Fat for Fuel – Dr Mercola – #Mercola

Fat for Fuel is a New Book by Dr Mercola

I’ve not read it. I am not selling it. It is however, the way I have gradually been moving for sometime now. It is not only good for physical health but in the longer term is great for steadying moods. If you want to eliminate bipolar disorder then using fat for fuel is almost certainly going to help.

Mammals, and therefore all of us, work well while using fat as our main energy source. This is known as ketosis which is a word that to many people can sound bad. It is not bad, it is just what our bodies do automatically whenever we go without eating for 6 hours or so. (The exact number of hours varies from person to person.)

Question 1 of 2: In a typical 24 hours what is the longest you go without consuming any food or drink that contains carbohydrates or man-made chemicals?

I have found the easiest way to maximizing my time in fat-burning mode is not to eat or drink any carbohydrates in the morning. For me, this includes avoiding drinks with any kind of added milk, because milk contains sugar.

Whether I say I am skipping breakfast on days I do not eat before noon, or I say that I am having a very late ‘break-fast-meal’, it is the days I do this when I feel best and think most clearly.

Question 2 of 2: After reading about Fat for Fuel could you share, using the comments option, how going longer between meals and minimizing snacking helps you to be in the mood you want to be in?

A new website set up by Dr Mercola: www.fatforfuel.org

Just to make it clear… I am not being paid to advertise this… I simply believe most people would be healthier and less prone to mood disorders if eating less often and this requires us to burn fat for fuel.

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.”

Brain Maker – Have a healthy gut to have a healthy brain – Dr Perlmutter

If you are still unsure if sorting your gut out is going to be part of your recovery from a mood disorder please take the time to read Dr Perlmutter’s book “Brain Maker”.

Here is a video where Dr Perlmutter shares from his new book. You may wish to skip the introduction and start watching from 3 minutes…
I know this is such important information I am sharing this one-to-one and in group training sessions in the UK.

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr James Wilson – Book Review #adrenal #adrenalfatigue

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr Wilson – Book Review

People diagnosed as bipolar often end up suffering from chronic fatigue. I wanted to understand how this may relate to poorly functioning adrenal glands, so I researched on-line, talked with nutritionists, experimented with my diet and read two chunky books about Adrenal Fatigue. This book, simply called Adrenal Fatigue is for me the better of these books.

Adrenal Fatigue covers everything you might want to know, including recognizing adrenal gland problems, blood and saliva tests, adrenal fatigue book dr wilsonwhat adds up to causing the problems, why adrenal function is often not being recognized, how the adrenal glands function and what to do to feel well again.

I was amazed at the strength of opposition from drug companies, most mainstream doctors, endocrinologists and health services (such as the UK’s NHS) to the phrase Adrenal Fatigue. The official line from all these people is that adrenal glands cannot be fatigued, with only extreme adrenal dysfunction being recognised and considered treatable. The extremes are; Cushing’s-Syndrome, where the adrenals produce far too much cortisol and Addison’s-Disease, where the adrenals produce far too little. Both of these extremes are said by mainstream doctors, and perhaps crucially by insurance providers, to be unrelated to the fatigue that millions suffer. Most doctors are unable to react to test results that show the adrenals are not at peak performance as their training is that this does not need any medical response.

Dr Wilson (who was the first to use the phrase Adrenal Fatigue) along with a significant minority of doctors and nutritionists around the world, is saying we need to pay more attention to our adrenal glands. How well our adrenal glands are able to work depends on many factors whilst changes in lifestyle can get most people who are suffering from fatigue back to something like their normal selves.

Perhaps the oddest thing about this conflict between Dr Wilson’s supporters and the established health services is that the latter recognise a condition called Adrenal Insufficiency, which they say has nothing to do with Adrenal Fatigue – even though it has EXACTLY THE SAME SYMPTOMS! Maybe this disagreement is just about the label and really it makes no differences whether years of stress and poor diet have caused our adrenal glands to be fatigued or insufficient. Either way, it feels real when you find yourself having to go to bed (or in extreme cases just lie down on the floor, unable to even walk to a bed) in the middle of the day.

What I have learned from the book, which is supported by strong evidence and many experts other than just Dr Wilson?

  1. The approved saliva test is well established and does indeed give a good indication about how your adrenal glands are working during the day of the test.
  2. Although improving diet and gradually doing more gentle exercise will almost always help, having fewer stressful events/fewer stressful days will make the biggest difference and allow for the most rapid recovery.
  3. The book’s recommendations for dealing with adrenal fatigue are so closely related to what is known to be good for general health and fitness that following Dr Wilson’s advice will improve almost anyone’s health, regardless of your beliefs about adrenal fatigue/insufficiency.  The book is full of good health advice.
  4. The scientific part of the book is good science and matches well with the chemistry I learned when completing my BSc many years ago. Facts such as the adrenal glands convert cholesterol to cortisol in order to help you cope with every day stressors and have any energy at all are indisputable.

Did Dr Wilson’s book help me?

Yes, definitely! While reading the book I made some small dietary and lifestyle changes. These have allowed me to have more energy and to have that energy for more hours per day. This is not the same as cured but it could well be that I am on a good road of recovery from the extreme fatigue (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) I was suffering from.

How did the book help?

There are lots of ideas in the book that all helped a little. It was useful to be reminded that I need good healthy fats to make enough cholesterol to allow all the other hormones to be made as needed. Without eating healthy fats everyday our adrenals are going to struggle

The idea that made the most difference for me was almost the simplest in the book and is in some ways so obvious that my GP, and all the other specialists I have met with, missed it. Dr Wilson does not make a fuss about stress and poorly functioning adrenals causing sodium depletion. He just states it, as a well-known fact. However, this led me to look closely the records I had made for my nutritionist about the exact amounts of every food and drink I consumed on many days during 2013. It turned out that without eating processed foods (such as bread, cakes and takeaways) I was not having anywhere near enough sodium in my diet. Meanwhile by eating fruit, nuts and generally a lot of things I felt would be good for me I had increased my potassium intake.

The net effect of low sodium and high potassium was that I was suffering variable and often very low blood pressure. By monitoring my blood pressure and gradually increasing my sodium intake up to the UK’s recommended daily amount, I feel I have twice as much energy and half as much fatigue, just through that one change. An example of this: after moving house my washing machine just sat in the kitchen unconnected as I did not feel able to even attempt to move it to plumb it in. After just two days with a little extra sodium (half a teaspoon of sea salt) I moved the machine and plumbed it in as if I had never a fatigue disorder.

Were there ideas from Dr Wilson that may not have been so good?

I could not see anything wrong or illogical in Dr Wilson’s work. However, I am not convinced about Dr Wilson’s supplements. A friend bought me a bottle and I took one a day. I cannot say that I took these long enough or enough per day to say whether the tablets were useful or not. After a few weeks I did not like the smell of the tablets and stopped taking these. Being meat based I wonder if this supplement might be of greatest benefit to those who do not normally eat much meat?

Overall, I am going to say, that if you have any interest at all in how people can be less fatigued this is essential reading and I highly recommend ‘Adrenal Fatigue – The 21st Century Stress Syndrome’ by Dr James L. Wilson.

Roger A. Smith, Rethinking Health Ltd

#Bipolar or Spiritual Awakenings – Sean Blackwell

Am I Bipolar or Waking Up?Am-I-Bipolar

Author: Sean Blackwell 2011

After a powerful emotional experience Sean Blackwell was sure he was destined to be something other than a Canadian advertising man. Sean describes a close shave with death that may have contributed to what many would have seen as a manic episode. The autobiography unfolds with many seemingly chance encounters leading to the start of Sean’s new life in Brazil.

This is an exceptionally well-written and enjoyable autobiography. If you know of Sean’s current work you will have a good idea how the book ends, yet Sean tells it as it happened with only vague insights into what the future would hold for him.

Reading about ‘spiritual awakenings’ and how young people are being ‘stamped’ with the bipolar label in North and South America, has got us wondering how often manic episodes would be better described as Emotional Awakenings.

Emotional Awakenings: It seems young people who are trying to live the life others expect of them can quite suddenly have a wave of extreme emotion accompanied by bizarre behaviour. Yet, with good support people come through this without a mental health diagnosis, without psychiatric drugs, and often with a new sense of purpose.

In this book we are reminded, “The number of American children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 1994 to 2003” – Benedict Carey 4th September 2007 – NY Times

‘Am I Bipolar or Waking Up?’ by Sean Blackwell is full of hope and needs to be read by every parent in the western world if the bipolar epidemic is to brought under control.

Find out more at: www.bipolarORwakingUP.com

The Myth of the Chemical Cure – Joanna Moncrieff – #antidepressant #neuroleptic #moodstabilizer

The Myth of the Chemical CureJoanna Moncrieff

By Joanna Moncrieff 2008

Review and thoughts on the revised edition 2009

You may have wondered: How effective are psychiatric drugs?

After reading this excellent 300 page Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment I know the answer depends on what we mean by effective. Dr Moncrieff explains most of the psychiatric drugs are effective sedatives, yet psychiatric drugs are not resolving any specific mental health disorders. This matches the findings of every psychiatrist taking a look at the evidence.

This soundly researched book takes us through how psychiatric drugs came into use, the hopes for each drug, what the drugs are claimed to do and what the drugs really do.

Chemical imbalances may exist for reasons such as poor nutrition, but there is no evidence of the imbalances being linked to particular diagnoses or that these can be corrected by the use of psychiatric drugs. In contrast, there is evidence of the drugs creating imbalances and users becoming more unwell.

For me, the central theme of this book is whether:

a)      Psychiatric drugs are simply mood altering, addictive drugs with similar effects and outcomes for users as illegal street drugs. This is the ‘drug-centered model’ believed by most professionals and the public up until about the 1960’s.


b)      The disease-centered model populararized by the promotion of ‘new’ drugs marketed with descriptions of what the drug companies hoped the drugs would do.

The drug company (‘big pharma’) records show that (a) is true. The drug names were based on hopes and not on science. None of the drugs were ever proved to have specific anti-depressant, anti-psychotic or mood stabilizing properties. Governments and the public so much wanted to hear about new ways of treating mental illness that improbable stories of social and relationship problems being solved by using new expensive drugs were accepted as true.

The sad reality is that each drug brings with it a set of health risks, described as side-effects. As Dr Moncrieff explains, these are simply effects that occur to some extent for everyone who uses drugs that sedate and gradually change our biochemistry.

If you are on sedative drugs at this time this book is going to be a huge challenge with its attention to detail, with (it seems to me) ‘no stone left unturned’.

The use of psychiatric drugs is now so widespread every healthcare worker needs to know of the short-term and long-term effects. If you are working anywhere in health services or have relatives taking psychiatric drugs then this book is essential reading.

Highly recommended.

Available from:

[Amazon in UK]  [Amazon in USA] [More on Dr J. Moncrieff]

Robert Whitaker – Anatomy of an Epidemic #madinamerica

Robert Whitakerrobert-whitaker

His writing is great for understanding the mental illness industry (diagnosis and treatment).

Just before I add any more reviews I want to remind readers of Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic.

If you are involved in any way at all with heath care then this is essential reading.

Anatomy of an Epidemic

Brain disorder or mood disorder #stephenfry #bipolarboom

Does Stephen Fry have a brain disorder?

Moab Is My Washpot

There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about bipolar. Some pages describe bipolar as, “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood…” I believe this to be incorrect in that bipolar is not a brain disorder.

In the book I co-authored and published… (Bipolar Handbook) we explain that there is nothing different to see in the brains of people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder compared with those who are not. This is confirmed in the two-part BBC documentary “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive” (Stephen Fry).

Free BBC booklet: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/headroom/bipolar/bipolar.pdf
DVD from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephen-Frys-Secret-Manic-Depressive/dp/B002XT38GO

I have watched the documentaries many times and know if you pause the film while the camera is focused on Professor Nick Craddock’s notebook (during the confirmatory diagnosis of Stephen Fry as a genuine manic-depressive) it reveals the name of the drug that Stephen took when just 14 years old. He describes this drug in his autobiographical book, “Moab Is My Washpot”. Although he did not feel this drug was doing him any good he continued to take it until (in his own words in the on page 11 of the ‘Secret Life of Manic Depression’ booklet) “…age of 17, when I tried to commit suicide and woke up in hospital with a tube down my throat.”

Reading what Stephen says about himself in his books, I am left with a strong feeling that his brain works a bit differently… but there again are we not all different? What I wonder and suggest that taking a psychiatric drug at such an early age made Stephen more likely to be diagnosed with manic depression.

Here are some shocking ideas…

  1. Long term use of ‘antidepressants’ makes us better at being depressed.
  2. Long term use of ‘antipsychotics’ makes us better at being psychotic.
  3. Long term use of ‘mood stabilizers’ makes us better at having more unstable moods.

Does this mean Stephen Fry now has a brain disorder caused by taking drugs at an early age? Well, in the film Stephen has his brain scanned and the conclusion is that his brain looks pretty much like anyone else’s brain. There is nothing to be seen that would show either he was born with a disorder or any disorder has occurred. This matches what is found consistently with brain scans – bipolar disorder is a disorder of moods and emotions and so is not detectable.

Bipolar disorder was introduced as a diagnosis in 1980 and gradually replaced manic-depressive as the term preferred by psychiatry for people WITHOUT ANY DETECTABLE BRAIN DISORDER who seem to experience more extreme moods. It is because there is nothing to see (with brain scans) that is different in the brains of people who are diagnosed as having bipolar compared with those who are not that makes diagnosis so inaccurate.

You may see research that claims differences in brain structure, but with careful examination this is likely to be due to taking drugs such as antipsychotics or having electro-convulsive therapy which does indeed create brain disorder. Once again I suggest reading Whitaker’s ‘An Anatomy of an Epidemic‘ from cover to cover to understand how bipolar has grown alongside the psychiatric drug industry. The scientific evidence is that drugs enhance our abilities to experience more extreme moods and this happens through changing brain structure.

Although rather busy at this time I continue to teach, ‘Understanding Mood and Bipolar Disorder’ for organisations all over the UK. When I am less busy I will be advertising this course through Rethinking Health (UK) Ltd.

New Bipolar Disorder handbook Published 2012

Bipolar Disorder handbook – Pavilion Publishing 2012bipolar disorder book

Danny Walsh and I started writing our book about bipolar disorder and how people with the diagnosis can best be supported about five years ago. It has at last been published!

The views in the book are kind of steadier and fit in more with current practice than you might expect if you are a regular reader of this blog. There again we feel confident it is the most up to date chunky book on bipolar, so if you need to know a lot about bipolar for your job or because you are living with someone with the diagnosis then it is going to be worth having a copy.

I am not saying this for financial gain as Danny and I have been paid a lump sum for creating the book, so there are no royalties from increasing sales. I am simply letting you know that this book exists and can be purchased through:

Pavilion Publishing

 ISBN: 9781908066152

Emotional Health: What Emotions Are and How They Cause Social and Mental Diseases

Emotional Health – Bob Johnson (Author)

This is the review I have just put on www.amazon.co.uk.

Dr Bob Johnson

Emotional Health – Dr Bob Johnson

As with all the best books that are sharing a lifetime’s learning, the basic messages are simple. For me the main message is:


I have written this inside the front cover of my copy as it is what Dr Johnson has proved beyond doubt throughout his career. I can see how this can be applied to any and every person, any group and to the whole of society/our world.

Some highlights for me include the first sentence of the foreword, “Emotions are the single most vital ingredient in all human affairs.” – This is so true and yet most psychiatrists refuse to talk about anything emotional, which for patients is confusing to say the least.

Page 53 – I like the simple idea that illnesses often/usually become curable once the causes are known. It is the same for just about all physical illness and ‘mental illness’.

By half way through the link between ‘frozen terror’ and addictive behaviour had become a lot clearer in my mind. It clearly explains how so many of us, when not addicted to drugs etc, become addicted to work. It is as if we are too frightened to stop and face our fears. As addictions go, they say that “work is better than whiskey” but sorting out what is causing our addictions has to be better still.

Overall, the book left me with an increased strength in the belief that ‘mental illness’ is an out of date expression as these troubles are all simply different degrees of emotional distress. I am responding to this by increasing the emphasis on emotions in the training I offer. The world is going to be a better place for us all when more people are able to get help for difficult emotions before they start to be labelled as mentally ill.

It is well recognised that effectiveness in the real world depends on having a belief that we make a difference. (This Stephen R Covey describes as the first habit of highly effective people. He says, “Be proactive”.) Dr Johnson steers clear of simply stating that we have free will as that is always being disputed. Instead, a series of discussions to emphasise the diagnostic manual approach of ignoring the mind and treating the brain as simply a clockwork organ has never had any success in reducing the incidence of emotional distress. As a scientist I can understand the reasoning behind the strange idea of, ‘patients are incapable of decision-making’, but in the real world it is plain stupid. Patients invariably want to make decisions, and allowing patients to make decisions is a key factor in all recovery.

I found the first half of the book very powerful as there are many accounts from Dr Johnson’s work in prisons. By describing extreme cases of emotional distressed linked with murder and life-sentences, the links between our own distress and our future emotions become clearer. It can leave no doubt that it is the events in our life we need to look to when considering how happy or sad we are and not anything that could have been programmed before we were born.

There is a lot more in this book and I am sure I will be increasingly making use of the concepts I have read here.

Why would I mark this book as 4 out of 5? A tiny problem I had with the style was the number of words used that just were not in my vocabulary (about 30 in total). Yes, I was able to learn a few new words, by using a dictionary, but it did leave me wondering if the message could have been even clearer if a ‘less well educated’ editor had been employed to kind of dumb the book down for the less academic reader. The other thing I did not like were brief mentions of thermodynamics towards the end of the book. I found these unnecessary. A misinterpretation of thermodynamic principles was disappointing, although I am guessing that non-scientists would not spot or would easily overlook this error

This is an exceptionally good book. A book everyone working in healthcare should make themselves familiar with.

Roger Smith 25th January 2012

Kindle edition on www.amazon.co.uk:

Author Bob Johnson

Emotional Health – Kindle edition

Highly recommending ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’ by R. Whitaker 2010

Review of ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’ – R. Whitaker 2010

anatomy-of-an-epidemic-bookAnatomy of an Epidemic is excellent. It is the best book of this type I have read. It confirms what many of us have believed about psychiatric drugs for a long time. I have recommended this book to my students. Even for people who firmly believe the information supplied by drug companies, this is a must read book to understand the views of millions who have taken the drugs, experienced worsening symptoms and bad effects.

Prior to this book I found it difficult to explain why drugs never been shown to be beneficial continue to be prescribed. This book has made my life easier. I only need to say that the facts are explained in Anatomy of an Epidemic.

Robert Whitaker’s style is excellent. It is a subject that can seem daunting yet he takes you on a journey from the first ‘energisers’ of the 1950’s to the more recent chemicals, which turn out to be surprisingly similar in action to the earliest ones.

One effect of the book is that I find I am now increasingly being asked questions about coming off psychiatric medication. It makes sense to ask. Stopping quickly is almost always a bad idea. Finding a doctor you can work with is an excellent idea and then working with that doctor to find ways towards lower/safer doses is likely to lead to a far better life.

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