You can find all of my Mental Mondays posts here.
You might be wondering why a food blogger and special diet coach would want to tell the world about her mental health issues. The stigma attached to any kind of mental weakness, especially bipolar disorder, is intense. So far, I’ve kept this topic to a minimum because I feared it would make me lose credibility. But I think the struggles I’ve been through and still face are actually what make what I have to offer so special. To put it simply, I hope others can benefit from my experience, and that writing about it will also help me.
It makes sense to talk about bipolar disorder on our real food blog because real food has been one of the (several) keys to stabilizing my mental health! Most people find out about the GAPS diet through the autism community. Our family was a bit different… we started the GAPS diet as a family more than a year and a half ago, mostly because of our son’s physical problems. After reading the book, with my history of mental health issues, it seemed like an extra-good idea for me to try it, too.
Gluten, the Gut, and the Brain
While autism is the mental health issue Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has focused the most energy on treating with her GAPS protocol, she explains that mental health issues such as ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can all be related to the same underlying imbalances of gut flora and resulting damage to the gut! She also draws connections with other physical problems ranging from digestive upsets to allergies and eczema.
The research is starting to bear her out. Connections between celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, food allergies, candida overgrowth, and other forms of gut dysbiosis are starting to emerge. Here are a few studies of interest:
- Novel immune response to gluten in individuals with schizophrenia
- The possibility and probability of a gut-to-brain connection in autism
- Markers of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease in bipolar disorder
- Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
As we begin to understand connections between incidence of mental health issues and conditions such as celiac disease, more questions will get asked and more answers will be found. At the moment, big mysteries are still out there. Many of us have experimented with diet and have found that there are things we can do to stabilize our mental health without the use of pharmaceuticals. In this weekly-ish feature I’ll share some of the techniques that are working for me.
I am not Giving Medical Advice!
I want to be very clear from the very beginning that I am not a doctor of any kind, I am not giving medical or therapeutic advice, and I do not recommend stopping any medications which your doctor has prescribed based on the experiences I share. I am just a person with some life experience I’d like to put out into the world for consideration. If you are inspired to try something I’ve tried, please consult about it in person with qualified health care practitioners before making any changes!
Coming up next week – My first taste of what it’s like to be bipolar.
So far Mental Mondays has been all about me and my experience with bipolar, related mental issues, and GAPS. But I’d like to branch out. If you have a story about the connection between your (or your child’s) mental health and dietary or lifestyle changes, I’d love to help you share it! I’m open to guest posts and am willing to do interviews!