Part 3 of 3: A series on food, gut health and mental health by Guest Author, Sue Westwind

Posted on November 23, 2012


Sue Westwind

People always want to know what’s left if you yank wheat and milk from your diet. Well, it’s an adventure of discovery, carried by exciting new grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and of course the familiar rice and corn. Milk alternatives are yummy: almond, soy (controversial), hemp, coconut.

I’d been comfortable in this world for some time. But I had to face it: as the gluten-free craze grew, so did processed food choices that were gluten-free. It’s so easy to get busy and just grab something off the grocery shelf, and to convince yourself you’re virtuous by avoiding your food intolerances. I had better things to do than cook, and was so glad the convenience market was meeting my needs!

The link between migraine and food intolerance is pretty well studied. Like many issues regarding our beloved foods, it’s still considered a controversial matter. The thing to remember is that you can have NO adverse gut symptoms, and still have gluten intolerance. This article from Pub Med, the government’s Library of Medicine’s site, talks about this neurological syndrome that includes migraine and depression. Click here to read this article. 

You can imagine my fear when the migraines began to return. That meant the funk wasn’t far behind: depression, self-blame, inertia.  I used digestive enzymes, probiotics and other gut cures on them, which is probably why they would last only one fairly-functional day instead of three, totally-disabled-in a-dark-room days. I was coming across research stating that other grains also had gluten, especially corn. Then I started hearing about the Paleo Diet, and was intrigued. I felt a sea-change pulling at my food choices.

Paleo is short for the Paleolithic Era. The beginning of the Paleolithic period over two million years ago coincides with the appearance on earth of the first apelike men; our current species, Homo sapiens, appeared in the latter portion of Paleo times. So the diet means eating like our very distant, “caveman” ancestors. After all, our bodies and nervous systems are identical.

Stone Age Folks R Us. Think hunter-gatherers. Hint: they were not yet growing grains, nor domesticating animals for milk.

I listened to my body, my head, my pain and I knew it: the carbs had to go.

If you have tried a gluten-free, dairy-free diet—faithfully, no cheating, for at least six months and still feel horrible, think about going Paleo. It worked for me, and I’m still in a semi-cheating phase—I had two gluten-free crackers for lunch today, and the right top quadrant of my head is sore in that old familiar way plus my stomach feels as if it holds a small, nauseating rock.  It’s so hard to change, but pain is a great deterrent!

I’m new at this, but the pay-off seems to be quick. I’ll eat salad and sweet potatoes for breakfast and feel fantastic all morning. Turnip greens sautéed with garlic and dressed with a splash of vinegar for a late night snack, and I actually wake up smiling. (They are loaded with folate.) I’m still tempted to cheat when very tired but, predictably, what follows is feeling more tired, headache-y, ruminative.

The Primal Blueprint suggests eating no more than 150 carbohydrates a day. That’s my goal. Here’s another website by the “founder” of the Paleo way, rated the best on all things “caveman”: click here to go there.

But while this may be the next step for some in the hunt for full human joy and ease, I’d like to suggest another benefit that affects us all. We may end up foraging outside the box, but the path is not lonely. When it comes to corporate greed, we can connect the dots together.

The motives of the psychiatric drug industry and the Franken Foods monolith are the same:  sell more products, get more people hooked, to hell with health and recovery. Ditto the chemical industry, with their phony motive of “feeding the world” to justify selling pesticides and GMO seeds to farmers.

We take back our lives when we get mindful about what we ingest–not just from psychiatry, but also their bedfellows in pursuit of profit to the detriment of our minds, bodies and ever-loving souls. It has been said that these days pursuing our health is doing our part for a global revolution. To take back control when it comes to what we put in our mouths is to dismantle corporate deviousness that leads to say-so over what they have no right to decide.

That, my friends, means empowerment.


Read part 1 of this series here.

Part 2 here.

We would love to hear your feedback about todays piece….drop your notes in the comments below. :)

You can read more about Sue’s journey with gut health and creating mental health and her path to learning to live well at the website for her book Lunacy Lost here. 

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As always – if you are taking psychotropic drugs NEVER EVER just “go off them”. To do so can be life threatening. For more information and resources on how to safely reduce or withdraw from Psychotropic drugs please visit the resources page here and view the powerpoint presentation here. 

It is assumed that anyone reading this blog is capable of taking in information, assessing it and asserting their own will to choose to take action or not. I am not a health care professional and I assume no responsibility for the actions taken by others. The information provided on this web site is for informational purposes only.