Do I Feel Better?

A little refresher:

  • On Monday (4/14) I decided to test how my body reacted to consumption of a significant amount of sugar. I found that other than my blood glucose levels going through the roof for a few hours it didn’t have any noticeable effect. I didn’t experience a boost in energy, nor did I experience a sugar crash later. As far as I could tell, my mood was unaffected.
  • On Tuesday (4/15) after breakfast I went on a water-only fast to see what the effect would be on me and again experienced minimal effects continuing the fast until Wednesday at 6 pm.
  • On Wednesday (4/16) I broke the water fast and when I awoke Thursday (4/17) I was pretty depressed. Now, I get depressed without obvious causation so this wasn’t unusual – but I figured if it was caused by consuming food the most likely culprit was wheat. I hypothesized that if I consumed a large amount of wheat on Thursday I should awake miserable on Friday (4/18) – so I did…and when I awoke the next day I was in a normative mood.
  • I decided I’d now try the opposite direction – eliminating wheat from my diet. This began on Friday (4/18) and has continued with some minor exceptions through the present (Friday, 4/25) – one week.
  • I have largely eliminated dairy from my diet since Tuesday (4/22) and am continuing to abstain from it through the present.

On Tuesday (4/22) I spiraled very deeply into depression. I had begun studying through the Gospel of Luke in preparation for a new sermon series and, as often happens to me, I began to perceive Scripture in ways that confused and depressed me. Eventually I had to stop the endeavor and I was fairly useless the rest of the day.

I was unsure whether to suspect that my diet was causing this depression, it was without evident causation, or if the fact that I was undertaking a new Scriptural study which involved reading a large portion of Scripture (and the larger the Scripture section the more material to become depressed over).

I hypothesized that if it was the Scripture reading which had caused the depression if I tried again on Wednesday (4/23) I should have a similar experience. The next day I could see the same sort of passages that had caused me so much angst the day before and yet my perception of them was different. I still didn’t understand them, but neither did I feel the need to understand them entirely at that moment…nor did I begin to struggle with anger towards self or God. It was a very different experience…so, it seems likely, that the perception of Scripture in a painful light is a result of rather than the cause of my depression…but it doesn’t tell me what causes the depression – is it the food I consume or is it something else entirely?

I have been unable to make much progress in this area, but I have found it surprisingly easy to cut both wheat and dairy out of my diet. I’ve been eating more rice based products, using almond milk, and eating more salads…Yet I can’t say that I feel any significant difference inside of me. I’d say I’m in a fairly normative (for me) state…certainly not a state of fulfilled peace – which I have experienced a few rare times during my life.

I’m going to close with some objective analysis of the last number of days which may (or may not) provide some further insight:

Here is a key to understanding:

  • Sleep is the length of time I slept – in hours/minutes.
  • Cont is for continuity meaning did I sleep through the night. In general, I never sleep through the night – but here I am noting instances where I was awake for an extended period of time. This ranges from .75 hrs. to 4 hrs.
  • Naps D is for Duration and indicates the combined total length I spent napping that day.
  • Naps Q is for Quantity and indicates the number of naps I took that day.
  • Exer indicates the amount of exercise I did that day. One pattern I notice here is that since I removed wheat/dairy from my diet my ability to exercise has decreased – and it has been ability. I find my muscles are too fatigued the next day, whereas I’m used to riding my bike for two hours each day.
  • Ppl indicates whether I had one or more significant face-to-face interactions with people during the day. The results here surprised me, I thought there would be at least one or two more days where I didn’t interact with folks “in the flesh” so to speak (as opposed to FB, SMS, email, phone).
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
4/13 4/14 4/15 4/16 4/17 4/18 4/19 4/20 4/21 4/22 4/23 4/24 4/25
Sleep 8:10 5:25 6:45 7:30 7:45 4:55 9:05 6:15 6:35 5:25 8:10 7:20 NA
Cont Y Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y N Y NA
Naps D 1:40 2:10 1:00 1:30 2:15 3:40 2:40 1:10 4:25 3:00 2:10 1:45 1:55
Naps Q 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 1 3 3 2 2 2
Exer 2 0 1.5 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 2 1 1.75
Ppl Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Maybe someone else will see a pattern I don’t…

At this juncture I’m going to continue with keeping wheat/dairy out of my diet – though I’m not being religious about it – e.g. if there is a small amount of dairy in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I’m still eating it…and if there is some gluten in that rice cereal due to cross-contamination, I’m still eating it too.

Besides this I should note that I have also been tracking how my scores change on Lumosity as the days go by…I hypothesize that if there is something having a marked effect on me I should see an increase in my mental performance – but I haven’t seen this.

Additionally I’ve been measuring blood glucose and heart rate on a fairly regular basis and these appear to be as stable as ever. Heart rate tends to be 80-90 BPM, glucose high seventies to low nineties – and this doesn’t fluctuate much whether I am just waking and haven’t eaten in a number of hours or have just eaten.

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