Grab The Wheel

Vegetarianism/Hypoglycemia/Mood Disorders

Recommended Posts

I will be starting the Whole30 on Monday with my husband. A doctor recommended it for my husband who has had a recent, seemingly sudden, and debilitating back condition with unknown cause. Originally, my motivation for joining him on the diet was solely to support his effort in the hopes that it will help keep him on track. After much research, I am excited to start the diet for my own reasons.

While I have no interest in weight loss (5'1", 115 lbs), I am curious to see if the diet might positively affect my struggle with a life-long mood disorder. I am a forty some year old woman and the onset of mood instability was concurrent with becoming a vegetarian, around the age of 16. Of course, this was also concurrent with adolescence, so there's no way for me to identify any causal relationship with vegetarianism here. And current science neither supports it or rules it out, as far as I know. I have read studies that show evidence of a correlation between vegetarianism and mood disorders, but no causal relationship seems to be established.

However, I am beginning to wonder if the lack of protein, or even fat, might cause a more hypoglycemic metabolic state for me and may have exacerbated my mood instability all these years. I already have a pretty healthy diet, with very little junk food or fried food, plenty of vegetables and water, more fish and even some poultry in the past year. However, I do drink alcohol and coffee daily, I enjoy dairy, legumes, and grains, and I do not eat red meat or pork. These choices will be different with the Whole30.

So.....I can't wait to give this a try! But the diet will be significantly different for me. I will be staying on my meds, of course. Will I notice a difference? While I'm wondering if I might see improvement in mood, it will be difficult to identify which dietary factor or factors contribute to the change. I am also looking forward to the reintroduction phase which could give me more useful information. If there is anything striking, this could be at least part of the answer to decades of emotional pain and suffering.

From what I have read on the forum, it sounds like I should pay special attention to getting enough carbs (potatoes, bananas, apples, leafy greens). I certainly don't want to trigger more anxiety or hypomania. Any suggestions with this? Has anyone else with a mood disorder noticed positive mood shifts going from a vegetarian diet to eating meat? Also, how have you dealt with your ethical concerns and emotional difficulties with eating meat? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi There!  Welcome!

I look forward to seeing your progress on this journey.

As a person who was struggling with depression (undiagnosed - so no meds), anxiety and extreme moodiness prior to my first whole 30 - this for me was a game changer - even though it was not the sole reason why I pursued the whole 30. Truthfully I was in denial for years, and I didn't fully realize how bad it was until well after first my whole 30. 

I have noticed through the years (my first whole 30 was August of 2012) that certain foods for me trigger extreme moods and depression.  For me personally I am extremely sensitive to corn and soy for this.  Sugar usually lights the flame but the corn and soy provide the ammunition.  But for you it could be completely different.  But from what I understand, soy and sugar are apparently pretty common mood disrupters.  So happy to see you give this a try.

I totally recommend keeping your carbs in check.  I find I have a happy place - too little and I'm in a bit of mess mentally and too much I am tired and lethargic.  So you will need to play around to see what works best for you.  Start with a fist sized portion of starchy veggie (think any root vegetable) and go from there. 

I came from a SAD way of eating that was tilting to be light on meat, almost vegetarian but not quite.  The first 3 days of my whole 30 I craved red meat.  (Probably because I found out later that my Vitamin B levels were crazy low - apparently I don't absorb B12 well).  My advice is that your body will kind of tell you what it needs most of if you stop and listen to it rather than listen what the media tells you what you should and shouldn't eat.  

I had no real ethical concerns (although I completely understand the ethical argument as animals from the factory farmed system are not respected as animals) I just didn't *like* meat.  (or so I was raised by the media to believe). So my suggestion here, if you can afford it, and if you can make it a priority, buy meat, poultry, fish from a ethical source.  One that has respected the animal and raised it to be a happy, healthy animal.  Basically in accordance to how it should be raised - outdoors, eating grass, wandering around in a field.  Just my thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your support and advice!

Day one was a success! I prepared three great meals that made my husband happy and generally satiated. I started with shrimp and chicken today. With eating more protein at each meal than is typical for me, I didn't suffer from the strong hunger I usually do mid-meals. I'm going to dive in with a carne asada tomorrow. I do wonder if the iron and B12 boost will help me over time. 

I've used Real Plans to help plan more delicious looking meals for the rest of the week. We have some meat from US Wellness on the way. It's less than comfortable for me to prepare and eat meat but I try to thank and honor each life. I agree, it costs more to make healthier and more ethical choices when it comes to consuming animals. If each of us can do whatever is within our means to support better practices, we really can significantly impact the entire industry over time. It's already happening.

Curious to see how both my husband and I fare over the next week, emotionally and physically. I'm prepared for it to get tough before it gets easier. Looking forward to the journey. 29 days to go. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found that If I have a lot of gluten it severely depresses me.  I am gluten sensitive and also have a mood disorder.  My first go round on the W30 was an eye opener.  I felt amazing and had a ton of energy!

i think you will love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Hols1 said:

I have found that If I have a lot of gluten it severely depresses me.  I am gluten sensitive and also have a mood disorder.  My first go round on the W30 was an eye opener.  I felt amazing and had a ton of energy!

i think you will love it!

Gluten affecting mood is a really common side effect that we hear about here. Not something most people go in expecting to find out, glad you figured that piece of the puzzle out for yourself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now