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.

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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

If diagnosed as bipolar, how much might lowering unhealthy carbs while increasing healthy fats help? #LCHF #notjustbipolar

Does HCLF cause mood troubles? Does HFLC help to eliminate mood troubles?

A bit of a generalization here:

  • Countries that have been early adopters the Standard American Diet (often called the SAD diet) have far higher rates of mood disorder, including bipolar.
  • Countries that seem to have resisted the Standard American Diet or have been slow to adopt it have far lower rates of mood disorder, including bipolar.

This does not prove anything as there are probably hundreds of other factors. It is probably just as true that countries that have more televisions per capita have higher rates of depression. This does not show TV causes depression but may, at most, suggest some weak link between affluence and more mood troubles.

Healthy brains are made mainly from healthy fat and healthy cholesterol. In whatever way we might choose to deprive ourselves of healthy fat and healthy cholesterol we will run into brain health troubles. Choosing not to eat cholesterol does not seem to be a problem. If eating good food a healthy human liver will make healthy cholesterol as needed. (Recent research indicates that almost any cell in the body can also make healthy-cholesterol if it is a well-nourished cell.) Depriving ourselves of essential fats (and I believe, going very low on some of the non-essential fats) will lead to brain deterioration and mood troubles.

Energy: The bulk of the energy in our food and drink always has to come from either fat or carbs. (It has become clearer-and-clearer that getting more than about 20% of our energy from protein damages the liver, kidneys, may even increase the likelihood of diabetes) We need to think, ‘fat or carbs?’ This is a decision I believe most people need to make.

The S.A. Diet has for a few decades been high in unhealthy fats and exceptionally high in unhealthy carbs. This is a lethal combination for both the body and the brain.

I have been teaching about diet for a long time and used to warn people against all sorts of things that I now tend to suggest people investigate eating more of, such as saturated fat (although I stress the importance of this being from organic farming). Examples include butter if you like the taste of it or coconut oil for the strict vegans. Moderation is still important, as you have to stick within what your digestive system, liver and blood vessels can handle in any one hit.

What have I seen in people around me? Those consuming higher levels healthy fats and very little of the least healthy (highly processed) carbs are both physically and mentally fitter and are better at the sort of thing Tom Wootton talks about, which is to be able to function well almost regardless of emotional upsets.

And me, personally? It has been a long road, in which I have used many tools and done a lot of experimenting on myself. I am convinced that consuming quite a lot of healthy fat every day has been doing me good. It is, for me, just one of hundreds of dietary and other changes I needed to make. What does not work for me is when I add refined carbs on top of my high-ish-fat plant-based meals.

Example: So far today…

  • The only food I had before driving to a meeting in Nottingham was 20g of 100% chocolate (less than 1% sugar and very high in saturated fat)
  • I next ate between 2pm and 3pm when I had a large ripe avocado, olives, walnuts and loads of vegetables, finished off with another 20g of that same chocolate.
  • Currently, I wait to see how I feel before my next meal and if I feel I need it I’ll include fatty fish or two ORGANIC eggs. If I don’t feel in need of food from animals I don’t have those. It is better for me not to always eat the way I was brought-up and almost certainly better for the planet if I only eat what I need. I’m not eating much meat at all these days, partly because it is not that easy to get organic meat around here and partly because I just don’t seem to need it like I used to.
  • Last night I had some organic beans late in the evening and slept soundly – I may do the same this evening. I am currently considering organic beans as a source of healthy carbs, although I know purists on HFLC might avoid beans.

[I like chocolate – I don’t eat chocolate everyday, else, for me, it can become an addiction!]

How important is it to get onto HFLC or at least make a decision about how to eliminate the most unhealthy of the carbs? I think an even more important meme to keep in our heads, whether or not we have been said to be bipolar, is,

The most important decision we make each day is what we put in our mouths.

The more I think about this the surer I become that it is so true.

As a last thought on this subject for now: I find that each day… what I eat that day;

    • influences my moods,
    • has a huge impact on how I well I can function,
    • has the biggest impact on my energy levels
    • and usually can provide good and steadier energy levels allowing me to achieve a great deal
    • and be something like the person I want to be…

…the next day.

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As I often do, I am going to finish by saying that just because medical people said I had a mood disorder and I no longer take any prescription medications that does not mean it is easy to stop taking these. Getting the right food undoubtedly helps, just be aware there are so many other lifestyle changes that may also be needed before any changes of prescription medications. Make sure you have the best doctors you can find and talk with them.