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Healthy Eating
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Trouble with Carbohydrates

When I eat grains (including rice), cooked starchy foods (potatoes), or sugary foods something similar to fog rolls over my brain. The fog includes:

* I can't think problem solve at all; I'm an engineer and I problem solve all day but when I eat those foods simple, simple problems overwhelm me.

* I get really grumpy towards others. I notice this most with my kids. I love my kiddos but when I am heavy in a head fog I am super short tempered to them to the point of being a jerk.

* I am very pessimistic and unmotivated while it is hanging around. Small things become insurmountable and I tend to dump time into YouTube or silly little web/phone games; I think to escape from dealing with all the imagined problems.

* It really affects my ability to fall asleep. This is exacerbated by the whole watching YouTube thing but even if I manage to not stare at a screen I still can't fall asleep. Eating the food makes me sleepy and down but yet prevents me from falling asleep.

* It is a clear feeling, I know when it has rolled in, I know when it has left. I do not like it!

Any suggestions on what it is or ways to get rid of it? Eating unprocessed cooked meat and vegetables seems like the best thing to keep it at bay. Thanks!

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Welcome to the group, BarbanCrush.

Have you talked with your doctor about the issue? The potatoes and rice have a lot of carbs. depending on the type you eat. I am a type 1 Diabetic and if I eat rice, my blood sugar goes very high (300+). For potatoes, I try to eat more sweet potatoes than the white potatoes since sweet potatoes have less carbs..๐Ÿ˜€ I hope this helps!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘

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I think it is based on carbs too. My Grandpa is a diabetic but I have never been diagnosed. I have talked to doctors before but nothing has come of it.

I have been trying to limit the carbs I eat with good success. I am wondering if there is something else going on that I need to deal with or if there is a way I can get rid of my carbohydrate issue.

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Ask your doctor about eating a low carb high protein diet. I have been on the diet and it helps my blood sugars to keep them even through the day and evening hours. I also use carb counting for correct insulin doses.

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You certainly are unable to digest the foods you eat. This could be a gluten issue, but my guess is it it poor carbs loaded with fat. Are you eating any refined carbs? Eg non wholemeal bread, cakes, biscuits etc.

I used to suffer this for most of my adult life. My friends made, and still do, a joke of me falling asleep after eating. I no longer fall asleep but feel wide awake after meals and my diet is very carb heavy.

So I argue that its not the carbs per se. It's refined carbs which, by definition cause sugar spikes that your body cannot take.

Extend the phrase refined carbs into processed foods and you have a common thread that many hereabouts find is a cornerstone for solving health issues.

A quick bit of sticking plaster that may help is blueberries. Add a handful of these to every meal, since they have been shown to help address sugar spikes, even two days after eating.

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Would you give some more examples of unrefined carbs? Is bread always refined? Cooked sweet potato brings on the fog but I've read that the baking action almost turns it into sugar. So what are examples of carbs you can eat?

I know watermelon messes with me, that is unrefined but has a high glycemic index.

We have some frozen blue berries, I'll eat some of those.

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Whole food and unrefined are often interchangeable.

99% of bread in supermarkets is refined. Beware of terms like wholegrain, these are not wholewheat. The term wholewheat is a legal term, at least in the UK.

Unrefined generally means we are talking whole foods. So any complete fruit or vegetable is good. Anything from the whole foods aisle should also be good. In the UK we are fortunate to be able to buy tinned beans and pulses that have no added salt or sugar, so these are good as well. They come just in water, so use the whole contents of the can if you want water in your recipe.

The water in chick peas is particularly interesting. Save this, add some sugar, maple syrup etc and whizz it up for a few minutes - and you have a near wholefood version of egg-meringue! This liquid is called aquafaba. Google it and lots of recipes should pop up.

If you are going to the extremes of whole-food then even fruit juice (incl "not from concentrate") is not considered a whole food, even with the bits. Whole foods should, for the average person, have a positive benefit and shop bought fruit juice can cause a sugar rush, so keep it limited.

Like all definitions we are talking degrees. We don't live in a perfect world. So the trade-off depends on how your finances are. I buy organic when I can, but that's certainly not every day.

A good indicator of refined vs unrefined is the number of ingredients. If a food product has more ingredients, then it is increasingly unlikely to be a whole food.

I generally avoid foods saying "high in protein", or "superfood." These are sales gimmicks pushing the price up. All whole foods contain protein, and all whole foods are super foods.

Let me finish this discussion with oils. We are bombarded with advertising saying oils are good for us, especially EVOO - extra-virgin olive oil. On the other hand much of the research saying oils are good for us is paid for by oil companies! I consider oils the ultimate refined food because they have the highest calorific content of all foods. EVOO is very expensive and riding on its coat-tails is coconut oil.

There is research showing that a lot of oil is rancid even while it is in the supermarket! Rancid oil is going to increase your risk of cancer. Further there is research showing oil directly damages your epithelial cells, eg ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/241... This damage you don't want!

(Let me just say that the majority of the population are likely to be able to consume some oil with little problem and some benefits. Oils can help with the absorption of some nutrients. So for example turmeric gets absorbed better with a little oil.)

Unrefined, ideally is a foodstuff that you can create yourself. You can go into your garden and pluck seeds, dig root veg and you can generally eat them there and then, perhaps after a little washing. Try doing the same thing with olive stones. It takes serious machinery to extract that oil from olives etc. It is simply outside the scope of the average person to generate their own olive oil.

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Actually I have twice been able to extract oil from olives, I am very strong. . .

When I started looking at other energy sources to carbs I tried oils; I feel that in excess they made me feel groggy, not quite the fog, but still lethargic. And it yeah, how would I ever get access to that much olive oil until pretty recently.

I'll try wholewheat bread, maybe I won't react to that version. I do miss bread.

Thanks for the tips!

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A big measure I use as to the quality of an indian takeaway by it's chapati. Such a simple food, wholewheat flour, water and salt.

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It is good that you have identified the source of the problem - excess consumption of carbs. Now is the time to take remedial measures:

1. Eliminate or reduce drastically GPS from your diet.

2. Consider following LCHF diet.

3. Be physically active.

4. Have enough sleep - 8 hours.

Above can be implemented for all kinds of diets - Vegetarian, Vegan and Non-vegetarian.

You should be able to get results in two/three weeks and know if it is right for you..

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That is pretty much what I've done. Although when I tried to go really high fat I didn't feel good either. But now I eat primarily meat and veggies and very little carbs. I run or lift most mornings and have been doing better with getting good sleep.

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What you are doing is very good then. You do not have to consume too much fat. It has to be as per individual's requirements. Listen to your body. Have healthy fat e.g. Olive oil, Butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese and natural fat with meat, fish, eggs. You can add some nuts and seeds also.

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Try Lchf

Very low carb.....fab diet!

Will eliminate your problems.

Good luck

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Hi BarbanCrush, I read this with interest because up to three months ago, it would be what I had written about my experience of the previous twelve months - almost exactly how you wrote it. Amazing correlation. I am happy to tell you that I am now a million miles away from that, but that I had to take some pretty severe action, and would never have had the strength to do so without the support and understanding of my wife, the GP, the deititian and a lot of good people on this forum that motivated me to carry on my plan. I saw my problem in four distinct areas that I needed a solution to tackle each of them. Diet (only 10kg overweight but that was more than ever in my life), exercise - I did NONE previously, sleeplessness and mindfulness. The first two came quickly. I went on the NHS-funded DESMOND course with six other attendees. I started the Couch25K course with the blessing of my GP. The last two came to me after reading on another HealthUnlocked forum (couch25K). I bought the first mobile phone app I ever paid for - called Calm, and over the past few weeks not only has it helped me to massively improve my sleep problems, it has allowed me to do 10 or 15 minutes meditations during the day which have totally replaced my previous day time sleep sessions which could be two or three hours. I feel more alive than I have for about the last eight years. This was correlated on New Year's Eve when my blood tests revealed that I had the lowest blood sugar reading since 2011. I am absolutely convinced that you can change the way your life has become by following some simple but rigid plans like carbohydrate restriction in combination with exercise. But please do take a doctor's advice just in case you do any damage along the way. Slow and steady wins the race. Best of luck with it. OH - and that fog? Had that on and off for six years ever since my mother died, and though it is probably totally coincidental, I could not grieve when my father passed away in August last year, and that is when I started to feel much better. I now think there may have been an underlying psychological effect that I felt totally responsible for my father after his wife of over 60 years passed away six years before he did. The last time that fog descended was two or three days after I started to limit and count the number of grams of carbohydrates I consumed every day. I still get the computer distractions - youtube vids, forum reading and responding, mindless games. But I get through 8 to 10 hours of real work every day without going to sleep in between and that is what really counts. I'm alive.

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I see the exact same 4 areas in my own life. I started lifting or running most mornings, I had a terrible sleeping schedule that I am doing much better at getting consistent, I have been working on the food and eliminating the ones that make me feel so foggy, and finally and most recently I have started working on mindfulness. Really like 2 or 3 days ago I started meditating (I downloaded the Calm app and I'll try it out this afternoon!) I really don't think I have been as appreciative of my situation as I should be if I want a healthy life. Makes a surprising difference going from pettiness and panic to calm and grateful. Really seems to make a difference in my ability to think and concentrate on useful things.

I remember my food issues getting worse while I was having a really stressful work situation.

What carbohydrate count do you limit to?

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Hi, must be karma. I started ten weeks ago limiting to 180 g of carb per day then took it down to 150g At this level, you probably won't have any withdrawal. I even eat limited chocolate and dried fruits, but not if they go over that limit. I think I got lucky with getting the blood sugar down to 41 within 3 months. I realize not everyone is that fortunate. My typical day is breakfast 300 cals, lunch 500 cals, dinner 700 cals with carbs in grams about 10% of calories in kCal. 1,500 calories per day, 150g carbs per day maximum.

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I don't know how people can eat that little. 1,500, I bet I eat between 2,500 and 3,000. I'm not heavy, I'm 5 10 and under 160 lbs, I'm just hungry.

I've never done carb counting before but that does makes sense. I've noticed that when I eat the damage is very much in the dose. I could find a number (150 sounds like a good jump off point) and just make sure not to eat more than that. That way I don't need to complete cut off carbs.

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Had you talked with your doctor about carb. counting and how many carbs youโ€™re allowed for each meal and snack? Would you like to have me send you a sample/fake menu?

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Not really, I've talked to a doctor about it before but nothing came from it.

Yeah, I would like a menu, thanks!

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Okay! I will send you the message and a fake menu for you to follow. What are you allowed to eat for each meal and snack?

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I have sent you the message now.๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Sweet! Thanks! Not sure what you mean by allowed to eat. Carbs bring on the fog, excess fat brings lethargy, excess uncooked veggies make my stomach hurt. I think a mixture is the way to go, I feel pretty good after that.

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Has your doctor told you not to eat certain foods?

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Not really. I have been moving frequently for awhile now and even when I'm stationary I don't talk to a doctor much. I tried reaching out to doctors earlier when I was dealing with this and I didn't find them much help. . .

I am interested in trying again though, especially a dietitian.

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A Dietitian is a good idea and a doctor to add to your health team.๐Ÿ˜€

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Churchill called it The Black Dog. Google it.

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I used to have this, until

About 2 years ago i got really sick as it was effecting my stomach quite badly, also my brain, lethargic....

I decided to change my whole

Life no point just changing diet...

I started yoga,meditation and i cut out all processed foods, gluten, low sugar and no dairy.

Changed my life... i now live a plant based diet with some protein,mostly turkey and chicken. Loadsa fruit and veg. No bread or potatoes... hated it at first but now would never go back!

Not only has my fog lifted, my bounce is back, i sleep 7-8 hours every night.

I have loadsa energy and i lost 1.5 stone and i wasnt fat to begin with but now i look really healthy .. it made my hair and fingernails grow and i also feel stronger in body and mind.

I think all this stodgy and processes food has so many fake chemicals and stuff our bodies cant really digest and dont need in them that it is trying to tell u!

Mine told me by getting really bad ibs related problems all of a sudden turns out it was prob my body telling me i had a intolerance to Either gluten or dairy and had enough of me scoffing it... esp bread which i lived on.

Oh and as for the gaming and youtube... that all went to... ur over exciting ur brain before bed therefore it cant calm itself to sleep.

I shut my phone and computer off at 8

And watch some mind numbing tv then sleep!! I dont even allow my mobile or husbands in the bedroom....

Why would u need it, it just make it to easy to keep looking at it. Do urself a Favour and stop it, i did and i sleep way better.

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I think everyone here agrees to get rid of processed foods. What constitutes processed is very extensive and I do wonder if you still have some processed foods in your diet, but your just not recognising them as processed.

So what constitutes processed? Every food stuff goes through some processing. For example the vegetables in your garden need washing, trimming etc etc. Even herbs, beans are collected, dried and packed. Processed is all about degrees. The closer you get to an unrefined, unprocessed world the chances of a healthy life increase.

Processed is about choices. I consider a cake made up of wholewheat flour, dates, nuts, etc a much healthier, less processed than a cake that is made up of refined flour, margarine, sugar, colouring, pretty decorations etc etc. The former is full of fibre, good oils (especially if walnuts are used then an omega-3 burst) and will be unlikely to cause a sugar rush associated wth cakes from supermarkets, or in restaurants and cafes. The latter will definitely give a sugar rush - and consequently more likely to lead to brain fog.

For me, when I go shopping I go down the fruit & veg aisle, then the wholefoods aisle and that is pretty well it. These I consider the best areas to shop in a supermarket, anywhere else I need to check labels, think twice.

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I started eating some grains, oatmeal for breakfast and then maybe some rice with lunch. A day or two after my knee pain that has been chronic for like 6 years started acting up again. I ride my bike to work so that is really bad, I could barely pedal by the end of the ride (this is after being able to ride rock solid for awhile when I'm not eating grains). I stopped eating grains and within 2 days the chronic knee pain was gone (the knee still feels a little weird but that is normal). Grains mess me up. Also although I didn't get full on head fog I do think it affected me mentally.

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