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

…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

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.

Stomach Acid 2 of 4 – How do we know when we have too little stomach acid?

Recovery from bipolar or any other disorder depends on our digestive system working well.

Ideally our stomach valves remain closed most of the time. How tightly these valves close depends a lot on the fullness and acidity of the stomach. The top valve only needs to open and then close again each time we swallow a mouthful of food or drink. When the stomach is full this top valve needs to close tightly. Ideally the bottom valve will remain tightly closed until a meal has been bathed in acid long enough to:

1) kill the vast majority of the harmful organisms that can be present in food,

2) break up much of the protein with the help of the stomach enzyme, pepsin.

Stress can cause any part of the digestive system to malfunction as energy is diverted from elsewhere in the body. One effect of stress is a lack of stomach acid when it is most needed and this may contribute to the valve at the bottom of the stomach opening too soon and letting partially digested foods through. This can lead to abdominal pains as partially digested foods tend to irritate the gut lining. It can also lead to a need to get to the toilet sooner than you would normally or even to what seems like frequent diarrhoea. From a survival point of view diarrhoea is a sensible reaction to under digested food as it is more likely to contain harmful bacteria.

Food not being in contact with strong enough stomach acid for long enough can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). For everyone I have worked with who has had bad IBS, treating their low stomach acid that has lessened any pain, diarrhoea and bouts of constipation.

With low stomach acid the top stomach valve tends not to close so tightly which allows small amounts of stomach contents up into the oesophagus. The acid may be weak but with pepsin present it can start to dissolve any part of a body that is not stomach lining. This hurts! As the part of the oesophagus affected is near the heart, this pain is often called ‘heart-burn’. For some the pain is mild but can be frequent. For others the pain is severe and can even cause people to believe they are having a heart attack when it first happens.

Contrary to popular belief, pain due to too much acid or acid that is too strong is extremely rare. Here are some reasons for this:

  1. It takes a lot of energy to make stomach acid so our bodies do not waste energy making any more than is needed.
  2. The stronger the acid in your stomach the tighter the top valve should be closed to stop it coming out to burn the oesophagus.
  3. There are many disorders, illness and deficiencies that slow down stomach acid production but no common disorders (that I am aware of) that lead to the speeding up of acid production.

If you get chest pains related to your digestive system then it is almost certainly due to weak stomach acid and not your stomach making excess acid. (Low acid is even more likely as you get older and is affecting 50% of those over 60.*)

If you are feeling very stressed your body will almost certainly have too little stomach acid. Saying, “Be less stressed” is not going to help, instead I want to share simple ways to improve your digestion over the next few pages.

(Next article to be added about 13th July)

Roger Smith – – article updated 30th June 2014

Ref*… see slide 9 of: