worked with people with bipolar disorder for 16 years and have noticed a worrying trend. Not only are my friends with bipolar being diagnosed with diabetes and all the usually chronic conditions that go with taking multiple psychiatric drugs for decades, but now they are coming down with cancer too.

The difference between those who are getting better (by this I simply mean, managing on minimum medication and not getting any fresh diagnoses) and those who are getting sicker and dying young is what we are eating and drinking.

The name of a disorder hardly matters when it comes to prevention, management or potential cures.  We have to make better food and drink choices in order to minimise our need for modern medicine. Dr Gary Fettke is talking sense, so please click on the image to hear him speak and to see the slides, in which he condenses many of the key points about avoiding cancer (running time = 23 minutes),

These key points apply whatever illness we want to avoid and that includes avoiding being labelled as having bipolar disorder.

I am going to add a link here to a longer video of Dr Gary Fettke called, ‘Fructose and Fat – Fact or Fashion’ – Part 1 – The Problem

(A lot of experts are not agreeing with Dr Fettke about how much fruit is too much but most of what he is saying, such as, most people needing more vegetables and less processed food, is accepted by every nutritionist.)


How best to avoid heart attack – Interview with Dr. Aseem Malhotra on

This British cardiologist, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, really knows his stuff.

If you are short of time just listen to the second half of this 19m 20s minute interview – from 9m 30s onward.

Clearly this is not just for those diagnosed as bipolar. There again, if you are on any kind of prescribed drug listen near the end as the doctor talks about how he defines unacceptable side-effects.

Food and Mood – No wonder USA has had bigger health troubles than UK!

On today…

“FDA to Redefine ‘Healthy’ Foods

  • According to FDA rules, food can only be marketed as healthy if it meets certain nutritional criteria. Snack foods cannot contain more than 3 grams of total fat per serving, and only 1 gram of that can be saturated fat
  • FDA rules do not take sugar into account, which means Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes qualify as “healthy,” but salmon and raw nuts do not because of their fat content
  • The FDA has announced it will reevaluate the definition of the word “healthy.” It will also seek to define the word “natural,” and reevaluate regulations for nutrient content claims in general”

What has this to do with bipolar? To resolve any mood disorder you need to be eating plenty of healthy fat. Things like avocados – yet in USA this was defined as unhealthy – not surprising that a lot of Americans have been confused or that they have by far the highest rates of bipolar and many other disorders.

Eating the right things was key for my recovery and still is.

#Glyphosate facts: It affects mood. It causes cancer.

Having just written about glyphosate – the debate as to whether this carcinogen (currently sprayed on wheat in the UK)  should be banned across the whole of Europe seems to be heating up.

If you agree we need to eliminate this mood altering carcinogenic chemical from our foods then please sign this petition:

Has glyphosate become the number one cause of mood disorders #glyphosate

Has glyphosate become the number one cause of mood disorders? Okay, so I do not have a huge amount of evidence to support such an idea, but as a chemist I do understand that glyphosate disrupts hormones that are essential for having a steady appropriate mood. It disrupts things like serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and more.

Personally, eating foods that have likely been sprayed with glyphosate, such as non-organic wheat and oats or any kind of bean imported from USA gives me pains in the gut and messes up my sleep. Glyphosate certainly cannot be good for moods and the more that is sprayed the more people are being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Are the two connected? I cannot prove any such link but while you are on this page please read on, watch the parts of the video that I mention and please go on to do your own research. Glyphosate is making a lot of people sick.

Glyphosate could be one of the biggest threats to human and animal health the world faces today.

I could write a lot about this, but for the moment here is Dr. Joseph Mercola interviewing Dr. Anthony Samsel, about glyphosate and its adverse health effects.

You may wish to skip chunks and focus on these sections:

At 7 minutes when Dr Samsel explains how he discovered he was consuming a lot of toxic glyphoste in the snack foods he was eating.

At 16minutes Dr Samsel explains more about glyphosate killing ‘good’ gut bacteria but failing kill many of the ‘bad’ bacteria.

At 22 minutes Dr Mercola asks how glyphosate disrupts the production of serotonin and then Dr Samsel explains some of the troubles caused by this disruption.

At 28 minutes details are revealed of how long ago it was known that glyphosate is a carcinogen at the levels found in many common foods.

Glyphosate is sprayed on almost all wheat grown in the UK to kill it before harvesting so that it dries better. This only started a few years ago and is not something that has been explained to the public. We did not used to have so many sick people. As I say above, please do your own research. Would it help if I put more links here to toxins that disrupt moods and cause chronic illnesses?

(I am watching this film about glyphosate in Europe: – The film is not at all pleasant, as it includes film of animals said to have been deformed due to ingestion of glyphosate.)

Bipolar Driving Analogy #Wootton

Yesterday, in ‘Psychology Today’, my good friend, Tom Wootton posted a useful short article called, “Bipolar Treatment Is More Than Just Tools To Lower Intensity

Here are a few words from it; “I see too many people who have never learned yet convince themselves that they know how to drive. When their mania gets stronger than they can handle they don’t even have the good sense to put on the brakes. And then, when someone else puts on the brakes for them, they go back to imagining that they know how to drive. Their repeated failure to actually learn the necessary steps is just reinforcing the false notion among everyone around them that it cannot be done.

In the work I have been doing I have found car and driving analogies to be really useful. It fits with the picture millions of people have of recovery, or even everything about life being a journey.

Most people reading this will have passed a driving test after many hours of instruction from a tutor with a great deal of experience. How many of us have done such intensive training for managing our moods and our long-term well-being?

Who benefits when you take medications or psychiatrc drugs?

All drugs are potentially addictive, so suddenly stopping the use of any medication or psychiatric drug can be dangerous or even extremely dangerous.

The biggest trouble I see with medications or psychiatric drugs is that people are taking too much of these for too long. Unless you have really good evidence that your prescription is ideal for you, then please:

  1. find out more about what the medication or psychiatric drug really does and not just what the manufacturer says it does.
  2. talk to your doctor about whether you could have help in gradually reducing the dose.
  3. whatever your doctor says about gradually reducing, ask others if this is going to be gradual enough – this is important because so many people accept medical advice to come off a drug too quickly resulting in terrible reactions.
  4. Be aware that when you take less you may start to feel great and be tempted to take even less too soon. This is a huge risk, because medications and psychiatric drugs usually sedate and then being less sedated can feel too good! It takes time to adjust and learn to cope, especially when less sedation allows us to feel more normal anxieties and just normal anxieties can be overwhelming if we have not experienced these for a while.

I worked for ‘big pharma’ in the 1980’s. What Gwen Olsen says in these videos is true. She is brave to be saying such things as big businesses do not necessarily want everyone to know how they go about convincing doctors to prescribe some very toxic substances.

A personal note from Roger: When I used to teach about bipolar while believing I would need to take pharmaceuticals for life, my courses were popular and I had plenty of bookings. Now that I share about ‘low-med’ and even ‘med-free’ bipolar, there is very little paid work for me. Telling the truth about medications and psychiatric drugs can lead to reactions from organisations that see no alternative to pharmaceuticals. Overall though, finding a doctor who was supportive of my plan to reduce my intake of pharmaceutical drugs was the right thing to do.

If you are continuing to be unwell and your doctor is saying that you need to keep on taking the same drug at the same dose, or more drugs or higher doses then it is probably time to find a new doctor.

Lithium, Magnesium and Overcoming Fatigue

Lithium, Magnesium and Overcoming Fatigue

In the video below Dr Rhonda Patrick says that we all need to be able to re-absorb magnesium from our urine to avoid magnesium deficiency. (Listen from 2m 00s).

When taking lithium tablets “…dehydration is due to lithium inhibition of the action of antidiuretic hormone, which normally enables the kidney to reabsorb water from urine. This causes an inability to concentrate urine, leading to consequent loss of body water and thirst.from Wiki

With lithium disrupting the hormone, that allows our kidneys to reabsorb water, does this also decrease our ability to re-absorb Magnesium?

Looking at what I can find on this subject it does not seem clear cut (see this medical textbook), but just supposing excess lithium can make a magnesium deficiency worse. With less magnesium we will have less energy levels (and tend to feel older), while bursts of energy, that could be seen as mania will be less frequent. Unfortunately, low magnesium is associated with more rapid aging, more illnesses and earlier death, so this may just be another reason to only take as much lithium as needed and no more.

As I have said again and again, it is so very important not to suddenly stop taking lithium. Talk with experts. If you are going to reduce your use of lithium you need to do this very gradually. Well designed withdrawal programs with many small downward steps over many years tend to work well. I came off lithium over a period of several years and have now been free of all prescribed drugs for more than 4 years. It is not easy to go ‘med-free’. With the right help I believe most people can do it.

In the meantime, as the doctor in the video says, you may wish to get your magnesium level checked. Possibly the only Magnesium test worth having is for the Magnesium that is inside your red blood cells. The test I have had in the past for the Magnesium between the blood cells (in the plasma) does not provide any useful information.


Getting this test privately in the UK is likely to cost you £34:

I am going to ask my GP about getting this test paid for by the NHS because so many people lack magnesium and this has been a known driver for mood disorders for decades.

You can watch and learn more about the importance of Magnesium in this short video:

I do not have much free-time but if you are serious about getting rid of disorder from your life and going on to help others then please feel free to contact me.


If you know more about things like:

Mechanism of Li inhibition of vasopressin-sensitive adenylate cyclase in cultured renal epithelial cells.“:

please add a comment such that I can improve this blogpost


Regarding side-effects of psychiatric drugs

Dear reader,

I am glad you found my answer to your question of, “When taking Carbamazepine I have heard it said to only have bottled water to avoid chlorine that that may interacts with Carbamazepine – is this true and important?” As you say, it is worth sharing these thoughts on Carbamazepine and other psychiatric drugs, as others may also find this discussion useful so I will post what I was saying here:


It is worth looking at the side-effects of carbamazepine in the link below. I have heard hundreds of stories of weird interactions like the one about chlorine and carba… These may or may not have some truth in them but 99% of the time such ideas are trivial. The drugs are toxic so, in the very long-term, the more we take the sicker we get.

How to help your mum?… The food she is having is likely to be cheap rather than good, so maybe check on what supplements she is having to make up for some of the deficiencies. E.g. Any sort of omega-3 supplement? Omega-3 being good for the heart, brain and joints.


All drugs have lots of side-effects. A simple way of looking at psychiatric drugs is that they are;

  • intended to make us less anxious and therefor have to…
  • cause us to have less energy
  • this requires them to be toxic
  • and so they cause just a little damage with every dose

It is the less energy bit that explains how they work. If you think of a mood map, then less energy takes us down and out of the anxious quadrant and into the ‘low’ quadrant. The drugs work when the dose is low enough to take the edge off the anxiety such that we can;

  • better explain our troubles to a good listener
  • listen to good advice from people who have been through similar troubles

The trouble with this approach include;

  • The dose is usually too strong (Dr Moncrief writes about this)
  • Drugs are used for too long (All were originally intended for short term use by the scientists who created them – but the marketing people know there is more money to be made when patients fail to recover)
  • Addiction gets worse with time as our bodies adapt to expect to have to cope with toxins everyday
  • Damage is cumulative

These troubles are all obvious, but the other two troubles that make the drug route pretty useless are;

  • We struggle to find good listeners
  • The health service puts us in front of people who have not been through what we are going through and so their advice is rarely much use

So, when you read the side-effects of carbamazepine… really, pretty similar to most psychiatric drugs. These drugs are never going to be part of a cure unless short-term and matched up with talking (listening/talking) therapies.

I have to add that it is almost always dangerous to come off any drug quickly. Change has to start with better lifestyle and that usually needs to include better nutrition.


After Bipolar – Repairing Your Liver – John Bergman Video

Repairing Your Liver

I love Dr John Bergman’s videos. I have not seen a bad one yet. This one has inspired me to write again on Rethinking Bipolar after a few months away.

John is saying things that I have been sharing with clients. He says it so much better, so much more clearly, in a more entertaining way and has some great slides too.

If you ever had bipolar and took any of those psychiatric drugs that tend to go with bipolar then you are going to want to be repairing your liver as part of getting back to being as fit as you can be.

The doctor explains what you need to do, so where might I come in? I can help you to grasp the root causes of your troubles and support you in quickly eliminating or reducing the most damaging of these causes, allowing you to have better physical and emotional well-being.

Rethinking Health consultations are £50/hour – not cheap at all, so please only contact me if you are serious about getting better.

It is great video – how about setting 30 minutes aside to watch it with friends:

And yes, there is life after bipolar – you mainly need to meet up with people who know this to be true.


Lithium Orotate – response to two readers on similar paths

I think lithium may be a side-issue and providing we are not taking toxic levels then maybe it has no more effect on mood than copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, calcium etc.

Well, probably far less effect mg for mg, as all the ones I  mention above are essential nutrients and their effects-according-to-intake are well studied and well understood.

E.g. Low zinc with high copper can make psychosis far more likely/far more disturbing, while low magnesium has long been associated with depression and is recognized as one of the top causes of depression for those eating ‘S.A.D.’ foods.

Yes, lithium is a very unusual element, but outside of bipolar and a little off-label prescribing no one is really using it or talking about it. It was banned decades ago for use for physical health because it was greatly increasing heart attack risks.

I think you both may be better to stick with your plans to come down gradually.

Incidentally, do you remember days when you forgot to take lithium the night before – how did you feel on those days? I think this is important information but do not allow whatever those feelings are to influence your current steady reduction route.

When reducing your reliance on lithium or any psychiatric drug then having a plan that your doctor agrees with is extremely valuable. Stick with it. You are both looking fitter and sounding better than when we first met.


Nutrition: more moving = better health #notjustbipolar

I have been thinking about how nutrition and movement fit together. Every part (every cell) of our bodies needs nutrients delivered and waste products taken away. This delivery and removal happens best when we move.

As we move about we are probably not thinking about how our movement is helping to keep our brain in good shape, but all the research is confirming that moving is good for our brains too.

I have cut and pasted the following words from today’s Mercola article:

Your brain is capable of rejuvenating and regenerating itself throughout your life. The study participants did not exercise formally but rather got their activity in via walking, gardening, and simply moving about each day – and those who moved the most had significant brain advantages compared to their more sedentary peers. Those who were the most physically active had better brain oxygenation and better patterns of brain activity, particularly in the hippocampus and in connecting different brain regions together.

When we move and how we move can be very important, but right now I believe the message needs to be…

Find ways to enjoy moving every bit of you every day. (The more we can enjoy moving the more moving we will do.)


In general: more moving = better health


Roger Smith

Currently working with:

Moore Osteopathy – Nottingham, UK

Mind & Body Consultants – Nottingham, UK

Blavet Gites – Brittany, France

Bipolar In Order by Tom Wootton – A Book Review

Bipolar In Order – 223 pages – Tom Wootton 2010 – 5 Star Amazon Review

Bipolar In Order is based on a very simple premise: we can learn and grow to the point that we see bipolar as an advantage in our lives. (Most of the following appears on the amazon UK site where I added my review)


Wootton takes on the treatment, basic misunderstandings, and assumptions that are in the way of achieving Bipolar In Order. Living with bipolar and depressive conditions is never underestimated in Tom Wootton’s books. By examining all states of depression, mixed states, and mania unflinchingly and deeply he arrives at conclusions that challenge the current paradigm.

The author insists on a higher level of Insight, Freedom, Stability, Self-mastery, and Equanimity as end goals that are achievable. Asked time and again why someone would resist treatment, Wootton states that the most important thing to offer is a life worth living! Expecting someone to park their brain in the garage like an unused Ferrari is not an appealing treatment model.

Rather than receiving the training, therapy, mind skills and behavioural control that is the foundation of real stability, current models of “avoidance therapy” try to mask and remove symptoms that will never go away. Living in fear of the wide ranging states of consciousness and mood that those with mental conditions experience is not a life worth living. Confronting these conditions head on, identifying one’s strengths and learning self-mastery is a more viable solution proposed by Bipolar In Order.

Book Review:

Bipolar in Order is Wootton’s best book yet. It is a distillation of his unorthodox views of what it means to be bipolar. Bipolarity brings with it a wide range of moods and emotions, from suicidal depression to ecstatic mania and everything in between. Conventional wisdom advises bipolars to maintain their moods somewhere in the middle, flattening out their emotions so that they are neither too high nor too low. Wootton shifts the paradigm: it is not the feelings, but our response to them that is the problem. The feelings actually enrich our lives and deepen our humanity. Using introspection and the other tools outlined in Bipolar in Order, Wootton believes that bipolars can learn to control their outward behavior, allowing them to enjoy the entire spectrum of their emotions.

First UK review:

Essential reading for anyone working in the mental health field

“I very much enjoyed reading ‘Bipolar In Order’ and this is one of the books I now show to people when I am training ‘Understanding Mood and the Bipolar Diagnosis’.

My own journey has a lot in common with Wootton’s approach of building a team and moving on with life without waiting for all troublesome feelings, thoughts etc to go away.

This book is a must for anyone working in the mental health field to understand just how differently it is possible to view mood disorder and how successfully difficulties can be overcome by someone with hope, determination and realism.”