Posted by: bipolarmystic | October 7, 2016

Health Fads VS Common Sense

Disclaimer: I’m all about each individual doing what makes sense in their own individual life and circumstances.  If you find that a specific “fad” actually makes a lot of sense for you, adds value to your life, that’s great.

However, if you are like me, I suspect that at least on occasion you have been suckered into a “health” purchase that added absolutely no value to your life.  In fact, it may have added a deficit to your life, spending precious time and money researching and purchasing unnecessary items.  Filling our landfills with more packaging and perhaps unused products.  Creating guilt, frustration and anxiety when a “health” product does not improve life.

In my minimalist journey, I’ve started decluttering my kitchen.  Living a busy life, like many of us, I had crammed foods and supplements into drawers and cupboards.  I didn’t even know I owned half the items I discovered.

It’s completely understandable and laudable that we, especially as neurodiverse individuals, are looking for more “natural” and “healthy” ways to improve our being.  Perhaps it is not surprising when many of these products fail to deliver.  What works for one person isn’t going to work for another.  And perhaps some products don’t really work at all.

I have a long history of trying just about every supplement / vitamin out there to improve my anxiety and depression (I no longer believe I have BP, I will expand on that at the end if you are interested).

Let me tell you where this got me: in trouble.  Especially as a younger person, I used many supplements without proper research.  I wasn’t really aware of what I was going through day-to-day to even notice if I was benefitting or not.  But I certainly noticed when I had a negative reaction, which happened quite a few times.  It was an extremely frustrating and disheartening cycle.  Time and again I hoped a supplement / vitamin / health fad would give me significant relief.  The products never delivered.

You know what did deliver?  The simple, common sense measures.

I found running seriously tamed my anxiety.  Although I’ve tried medications like Klonopin, I found running more effective.  It lasts longer and has no troublesome side effects when done in moderation.

A vegan diet really helped, I think because I was eating whole foods.  Vegans who are embracing the lifestyle for health reasons don’t really have the luxury of buying processed foods (yes, oreos are vegan >.>).  Note: I don’t believe that veganism is a fad diet.  It’s probably the best way for us to be eating as long as we consume whole vegan foods.  Later down the road I am following a more paleo “rotation” diet at the recommendation of my chiropractor.  While I have generally not found it to be very helpful (I don’t even like meat), I noticed a HUGE difference when I cut cane sugar out.  Cutting back on foods with sugar (fruit, etc.) in general helped.

Learning / receiving Reiki really helped.  Now, I think you can probably get many of the benefits I experience just from setting aside quiet time.  Whether to rest, journal, meditate, just give your thoughts some room to breathe.  Notice more.  Relax.

A few curated supplements DO help.  These are items with a good track record: fish oil, magnesium and vitamin D.  Since I only take a few, I can afford higher quality.  I am careful to purchase a brand of fish oil tested for mercury.  Please DO NOT take fish oil supplements from a typical grocery store!

Buying supplements and buying into fad diets that don’t last fuels wasteful consumption.  Wasteful in every way.  I’ve been tossing supplements and weird flour alternatives (currently I am gluten free) that just aren’t very pleasant.  I spent a lot of time researching and trying to utilize these (often expensive) ingredients.  At the end of the day, they just aren’t very good.  After consuming that type of product, I feel like I need a candy bar to reward myself!!!  In no way are these items adding value to my life.  Tossing them feels amazing.  I don’t need a chiropractor to tell me how to eat.  I only need my own intuition.  I don’t need the stress of finding and learning how to use obscure ingredients.  I don’t need the feeling of guilt when I grab junk food instead of trying to force down unpleasant foods.

I recently discovered the blog Break the Twitch, about intentional lifestyles / minimalism.  The author had this to say about buying into products to improve health:

We all know how to be healthy. Go outside, walk, stretch, or move in some way every day. Eat fruits and vegetables, and avoid high-sugar foods.  Remember that once you spend money for a product, the advertiser’s commitment to you is done. They’ve done the work to convince you to buy the thing, but the challenge is still yours to put that thing to work. Many times, you’ll find that you didn’t actually need the thing at all. You just need yourself.

I definitely ❤ this author!  Going forward, I’m going to cultivate a new mindset, and adaptation of Michael Pollan’s quote,

Eat whole, simple foods.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.

About my diagnosis: I have never experienced “mania” in the absence of an anti-depressant on it’s own.  I now believe I am simply highly sensitive to medications and basically whatever I put on / in my body.  Feeling “high,” not sleeping, etc. are not uncommon side effects of antidepressants among any group of individuals.  The most significant challenges I seem to face are : sensory issues, depression and anxiety.

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Responses

  1. This is a great and helpful post.

    I’ve been looking into the ketogenic diet because I read it helped with bipolar disorder symptoms, but I’ve only made the bulletproof coffee.
    I cut out most of the sugar I eat, which has been great, and I drink green tea.

    I thought you might enjoy this article about “forest baths” – I love going into the redwoods, and this article was so interesting.

    http://goodtimes.sc/columns/wellness/pine-soul/


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