Does what you eat have an effect on your mental health (3 lessons from my new #vegetarian lifestyle)11:09:00 PM
I was just settling down for my meal and remembered two facebook posts; one was a question i was tagged in on what a person with bipolar should eat or not eat to which i responded;
'taking care of someone with bipolar is a cocktail of things and not just dietary based. as much as you are looking at their diet, also check the meds and other sorts of therapies that would work eg art, eco, writing/journaling. In my case, i dont do sugar as that triggers my energy (ok i cheat with an occasional fanta orange), other things like alcohol and drugs should be avoided then watching how they react to different food types, there isn't one specific diet that suits everyone. a support system is also good, are they part of a support group...applauding you for reaching out to ask this on their behalf, shows they have people who care and that half of what is needed for them to stabilize.'
...the other a comment where someone said my seizure free/depression free season may also be due to me embracing a plant based diet (I had shared my pumpkin post). As i dug into my meal, I couldn't help but ask myself, is what i am about to put in my mouth going to contribute to the state of my mental health?
Having said that it is a cocktail of things, I definitely believe diet has a role to play, a big one...a deeper one than we think as I have discovered in my new lifestyle as a vegetarian (my body began swelling whenever i ate any animal based meal including eggs and milk so I became a vegetarian by force and i am not complaining)
This Vegetarian Life
So what deeper things have I learnt?
1. This new lifestyle has made me more conscious of what i eat which i believe everyone regardless of whether they have bipolar or any mental health condition should be.
2. I have also learnt to re-channel my energy and thought and not rely on the things I used to especially food to find fulfillment. Before when i was going through depression, i ate and i ate myself silly...so you have guessed it, I have lost weight and this whole re-channeling business has played a great role in my growth especially spiritually and also in everyday life.
3. The downside is my diet becomes limited in some places especially when i travel but this has made me adventurous and creative.
When i am back home, I am always mixing up whatever i want and trying out new things...my love for juicing has gone a notch higher and so far, my best meals are;
- Wholewheat Chapatis (Nakumatt has this Blue Label pack that just makes my day)
- My whole famous pumpkin soup (by the way, i hated pumpkins in the past, they were just there well until we had some intimate moments)
- Tofu (now this is something really special to me; i have baked them, scrambled them, mixed them up in my curry...viva tofu)
- Hummus (this made with some tahini served with my whole wheat chapatis are the business)
- Home roasted groundnuts (i buy them raw and roast them myself, sometimes making some amazing groundnut soup)
As i mentioned earlier, i have had epilepsy for 14 years now and over those years, i think being conscious of myself, my energy, things that calm me, things that trigger an episode, also being courageous and adventurous and knowing there isn't one answer and being open to find answers that work for me where i am plus enjoying the journey have helped me get this far...so maybe, just maybe, that comment on my FB share might have been right, what i eat does have an effect on our mental health...but again i add it is a cocktail of things, I have read articles on the effects of going meatless on your mental health and again I say I believe it is a cocktail of things; I still go for my morning walks, i journal and meditate a lot and do other sorts of therapy alongside watching what i eat...What are your thoughts?Smoothies are soooo filling. Breakfast sorted. And then, @SitawaWafula made me love blending mangoes with the peels. Win!— Samoina (@Samoina) March 24, 2016
Disclaimer: This article does not advocate for you to embrace vegetarianism nor does it in any way point out that eating meat is bad for your mental health...it however hopes to encourage you to be conscious and mindful of your body and what you feed it and have a number of tools other than diet to take care of yourself.