The Mood Swing Diet


Back in September, I wrote about my experience of obtaining my blood borne pathogens, emergency training, and fire safety certification from Fireman Dave in Am I a 10?. I described Dave’s 1 in 10 rule, and detailed certain fears surrounding how I am perceived.

Dave is a nice, impressively knowledgable man.

About a month ago, I wrote this tweet:

@MsLuluSunny: Managed to start a kitchen fire on an electric stove. There should be an award for that #LMAFO #WTF

Actually, I didn’t start the fire. C.S. seems to have a knack for kitchen fires. This one was particularly bad. I watched the flames grow and lick the cabinet above, as he continued to throw flour at it. He panicked, about to run circles, all the while my brain was sifting for a solution.

Without knowing, I commanded, “Smother! Get the pot lid and put it over the burner!” My training came back to me when my brain switched into crisis mode. Soak, Smother, Sever – how to stop the three kinds of fires. I owe that to Dave.

Recently, I was required to obtain my First Aid certification with none other than Fireman Dave. Dave has fantastic classes. He always launches into an illustrative story to example the topic. We came to the portion where we covered blood sugar and hydration, and he launched into alcoholics, diabetics, and mood swings.

“With alcohol, it creates a rise in the levels of blood sugar. So, that’s why people get all chummy with one another. The rise in blood sugar causes the brain to make happy chemicals. As it continues to rise, you’ll notice people start to say and do inappropriate things. When they get high enough, the person will pass out. Same with a diabetic. If the blood sugar levels keep rising, that could cause diabetic coma and / or death.”

The next part was even more intriguing.

“So, the next morning, after all of the blood sugar levels have dropped off, the alcoholic wakes up in a foul mood with nausea, headache, etc. You know, a hangover. Really, all a hangover is, is low blood sugar and dehydration.”

Next, was the most interesting portion.

“PMS, okay, women don’t reach for your weapons just yet. You’ve been teased about it your whole life, but it is important. A lot of hormonal changes happen for women throughout the month. As a woman approaches ‘that time’, her blood sugar goes up. So, guys, you’ll get those five dozen, ‘Oh, honey, I love you!’ messages. Check my phone. They’re there.

Just like drinking, as the blood sugar goes up, women may say or do things they wouldn’t normally do. Like fire off another ten dozen texts that oscillate between, ‘I said I love you and you didn’t respond. Don’t you love me? It’s been five minutes, where are you? I’m sorry! I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to be a jerk!’ Again, check my phone. You’ll find those too.”

Then, the blood sugar drops off. And that’s when the women become grumpy. So, I offer her a piece of chocolate.

‘No, I don’t want it.’
‘Take it.’
‘No, I said I didn’t want it.’

So, I set it on the table and walk out of the room. Ten minutes later, I come back, the candy is gone, and she’s in a fine mood. Why? Because the little piece of candy brought her sugar back to normal.”

This is the part that floored me.

“Do you know what the cure all is? Peanut butter.

Quirk 51.

: ) : ?

After a life filled with women, I always carry one of five items on me at all times.

    1. Chocolate covered pretzels
    2. Snickers
    3. Pepsi

I stopped him there, laughing. I said, “You are naming every single food I eat!”

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Chocolate covered peanuts, like a Mr. Goodbar

The whole thing struck a chord with me, and the wheels started spinning. I had wondered how many of my mood shifts occurred as a result of blood sugar. Too high and I could’ve sparked mania; too low and a depressive swing was born. I also thought of all of the ones I avoided by following cravings. Specifically the peanut butter madness.

Preliminary research has suggested a correlation between diabetes and bipolar disorder. Some have suggested that certain mood stabilizing medication, such as Abilify, are to blame. Others insist that weight gain and sedentary behaviors associated with depressive states are to blame. But, what if it is the other way around?

I won’t diverge into the chicken or the egg circular logic. Anecdotally, I have high blood sugar, making me prediabetic in my late 20’s. I typically have a BMI between 24.2 and 27.2, so yes, I am a little overweight. Naturally, I have a small waist-to-hip ratio, making me apple-shaped.

However, I have never been obese. I take Lamictal. I have always been active. According to my doctor, the only reason this could be is bad genetics.

It’s too coincidental that there is no hard and fast evidence of bipolar disorder, but diabetes and heart disease run rampant. My grandmother has had diabetes so long, she now suffers from Lewy Body Dementia. Psychiatric symptoms are similar to a psychotic break.

I could say that there is strong evidence to support this claim within my own life.

So, thanks to Fireman Dave, I have devised a little thing I call, “The Mood Swing Diet”.

  • Keep at least a couple of cold bottles of water readily available.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.  Take any of those five items and stash it away.
  • Have a buddy there to offer you one of those five items when they notice your mood is heading south, fast.
  • If you notice a shift, question yourself.  When was the last time you ate?
  • For maximum efficiency, low blood sugar needs to be addressed immediately.  No time to go all out and cook.  Grab one of your emergency items while you prepare a suitable meal.
  • Remember to buy the bite sized version of those items.  Raising the blood sugar too high will start the mood shifts all over again.

Simple as that. Think of it as your emergency mood swing kit.

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