I am am an addict.
My addiction began early in life at my mother’s knee and was supported by the American diet.
Bread was my substance of choice – soft squeezable Wonderbread spread with jelly and peanut butter.
My mother didn’t know she was poisoning my siblings and me. As I didn’t know that my homemade whole wheat bread was creating an addiction in my children.
I didn’t know that carbohydrates (CHO) were a non-essential food group. I did know that I felt calmer after eating CHO – the sweeter the better. So did my children.
I remember a time when my daughter declared she was a vegetarian but only ate pasta. No wonder the teenage years were so dramatic. I was living with addicts – myself included..
My medical training included courses in physiology, pathology and nutrition. The courses did not teach the dangers of CHO addiction or it’s side effects. I learned this through personal experience when I began a search for answers to my failing health.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes followed a few months later by a heart attack. Although statistics indicated this was a fast growing diagnosis in the USA. It didn’t make sense to me, for me.
I took the prescribed medications and adhered to the ADA diet counseling only to discover that I was getting sicker. When I presented my carefully documented records to my health care providers, I was ignored, prescribed a newer more expensive drug and ultimately blamed for failure to respond due to weight gain.
Finally I began listening to my gut and discovered the Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) diet presented by a Swedish physician on the Internet (http://www.dietdoctor.com). Within a month of practicing LCHF my blood sugars had returned to normal without medication. My weight had also begun to drop.
My adventure wasn’t over yet. After a few months I noticed my weight wasn’t decreasing and though I didn’t have high blood sugars my hunger had returned. I realized that my feeling of hunger was the result of addiction. Food had become a drug for me. I was eating too much to satisfy a craving within me.
I switched my focus again and was led to new discussions on drug addiction. Johann Hari, the author of ‘ Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs’, presents an enthralling blog post titled “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think“. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013)
He concludes ‘It is disconnection that drives addiction . . . the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.’
Further investigation of human connection led me to Rick Bateman’s Social Wellness site that explains how to create and nurture social connection (https://socialwellness.wordpress.com/). He offers a theory of ‘Why Social Isolation Makes Us Sick’ using the perspective of a zoologist.
“Following are the first few basic questions a zoo keeper ask:
- Is their diet appropriate?
- Is their physical environment appropriate i.e. is it the right size, temperature . . .
- Are their emotional needs being met i.e. are there things they like to do or need to have? Do they have the right living space?
- Are their social needs being met? Are there others of their own kind they can interact with? “
I am an addict in the process of recovery.
My dietary changes have eliminated my medical diagnosis. Changes in my physical environment – an apartment for my cat and me; my emotional needs for a space of my own surrounded by natural scenery and a supportive communication; and social needs through meet-up groups, blogs and regular weekly contact with friends.
My intention in writing this blog is to share my over 60 year old experiences with the hope that the information will assist you in finding and maintaining your own wellness. It is not meant to prescribe or dictate.