Minding My Food, Minding My Mind

libudsuroy
Posted September 16, 2016 from Philippines
law-uy

As a person with lived experience of psychosis, I take the connection between my state of mind and nutrition seriously.

I know that taking anti-psychotics, even in low-dosage but in the long-term, might stabilize my moods and keep hallucinations at bay but there can be debilitating side effects. These neuroleptics might start diabetes and high blood pressure or coronary disease, or worsen these conditions, if one is already suffering from any of these.

My blood tests taken a month after I have recovered from a psychotic episode in 2014 showed elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Besides, I gained around 20 pounds in three months. So to cope with these negative impacts, I curbed my intake of rice, the staple of Filipino meals. Instead, I eat corn, which has a lower glycemic index, making the body absorb less sugar at a lower rate.

The shift from rice to corn paid off as tests in June this year showed that my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are now within the normal range.

In the morning, I have a serving of fruit in season like bananas or mangoes. But today I tried other fruits in season like mangosteen, lanzones, rambutan and marang -- I bought a few pieces of each at a roadside fruit stand yesterday.

For lunch, I had the traditional broiled milkfish and soup of moringa with young coconut with lemongrass. The side dishes included pickled papaya and fried bolinao (anchovy). I also had boiled green bananas and camote (sweet yam), with olive oil and yogurt as dips. Traditionally, we Pinoys would have fermented fish sauce as dip. Olive oil and yogurt are not part of the traditional Filipino cuisine. These became part of my own diet after a sojourn in Palestine where they are staples. Both are considered brain food. Yogurt contains good bacteria that helps maintain a good mood while olive oil contains omega 3 fatty acids that temper psychotic symptoms.

This evening, I had the traditional law-uy, boiled leaves of moringa, squash leafbuds, and other wild greens like saluyot and alogbati that I foraged from the backyard. I added these dark greens to a simmering broth of ginger, left-over fish from the lunch, chayote and carrots. Right before serving, I add a drizzle of olive oil. Soon after eating, I’d have a cup of chamomile tea and honey.

(Note: This post has a 3-minute photo slideshow @https://youtu.be/5nNrOdJJATw

Comments 6

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Emily Garcia
Sep 16, 2016
Sep 16, 2016

Dear Lina,

You have my mouth watering - the meals you describe sound delicious!! I also believe strongly in the mind and body connection, and I'm realizing that maybe I too can treat my mind/mood ailment - anxiety - with better nutrition. I already keep sugar at a low and never drink caffeine, but there is probably so much more I could be doing! Thank you for inspiring me to pursue this avenue of inquiry for better mental health. 

Warmly,

Emily

libudsuroy
Sep 17, 2016
Sep 17, 2016

Hi, Emily, you are in the right path to eating well. For years I have been addicted to coffee as it became my hour-by-hour stimulant, and only ill-health had made me stop having it. And I have been eating mostly fruits, vegetables, fish, grains -- and junk food! I had to experience a psychic mud-bottom to commit to a better diet. 

I thank you for the invitation to share my experience on this subject. I barely beat the deadline as I couldn't locate the photos of my lunch! 

Emily Garcia
Sep 21, 2016
Sep 21, 2016

I'm so glad you did! The photos in your video are beautiful!

helen.ng
Sep 18, 2016
Sep 18, 2016

Thank you for sharing your experiences!!! I think many people underestimate the immense role nutrition can play on our lives, both bodily and mentally. Your post has definitely made me more aware about healthy eating, and I admit that I am a total glutton and that I am not a very healthy eater. I definitely have taken for granted many foods in my surroundings, but I should be doing a lot more!

libudsuroy
Sep 19, 2016
Sep 19, 2016

Hi, Helen,

Thank you for taking time to read and comment on my post! 

blanch1981
Sep 21, 2016
Sep 21, 2016

Hi Lina! Ang galing! I could imagine  mangosteen and marang in my mouth and the law-oy! Those are my favorite healthy foods. I just learned from you that yogurt and olive oil are staple foods in other countries though I know they are not part of our traditional food. But I love them too. Thank you for sharing your story. I am yet finding time to do mine. And I am excited to meet you here!

Regards,

Blanche