Sugar directly effects mental illness.
I know this personally. I don’t need the scientific studies because I have the unfortunate experience of witnessing how sugar effects my mental and emotional health.
Today is day 2 for me detoxing off it, again. That means no refined sugar in anything. Including my condiments, coffee, or any prepackaged foods. I follow the paleo diet normally and eat whole foods because I find I feel the best all the way around on it.
When I give into my sugar dragon and eat it for a few days (because I cannot just stop at one) the anger, anxiety, rage, and depression all come back full force.
I know sugar is the cause because I have gone on a strict elimination diet in the past to deal with my Interstitial Cystitis. I know intimately how each food effects my body and mental health. It’s crazy really how many foods seem to effect my emotions.
Wheat, dairy, and refined sugar are the worst culprits for my mental health issues.
I am sure there are multiple reasons why I cannot tolerate sugar like most of the human population. It is probably a combonation of my gut bacteria, past illnesses, past trauma, and allergies. Whatever the reason, I wish it were easier to stop eating for good.
I have known how sugar affects me for 9 years now, and I still get caught up in the roller coaster of eating it and detoxing from it.
I am determined, again, to do this for good. My sugar addiction effects every area of my life. My relationship with my husband, kids, friends, coworkers. Anxiety and depression doesn’t work well in relationships. My sleeping, energy levels, and overall health are effected negatively. My gut looks 4 months pregnant after eating it for a few days. My memory gets worse. I have a hard time putting thoughts together and writing (hence why this blog my seem choppy). I feel a fog over my brain. I gain fat rapidly. I swear I gain a pound a day eating it.
Cleary, eating sugar is not worth the few seconds of joy it gives me when I eat it. So why do it?
I guess this is why I believe I have an addiction to it. When you feel out of control with something you use, and find it very hard to stop even though it negatively effects you, it is typically an addiction.
Mine would be a food addiction, specifically sugar. I used cocaine in my younger 20s and was addicted to nicotine, I can tell you sugar is by far harder for me to quit. I would put it at least in the same category as nicotine. The difference is EVERYONE eats it and accepts it, you can get it anywhere and its totally NORMAL. Something is so wrong here.
I am determined this year to let it go for good. Today I deal with the emotional anguish of my mental health symptoms becoming worse due to detox. It typically lasts about 5-7 days and then I feel good again.
I know without a doubt due to personal experience refined sugar is at least connected to depression, anxiety, and probably a number of other mental health conditions. I feel this is lacking in a most mental health programs. Throughout my years healing from trauma in many different healing environments, never was diet brought up as being something that could help my symptoms. I am determined to change this when I become a therapist. Diet and lifestyle change has been the biggest help for me. I guess I have Interstitial Cystitis to thank for bringing this to my attention.
I urge you to try the whole 30 or paleo diet for a full 30 days to see if your mental health symptoms improve. It is worth it if it helps! Just be aware you might feel worse like me, before you feel better!
Melissa is the Author of Healing Through the Pain How I overcame Interstitial Cystitis. She writes about health (physical, emotional and spiritual) from a vulnerable place, after overcoming Interstitial Cystitis and still battling emotional illness. She is passionate about helping women realize their ability to make changes and move forward from difficult situations in their lives.
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