I am guessing you’re wondering what exactly it is I would like to accomplish with this blog. I plan to share what works for me, and how I personally manage anorexia. It’s not fun and exciting, nor is it brutal and punishing. It simply keeps it at bay and allows me to live my life. Why do I feel meat is the best source of nutrition for any mental illness? I’m going to go on a limb here and say if you’re reading this, you or someone you know has an eating disorder. The signs begin to be so clear when the mind set is there. Symptoms of anorexia vary among the sufferer, however isolation, food rituals, social problems, dry skin, dark circles under the eyes, weakness, dizziness or headaches, peach fuzz on the skin, dry and falling out hair, brittle nails, energy highs and lows, uncontrollable moods and tempers, layering of clothing unnecessarily, depression, counting, tallying, food obsession, meal time obsession and yellowish skin tone provides you with an exhausting list of symptoms. Organs in the body begin to work slower or shut down, mental function slows down, spaciness in thought occurs, heart rate slows down and bone become very hollow. Some eating disordered individuals exercise, and some never do. Some become self destructive in other ways by cutting themselves, bruising themselves, abusing drugs and having strange habits like wearing an elastic band around their waist way to tight for it’s circumference. People with anorexia are extremely sensitive to failure, and any criticism, no matter how slight, reinforces their own belief that they are worthless. To set the picture I remember two occurrences which have been plastered in my mind for far too long. I remember riding in my parent’s old ass blue pickup home from cheerleading practice one evening- maybe around age 9. The seats in this truck practically dusted and were held together by duct tape. It smelled like old leather mixed with oil/gas. I was so embarrassed of this truck. It was loud and obnoxious too with rust all over it…but it ran. Anyway, my mom made the comment on the way home “there isn’t much of a future for a fat cheerleader”… Those. Exact. Words.
It still haunts me and I don’t know why I took it so hard. Nothing has ever been taken with a grain of salt with me. She to this day recollects saying it. She still remembers the sentence she uttered when she saw me for the first time after a semester in college “It looks like you’ve been doing more than beer drinking.” Both comments shaped these horrendous effects in my head. They came from people I loved, cared about, and opinions I OVER valued. It made me 10 time more self conscious and shy than I should have been. It took away my self esteem and any outgoing spunk I had about me. All eating disorders all vary from individual to individual which is why treating them has been such a failure in medical studies, but I stand by the knowledge that this mental illness as all mental illnesses are, is another “disease of civilization.” Science Daily describes and eating disorder as “a compulsion in which the main problem is a person eats in a way which disturbs their physical health.”
This is true, but the root of the problem is encompassing why this individual functions in such a way and why the food responds in physical deterioration. For an anorexic, starving themselves of the necessary glucose in the blood is calming. Binge eaters and bulimics use food to temporarily soothe themselves of stress. This is very temporary because their blood sugar shoots through the roof, only to come crashing down. It is all based around the diet. Because of what the eating disordered individual chooses to eat or not eat is the reason their brains and bodies are not functioning correctly. There is some form of stressor in each ED individual. Vin Miller put is nicely when he said
Although modern forms of stress rarely originate from life threatening situations, they still activate the sympathetic nervous system. As such, any occurrence of stress will cause physiological damage and will shut down digestion, the immune system, and all other function that contributes to building and maintaining good health. The chronic stress that many of us experience is continually breaking the body down without allowing enough time to recover and rebuild. Over time, this often leads to conditions such as adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome and can even lead to fatal diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Many people mistakenly think that the only source of stress is mental frustration. In actuality, anything that stimulates the sympathetic nervous system is a source of stress. This includes excitement, fear, nervousness, mental challenge, and demanding physical activity. Basically, stress is anything that isn’t calming or relaxing. If this load exceeds your body’s capacity for recovery and repair, then it’s detracting from your health (http://naturalbias.com/).
In this case, detracting from your health is your resulting eating disorder.
To get a clear view of the obvious impact on carbohydrates and mental health the website survivediabetes.com has presented the following as an understating of blood glucose :
Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar, and it can be caused, paradoxically, by high levels of sugar in the diet. Measures which stabilize blood sugar also stabilize mood, and make the therapeutic process infinitely easier. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, can make life a misery. First, there’s “relative hypoglycemia,” so-called because symptoms coincide with the blood sugar falling about 20mg% relative to the fasting level. These symptoms may happen while the blood sugar is in the normal range. The second category of symptoms stem from stress hormones secreted to raise the blood sugar when it falls below normal. One of these hormones is the fight-or-flight hormone adrenalin which affects mood dramatically, causing heightened vigilance, shaking, sweating, tremulousness, anxiety, irritability or even paranoia without any change in present circumstances.
The combination of adrenalin and low blood sugar negates the comforting effect of the endorphins, so the sufferer is doubly uncomfortable. This distress is evident to observers, and the corresponding blood sugar and stress hormone levels can be measured during the Glucose Tolerance Test, so this kind of symptom is well accepted. The third category of symptoms is caused by “neuroglycopenia” (literally “brain-sugar-lack.”) Glucose reaches the brain cells by the slow process of diffusion from the capillaries, so the brain runs out of fuel if low blood sugar persists. Incredibly, brain metabolism fell to 22% of baseline in experimental, insulin-induced hypoglycemia. The cortex suffers first, so cortical functions such as insight are the first to be affected which means that the sufferer can have little insight into the cause of the suffering.” Further in survivediabetes.com has provided clarity saying “A creature cannot have any kind of “genetic adaptation” to a food unless it was available during its evolution! During the evolution of the human race, free sugars were available only in small quantities, seasonally, in honey, while all other sugars were to be found only in fruit and vegetables along with vitamins and minerals, and fiber which slows the uptake of glucose into the bloodstream. The intake of refined sugars has grown explosively to the present astounding average of 150 pounds per person per year in the past few dozen generations. On an evolutionary time scale, this is but the blink of an eye. A more fitting conclusion is that refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, are a defective food because people have had so little time to adapt to them.”
All the causes of hypoglycemia are not known. What has grown up, however, is a body of knowledge of things one can do to help alleviate the symptoms. The basic problem is that for some reason the body does not handle blood glucose properly. If you eat sugar, or something that is easily converted to sugar by the body, the sharp rise in blood sugar causes too great an increase in the levels of insulin. The result is that the blood sugar is driven too low, too fast. Since the brain doesn’t store a great deal of energy, like say the muscles do, it is very sensitive to the levels of blood sugar. If the brain isn’t operating properly, then you can get all sorts of different symptoms. The first basic treatment is to avoid all foods that contain elemental sugar. This includes almost all desserts and junk foods. (Actually that wouldn’t be so bad for a “healthy” person would it?) It also includes all non diet soft drinks. A lot of people find that caffeine also stimulates the release of blood glucose and precipitates a reaction. That is the reason why caffeine helps keep people awake and “gives” them energy, it’s really the increase in blood glucose giving them the extra energy. Beware of anything that comes in a box from the supermarket. The food industry loves to add sugar to things to entice you to eat their products. The worst offender you can think of are breakfast cereals. They not only put sugar in their product, but on their product. (http://www.fred.net/slowup/hypotret.html)
So common sense again tells us the cure for this is to restrict and exclude carbohydrates altogether. It is not to say I am presenting another diet or another anorexic restriction. The evidence and studies CLEARLY prove my point to link mental illnesses such as eating disorders with carbohydrate metabolism malfunctioning. As you have seen, the domino effect is the toll taken on the body from mood disorders, to glucose problems, to stress reducing habits, to eventually anorexia.
Katherine A. Halmi presented a four-year condensed overview on eating disorders entitled, “Basic Biological Overview of Eating Disorders” in which she recapped many important studies. Here is what stood out to me: In a study of taste perceptions in eating-disorder patients, the anorectic restrictors and anorectic bulimics displayed a pronounced aversion to high-fat stimuli. The anorectic restrictors also showed a strong dislike for solutions that contained little or no sweetness. The negative responses to fat persisted following weight restoration, suggesting that this behavior may be a stable trait characteristic of anorexia nervosa. The bulimic patients did not differ in their hedonic ratings compared with control subjects. The results of the taste study match those of a cognitive preference study , in which all patients with a current or past history of anorexia nervosa significantly disliked high-fat, high-calorie foods compared with the control groups and the bulimic patients. After weight restoration, this intense dislike of high-fat and high-calorie foods persisted and, therefore, appears to be a stable trait characteristic in anorexia nervosa(http://www.acnp.org/G4/GN401000155/CH151.html).
High fat is not what calms the anorexic because it essentially cures the disease. What keeps the disease running rampant is the carbohydrates taken in by the individual. It feeds the disease. Anorexia cannot run off of high fat, therefore the fear and feeling from a diet high in fat is heresay to anorexia when it is precisely the solution.
There is a proportional link to brain chemical imbalances in the brain and eating disorders. In specific, researchers have noted “The primary setting of many of these abnormalities originate in a small area of the brain called the limbic system. A specific system called hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) may be particularly important in eating disorders.” This is followed by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and amygdale malfunctioning. With these malfunctions are resulting depression, anxiety, OCD tendencies and the regulation of bodily functions(temperature, blood sugar, hormones) to all go hay-wire. Another illustration of the cause of bad genes due to dieting is “The HPA system also releases certain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that regulate stress, mood, and appetite and are being heavily investigated for a possible role in eating disorders. Abnormalities in the activities of three of them, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, are of particular interest. Serotonin is involved with well-being, anxiety, and appetite (among other traits), and norepinephrine is a stress hormone. Dopamine is involved in reward-seeking behavior. Recent research suggests that people with anorexia have increased activity in the brain’s dopamine receptors. This overactivity may explain why people with anorexia do not experience a sense of pleasure from food and other typical comforts.
All these problems are cause not by anorexia, but by carbohydrates and their consumption. There is an appreciable amount of research on genes and heredity compared to eating disorders. So the individual asks, why me? The western diet has done all it can to disintegrate the health of everyone in America. Health is crumbling as more and more individuals are pushed drugs to deal with mental illness. The reason the brain doesn’t process and uptake the required nutrients correctly are due in part to the western diet. Carbohydrates have a huge link to mental disorders. Unreal food consumption by previous generations, and yes by you the sufferer have caused genes to malfunction and people to be bred malfunctioning. There is no reversing the damage the western diet has done on mental illness. We can however, act to manage it and act to understand and promote good health. Every person suffering an eating disorder also suffers a blood glucose malfunction. Either he or she does not process carbohydrates correctly causing brain illness resulting in eating disorders or one is encompassed by overproduction of insulin in the blood. The disordered eater is either insulin resistant or insulin sensitive. Why one God’s green earth it is not common sense to turn to a correct diet to fix glucose problems is beyond me. The answers to so many health problems have been at the fingertips of greedy consumers and under the noses of selfish bigot doctors for way to long(http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/anorexia-nervosa/causes.html).
As with all success non-drug treatment for a mental illness, reversing these dietary faults should reverse the symptoms and should manage the correction in brain chemical uptake and functioning. These faults? Carbohydrates, regardless of their source or complexity I mean all of them.