Friday, August 9, 2013

Paleo for BP

I've been counting calories for nearly 3 weeks now. I'm having a moderate amount of success, having lost 5 and a half pounds thus far. It should be higher, but I mostly maintained my weight this week and didn't lose anything.

One thing I'm trying to do is keep my carbohydrate intake to 150g or less a day. I guess it's sort of like a Zone thing I'm doing, 40% of calories from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat. Eventually I want to be able to only have 30% of my calories from carbs and then 20%, but I'll get there in my own time.

I quickly realized that if I cut out grains, I will meet my carbohydrate goal. I love rice and pasta and chips and crackers! I still have extremely small amounts of these foods, but I hope to one day completely remove them from my diet. I want to follow a paleo diet.

For those not in the loop, a paleo diet focuses on eating vegetables, meat, fruit, seeds and nuts in that order. No grains allowed! Any breads or desserts would be made with nut flour. Dairy is permitted in small quantities, though the purists stay away from it, as well as peanuts, beans, and rice. The whole point is to eat like our ancestors did prior to agriculture existing.

In my quest to find more information about the paleo diet, I came across something very interesting and relevant. There is a link between eating a modified ketogenic diet and having a reduction in mood swings in bipolar patients. There has yet to be a single scientific study of ketogenic diets in bipolar disorder patients, but in the article I was reading, the doctor said he had patients who followed an Atkins, paleo, or other low carbohydrate diet and reported a significant improvement in their symptoms.

How incredible would it be for me to change my diet, lose the weight, and stop taking lithium?

Studies have shown there's a whole bunch of medical conditions that patients have seen improvements in when switching to a low carb diet, (we're talking 10-20 grams a day,) like:
  • Autism
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Brain Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Pain/Inflammation
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Insomnia/Circadian Rhythm disorders
Living off of only 20 grams of carbs a day seems so impossible right now when I'm having a hard time living off of 150 grams, but I feel like I have to work toward it, and keep modifying my diet until I can get there. When my psychiatrist told me 3 years ago I was probably going to have to be medicated for the rest of my life, I cried. When my dad got hyperthyroidism, I thought what does this mean for me? Lithium affects the thyroid function.

I want to be off medication so bad. I know it may take a few years and I need to be comfortable with the transition, but losing weight isn't nearly as big of a motivator as this! I will gladly never step into an Olive Garden, order in a pizza, or eat deep fried food again if it means controlling my bipolar naturally. There's no proof it will work for my body specifically, but there's no harm in trying, and I was going to try it anyway, so this new piece of information is a nice bonus!

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