Wellness Displays at Grantham Museum 26th Jan and 2nd Feb 2019 1pm to 4pm

I am now into my 8th year since my last dose of medication relating to bipolar disorder. Recovery from such diagnosis/medication takes a long time. Back on my feet now, I am sharing what I have learned along the way.

I am making these events in Grantham ‘transportable’, by which I mean I can pack it all into my car and display the same information anywhere in England, Wales or Scotland, only limited by the cost of fuel to get to a venue near you.

wellness at grantham 19th jan to 2nd feb 2019

Wellness Fair in Grantham, Lincs, UK 12th January 2019 1pm to 4pm

Wellness Fair at Grantham Museum

Printable copy of the above = Wellness Fair Poster for 12th January 2019 1pm – 4pm – On Plain Background

Coloured background  = Wellness Fair Poster for 12th January 2019 1pm – 4pm – Final

Fasting 16:8 for steadier mood

As soon as I started taking prescription medications I started eating from early morning to late evening with hardly any breaks. It was something like a 8:16 diet, with at best only going 8 hours overnight without eating and sometimes eating at unearthly hours like 2am, 3am, 4am. This was not good for my body shape or my risk for diabetes.

It was not until several years after taking my last prescription medications that I felt able to tackle this excessive eating. Initially with later breakfast, then gradually further decreasing my eating window.

The outcome is that I am now averaging just under 8 hours between first food and last food and so on average going more than 16 hours per night with no food or calorific drinks.

It has taken effort and discipline, resisting early and late eating and making a note of first and last food times, to be able to share my progress graphically:

Intermittent fasting for improving mood and brain health

How might this help with stabilizing mood and improving health?

  1. Developing discipline would seem to be a good thing.
  2. Possibly the main benefit comes from being able to avoid almost all junk food, as having planned meal-times makes it easier to eat planned foods.

Am I going to stick with this?

  1. Yes
  2. Christmas time could prove tricky although I am certainly not going to get upset if I stray a little
  3. I am not planning to push this further such as 17 hours without food in each 24 although I believe I have proved that is within my grasp
  4. I may experiment with the occasional longer fast as that is said to be very good for health

I hope that by sharing this I am demonstrating just something that is possible as we leave extremes of mood behind us.

 

A simple thought on sleep that I’ve found helpful

Sleep seems to be a lot more about quality than most people seem to think…. and a lot less about quantity than most people seem to think.

I am happiest sleeping anything over 4 hours while ‘med-free’ and waking ready to tackle whatever I most need to tackle.

Are you someone who can do well on only a few hours sleep, while recognizing there is a minimum for you when choices have to be made to ensure you get that minimum hours per 24 hours?

Great work from Jon McMahon – inspiring way beyond diabesity

Something that is great about having this blog, that is not directly connected to my business (that I do because I do not want others to suffer through ignorance as I did) is having the freedom to change direction and share what is on my mind that I feel will be of benefit.

You may have noticed how excited I have been about the iThrive series and seeing its links with mood and therefore with bipolar disorder.

This morning, I am feeling very much as the creator of the series shares in an email I just opened. I’m simply going to paste most of that email here and ask how much you have needed to (or will need to) change your life to truly be the best you can be?

“…one of the biggest factors in reclaiming our health and our life, is…

CONNECTION

Every day we have a choice… to open our hearts to the world or not.

To care about other people enough to give to them…

To care about ourselves enough to take care of ourselves.

It’s a risk to open our hearts again… to love again… and to try again.

We can fail.  And we can be hurt.

For years I hid away from the world.

Well…

Today…

Today, I choose to LIVE!

I choose to LOVE today.

I choose to feed my heart, my cells, my brain and my soul with the care, the love, the nutrients, the fresh air, the movement and the connection that it takes to truly thrive!

And tomorrow?

I will wake up and great the day anew.  And I will aim to honor this one precious life I have, and my new-found mission!

I will do my best to be an example to you and everyone I meet.

Some days I may fall…

But when I do, I will not retreat in shame and self-blame.

No, I will rise up, and remember who I really am.  And the great work I have to do, and the people I get to serve.

Jon McMahon
Episode 9 — The Last Episode — it’s still here a little longer (9th March 2018).

Diabetes, Bipolar and Fasting – More Great Information from iThrive

New health documentaries are coming out so quickly these days it is challenging to keep up. This series on diabetes has been great. I said about being disappointed with episode 4 but they were soon back on track. 5,6 and 7 all great!

Now I have episode 8 playing. The subject is fasting, which would seem to be the fastest way to reverse diabetes. Essentially you stop adding sugar to your body for a while, then the sugar in blood goes down and things start to heal. Okay, for a lot of us that is nowhere as near as easy as it sounds. It may also need medical supervision if you happen to be very unwell.

Food and mood are so linked that I see regaining the ability to fast, even if just going for 12, 14, 16 hours without food in each 24 hours can be hugely beneficial. It is a matter of retraining our digestive system and brain such that we can walk past temptation and only eat when we plan and need to be eating.

It is 1pm here. Last ate at 7pm yesterday. Time for my break fast. I like how it feels and that having skipped eating in the morning I feel okay to eat a big meal now… feasting – it goes with fasting.

If you are not seeing the links between diabesity and bipolar the previous episode is well worth seeking out. I’ll share my notes on that sometime soon.

 

Bipolar with Diabetes – Three Great Episodes of iThrive then Disappointed with Episode 4

If you want to get over any kind of disorder, diabetes, bipolar or whatever then episodes 1 to 3 of the iThrive Documentary Series are well worth watching. A great range of experts are interviewed and their explanations of causes and cures are well worth hearing.

I was disappointed with Episode 4 because everyone interviewed seemed to be strictly vegan. The only message I kept hearing was, “Eat like a vegan or die young.”

Even if that turns out to be true, I feel the film makers lost track of what seemed like their essential central messages.

I am hoping they get back on track.

Clearly there are many lifestyle options and changes they can share, but everyone needs just a few simple clear guidelines. Maybe just two messages to start with:

  • Eliminate junk food
  • Find a way that works for you to avoid spikes in blood sugar

These are just two of many lifestyle changes I needed to make to eliminate bipolar disorder and the need for psychiatric drugs from my life. Yes, there do have to be many other changes just that these two work for everyone who has been struggling.

I believe:

  • Eliminate junk food
  • Find a way that works for you to avoid spikes in blood sugar

…are especially effective for long-term wellness as success can be seen in falling HbA1c blood test values which your doctor will almost certainly agree is worth testing 3 monthly while ‘in recovery’ then perhaps every 6 or 12 months throughout your life.

For my next blog-post I’ll share about my old food choices not being HCLF but HCTF… and HCTF being a massive driver for bipolar and every mental / physical disorder.

 

iThrive – Diabesity Films – So many causes and cures the same as bipolar

I loved Episodes 1, 2, 3. Episode 4 was disappointing. I’ll share in my next post why I felt it was inferior or perhaps was not ideal as a stand-alone film. Here is today’s episode. I’ve not watched any of it yet…

 

Natural Sugars or Healthy Fats – It all depends on your mood? #HCLF #HFLC or #LCHF

Yesterday I mentioned ‘High Carbohydrate Low Fat’ and will admit I used the letters HCLF partly because those letters attract attention. Well, I did receive a few emails and this comment posted here at rethinkingbipolar.com:

…if I am to have breakfast Roger what should I have? Fruit or bacon and eggs?

  1. Ten years ago I would have said, “Make the most amazing fruit-salad cutting up at least six different colourful fruits. Perhaps add something that makes it unique, like a few cherry tomatoes! Then share with family or even take some to share with a neighbour.”
  2. Five years ago I would have said, “Bacon and eggs great! It is sugar-free. It’ll lower your blood glucose, give you energy and help with weight loss.”
  3. A year ago I would have said, “Ditch the bacon! It’ll be full of toxins. Get the best organic eggs you can, lightly boil or poach these so the white is just hard-ish and the yolk runny.”
  4. Now? Today? I’m thinking that providing we are avoiding junk and minimizing toxins neither option is going to do much harm and each contains an amazing mix of nutrients.

What I believe matters more is when we have this first meal. I think every nutritionist agrees with what Patrick Holford wrote years ago, “Don’t eat for at least an hour after getting up in the morning”. There can be lots of reasons for delaying breakfast. For me, it is the one time I can be sure my blood sugar is nice and low. The time before eating is when I get most done per minute.

  • Only about once a week do I have a meal at the time my relatives would call breakfast time, although still at least an hour after getting up.
  • Four or five days a week, I will; write my ‘morning pages’, wash, dress, do yoga-style exercises, have a few hot drinks, shake, do a tiny bit of aerobic stuff, view most of my incoming emails, type a blog-post or similar, put any clothes washing on, walk, hang the washing to dry – All before I prepare my brunch.
  • Usually one day and sometimes two days a week, such as when I am facilitating a group, I eat nothing before noon, 1pm or even 2pm. It is keeping busy that allows me to do this without messing with my mood.

Does any of that sound hypo-manic? In recovery, I used to closely monitor my mood – always in fear of ‘relapsing’ as I had been told I was only in ‘remission’. I’m not losing sight of risks of mental health troubles, just that I now know it is lifestyle, stress etc and not any genetic-fixed-uncontrollable disorder. I keep going and achieving while recognizing my changing moods. I know behavior rather than mood determines my long-term happiness.

How does this relate to the “fruit or eggs” choice?

By brunch or lunch-time, what I fancy eating has changed.

Yes, I can allow myself fruit. I often fancy eggs. Now though, I am just as likely to fancy lettuce leaves smothered in ground flax or raw organic sauerkraut. I often include all sorts of raw vegetables in my first meal of the day, which very few people would do if eating earlier.

Calories? It will be great when I can stop ever mentioning calories. For now, I’ll just say that do not restrict calories, just that I can eat a couple of big plates full of many different foods for brunch, be full-up for hours, with less than 600kcal. I’ll share more about what this means to me at a later date.

I’m hoping this long answer is taken well by my new reader and it will inspire others to learn as much as they can about what is becoming a popular route to better health and better moods, which may be referred to as intermittent fasting.

I am welcoming bookings to provide talks and facilitate discussions. Please ask.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What does it all mean? I welcome your thoughts on any of the above or on this slide I created before my morning walk… 2 hours to go to brunch 🙂

HCLF or LFHC versus HFLC or LCHF - What does it mean - Roger Smith

Diabetes Bipolar Link!?

I believe there were 100+ reasons why after Prozac and before Olanzapine/Zyprexa I was prescribed lithium and came to accept that I was bipolar.

How much did excess carbohydrate consumption influence my mood troubles?

I am not going to claim it was my number one stressor/trigger. I’ll share about that another time, however…

What was I eating and drinking prior to being assessed by psychiatry?

  • I worked for a multi-national food manufacturers with access to unlimited half-price confectionery and a card for chocolate/candy dispensing machines position throughout the offices, without the need to use cash
  • I was consuming semi-skimmed milk (fat reduced but still 5% lactose = sugar!)
  • I drank orange juice = 10% sugar
  • I ate bread every day
  • I ate either potatoes, pasta or rice every day
  • I remember a few times checking how much rice I was consuming and finding it was 100g before cooking (dry) per meal, equivalent to about 400kcal – I believed this was a good thing!
  • I would eat a few biscuits and pieces of cake every day

Was I balancing all this carbs in any way by eating healthy fats?

  • I was minimizing use of butter, cheese and reluctantly ate lean meats rather than the tastier fatty meats
  • I considered avocados and olives to be too expensive
  • I considered organic foods to be too expensive
  • As a family we regularly fried foods in cheap non-organic toxic vegetable oils from plastic bottles
  • We ate ready-meals and fast-foods that arrived in plastic containers

I believed I had a good diet. As I said, yesterday, “Clearly, these days, good is not good enough when we start to look at food labels.

Did this High-Carb/Low-Fat (HCLF) diet cause my mood troubles? Well, it did not help!

As a food scientist I already knew what happens to animals such as cats and dogs if we were to feed them this kind of HCLF diet – they get sick!

I did not believe I was sick. I was a very busy person burning off all that carbohydrate my body did not need so I was not dying in the way pets or some farm animals would on such a diet.

Now, I am guessing the iThrive video series will get onto my next point/fact in episode 2, 3…

My diet was depriving me of just about every key nutrient!

I was most likely short of vitamins C, B vitamins including niacin and B12, D, E, K1, K2. So much of the carbs I was consuming were so processed that they were nutritionally of almost no use at all to my brain.

I’ve said enough for today. Right now, for one day only, here is Episode 2 of iThrive. Even if you can only spare 5 minutes just listen to the first 5 minutes. If this does not convinced that every disorder is made more likely by a high calorie low nutrition high toxin diet, please do listen to more.

 

Reversing Diabetes / Diabesity While Keeping Moods in Order

On Olanzapine/Zyprexa (for 14 years) I was heading towards diabetes. Okay, so I only gained about 45 pounds in weight due to psych drugs, but then I was making huge efforts just to not gain more, while losing my physical fitness.

Yes, I have to admit the psych drugs helped me to stay in bed a lot longer, which was a blessing for my family. Perhaps, it was because I was so sedated that allowed my children to do so well throughout school and university. In fact, as I type this I am thinking maybe it was all worthwhile. Did all those years of poor health for me allow better health for those around me?

It was blood tests that left me in no doubt things had to change. Well, yes and no. It was getting up for a ‘pee’, twice, then 3 times, then 4 times every night that caused me to insist on the blood tests. By then my guts were wrecked, so I was lying awake in pain in-between the toilet visits. I was in bed a lot longer, but getting no more refreshing sleep than I had before the drugs or since I have come off all prescription medication. If we can go drug-free (and it is not easy and involves serious risks for many) then the sleep we get is so wonderful. To sleep like a child again is beautiful.

After the drugs my HbA1c measure of damage to my cells by excess sugar was just below pre-diabetic, even though my diet was good. Clearly, these days, good is not good enough when we start to look at food labels. I found the support I needed to cut right back on some of the things going hand-in-hand with my poor eating habits. I went without wheat and dairy for months, lost more weight and my HbA1c came down. I am not 100% free of wheat and dairy, just that I have most definitely broken the addictions and can now go for weeks without the tiniest bit of either.

The big dietary changes I made (and there have been many more of them) included switching to what a friend described as ‘single ingredient’ foods. Basically, if there is a list of ingredients just don’t buy it. I am mostly buying fruit, veg or anything that has no legal requirement for a list of ingredients. Yes, big business is not going to like anyone doing this as it rules out just about anything they can make much money from. It was a simple change and perhaps the main one for bringing my HbA1c down. Down by just ‘one point’… away from diabetes.

Then my HbA1c stabilized at a level I was far from happy with. By then I was working close to full-time as a health researcher and having to learn more and more about the links between high HbA1c and seemingly every chronic condition.

Please do your own research or ask me to send some reliable links to answer questions like… Is elevated HbA1c always a driver for cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart-attack, stroke, pancreatic troubles, liver damage, kidney disease… the list goes on and on. Only yesterday I was working with someone while we discussed how closely HbA1c might be linked with MND (Motor Neuron Disease). Excess sugar and lack of vitamins alone may never cause any of these, just that the evidence is piling up that if we can take control of our sugar and have better levels of vitamins in our blood (and balances between these vitamins too) then risks go way down.

The other big change I’ve made has simply been to stop eating at night. Now, it seems so obvious that eating close to 24 hours a day is going to be linked to weight gain and blood sugar troubles. For people taking high levels of Olanzapine the desire to eat returns every few minutes. On that drug, the only time I stopped thinking about food for more than a few minutes was while I was asleep, but sleeping more was not burning off that sugar coming from carbs eaten late in the evening and replaced within minutes of getting out of bed.

My wife said so often, “You’re always in the pantry”. I do not believe she was ever able to get her head around how a psych drug can effectively eliminate will-power.

I have set myself a new lower target for my HbA1c with a retest scheduled for just 8 to 10 weeks from now. I am going to work towards this by averaging a fasting window of 15 hours in every 24 hours. I’ve worked towards this by getting my gut as physically as fit as it can be at this time. Fasting 15 hours it is not going to be difficult as I am already feeling the benefits from skipping what I used to call breakfast and supper. I still have a huge 9 hour eating window and no restriction at all (for me this is) on calories. I can eat as much fatty food as I fancy, although here I am talking about healthy avocados, olives and a wide range of organic high calorie foods, with nothing at all cooked at high temperatures.

I am staying pretty much grain-free because it aids my clarity of thought, while making it far easier to avoid excess carbs.

Okay, I have typed plenty for today. If you’d like to know more about how my challenge is going, what I eat day-to-day or anything else do ask by email or through the comments option below.

Now, if you’ve not seen any of the iThrive series see if you can check it out. The link  below may only work for the next 20 hours or so. Just listen to what ‘Chef AJ’ says between 6m 14s and 6m 44s [[[just 30 seconds]]] and share this with anyone you love.

I am sure the experts can share a lot more about diabetes than I can. My approach is simple. Check out your HbA1c, research what probably caused your HbA1c to be higher than the ideal, then start eliminating the causes in a way that works for you. I am currently 100% sure that if you remove enough of the relevant causes your body will be able to move you further away from diabetes.

Finally, what has this to do with bipolar?

  1. Bipolar and diabetes have been linked many times. Mood troubles affect food choices and psych drugs can so often make things far worse.
  2. As I have been teaching for more than a decade, if you have mood troubles, so bad that you are getting a mental health diagnosis, then food choices so often have to be made with mood in mind. Yes, we can change anything about our foods, including what we eat, when we eat and whom we eat with, but we still have to keep our moods in order. Staying safe in the short-term is key, while keeping that long-term goal of lower HbA1c or whatever target you have in mind. Get support and get your physical health sorted at the same time as eliminating mood disorder from your life.

If video does not play click here for next episode: diabetes-bipolar-link

Live Longer Feel Better – Videos – Docu-series

Live Longer Feel Better!

If you want to get healthier and live longer take time out to watch as much of “Live Longer Feel Better”

All 7 episodes were screened for free in February 2018.

Why am I sharing this at Rethinking Bipolar? Whatever helps us to live longer is almost always what helps us to manage our moods or live well whatever mood we find ourselves in. It is all linked!

For example, see Episode 3, which matches my own experiences of eating well doing me far more good than any medication.

https://www.livelongerfeelbetter.com/

Today, as I update this page, there is no free screening. If you’d like to know more about how this information can help you with understanding your mood while getting healthier please do ask via the comments option.

Live Longer Feel Better – Worth watching or listening today!

Live Longer Feel Better

Are you watching or listening? Currently I’m listening to episode 2

https://www.livelongerfeelbetter.com/

Brain Health Course with Roger Smith

Brain Health – It is what we all need.

I hope you can join us at Folks & Fables Cafe, Long Acre, Bingham, Nottinghamshire  NG13 8AFBrain Health - Feb 2018 at Folks and Fables


 

Thoughts on Zoe Harcombe’s ‘Food to help you live longer’ article

I have just read a recent article from Dr. Zoe Harcombe.

Zoë Harcombe

I am fan of Zoe’s work.

I do wonder though how this stacks up with real life experiences of people who are able to do veganism in an informed and sustainable way. Vegans who ‘do it right’ seem to be exceptionally healthy.

Information such as ‘no retinol in plants’ rarely get any consideration, yet should not be forgotten if people are struggling with veganism.

Some experts seem to have moved on, by considering whether some nutrients that traditionally have been thought of as only coming from animal foods (such as vitamin B12) could be supplied by a healthy mix of healthy gut bacteria.

Even so, I believe Zoe is making some very valid points that make sense when I consider how many people fail, health-wise, when they say they are adopting a vegan diet, while selecting the equivalent of vegan donuts! [not a good idea]

! ! ! vegan donuts ! ! !

For people determined to never eat anything from an animal ever again it is worth seeking good advice and (as for anyone) never stop learning about nutrition.

To read Zoe’s article please paste link this in your browser: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2018/01/food-to-help-you-live-longer/

Best wishes

Roger

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