Mental “Health Food”

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By Bella Dodds

Do you find yourself hyper-focused on what foods you choose to eat, as well as making sure you get the best quality? Have you ever driven 30 extra minutes to buy your meat at an organic market, or gone out of your way to buy fresh veggies, eggs, and milk from your local farmer? Do you feel guilty if you haven’t been exercising as often as you would like?

If you are nodding then I will ask you just one more question…how much energy and discipline do you put into having a healthy mind and quality thoughts?

Do you filter what thoughts you allow yourself to think to the same standard of what foods you allow yourself to eat?

If you find yourself very disciplined and focused on the physical side of health, doing everything in your power and will to be healthy, but are failing to see optimal, sustaining results, or perhaps barely any results at all… it is wise to bring awareness to your mental and emotional stress levels. For centuries now we have been taught to focus our health primarily from a physical perspective, but this strategy falls greatly short of true health due to the essential fact that we are Human Beings not just human bodies. There is a big difference between the two.

Addressing your health just on a physical level, while minimizing your mental and emotional state of well-being can make achieving optimal self-healing a real challenge (especially depending on the severity of your symptoms). Don’t get me wrong. I believe food is medicine and a very powerful medicine!!…but food alone cannot fully combat the side-effects of being in a high sympathetic stress state of mental stress for a large portion of your day. Organic, grassfed, extra virgin, biodynamic, pastured, fair trade, goji berry extract is great n’ all, but if your internal emotional state is one of dis-ease…don’t be totally perplexed when you still have nagging physical symptoms that aren’t fully resolving themselves.

Why is this? Because the uncensored human mind naturally gravitates into stressful thinking and devaluing self-talk…

…and this kind of mental energy is incredibly toxic to the body. It creates an internal biochemical landscape of stress and chaos, which over time becomes increasingly taxing for the body to manage and respond to.

Our thoughts can elicit high internal stress responses in the body – just like unhealthy foods or extreme diets can. Excessive mental stress creates a great deal of dis-ease in the body. If you are perhaps running an inner dialogue consciously, or semi-consciously (it has become such a habit that you don’t even notice it anymore):

“This sucks. I can never get it right. Life is unfair.”

or

“I always mess things up. Nothing I do is ever good enough.”

Understand repetitive thoughts like these and associated emotions invoke a stress response in the body. (As does trying to be in control of everything in your life to such an acute degree that anything which does not go exactly the way you would like – you are thrown into a mental stew fest of tension and frustration). If you don’t watch your internal mental and emotional state with the same care and filtration that you do with your food, you might as well be throwing your body into a stress state by crash dieting or drinking gallons of soda each day. Diet and emotional/mental stress EQUALLY elicit severe stress responses in your body. In fact, running a self-devaluing inner dialogue can cause cold hands and feet, light-headedness, poor sleep, insomnia, reduced immune response, poor digestion, etc., all of which will cause you to crave sugar, starches, and salt. It is excellent to curb your stress by giving the body the 3 S’s, but it is also wise to look at what thoughts and life experiences may be causing the stress in the first place.

Thoughts can support physical vitality or thoughts can be extremely toxic to your body and its 70 trillion cells. Each individual may think, “This is me. This is my body. I am one person.” But in truth this is far from accurate. You are a made up of 70 trillion INDIVIDUAL organisms symbiotically working together to give you life. Your cells are intelligent and in many ways are micro versions of yourself. Each cell eats, breathes, digests food, eliminates waste, performs life-giving functions and responds to its environment through a highly evolved, intelligent cellular membrane. And your cells, just like you, respond to what is going on in their environment – they live in the environment you create.

So ask yourself: How often am I in a mental and emotional state of stress during my day? What percentage of my day am I typically at ease, and what percentage of my day am I in a state of tension? If you are running on an undercurrent of inner mental/emotional tension, and you are striving to be healthy – then this is something you need to look at.

Now don’t worry I don’t have a New Age, Pollyanna expectation that you should magically be a one-sided human being and only be positive. I don’t believe we are biologically designed to be in a blissful state of ecstasy 24/7 (and there is even some indication that superficial happiness is a health liability); however, I do know that the human mind easily defaults into a habitual pattern of stressful thinking… and if left unguarded this unfiltered and undisciplined self-critical mind does not equal a healthy environment for your cells.

If you choose to filter what you eat knowing certain foods are bad for you and make you feel sick, can you apply this same logic and learn to discipline and filter out excessive unhealthy thoughts?

This is a HUGE topic, so for now I would like to plant the seed of starting to become mindful of your thoughts and in a future post we’ll explore why you get trapped in destructive, self-ridiculing patterns. (As you have them for a reason and they are not easily undone by WILL alone. Achilles Heel emotions have a valuable, purposeful tale to tell… but that opens up another post entirely).

So for now here is food for thought:

What is a common emotional state that you experience on a day to day basis?

  • Anxiety?
  • Sadness?
  • Anger/Frustration?
  • Despair?
  • Loneliness?

When you identify a common daily overwhelming emotion, close your eyes and allow yourself to feel this emotion, but this time feel this emotion from a curious non-attached perspective. Investigate this sensation and don’t get caught up in the feeling, but rather get curious and reflect: What is my belief about myself and about life within this emotion?

For example: If you are feeling Anxiety you might have a belief underneath this emotion – “I am not good enough.” “Something bad always happens.” or “I am not safe.”

Can you imagine steadily sipping on the ‘I’m not good enough Stress-Slurpee‘ all day long for weeks, months, and years on end? How much will this stress-inducing thought and emotion effect your health over time?

Bella Dodds is a Demartini Method Facilitator, International META-Health Coach, META-Kinetics Practitioner, Author & Illustrator, Somatic Respiratory Integration Practitioner, and President of The International Foundation for Human Potential. You can work with her via phone or Skype to achieve mental and emotional rebalancing through the 180 Get Help Program.

74 Comments

  1. 1st? Hahaha

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  2. not all thoughts are golden. it is the mind’s job to make up wordy stories about things to help us interpret. sometimes we have to ask if they are true. wordless thoughts also exist. like when you feet just start walking toward something. like when something in the fridge makes your mouth water or being around someone makes your stomach hurt. these are as important or more important than all those words.

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  3. When you have a stressful thought and you BELIEVE it–That’s when hell begins. Question those stressful thoughts and be free. Peace is always just one thought away. http://www.thework.com

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  4. Thanks to Jon Gabriel, I’ve had great success in chanting “I am safe” to myself whenever I feel stressed. Usually it helps me falls asleep within minutes of my head hitting my pillow at night!

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  5. Can you imagine steadily sipping on the ‘I’m not good enough Stress-Slurpee‘ all day long for weeks, months, and years on end? How much will this stress-inducing thought and emotion effect your health over time?”

    This may be one of the most powerful statements I’ve read in a while. Great article.

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    • YES. My thoughts exactly.

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    • Hiya Karen

      Yes this post was actually inspired by several different clients I have been working with. I wanted to help make the connection simple and tangible of just how much our thoughts and emotions impact our health. Healthy eating was high on their values which helped to make this link very impactful for them.

      For any readers interested in making this real for yourself – come up with a type of food that you really don’t like, that causes you to feel awful or bloated, or perhaps your are allergic to … and imagine eating this food often throughout the day. How horrible might you feel if you did this everyday for weeks, months and years on end?

      For me if I snacked on Twinkies or drank coffee all day long…it wouldn’t matter how much healing on the mental emotional level I was doing I would feel awful!! I would be a reck. I eat what makes me feel healthy and energized and avoid foods that send me on a rollar coaster of highs and lows.

      It works both ways if you are eating really well, but mentally you are letting yourself think whatever thoughts without paying attention to the highs and lows that come with these thoughts, you are illiciting an unhealthy and unwanted stress response in the body.

      I don’t drink coffee because it makes me feels horrible and than lethargic. I don’t let myself think “Life is so hard. Why me? It isn’t fair,” because these thoughts would spiral me into a state of disempowerment and overwhelm and I would feel like shit. (We will have these thoughts because we are human … but whether we choose to mentally stew in them for hours, days and beyond is very important to look at)

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    • I agree! I LOVE that analogy! Few of us would sip a Slurpee all day (or ever), yet we somehow think painful thoughts are somehow motivating.

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  6. Very good point and I can personally vouche that unrelenting emotional stress does do the damage you wrote about as well as make you crave sugar and salt.

    I would suggest that it is just as, if not more important to filter the people you allow to influence you as well as your thoughts. Some people appear to thrive on stress and create it wherever they go. I’m not talking about cherished people who can create unavoidable stress such as young children and old people with issues, as to cut them would be heartless and this stress is manageable. I am talking about disordered people who couldn’t care less about the safety or feelings of themselves or any one else. Such people think nothing of gaslighting you (head f**king) and getting you all stressed up just to have one over you on some petty (non) issue. Get rid of these people without a second thought, they will make you ill and miserable.

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    • Yes good point pink … filtering people and all things that are unhealthy. Keeping those things is a minimum ; )

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  7. I’m looking forward to the follow up articles. I personally try remove the bullshit that is causing negative/false thoughts. It’s like I’m shedding layer after layer of bullshit with no end in sight, Always trying to find the next level of understanding.

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    • Hey FranzW

      Good work on your persistence. I’ll go more in depth on the next post but for now I can help out by suggesting to keep this in mind – underneath Achilles Heel emotions and stressful thoughts are unhealthy beliefs.

      Limiting beliefs effect how we respond to life circumstances or cause us to play the repeating the record player in our minds.

      For example if deep down someone believes “Nothing I do is ever good enough” or “I am not good enough” when a boss or a spouse says anything to criticize this person it will trigger this belief. What ensues are a flood of emotions and mental thoughts.

      Perhaps anxiety, anger or sadness will crop up and than identification happens. Identification happens because it feels SO REAL and INTENSE that it over takes you and you run with the present story that triggered the underlying belief.

      Look for your underlying belief within your emotion.

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      • Thanks, I think I’m no longer that much hindered by limiting beliefs. As far as I can tell I almost never let negative thoughts take over, and very rarely do I have the urge to do so.

        I do however still hold the (limiting?) belief that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. This is mostly focused on becoming clearer of mind, wises, more energetic, and clearing my sinus problems that give me a constant stressful pressure on my head.

        This belief gives me a feeling of almost constant unrest, and a desire to keep going forward. I almost never allow myself to truly let go and relax, not feeling the need to fix anything, and to just be content with what is.

        I suppose this unrest has it’s benefits, as I feel I have greatly developed myself in a relatively short amount of time. Though, it definitely gives me mental stress. I think I need to get better in touch with this unrest, so that I still have the drive to go forward, but can also allow myself to have a break when I need it.

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        • I really should do a spell/grammar check before I submit a comment :P

          wises= wiser if that was not obvious

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          • Yes keep the good that the old belief or feeling taught you to be empowered and be persistent… than you can upgrade to a new strategy that is more fun and in balance.

            I like to think of limiting beliefs as training wheels teaching us something very important – and when we get the lesson we keep the goods and let go of the limitation. You are still persistent and highly motivated while letting yourself be at ease – there is more to it sometimes than logically telling yourself this, but certainly it is possible to do.

            If you get headaches behind your eyes or forehead this can point to stress related to frontal fear… Which might explain why you feel you always need to fix something and can never fully relax – to be alert if you will. If you have anxiety let me know – I have a free ebook you can download.

          • Not real headaches, just a pressure. I can make it go away by blowing my nose while holding my nose shut. That forces air up in my sinuses and temporarily makes the pressure in and outside of my sinuses equal.
            I was advised to take an operation a little over a year ago, but I was hoping to fix this myself.

            By the way, what is frontal fear?

            I already read your ebook a while back ;)

          • Examples can be:

            Seeing someone being attacked (intense argument with say parents that was highly stressful)

            Being attacked yourself (verbally or physically – many of my clients with Anxiety have this one)

            Loss of a parent or loved one through death or divorce

            Fear of future attack … Which can blend into forms of fear of future unknowns loosing ones job, money issues, loosing someone, being rejected etc. fear of future painful/ unwanted events… created from a habitual biological pattern most often stemming from childhood incidents of stress

            Highly stressful events like these can register in the pre-frontal cortex which can be seen in a brain CT Scan – it is postulated to be trapped energy of the event/events. Once self-healed the ring patterns change that can be visibly seen on a scan.

  8. Try Tropic
    (For a Sick Generation)

    Try tropic for your balm,
    Try storm,
    And after storm, calm.
    Try snow of heaven, heavy, soft and slow,
    Brilliant and warm.
    Nothing will help, and nothing do much harm.

    Drink iron from rare springs; follow the sun;
    Go far
    To get the beam of some medicinal star;
    Or in your anguish run
    The gauntlet of all zones to an ultimate one.
    Fever and chill
    Punish you still,
    Earth has no zone to work against your ill.

    Burn in the jewelled desert with the toad.
    Catch lace
    Of evening mist across your haunted face;
    Or walk in upper air, the slanted road.
    It will not lift that load;
    Nor will large seas undo your subtle ill.

    Nothing can cure and nothing kill
    What ails your eyes, what cuts your pulse in two
    And not kill you.

    Genevieve Taggard

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    • i like.

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  9. I was thinking about the mental aspect of health a lot the past few days, especially after reading Lisa Truitt’s comment in the last post about her 15 year old son. I think there is a certain personality type that tends to internalize too much, with lots of inner dialog, but find it difficult to express themselves externally. These people tend to be a natural fit for mathematics, computer science, programming, engineering, etc., and I would count myself amongst them. For me, this internal dialog, especially when coupled with deadlines, feeling rushed, or frustration, can kill my appetite, and when continued for very long, leads to ice cold hands. I wouldn’t say it is really ‘negative’ thoughts, per se, but just so much energy being consumed mentally.
    I don’t have much to offer in terms of alleviating this. Getting away from my office for lunch seems to be the best, even though I don’t like wasting the time/gas to go out. Meditation probably would help. Explosive-type exercises seem to help. I found doing dumbbell shot-puts (learned from a video on Ross Enamait’s website) to be a great relief, if you have the outdoor space, but I noticed the dumbbells started to bend out of shape quickly, even when landing on dirt.

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  10. As human beings we have the unique ability to perseverate on the past and worry about the future. I think we tend to spend a lot of our time in those two places . To live in the now while still being able to take value from our past and plan for our futures is a tough act. A while ago while reading some Buddhist stuff, it dawned on me that the vast majority of our lives are lived in a realitively good place ( warm, fed, sheltered, not in pain). The vast majority of our own problems tend to be a constuct of our own minds. That said I spent the first couple of days this week allowing myself to perseverate over an imagined slight from people I have been working on a project with for a while. I had created a whole narrative in my head that said I wasn’t being appreciated for all of my Work that i put in over the last three years and worse yet may be getting booted out of the situation that I worked so hard on. A lot of this came from facial gestures and reading between the lines during a conversation. Most of it was my mind playing tricks on me. I just couldn’t turn the feelings off and I think that’s what frustrated me most. I know better, yet I still let myself do this to myself. Needless to say, later in the week I found out that I had nothing to worry about. How many thousands of times have I done this to myself and how many more will it happen even though I feel like I should know better. Even if I lost ten years of work I should realize, how am I right now at this moment….warm….check, fed…check, sheltered….check, loved ones ok…check…..I guess life’s not to bad after all.

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    • I had a similar experience this week. Someone was trying to bully me into taking responsibility for something that was nothing to do with me. It was through emails. I stood my ground and delivered a firm “No” which is an extremely hard thing for me to do and heard no more from that person. That’s where the email conversation ended. In the vacuum of silence that ensued, my mind filled the gaps with all kinds of horrible scenarios and judgements (of me by the other). I don’t know what the outcome was or what the other party is thinking about me, but I have turned myself inside out worrying about it. What is the underlying belief for me? Perhaps it’s that I equate being liked with being safe and that if I say “no” I am not liked and therefore not safe. I have no doubt that this situation and the way I have felt/thought about it has quite literally made me physically sick. It’s a regular pattern for me with conflict situations and each time it happens, I think I’ll be ready for the next time – sometimes I manage better and sometimes, well, I don’t …

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      • And the kicker Is that the other person probably spent less than a minute thinking about it and then moved on. This is my life story. I’m Johnny on the spot, eager to please and yet in the end I think it causes people to take advantage of me or think less of me. I have often envied people that seem to drift through life without a care what anyone else thinks. Sometimes though those people can be a little too obnoxious and I don’t want to be like that either.

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        • “This is my life story. I’m Johnny on the spot, eager to please and yet in the end I think it causes people to take advantage of me or think less of me.”

          That used to be be story of my life too, up until about a year ago.

          I forced myself to change. I became worn out. It is possible to be too caring and too helpful. Most people are focused on their own needs so there is often very little reciprocity and the caring person ends up being used or giving so much more than they receive. I always felt unappreciated and sometimes disrespected, even while people would tell me what a kind and helpful person I was. Unfortunately, most people interpret kindness as weakness and instead of reciprocating, they take advantage.

          It is okay to be helpful, but it is not your responsibility to solve other people’s problems or make them happy. I used to have a hard time saying no; now I say no MOST of the time and I don’t give it a second thought. I am human like everyone else, not superhuman. Why should I feel obligated to do more and give more than others on a regular basis?

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          • Sometimes I think anger is our first line of defence, but if we are raised to be kind, considerate, compassionate and to put others ahead of ourselves we dismiss or overlook the anger the actions of others cause us. So, instead of reacting appropriately to anger by protecting our boundaries and saying “no” or “enough” we feel guilty about feeling angry and this opens the floodgates to all those other damaging thoughts, emotions and self-doubt. I have good close friends who appreciate my kindness and compassion, but my experiences with the wider community show me that most people are operating under a moral code that is foreign to me and while I may feel that I behave the way I do because it’s the right thing to do, I’m not winning any medals for it, I’m being pushed around and feeling pretty sick about it. I’m going to try to practice what Bella says – using the emotions as tools to learn and move on. I’m going to start with anger because that’s the one I’m most afraid of, but I suspect is the one with the most to teach me. I suspect learning when to say “no” without self doubt or guilt as you seem to be managing, Ann, is where I need to start. Thanks.

          • “I have good close friends who appreciate my kindness and compassion, but my experiences with the wider community show me that most people are operating under a moral code that is foreign to me and while I may feel that I behave the way I do because it’s the right thing to do, I’m not winning any medals for it, I’m being pushed around and feeling pretty sick about it. ”

            Exactly.
            That is the realization I came to about a year ago. Most people were not like me and I had to change to protect myself. My physical and mental health was deteriorating.

            I endured physical, sexual and emotional abuse as a child and suffering in silence was necessary to my survival. I think my abusive childhood conditioned me to accept more mistreatment and disrespect than the typical person. I did not understand that anger was usually a red flag that I am not being treated well or fairly and that instead of feeling guilty about being angry, I should stand up for myself and stop allowing people to overstep boundaries or make unreasonable demands of me. I would blame myself for other people’s behavior and become depressed.

            Learning to say no helps you to take back your power. When you give too much of yourself without reciprocity, you are being disempowered. Anger should not be ignored. It is telling you that something is not right.

            Good luck Jude. You can change. I did not think I could change, but I did. When you say no to people, just remind yourself that you have a right to set boundaries and there is no reason to feel guilty. You are not the savior of the world. Start by saying no to little things, even when saying yes would not be a big deal. It gives you practice and builds confidence. When you start feeling more confident, you will be able to say no to the unreasonable demands.

          • Jude,
            In addition, when you say “no” don’t offer an explanation or justification, even if you are asked for one. When you explain why you are not meeting someone else’s demands, you are actually apologizing for saying “no”. Why bother to say no if you are going to apologize for it, as if you owe that person something? It is not their business why you don’t want to do it. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Only your close friends and family deserve an explanation when you refuse to give of yourself.

          • Anne, Jdubs, Jude, These are my lifetime patterns too. Deeply ingrained. But recently after a fight that would normally have sunk me for days while leaving the other party untouched, I chose not to go into that swamp. Simply refused to think the anguished thoughts, feel that bad. It worked – but I know for certain that without the sugar, coffee and aspirin I would never have been able to do this – all such previous efforts failed. For me the right food =the most effective stress reduction.

          • suew: “It worked – but I know for certain that without the sugar, coffee and aspirin I would never have been able to do this”

            Yes. I was going to mention this, but I didn’t. I am glad you have.

            The changes in my behavior definitely coincided with changes in my diet, when I decided to follow a Peat style way of eating. I threw caution to the wind and essentially overdosed on sugar from juice, white sugar, honey, and milky coffee sweetened with lots of sugar, in addition to taking aspirin and pregnenolone. I felt energized like never before in my entire life. A few weeks into my Peat style diet, I noticed that I was not feeling as intimidated and overwhelmed by people and situations. I wanted to interact more with people. I felt bolder and braver, but not in a
            foolish, arrogant way.

            I had suffered from depression and low energy since childhood and I was always painfully shy and asocial. I dreaded meeting new people. Interacting with people exhausted me and I never understood why.

            Well now I understand that it takes energy to interact with people. It takes energy (in addition to the right attitude and interpersonal skills) to stand up for yourself. When energy is low, the body is in survival mode. The body has to conserve it’s limited resources to fuel vital functions and it takes less energy to be compliant, to be a doormat. It may not feel good, but we’ll survive longer.

            Years ago I read an article discussing tyranny and oppression in third world countries. It was the author’s opinion that the reason people in those countries do not fight for their civil rights and overthrow brutal, oppressive governments is because they are malnourished and underfed; they want to change things, but they simply don’t have the energy to do so. At the time, I thought that was a ridiculous explanation. Now I agree with him.

          • By the way Ann, do you still follow this approach? For how long and how is it working for you? Initially it disagreed with me but then I tried again and this time it’s been working like rocket fuel, very happy, plenty of energy, no aches or pains, no PMS, even sleeping a teeny bit better! I ask because I’m scared it won’t last!

          • Yes, it takes lots of energy to interact with people. At my lowest points in the last few months I wouldn’t even go to a store that didn’t have a self checkout line because I didn’t have the energy to make small talk with a cashier. I have also had many unpaid jobs because I just didn’t have the energy to call up people repeatedly asking for my money. Energy and health are so important to survival and relationships.
            As far as the oppression thing, I read Ghandi’s autobiography recently and as a young man he tried to give up his vegetarianism briefly because a lot of people felt that the main reason the British were able to bully them around was because of their large, beef eating physiques. Reading that book gave me a lot of insights into the mind and personality of dietary fanaticism. He was fruitarian for quite a while and it didn’t seem to do well for his health. He developed pleurisy because of it. He was also very dictatorial and controlling of the diets of those closest to him.

          • My patterns, too. And I also shared the childhood abuse. I think it messes up your interpretation of what is ok and how much you should give to others. It has only been recently that I figured out exactly what Ann said, that anger should be a red flag that you are not being treated right. I would say that sadness is, too. Neither of these are signs that you should “try harder”; they are signs that you need to fight back or get out. I only figured all of this out after years of therapy.

            I am a naturally pretty empathetic and nurturing person, and I value that quality about myself and want to share it with others to make the world a nice place, but not at a cost to my health and wellbeing, and there are some people who simply don’t deserve it. There is a difference between being caring and being a doormat. I no longer want to be a doormat.

          • Exactly. I used to think advice like “don’t let it get to you” and “don’t take it personally” was superficial and glib, or a reflection of the advisor’s lack of understanding. Now I think it has more to do with feeling a bit clearer mentally and having a bit more strength.
            … and those people in those countries, some of them, many of them, often the women, are performing miracles daily just to keep their families fed. If they’re also following a western diet, the result is lots of diabetes. Followed by medical advice to cut sugar and salt.

          • Thanks Ann. I appreciate your insight and advice. I think you’re right about a no excuses “no”. I often can’t say “no” to requests unless I am actually physically unable to help (like because I’m out of the country or something :-) )

    • Jdubs – many good points here! Yes I completely agree, the mind if left to it’s own undisciplined wanderings tells a very dramatic tale of the past pains or imagined future drama. Learning to appreciate the richness of the past (good / bad) and being clear on definite desires for the future … while being fully engaged and appreciative in the present is exactly the balancing act I seek to play everyday.

      The key is when you feel the emotional trigger it is an opportunity for growth and self-mastery. We will get charged by events in our life – every week! Which is a good thing as it keeps us growing and maturing. When we take it personally we get caught in the energetic charge and drama and our mind literally revolves around the ‘charge’ – when we get curious about our emotions and use them as a feedback instead of being USED by them … a whole new way of living and navigating through life becomes available.

      Emotions are either weight that pulls us down and holds us back – or they are kinetic forms of energy to move us forward and give us fuel.

      To the degree we take charged emotions personally is to the degree we are ruled by them and we are blinded by their one-sided illusion (which at the root is typically due to pain and fear) and our Higher Mind and logic become less available.

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  11. So..uh….Can anyone help me understand something that have been OBSSESSING ME FOR YEARS > : ( ? When Im depressed, I get sunken eyes/dark circles, I hate it so much! Why? When Im happy, they are still kinda there, but not that obvious. Is the explanation about some magical spiritual emotional thing going on inside me? (which I dont believe…)

    Or Is it simply because

    Depression –> fatigue –> Sunken eyes?

    I never see that in other people. I am so perplexed.

    Depression also cause my face to get very pale, my hair loose volume, I loose weigh. gsdhgg43.grgrgw.

    Also…I remember , years ago, after watching a movie that really made me feel energized (Indiana Jones I think lol) , I looked in the mirror and to my surprise…. no dark circles. There was truly a spark in my eyes.

    Excitement from movie –> blood rush everywhere –> blood under eye is refreshed, (idk what the fuck I am saying)

    I may also add: They disapeared when I ate only potatoes,rice and oranges for 1 months. I had much more colors to my face and it filled out. People said I looked “healthier” :O But I stoped because I was bloated and the amount of potatoes/rice I needed was so big I was eating all day. I had no life :/

    If anyone got an answer , can you send it to my email please? I dont think I’ll remember to come back here , lol. I know I sound pretty obssesed about dark circles………which is true.

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    • Most think dark circles under the eyes have something to do with kidneys and adrenals – the more physiological stress you are experiencing the greater the demand on the adrenals and the greater the dark circles (just like not sleeping enough causing the dark circles – from excess demand on adrenals and insufficient rest).

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      • Matt, if Dark Circles are caused by Kidneys and Adrenals, what should a person do to get rid if them? I have had dark circles around my eyes ever since my late teens. My H.S. yearbook is an embarrassment cause the black and white photography really highlighted my circles, I looked like I was wearing an old fashioned Burglar’s mask. Usually my circles are so dark that people think I regularly get into fist fights and end up with black eyes- I was once passed up for a promotion at work due to this “reputation”. BTW, I’m of Northern European descent (pale skin). Any ideas?

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        • I don’t know JonO. Sounds pretty severe. I know for me personally I have to eat ridiculous proportions of sugar in my diet compared to other substances to completely eradicate any discoloration under my eyes.

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        • JonO,

          Do you worry a lot? Some believe the kidneys are related to the emotion of fear and worry. When I was doing RBTI, I worked with a consultant who also looks at the spiritual roots of disease and so I had done a lot of research on the subject.

          I have a grandmother who has always had very dark circles all around her eyes. You can even see them in her highschool photo like yourself and she worries the most of any person I know. It’s chronic worrying.

          If you do worry a lot, maybe by being more aware of when you are worrying and letting go of what you don’t have control over and having faith that things will all work out in the end without you having to mentally manipulate the situation over and over in your head, I would think you’d see great improvements in every aspect of your life. I can see how constant draining energy, which worry is, could stress the kidneys and their connected partners, the adrenals.

          This seems to be one of the common links with the longest lived. Being able to say…” I won’t worry about what I can’t change.”

          Love and Blessings!

          Reply
          • Oh wow!! Thanks Northernlights, I do constantly worry about things and have lots of fears. Never knew that can be related. Also, thank you Matt, I did notice that earlier in the week my circles were unusually light and the prior weekend I had consumed a lot more sugars than fats and protein ( lots of natural cane sugar sodas, mexicolas, raw honey in non-fat y
            ogurt and maple syrup I’m oatmeal).

          • Stress is a real two-way street. Chronic stress hormone exposure can make you worry all the time, and chronic worry can create chronic stress hormone production. The important thing to remember is that stress is stress, and there are a multitude of things that can combat it. Sugar, salt, sleep, emotional work like what Bella does, breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and whatever you find to personally put you in a physiologically de-stressed place. The more tools you throw at it the better.

          • Wow, thanks for this thread. I have had dark circles for decades and I am a chronic worrier. Well, more just a deep inward thinking analyser who suffers from depression and anxiety!!!!! Worrier? I guess so. Anyways, I am fascinated by this. Just another reason to keep trying to get better. Also, I just got diagnosed with pyroluria, which explains a lot.

          • In addition to fear, the Chinese believe that anger & frustration harm the liver which also manifests as dark, puffy under eyes (Liver Stagnation).
            Plus worrying upsets the Spleen according to TCM – this can increase our water retention – again leading to eye bags. The spleen determines muscle and tissue strength. Hence things go saggy with spleen deficiency according to TCM. Saggy orbital muscle = eye bag.
            Personally when I go nuts on dairy my eye bags reappear overnight. Dairy can be rough on the spleen if you are not used to it, or have an underlying cows milk sensitivity there.
            Also, like everyone pointed out, stress hormones are a killer. Too much cortisol will lead to puffiness if you are chronically worried, anxious, stressed, fearful, etc.
            Obviously genetics plays a role, as do other hormones. Women have eyelid changes around menstruation. My eyes look hideous at that time each month, but look amazing around ovulation. Even my mother & husband can tell when I’m in my Venus week (leading up to ovulation) because my eyes/face looks healthy and I just glow.
            Right now I’m 11 weeks pregnant and the vomiting, lack of sleep, limited diet due to nausea, crazy hormones, andrenals struggling and fatigue equals BIG dark eye bags. Nothing you can do but ride it out. Or invest in a paper bag over one’s head.
            Definitely many factors involved with dark circles & bags!

          • Yeah, in spiritual roots, the liver is supposedly also connected to anger and resentment. I would imagine some of these emotions, when allowed to fester for too long, result in excess stress hormones and basic draining of the system. But yeah I agree, stress is stress so any tools to reduce it, whether emotional or physical, will go a long way in healing.

            Hmm…that is an interesting observation about your eyes, KJ. Isn’t
            estrogen higher during menstration and the beginning of pregnancy and higher in progesterone in the latter part? I remember reading a Ray Peat article where he mentions estrogen being higher at the beginning part of a pregnancy and during menstration which may explain why your eyes look better during ovulation? Take heart, all that anti-stress progesterone is on it’s way to give you that pregnancy glow. :)

  12. I’ve still got a lot of work to do. I’ve been diagnosed with many a mental disorder since I became a teenager (anorexia, chronic depression, bipolar) but no matter how many concillers, therapists & physiatrists I’ve been made to see in the past has it made any difference to me internally; I know deep down that if I want change that change has to come through me, no one else – ME. I alone am responsible for my thoughts. & it is through my thoughts that I perceive my reality. My mind often helps to balance out the amount of stress I place upon it with all these frantic sad / angry / lonely feelings with a hardcore dose of daydreaming. It certainly helps to keep me afloat when I’ve worked myself up to feel as if all is lost. You know, in the “at least I have these beautiful private visions” kinda way. I know it probably sounds so childish & silly, but honestly, letting my imagination run wild with made-up stories after a bad episode of too-intense emotions really seems to set me free back into a stable version of normality.

    Reply
    • Thankfully you have that defense mechanism and can do that. I don’t think its childish and silly at all. A lot of people turn to drugs ( both legal and non legal)to escape their negative emotions. All that does usually is make things worse. And kudos to you that you understand that in the end it all comes down to you. It’s not going to be easy but as long as you understand that, you are on the right path.

      Reply
      • Aphrodite Rose, I really relate. I have pyroluria and chronic anxiety and depression. I too am an avid “day dreamer”. Check out pyroluria if you haven’t heard of it.

        Reply
        • Wow, I just looked up what pyroluria is & it is me to a T for the majority of the most part OMG. Reading all the symptoms is like seeing a noted down list of all my own problems – the bad short term memory, the hyper sensitivity to noise & light, the explosive temper – it all fits! I’m being forced to see Dr Dracula (my psychiatrist – nicknamed so mostly because he has a kind of Transylvanian accent but it’s also fitting as every time I walk into his room he sucks the very life out of me from his close-minded dullness & lack of passion or personality, uh) again in a couple of weeks, & I am so brining this disorder to his attention. He’ll probably dismiss it like he does with everything else I suggest that doesn’t fit within he’s little warped box of a world but I’ll at least give it a shot. Thank you so much Nicole!

          Reply
      • Awh, thank you Jdubs. I think my automative need to downgrade it to being pathetic springs from having been surrounded all my life by elders with a severe anti-imagination policy – my dad in particular, who is the main cause of my stress outside my own body issues actually. We’re so oppersite in our world views that we can do nothing but clash & despise each other. OMG & I have such a desperate craving to try psychedelics because of my obsession with made-up images – the idea of really properly hallucinating & seeing things that arent really “there” just totally has me in awe like nothing else. Unfortunately I don’t have anyone else who I know & who I trust who shares my fascination with those types of substances, & so I refuse to do anything trippy by myself. & anyway, even if I did have a tripping buddy, I still don’t think I’m in the right place emotionally to take them. I am still very emotionally unstable. Luckily alcohol tasting icky has always been all that’s needed to keep me away – I still don’t understand the worlds obsession with it; everything alcoholic I’ve ever drank has tasted like freakin’ sour pee spiked with battery acid I swear! (I don’t actually know what either taste like, but, yeah, I can totally imagine, aha).

        Despite still being so gripped by disorderly mental thinking I’ve made a hella load of progress in these last couple of months & in part it’s down to finally taking what this wonderful website had to say properly on board. I’ve been reading Matts work for a very long time (I’d say 3+ years) but it’s only now I feel I’m really getting the message about everything. Thank you Matt for containing to exist & write on here. I might not still be around if it wasn’t for you keeping my subconscious continually pondering the thought of “what if it’s all a lie & “health” food isn’t all that healthy after all?”

        Reply
    • Aphrodite Rose wow I love your name! Beautiful! Yes I absolutely agree with you it is 100% up to you. You are your most powerful medicine and tool. Absolutely.

      I am going to present something that may not be fun to hear but it is food for thought okay? One of my mentors Dr. John Demartini has a very interesting perspective on Depression and Bipolarism.

      The human mind creates nightmares and fantasies. The greater the nightmare the greater the fantasy has to be to keep the mind in balance. Depression can be further anchored by comparing your present reality to an ideal fantasy making your present realtiy feel like a nightmare at times. The greater the disparity between your ‘reality’ and your ‘fantasy’ equals or greatly influences your drop into depression.

      I highly recommend you read his book The Breakthrough Experience – it goes beyond classical versions of therapy. I think you might find it very interesting, empowering and helpful.

      Your stress from your past that you survived and has made you strong can be helpful and relevant for your future – if you work it from this angle the strategy to create fantasies might shift to a new level. You can let your mind be creative for fun and pleasure – and perhaps recognize that what helped you to survive (your creativity) birthed one of your greatest gifts.

      I can tell by your name and picture you are one creative individual.

      Reply
      • You’re too sweet Bella – thank you! I appreciate my name now but I used to totally hate it back when I was little – I was always the girl with the “exotic” fancypants name that everyone questioned & picked apart & laughed at. & it didn’t make me toughen up at all. Quite the opposite. Hmmm, I often think my shyness developed so extremely from having to put up with my name embarrassing me. Like, if you can’t say your own name out loud without cringing waiting for the jeers or the tuts… Ahaha. Luckily now I’m over being affected by people’s negative reactions for having an uncommon name.

        Anyway, I think your mentor dude Dr John Demartini sounds totally fabulous ☺ – I am so getting my hands on a copy of that book of his you’ve recommended somehow; his ideas about nightmares vs fantasies are spot on in my situation. The further I somehow emotionally sink in reality the higher my standards become in my fantasies. I remember being so close to actually committing my long-brewing suicide wish last year & I literally spent hours visualising these grand daydreams of my perfect life & it only made it more painful when I opened my eyes to realise, oh, I’m still just me. Not the “her” who I was in my mind. Now I am thankfully out of that dark era of my life without having physically attempted to kill myself. I still self-harm though. Which I’m very ashamed of as I know the exact reason I do it is because I would rather trash my body in some way when I am sad & crying than trash things in the house. It’s so sad to reflect back on every time; a lamp or a book is replaceable – my skin is not (although my skin seems freakishly good at regenerating & healing all of my cuts without leaving scar marks which baffles me so much considering my prolonged anorexic / orthorexic state should have my skin healing at a snails pace. I’m so grateful whatever the reason is).

        Sorry I write such long replies I’m so bad at shortening what I have to say I’ve always been like this I always had my English essays in school over the maximum word limit by like 1000 every time I’m so bad OMG.

        Oh, & I definitely think it was my name again that brought out in me such eccentric creative qualities – the more unconventional the name, the more unconventional the person just has to be to live up to said name, right? Ehehe. & I am definitely tapping into all my stored up creative energy in a much less escapism-esque state now; I am actually actively trying to go forth & reach my dreams in reality instead of shutting out the real world for the imaginary land inside my head. & even though I still have a lot of bad days the fact that I actually have good days where I can laugh until my tummy hurts, eat crazy yummy food without guilt & actually appreciate that I have people that care for me deeply is just amazing. 6 months ago I was literally a different girl.

        Reply
  13. Great article. I have had good success with Abraham Low Self Help Systems in retraining my thinking. Its free and it works. Check it out.

    Reply
    • Sounds interesting! I’ll google it. : )

      Reply
  14. Wow, this is a great article! It is really inspiring to me.

    Just this past week, I was talking to a functional physician I work with about how the whole holistic movement has been focused on purity in eating. Where is the coping with stress, relaxation, sleep, spirituality, meditation? Not that everyone needs all these things. But there’s an awful lot more than just food. I used to be one to drive a long way to get perfect meat and dairy, etc (then I doubted myself about eating them anyway — are they good for me?? A constant dialogue always continued in my head about my choices).

    These chronic, unchallenged, even low-grade, thoughts and beliefs that we have accrued can be outright toxic. The dietitian I work with very often puts all women on 1300 calorie diets for weight loss without regard for their starting weight or other health problems…or even their mental state. When I asked her how much I should eat to lose weight, she said, “1300 calories a day.” I told her I couldn’t function on that as I took a big bite of my 400+ calorie EVOL burrito. My body temps are 98.8 to 99.4 lately. I’m doing okay. ;) I think I’ve even lost a few pounds.

    I have been trying to tell my patients (and myself) lately how important everything else but food is! Not that food isn’t important; it is. But if one isn’t in the right mindset or in chronic state of stress, their body isn’t going to digest it well either. And, worse, if someone really believes that the food they eat is toxic, say they’re eating gluten or pasteurized milk or potatoes, but inside they deem them as inherently bad, I think it can wreak havoc on your body. You either need to stop believing they’re toxic and eat them as they’re nourishing you or just don’t eat them.

    Interestingly, as I’ve been changing my thoughts, my cravings for vanilla lattes have diminished. And I’m not even trying. I think there’s something to this whole thoughts thing!

    Reply
  15. Good point to bring up Shannon Pa-C … How are your thoughts while you’re eating and what are your thoughts about what you are eating? Healthy, relaxed or filled with guilt?

    If I am going to splurge and have chocolate moose … Then I bloody well am going to enjoy it! :-)

    Maybe that isn’t such a great word choice hahaha

    Reply
  16. Bella, I agree with much of what you’ve said here. I think food is only a small part of overall mental well-being, largely because people who are well mentally normally don’t get sucked into things like eating disorders and dieting hell. I think emotional state, stress reduction and sleep are HUGE. Once you get that, the food works itself out.

    However, one thing I have to say is that I think identifying the actual and exact cause of your emotional stress is absolutely crucial. You can do all of the re-imagining and re-associating and positive thinking you want, but if you don’t understand where the negative thoughts came from you can’t really move past them because you are just bandaging over them. You’re not getting to the root. This can take time.

    For me, it took years of therapy before I really honed in on exactly where my horribly low self-esteem came from. I knew it was from my dysfunctional family and the negative things I was told, but it didn’t all really click until I realized exactly who in particular it came from and how, and how exactly they went about manipulating me emotionally (which I did not understand earlier), and why I reacted the way I did. Once I figured that out, I was able to counteract it and understand the truth about myself. Everything before that was just band-aids. I tried all kinds of positive thinking, re-associating, etc., as well as time talking about it, but none of it really worked properly until I got to the root.

    It sucks so badly getting there, and you have to face real horrible pain. It’s not for wuzzies. But you gotta do it. It’s so worth it.

    Reply
    • That’s exactly what Bella does. She goes to exact, vivid events in someone’s past to unearth this kind of stuff.

      Reply
      • Oh, that’s good to know. It didn’t sound like it from the write-up.

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        • Hiya Real Amy – yes absolutely you are correct. Unless you get to the source of the Achilles Heel patterns your are struggling against yourself and I find it very difficult to shift the pattern… This topic has many layers – in my next post will address getting to the core of why we get stuck in negative patterns, and how these stress patterns also contain within them profound healing experiences that are valuable for our development and life. When we see the opportunity within challenge stress dissolves naturally and becomes fuel for change.

          Reply
  17. suew:
    “By the way Ann, do you still follow this approach? For how long and how is it working for you? Initially it disagreed with me but then I tried again and this time it’s been working like rocket fuel, very happy, plenty of energy, no aches or pains, no PMS, even sleeping a teeny bit better! I ask because I’m scared it won’t last!”

    Yes, I am still following this approach. There is no turning back now. I have been suffering ever since I was a child. Looking back, I see that I had thyroid/metabolic problems as early as age 7 or 8, even though I was slender. I used to wear sweaters and cover with blankets in the summer. And the abuse did not help; since every day of my life was abnormally stressful, my adrenal glands never got a break from pumping out stress hormones.

    When I went to college, I thought that vegetarianism was the answer. That was the biggest mistake of my life. I became anti-milk, salt sugar, fruit, coffee and ate lots of soy, starches, PUFA nuts and seeds, and ton loads of cruciferous vegetables in salads and smoothies. I bought a Vitamix so that I could make my own soymilk and cruciferous smoothies. What person in his or her right mind dreams about a raw broccoli cauliflower kale smoothie?

    I actually started eating Peat style before I discovered Ray Peat. A couple of years ago, I finally accepted that 20 years of vegetarianism/veganism had not helped me and, in fact, had ruined my health. So I went to the other extreme and became Paleo. A few months into Paleo, my body rebelled and I started having intense cravings for oranges, white potatoes, chocolate, milk and especially ice cream. For some reason, I just decided to give in to the cravings. I felt so much better but I also felt guilty because potatoes, milk, ice cream and chocolate are supposed to be unhealthy foods. There were times when I had nothing but chocolate bars, milk and ice cream for days and instead of feeling worse, I kept feeling better. At that point I remembered Ray Peat’s name being mentioned on Paleo sites and I decided to learn more about him. I ended up on Danny Roddy’s site and learned about the effects of salt, calcium, aspirin, estrogen, oxidative metabolism etc. Then I stared reading Peat’s articles.

    About a year ago I found RayPeatforum and that’s when things really improved because I learned more about using aspirin, salt, pregnenolone etc from other people’s experiences. Before I found the forum, I was still afraid of salt and added sugar or honey and I did not know how to incorporate aspirin and pregnenolone.

    It is not unusual to have trouble when starting a Peat style diet. Eating differently is initially stressful, even if there will be long-term benefits. So sometimes it is better to not make too many changes all at once. By the time I discovered Ray Peat, I was already ingesting lots of milk, ice cream and oranges. So they were not a problem. The salt and extra sugar really lowered my stress hormones. so they were not a problem either.

    But I waited a couple months after adding salt and sugar before I added coffee because caffeine always triggered my anxiety in the past. I wanted to wait until my body was more resistant to stress and that worked. I also introduced pregnenolone very slowly. I started by taking 12.5 mg (half of a 25mg tablet) once per day for a couple of weeks than 12.5mg twice per day for a couple of weeks, then 25 mg once a day, and eventually up to 50 mg 2 or 3 times per day. Same with aspirin. I started with one per day along with half of a vitamin K2 tablet (2.5mg) and eventually worked my way up to 5 per day with 5mg K2 for a few months.

    If something stops working, it means that you need to make an adjustment. But I don’t think there will ever be a need to completely give up a Peat style diet, unless you choose to for reasons such as boredom. As your health improves, you may find that you need less of some things. For example, in the beginning, I needed lots of salt. I was using at least 3 tablespoons per day total and I felt great. After a few months, I started feeling too warm and thirsty so I reduced my salt intake. My body had healed enough to not need that much salt. That is not a bad thing. But then I lowered my salt too much and I started feeling stressed and cold again, so I increased it and felt better.

    Be prepared to make changes and adjustments and you won’t have a problem. One day you may crave salt or ice cream, the next day you may not. Take a break from something for a week or 2 and then come back to it if you think it is causing a problem. It is possible to overdo anything and sometimes you just need to give your body time to restore balance. You don’t have to ingest aspirin coffee or orange juice every single day of your life in order to reap the benefits.

    As your health improves, you may want to sometimes eat foods that are not Peat approved–if you like them and are not allergic to them–to avoid becoming paranoid and obsessive about food. Last night I had baked beans and rice. Beans are not Peat approved. But my body handles them well and I like them, so I plan to eat a small serving a few times a week. A couple of weeks ago, I had a bag of potato chips fried in PUFA oils. And I have eaten salmon a few times since I started eating Peat style. I don’t want to become so rigid about my diet that it causes me stress. Been there, done that.

    Reply
    • Anne this is the most useful comment I’ve ever read, thank you so much! Vegetarianism is a recipe for sickness for me too, I literally feel my body grind to a halt.
      I’ve been doing some of the above for a while but I see now, too low levels. I am using progesterone cream as it clearly makes me feel better, but I might try pregnenolone again, is there any advantage that you know of? Because I forget the caveats about the cream but I know there are issues. But it clearly makes me feel better. Pregnenolone I tried once, no results, but perhaps the dosage? The coffee is fine for me when made with pure milk and some sugar, to my surprise no wired feeling. And in the days before I went so badly off track I practically lived off fruit and am very lucky to have access to lots, all times of year. But citrus does erode my teeth, so I go easy on that. I’d like to look into that forum you mentioned, do you have a link? And nothing is working for sleep, last night was back to square one unfortunately, so I need to keep looking for solutions there. It’s killing my husband :( me too :(
      Perhaps we could chat more on the forums? I can start a thread, let’s say “Peat steps” under nutrition? Hope to see you there and thanks again!

      Reply
      • Apologies for misspelling your name Ann!

        Reply
        • SueW,
          No problem with the misspelling :-) .

          I have not used the forum here, but I will check it out later this evening.

          The link for the Ray Peat Forum: http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/ .
          You may benefit from starting a link at that forum (also reading what is already there) because more people at that forum have experimented with pregnenolone and progesterone than the people here. Do a search for progesterone and pregnenolone as there are several threads on these two. Also, the forum has an “ask for help” section, where you can mention your specific issues and ask for advice.

          They are very nice over there. It is a good forum as long as you continue to think for yourself and realize that just because something works or doesn’t work for someone else, does not mean it will be the same for you. And don’t become obsessed like some of the people there.

          But starting a thread here is also a good idea. The people on Ray Peat forum are hard core and they are often closed-minded about anything that does not confirm Ray Peat’s ideas. I respect Ray Peat, but he is not perfect. No one person can have all the answers. I do things which are not Peat approved, like taking zinc supplements and iodine. And eating cheese made with enzymes. And eating chicken liver instead of beef liver.

          Topical progesterone creams are not really as effective as they claim. They provide some benefit for a short time. Very little of the progesterone in those creams are absorbed into the blood stream because progesterone is best dissolved in vitamin e and oil. Also, with topical application, progesterone builds up in the fatty tissue in your body and most of it won’t be absorbed into your blood stream. Then you have an excess of progesterone in your fatty tissues and this can cause hormonal imbalance when the fat breaks down and releases the progesterone. That is probably why the cream seems to be somewhat helpful in the beginning but stops working after a few months. I used the cream a few years ago. It worked for a few weeks then seemed to stop.

          The best progesterone on the market is Progest-E which was actually developed by Ray Peat. It is progesterone dissolved in vitamin e and oil and most people use it orally by rubbing it into the gums before swallowing. These guys currently have the best price: http://www.electricalbody.com/product/natural-progesterone-oil.htm .

          The advantage of progesterone over pregnenolone is that progesterone delivers progesterone. Pregnenolone can be converted to progesterone, but it may not be. So if you want the benefits of progesterone specifically, use progesterone. Pregnenolone, according to Dr Peat, lowers stress hormones and helps the brain. I definitely agree with Dr Peat. Pregnenolone works great for me. But some people on the forum say that pregnenolone increases their stress hormones. I have taken up to 300mg of pregnenolone per day–when I felt very stressed–with no ill effects. Some people claim that they get benefits from as little as 10mg of pregnenolone per day. I get no perceived benefits from such a small dose. Just shows how we are all different. I hope to taper eventually to small doses of pregnenolone, but right now, I need at least 50mg once or twice per day. My body still has a lot of healing to do.

          Many people use both progesterone and pregnenolone. I am currently using both. I just started the progesterone a few days ago. I first tried progesterone (Progest-E) about 7 months ago but stopped after 3 weeks because I was experiencing estrogen dominance wake up symptoms. The symptoms weren’t terrible, but I felt there was no rush and I should allow my body to heal more before taking the progesterone. So I increased my aspirin to 5 per day to lower estrogen and increased my pregnenolone to 50 mg 2 times per day. I also took vitamin-E and Vitex. Vitamin E also lowers estrogen and vitex lowers prolactin and improves the progesterone/estrogen ratio in favor of progesterone. I felt it was more important to lower stress and keep it low than to drive out estrogen. Now that I feel more resilient to stress, I am ready to drive out the excess estrogen and I can tolerate the estrogen dominance symptoms.

          Well ripened fruit is good but you need minerals like calcium, sodium etc that you won’t get from most fruit. And protein. So if you live on fruit for even a short while, you may have some problems as your body has not healed enough to go without sufficient calcium, protein and other nutrients for long.

          Also, are you eating liver at least once a week? Vitamin A is very important for the conversion of cholesterol into progesterone. And do you eat eggs? Peat recommends one or two eggs per day for the cholesterol and other nutrients. And shellfish for the zinc, copper, selenium etc. Those are very important for the metabolism and thyroid health and difficult to get if you don’t eat a lot of muscle meat (which is a bad idea). I am allergic to shellfish so I take copper, zinc and selenium supplements instead.

          Citrus seems to be bad for many people’s teeth. If you drink the juice, have you tried adding a little baking soda (1/4 tsp or so) to it? It will neutralize the acidity of the juice. Also, if you need extra calcium, a little calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide will neutralize the acid in the citrus juice and protect your teeth. When I was drinking a lot of orange juice, I often bought orange juice with calcium added because it is not acidic. However, Ray Peat does not recommended juice with added calcium because some people can be allergic to the emulsifier used to add the calcium to the juice. Now I usually add baking soda and/ or dolomite powder to my fruit juices to neutralize acid and provide sodium, calcium, magnesium and carbon dioxide.

          Have you tried gelatin for sleep? I have started adding gelatin to whatever I drink before going to bed and it calms me and helps me to fall asleep. If I don’t feel like preparing gelatin, I add some glycine and taurine powder to my drink, which is usually milk with sugar, salt, and cocoa or black strap molasses. Also, bag breathing for a few minutes while lying in bed often helps me to fall asleep.

          If you wake up during the night because of stress hormones, it may help to have something sweet with added salt, to lower the stress hormones. I think Matt recommends sugar with salt added. Keep it by the bed and have some every time you wake up. Some people on the Peat forum keep juice with added salt by the bed and drink some when they wake during the night.

          Food cannot solve everything. You may have to do other things like meditate, take a vacation, exercise (weight training), get away from toxic people etc. Weight training is good because it will naturally increase testosterone and testosterone opposes estrogen, similar to progesterone. But diet is a good place to start because we have more control over what we put into our bodies than over many other things in our life.

          Reply
      • SueW,

        I just submitted a response which did not go through. Hopefully this one will.

        The link to Ray Peat forum: http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/

        You may benefit from starting a thread over there. They have an “ask for help” section where you can ask for help with your specific issue. There are also several threads for pregnenolone and progesterone.They are really nice over there. But it is also a good idea to start a thread here because people on the Peat forum are hardcore and can be close-minded to anything that does not confirm Ray Peat’s ideas. I respect Ray Peat, but no person can have all the answers. I do things which are not Peat-approved, because I think they help me. Like taking zinc and selenium and iodine and choline. And eating cheese made with enzymes. But still, there is a lot of helpful information and advice there. As long as you reserve the right to think for yourself, you will be fine. I have not used the forums here, but I will check it out this evening. If you start a thread on the forum here, then providing a link will make it easy for me to find it.

        If you want the benefits of progesterone, then use progesterone. Pregnenolone can be converted into progesterone, but it may not be. Ray Peat says that pregnenolone reduces stress hormones and improves brain function. I agree with him. It works very well for me.

        It is possible that you did not use enough pregnenolone. I did not feel any benefits at low dosages like 12 or 25mg. Some people on the Ray Peat forum say that pregnenolone increases their stress hormones. Other people claim to get benefits from as little as 10mg.

        The problem with progesterone creams. First of all, most of the progesterone is not absorbed because progesterone is best dissolved in vitamin e. Also, after a while, the creams stop working because the progesterone builds up in the fatty tissues of the body, since progesterone has an affinity for fat. This can lead to hormonal imbalance when the fatty tissue is broken down and the progesterone is released. When the progesterone is coming from the fatty tissues, it is not cycled as when it comes from the ovaries. You do not want to have a constant level of progesterone.

        The best way to take progesterone is orally, dissolved in vitamin e. The best progesterone on the market is Progest-E, which was developed by Ray Peat. Rub it into the gums before swallowing. Dissolved in vitamin E and taken orally, the progesterone will not build up in the fatty tissues of the body so you can control your body’s exposure to it. Currently, these guys have the best price: http://www.electricalbody.com/product/natural-progesterone-oil.htm .

        Some people use both progesterone and pregnenolone. I am using both. I started using Progest-E a few days ago. I first tried progest-E several months ago and it caused estrogen dominance wake up symptoms. I did not want to deal with the symptoms at the time so I stopped the progest-E and increased my aspirin and vitamin e in order to lower estrogen. I also used vitex, which lowers prolactin and balances estrogen and progesterone.

        Have you tried adding a 1/4 tsp or so of baking soda to your citrus juice to neutralize the acid and provide carbon dioxide and salt. Or, if you need extra calcium, you can add a little calcium carbonate to the juice. It does the same thing as baking soda but adds calcium instead. I add both baking soda and dolomite to my citrus juice most of the time now. Dolomite provides both calcium and magnesium. In the past, I often purchased orange juice with added calcium, which does not harm the teeth. Maybe you can try that to see if it agrees with you. Some people have problems with the emulsifiers used to add the calcium to the juice, but I did fine with it. It helped me to get extra calcium in addition to the milk I was drinking.

        With regard to the sleep problems. Have you tried gelatin at night? Gelatin has glycine, which is very calming. I usually add gelatin to my nighttime drink which is usually milk with sugar, salt, taurine powder and cocoa powder or molasses. If I don’t feel like preparing gelatin, I add powdered glycine instead. Also, breathing into a paper bag (or holding my breath, like while swimming) for a few minutes while lying in bed helps me to relax and fall asleep.

        If you wake during the night because of stress hormones, sugar and salt may help you to get back to sleep by lowering stress hormones. I think Matt recommends a mixture of white sugar and salt. Some people on the Peat forum keep salted orange juice by their bed and drink some when they awake during the night. I don’t like salty juice so I sometimes use honey with salt or milk with a couple tablespoons of sugar and some salt.

        Here are a few threads from the Peat forum which may help you:
        http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=1140&hilit=progesterone
        http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=2264&hilit=progesterone
        http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2029
        http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1898

        Reply
      • SueW,

        I submitted 2 long answers to you yesterday and they did not show up.
        Maybe Matt had blocked my email address. Anyway,
        at least here is the link for Ray Peat forum, in the event this response gets through.
        http://www.raypeatforum.com/forum/portal.php

        I see you started a thread. I have never used the forum. I will try to respond there, if possible.

        Reply
        • You’re not banned Ann. The spam folder automatically eats posts with lots of hyperlinks. I restored them both.

          Reply
          • Wow.

            Should I remove the hyperlinks from responses?

            Because I submitted 2 responses to her in the nutrition forum and they did not show up there either.

          • Cleared now too.

          • Anne, fortunately I did get both long responses and your shorter one too, thank you very much ! I have made notes. I really appreciate your taking so much time to put all this down. I’m going to follow all this up.
            Re the prog cream, I have used it for years and I continue to feel much better for it. But I am going to look into a gradual switch to pregnenolone, will see how it goes. Will also look into the other kind of prog, the one you mention rubbing into the gums.
            I do have eggs and also chicken liver (so much nicer than beef!) and if I don’t, I get liverish symptoms, nausea, feel awful. It’s also quite close to how I used to eat intuitively before I messed it all up with low carb – lots of fruit and eggs were a staple for me. Before, I was never big on veg, or big meat portions. I did have bad blood sugar swings which were the major reason I liked low carb as they evened out – or at least for a couple of years they did. Boy am I sorry about that!
            I would never try and do his approach 100% – anything too lopsided hits my ‘danger alert’ buttons – so far I simply add a good dollop of it to what I currently do, as it seems to be helping a lot, esp with energy and aching, my biggest issues. I’m trying everything on the list except thyroid as I have serious concerns and hear so many stories of trouble with that.
            Re sleep I’ve tried all those things and still no go. Seems to be quite intractable. But I think it will come.
            It’s interesting how you can try something one day and it will disagree, but a few months later it may work like a dream because you’re now strong enough. I will never go back to any kind of unbalanced eating no matter the reasoning, because it’s been the instability of everything from sleep and energy to blood glucose and mood that has been the hardest and slowest thing to fix. So when I say I’m enjoying how I feel doing some of the RP things, I mean in moderation. It is wonderful to feel no pain and good levels of energy again, especially as it looked at one time like I was the exception to everything!
            Thanks again for all of this!

  18. i agree that food comes first in healthy life… what a superb article… very appreciative..

    Reply
  19. Wow…what you are saying rings so true. I don’t think I have enough life experience or knowledge to understand the cause of such torments, but hell, I experience the results every day.

    In the past few months, I’ve started to believe quite strongly that my mind created my reality. I used to lead a perfect life, and be in prefect health. When I started worrying excessively, things started to go downhill health-wise. Since then, I’m pretty sure I created all the health issues that I have today. The excess worrying got out of control, and at some point morphed into health anxiety for the first time in my life. Since that one episode 4 years ago, I’ve not had ongoing health anxiety, but I always thought about an issue a little too much than I should have I believe. I’m a “do-er” and a resourceful person of nature, so I always wanted to ‘act’ on it to make it go away (I am still that way and can’t decide if it’s good or bad lol). No wonder, I always kept getting more and more issues that were related, or the issue just got more pronounced! I have very real symptoms, but I am starting to be positive that I’ve created them with my mind.

    I’d love to de-program myself from this kind of unhealthy thinking. I just don’t know how yet. I’ve seen a few therapists but never lasted since I always felt un-easy spending so much money and not making much progress. I am trying visualization and simply doing activities I enjoy and focusing on the present moment. It’s been a big help already. Is there a way to ‘self-help’ yourself thought without relying on therapy?

    When you explained that people with anxiety don’t feel safe – I thought about it, and realized that that’s true. I always have this sense of impending doom, and end up pretty high-strung. As if I have to protect myself from something.

    Also, a funny thing I’ve experienced each of the several times I tried yoga, was uncontrollable sobbing… Certain movements would produce a really intense emotion in me and I would start crying. I went again today and though I shed some tears and my face twitched, I was able to abstain from the sobbing episode. Nonetheless, I felt like crying! Would there be some kind of explanation to this? Some repressed emotions? (I’ve always been pretty open and communicative though…)

    Reply
  20. Loved this article! What I really appreciate about Matt & company and this website is that I think they are helping us go to our original default design. No, it’s not some hairy knuckle-dragging neanderthal…but much deeper. Our true design and default mode where the mind and body thrive is a restful state of being where we become attuned to what is going on in the inside and respond accordingly, not a micromanaging nazi regarding food, finances, relationships, etc. Recovering from environmental illness that left me bed and housebound for 3 1/2 years, where I became “allergic” to everything…I discovered what was ultimately toxic was my relationship with the environment, not what was in the environment itself. I never felt safe. It’s way healthier to eat a twinkie in peace, than an organic cucumber while marinating in a stew of fear, trying to be perfect, and trying hard to get healthy. 4 years ago (way before discovering this website), I started healing…but I had to eat “bad” food and be exposed to normal amounts of environmental toxins in order to heal. Fear and condemnation are diseases that know no limits, same as internal rest once the switch is flipped. Ready for the next level of my healing…learning as I go…

    Reply
  21. How does this match up to the advice from The Ultra Mind Solution?

    Reply

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