Sure, I have some weight to lose. But the main reason I decided to change the way I eat is because I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm 48 years old and I have had IBS since I was 13 (predominantly diarrhea). At 22 years of age I started having debilitating full-blown panic attacks on a daily basis which led to agoraphobia. The chronic nausea associated with the panic attacks and exacerbated by IBS attacks led to emetophobia (vomiting phobia) so I stopped eating and went down to 95 pounds. At that point I was incorrectly diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (it was the 80s and that was the "trendy" disorder du jour). I have seen a total of 17 doctors/specialists over the years, not to mention the infinite number of therapists/psychologists/psychiatrists and not ONE ever inquired about my diet or suggested that maybe, just maybe, changing that
might offer some relief. They were all very quick to write a new perscription though... an assortment of mind-altering medications with horrible side-effects which made me worse, never better. So I gave up meds a long time ago.
So recently I decided to try this "vegetarian thing" to see if there was anything to all the hype, but I was very skeptical because all the vegetarians I know are either really fat or they look painfully weak and unwell. Nonetheless, I tried... several different versions, including Dr. Fuhrman's ETL. Eating nothing but enormous amounts of mostly raw vegetables, and nuts and seeds, made the IBS much much MUCH worse. So I gave it all up and went back to my usual way of eating: meat, dairy, white everything, etc.
Then, on Dr. Fuhrman's message board, I saw the name "Dr. McDougall" and decided to investigate further. I ordered his Digestive Tune-Up
book and read it in one weekend. The information contained in this book answered all the questions my real-life doctors could not. The book is an easy read, written in a way anyone can understand, with a touch of humour that I really appreciate. I learned why
I have IBS and, more importantly, that I don't have to live in discomfort and chained to a bathroom.
So I started adopting the McDougall recommended way of eating for sensitive tummies. Within a matter of days I started noticing that the usual discomforts of IBS had drastically subsided - I was actually having normal, comfortable bowel movements again! Woohoo!
So then I thought, my brain (mind) is also in my body, and what I put in
my body (food) affects every organ including
my brain, so the natural conclusion is that food also affects mental
health, right? That's when I read Teresa Rodriguez's story ( http://www.drmcdougall.com/stars/teresa_rodriguez.html
) and that's exactly the inspiration I needed for my own mental health issues. The daily panic attacks I've had since age 22 are a symptom of PTSD (post-traumatic stress dsorder) and I figure if Teresa can control her schizoaffective disorder by following the McDougall plan, then I should be able to find relief from my PTSD symptoms by following it too.The Changes I've Already Noticed
It's only been a week since I made a serious
commitment to the McDougall way of eating but since cutting out ALL dairy, ALL animal products, most sugar, ALL fats except a teeny-tiny bit of olive oil on foods that absolutely need it if I'm going to eat them, and switching from coffee with cream and sugar to tea with lemon, I have noticed that the nausea is gone, the diarrhea is gone (I'm having comfortable normal bowel movements again) AND I have, for the first time in years
(this is the mental health part) started sleeping through the night without any difficulty falling or staying asleep and
without any of my usual flashback nightmares, nor have I had a full-blown panic attack! I think the reason for this is because I was trapped in a vicious "IBS-Panic-IBS-Panic" cycle. A panic attack would trigger an IBS (diarrhea) attack, and an IBS flareup would trigger a panic attack.
I realize the panic attacks probably aren't completely gone, I still feel quite anxious throughout the day, but it hasn't reached a panic attack level, and I haven't had any digestive issues since starting the McDougall diet AND being serious
about it (I used to think a little
bit of this and that was okay). I still have a bit of cramping, more like a dull ache up and down the right side of my abdomen, but nothing serious.
I have also found this way of eating to be enjoyable and easy. I love the food, it's inexpensive, requires little prep (especially following Jeff's suggestions) and is filling and satisfying (comfort food). I don't feel deprived (although I would kill for a bowl of ice cream LOL) and when I get tempted, I ask myself: "Do you want THIS and have an IBS and/or a panic attack or do you want to feel good?"
Being healthy feels better than ANY food tastes!
Thank you Dr. McDougall and Teresa! I love you guys!