Mood, energy, health and hypoglycaemia
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
When Cathy first came to me she thought she had ‘manic depression’ (bipolar disorder). This was initially self-diagnosed, then she visited her doctor who agreed with her and wanted to trial her on some medication. She was reluctant to do this and wanted to see if diet could help, which is why she came to me.
Her symptoms were massive mood swings, especially just before her period but also during ovulation. She said that she felt like she had PMS all month, but it was much worse at those times.
Cathy’s husband told her that unless her moods changed he was not going to hang around for much longer. She told me that sometimes she would be super aggressive to him and have ‘adult tantrums’. Other times she was so sad and depressed that she couldn’t function at work and her boss was almost over it.
She was sick on and off, with one flu after the other, catching everything that was ‘going around’ and any wounds she had took ages to heal. Cathy also suffered from many headaches and joint pains and her eye sight was failing. In short, she was a mess.
Although some of her symptoms looked like bipolar disorder, that diagnosis didn’t feel right to me. When I asked about her diet, I discovered that she had ‘massive sugar cravings’ (her words). Cathy had one slice of toast for breakfast (with honey) as she wasn’t hungry in the mornings, then by the time she got to work she was ‘starving’ and had a muffin and coffee. She also ‘lived off’ lollies and chocolates for snacks at work.
Lunch was a salad sandwich, which was two slices of white bread with limp lettuce, cucumber slices and tomato, which she considered healthy. Afternoon tea was a chocolate bar and coffee and dinner was normally a pasta dish with vegetables and small amount of meat, followed by several glasses of red wine to help her to relax after a stressful day at work.
Some days her diet was better, but when premenstrual her sugar cravings were enormous and she practically lived off chocolate.
I discussed the affects her diet would be having on her body and blood sugar balance. I then started Cathy on a grain free (gluten free), dairy free, sugar free diet and told her to avoid alcohol, chocolate and coffee as these would have had a huge impact on her erratic moods.
She was reluctant to give up chocolate, so we made a deal to follow my recommendations for two weeks to see if the diet helped, and if so, then I would give her some dairy and sugar free chocolate options. But first I wanted to give her body a clean break to see if that helped with her cravings.
I suspected that Cathy might also have a candida overgrowth to deal with, but the diet was the first thing to trial, and if that didn’t help then we would look at checking her bowel for bacterial imbalances.
After only two weeks on the diet for hypoglycaemia Cathy was a new woman. No headaches, no pains, no mood swings, no PMS symptoms (and she had just ovulated). Her husband was so amazed that he booked a holiday for the two of them to rekindle their relationship.
Cathy responded amazingly to the diet changes and was convinced the foods she previously ate were responsible for her massive mood swings. She didn’t even ask me about the chocolate recipes.
Thank goodness she didn’t need any medications. I prescribed some good probiotics to ensure her gut health would be fine and I knew that the foods in her new diet would ensure her gut remained healthy. I’m sure her boss was also happy.