Welcome back. It’s been a busy week and I’ve been pretty quiet in posting not because anything is wrong, but because I think it’s important to listen to your body when it’s telling you to take a breather and rest.
October 10th of this past week we spent the day remembering, encouraging, bringing awareness, and advocating for those dealing with mental wellness. I read through so many stories of those who have and/or continue to suffer from mental health issues. I feel so fortunate that this is not something I wrestle with on a daily basis but there are times, when I’m stressed, hormonal, or feeling insecurities, that my mind tries to feed me lies.
I work quite closely with the brain as my “day job” is taking care of those affected by Dementia/ Alzheimer’s. I’ve worked on both the clinical and enrichment side of this disease and have been studying degenerative brain diseases for the last few years since graduating from under grad. Needless to say mental health has gone from something I never considered to a priority in my life and the lives of those I care about. I’m not trying to insinuate that I’m a doctor, or that I should be handing out any medical advice in this field, but I can share what I’ve seen and studied and how it relates to my own mental health awareness.
The last few months I’ve been working closely with a new study known as “the Bredesen protocol.” Dr. Bredesen has created a series of tests to evaluate the exact compounds effecting our bodies and thus our brains every day. Specifically for those affected by Alzheimer’s, he is able to adjust those elements and in 9 out of 10 cases he’s seeing those effected by memory loss return to normal cognitive function. Interestingly enough, many of these cases boil down to what is being ingested in one form or another, often food related. Simple lifestyle changes could enhance daily mental and physical health. Again, I’m no expert, and to be clear, Dr. Bredesen’s protocol has not been tested as a preventative measure, but I can’t help but think about how I can start helping my brain now, in my 20’s.
If you’d like to learn more about the Bredesen Protocol I’ve attached a link here to the website that details the types of memory loss and tests that can help give an idea of what’s negatively effecting the brain.
One of my current clients received results that showed the things working against her brain were mainly coming from the food she was eating and in turn our team has completely revamped her eating habits.
Note* With great discretion to keep my clients confidentiality a priority, I do not want to share too much about her case though I will say we’ve seen some improvements but they are quite progressed in the prognosis so we have no expectations but are hopeful that following the protocol will make life a little better and comfortable in this new phase.
As I’ve been researching these new habits, it’s gotten me thinking about how I can be aiding my mind now as a young adult to give my future the best possible outcome. All of this to say, the past two weeks I’ve been working toward cutting out a majority of my carbs and attempting to put my body into a state of Ketosis where it works for 16 out of the 24 hours in the day cleansing instead of eating (not that I was eating 24 hours per day anyway but I’m more conscious of my eating times). I’ve switched to a very plant and fat based diet mostly as an experiment to see if there’s any noticeable difference in my mental health in my daily life. So far, I’m still working to level out a lot of the changes as my body has been seriously adjusting. The idea behind cutting out carbs is to force the body to burn the fat it has stored. What is being ingested helps to improve mental clarity, sleep quality, and daily energy levels.
I’ve taken this week off from writing as my body has been going through some changes, mostly feeling tired, lethargic, and even a little sickly but that’s all to be expected as I’m used to burning quick carbs as fuel. I’ve rested a good bit and spent a lot of time reading, relaxing (between work), drinking lots of water, and cooking some great low-carb meals.
As I’m headed into week three of this change in my lifestyle I can already feel some more mental clarity, energy, and generally positive moods. Everyone’s mental health needs are different and I am not trying to suggest that there’s one perfect way for everyone. This journey I am on may not be the end all for me but from the work I’ve done, I can’t help but see a relationship between how we treat our bodies and how our brain responds. I’ve really enjoyed the trial and error of these changes, seeing the areas of failure, embracing them and learning from them. I try to be gentle with myself and the needs of my body and mental health. Being kind, giving yourself time, and listening to how your body responds to changes is important and the best way to learn how to fill up your cup before trying to give to others.
This past week was a wonderful week of reflection, quiet, and down time and was MUCH needed. I want to be as honest and vulnerable with you all as I can be and in order to do so sometimes I need to go dark for a bit to recharge my own mental health. I’m so grateful for the privilege to speak freely about things that the world wants to build a wall up against. To all those reading who are on their own mental health journey, I encourage you to continue digging into your needs, the things that bring you joy, and the things that will improve your lifestyle. I challenge myself to do things daily (sometimes it turns into just a weekly goal as life is busy) that my future self will be grateful for.
I’m sending you all so much love, encouragement, and joy from behind these keys and I hope you feel a warm hug sent your way.