Low Carb Low Fat Diet

Forbidden Foods

Saw my internist today. Here’s my new diet regimen to lower my triglycerides: 100 gram carbohydrates per day, 60 grams fat day, no more than 5 nuts (preferrably walnuts), no olive oil (save 1 tablespoon to pan fry), no coconut oil, no cheese, no red meat, no pasta, no rice, and no bread.

Wish me luck! I’ve already been using the LoseIt! app to track what I eat for weight loss along with fellow mental health blogger Dyane Harwood and my husband.


There’s a good reason doctors want to meet with you to discuss lab results. See, when you download them yourself, you may misread the results, like I did. I got all worried for nothing. My internist said that my liver panel was fine.

She suspected lab error for my high potassium level.

Often a report of high blood potassium isn’t true hyperkalemia. Instead, it may be caused by the rupture of blood cells in the blood sample during or shortly after the blood draw. The ruptured cells leak their potassium into the sample. This falsely raises the amount of potassium in the blood sample, even though the potassium level in your body is actually normal.

– Mayo Clinic

As my total protein, albumin, and globulin levels were all normal and my albumin/globulin ratio was just above normal, I have no reason for concern. I can keep taking divaproex sodium (Depakote) for bipolar disorder and atorvastatin (Lipitor) for high cholesterol.

The lab sent my internist the liver panel prescribed by my psychiatrist, not the metabolic panel she requested. She relied on my (exaggerated and anxious) self report of high triglycerides (and my charted clinical history of high triglycerides).

Unfortunately, I didn’t remember what the actual triglyceride number was. If I had read the results more closely, rather than catastrophizing, I would have noticed that my triglycerides are just above normal. (I faxed my internist the lab results once I got home.)

Anyway, as high triglycerides are bad news, she prescribed fenofibrate, a medication to lower my triglycerides, and a strict low fat low carb diet. Taking a medication is easy. Keeping to a highly restrictive diet is not.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Too much of this type of fat may raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.

MedlinePlus

Both my mother and my maternal grandmother suffered from strokes. My mother’s stroke resulted in vascular dementia and loss of language (severe damage to the left hemisphere of her brain).

My father now has a fatty liver and dementia, as a result of heavy alcohol consumption. Fatty liver can also be the result of high triglycerides. Got to take care of my heart and my liver. Got to take care of my body and my brain.

Diagnosing Bipolar II #DavidLeite #NotesOnABanana

Creator of the James Beard Award-Winning Website "Leite's Culinaria," David Leite, "Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression"

“Diagnosis: Mental Lite!” — Chapter 33 of David Leite’s self-deprecating Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression — reminded me of the two decades it took before I was diagnosed bipolar type 2.

For twenty-five years Leite was treated (unsuccessfully) for depression and anxiety. Like Leite, I was an overachiever who cyclically crashed. From eighteen to thirty-nine, I was diagnosed dysthymic (chronically depressed).  Finally as a mother of a toddler, I recognized my euphoric callings from God as symptoms of hypomania and called for help.

After seeing numerous psychiatrists since he was fourteen, Leite sought and got an accurate diagnosis of bipolar II from Neil De Senna, who at the time was a Columbia University Medical Center professor of psychiatry.

Here I excerpt as bullet points the questions Dr. De Senna asked that led to Leite’s diagnosis. Buy the book to read his life story and answers to these questions — you won’t regret it.

  • Did I ever have rapid, repetitive thinking?
  • Did I ever talk fast, sometimes so fast people couldn’t understand me?
  • Had I ever been so irritable, I shouted at people or started fights or became violent?
  • Had I ever had a decreased need for sleep? If I slept just a few hours, did I feel great?
  • Did I ever engage in risky behavior that endangered my life?
  • Had I felt unusually self-confident in myself and my abilities? Did I ever experience grandiosity?
  • Had I ever had morose, violent thoughts?
  • Had I ever contemplated suicide? Had I ever attempted it?
  • Had I ever lost interest in things because nothing gave me pleasure?
  • Were there times when I was very interested in being with people, and other times when I wanted to be alone?
  • Did I have crying jags, anxiety and panic, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, bad feelings about myself?

Now I quote without editing, De Senna’s description of bipolar I and bipolar II:

He explained that there are two types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I is the more severe form, what Kay Redfield Jamison, the author of An Unquiet Mind, has. In it, the manias are screechingly amped up and oftentimes dangerous. They’re emblazoned with inflated self-esteem and billowing grandiosity, a marked decrease in sleep, a pressing need to talk, sometimes with odd features such as “clanging,” where speech loses meaning and follows a pattern of rhymes or sounds. Someone suffering from full-blown mania can be grossly distracted; battle racing, looping thoughts; and engage in potentially dangerous and deadly activities, such as unchecked buying sprees, risky or anonymous sex, foolish business dealings, and reckless driving. All the while, psychosis—a disconnection from reality—can be skulking in the background, just waiting for a pause, an opening. These manias can disrupt a person’s life to such a degree that jobs are lost, relationships implode, families disintegrate. Hospitalizations usually follow.

“What you have, bipolar II,” he continued, “is a milder form of the illness.” While the depressions can be just as deep and disabling, disabling, he said, what makes the difference is the quality, degree, and length of the high times. With bipolar II, a person suffers from hypomania. Elevated, expansive moods that are seductively attractive to the sufferer and the people around him, hypomanias are a watercolor version of bright-neon manias. Through it all, life isn’t disrupted to the same degree, and there’s never a psychotic break. Hospitalizations aren’t common.

“It can be very, very difficult to diagnosis hypomania,” Neil said. “Especially in type-A people who are normally goal-oriented, high energy, and creative. Their personalities can mask the illness at times.”

By quoting from David Leite’s memoir, published by HarperCollins, I do not intend to avoid copyright law. My hope is to educate, and as an added bonus to Leite and HarperCollins, to promote a great memoir of a creative soul living with manic depression.

Verbal Non-Verbal

verbal

Sometimes, I’m verbal
The words rush
They press
They insist on getting out of my head
They keep me awake at night
Unless I shut them up
Turn them off with meds

Sometimes, though,
I’m simply not
Sometimes, I’m non-verbal
The words are not there
I do jigsaw puzzles
Watch TV
Play with numbers
Rather than words

When the words fly
They are raucous
Noisily filling my mind
Needing to get out
I need relief
So, I write

Then, I must get
The racing commentary
Out of my mind
Onto the screen or paper
In black and white
Where later I reshape them
Edit them into something coherent

Perhaps
Or, perhaps,
Sometimes, I leave them
In a jumbled mess
All over the page

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