Today’s post will be long, because I have two post ideas that I am going to combine magically into one post. The transition will be so smooth you will think you are listening to a Dave Rawlings Machine medley.
As frequent readers of this blog will remember, last weekend was a weekend off of the straight and narrow path of sugar-free eating. Reread it here, if you need to, but suddenly increasing my sugar intake had immediate physical effects that I could feel. It seemed to me that my hands grew hot and swollen, I sweated slightly until the sugars had made their way out of my system, I had difficulty sleeping due to increased body warmth and sweating. Last weekend I wondered if perhaps when I was continuously eating processed sugars and starches if this same physical reaction was continuously occurring, but that I was so accustomed to it that it went unnoticed by me. Thinking about it further, it occurs to me that the puffy hands and rise in body temperature were most likely from an inflammation reaction. I was suffering a reaction in my entire system to the infusion of processed sugar.
Now, in conversation with my wife, it is her impression that my mood is not subject to the spikes that it previously was. I am a political reader and writer. I pay attention to all things with regard to the national and state political issues, and in times past it is true that I would react very passionately to political news. I tended to worry and become stressed at the contentious issues of the day, I would write about it, read it all, discuss it with any available audience. My stress levels would jump immediately when I found someone that felt sympathetic to the other side of the issue. Two small changes in my habits seem to have turned this around. First when I gave up drinking, sold my beer refrigerator and switched over to candy and soda pop instead. I seemed to level out, to not fly off the handle when provoked. Now I have also given up candy and soda pop and the change is even more striking. Now my temper stays even, my old stressors do not have anywhere near the power to make my adrenaline shoot up. Karen noticed it in relation to national events.
At work, I noticed it in my ability to do detail work without any hand tremors. I can drop a part or fumble a tool and it does not cause me to go immediately into a fight or flight burst of emotion. It seems like I was in the past always fighting time, even when there was no external time pressure I was always under my own internal time pressure. If I was starting a program up in a Windows PC and it took a very long time to start, I would actually be stressed by this, might curse and drum my fingers, might pick up my phone and blast through a magazine article–showing my general impatience with having to wait. I could not be tranquil.
Additionally, I never could really take the time to set down and write. My ideas would not wait for me to get them down. There were too many sidings on my train of thought, any delay would cause the thread to slip away. I cannot begin to tell you how many poetry ideas I have had that were lost to a moment of distraction. I could not stand to edit my own work.
These problems seem to be greatly reduced now that I am not permanently inflamed by eating sugar in every bite of food I take or every drink that I have. There is some scientific research to back up this theory and I am going to link to an article touting the addition of Omega 3 fats into your diet. It is NOT that I think we should add an artificial ingredient into our diets, it is to make the point that adding pounds of sugar into our weekly nutrition is having a real physical AND psychological effect on our lives. Here is the page. Perhaps if we banned sugary drinks, alcohol and processed starchy foods from Washington DC a great deal more would get done. Who can say for sure?
Think about your own life. Isn’t it possible that all of the excessive energy that you are pumping into your bloodstream in blood sugars that you don’t need, are in fact causing changes in your psychology and physiology? The only reason the sugars are there is because they were added to compensate for the fats that were removed. The only reason to remove fats was so that the maker could put ‘Low Fat’ on the label. It makes perfect sense to me. It is obvious to almost everyone now that trying to eat artificially reduced fat food was a bad idea. Dietary fats have gotten a bum rap.
Your body only gets energy from three possible nutrients–carbohydrates (starch and sugar), proteins from meats and beans, or fats. These are the only things you eat that can be converted into your blood sugars. Living off of just one of those kinds, or too much of one of those kinds, causes changes in you that you may have gotten so used to that you don’t realize what normal feels like, or how unsweetened people think and react. Not only are you feeding your body, but you are also feeding all of the microbes in your body, each with it’s own evolutionary role to play in keeping you healthy. Over hundreds of thousands of years (sorry creationists) you and your microbes have discovered ways to support one another. By eating foods that did not exist one hundred years ago, you are promoting microbes that may be having undesirable effects both on your body and the beneficial microbes. The experiment you are living, the results you are getting from you diet, are showing you what not treating your gut microbes will do to you. Two thirds of us are overweight. One in four women between 40 and 50 are on an antidepressant. Could it be related?
This week I have added my muesli cereal of rolled oats, chopped nuts, raisins and coconut back into the breakfast rotation. Comparing the effect it has on my morning to that of my egg or two with breakfast meats is enlightening. A two egg omelet will sustain me without hunger pains until lunch. That would be from 6 AM to Noon. My muesli breakfast can only stave off hunger until about ten. I love my muesli, it is my favorite breakfast, but that two hour difference is very important. I have since read that just eating one egg with any breakfast has the ability to do this trick. Next week I intend to cook one egg to go with my cereal and prove it to myself. I will report back to you. It’s 9:37 AM and I am getting hungry.