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I fought the brain fog...

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  • #31
    I read that book last winter, "Breaking the Vicious Cycle." And tried the diet (complete with home made yogurt), for a couple of weeks. I do think it helped with my low-grade abdominal discomfort. The premise of having the correct microflora in the gut, and that starchy foods/disaccharides feed the wrong gut flora, is interesting and should receive more attention I think. I know that now, if I cheat with any kind of grain--non-gluten included--I tend to get the low-grade achey gut back, and brain fog too.
    I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.

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    • #32
      still fighting brain fog (cloudy head)

      Anyone still on this thread. Unfortunately I still have the "brain fog" from when I did my final degree exams back in 1975. Have never got to to the cause or cure. Lately I am suspecting that my immune system was damaged by excessive oxytetracyclene (for acne) followed by a viral infection and stress (exams). So I think I have high levels of toxins, as happens with ME/CSF sufferers, and this is the reason for my symtoms. Who knows though .... doctor at the time gave me Librium!!!

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      • #33
        Hi. Yes, I'm still lurking. I've been completely grain and sugar free for a few months now and while it's helped to minimise the massive post-meal energy slumps I was having I still feel like the walking dead so it's not going to be the complete solution for me.

        I can't remember if I've posted this already, but the endocrinologist I saw diagnosed me with ME (probably because she couldn't be bothered investigating any further). Personally I think I'm permanently stuck in the postdrome phase of migraine interspersed with full blown aura episodes. Not that either diagnosis is of any use because no-one understands the causes or how to treat them. I get the impression most medical specialists get their certificates free in Cornflake packets.

        Prescribing Librium (a CNS suppressant related to benzodiazepines) doesn't sound that wacky to me seeing as brain fog can be caused by anxiety, migraine, an over-excitable immune system and so on, and this might help to alleviate/mask these underlying problems. I know Lorazepam was the only thing which worked for me. Great while it lasted.

        That said, I wouldn't be surprised if all these toxins doctors glibly call medication and hand out like smarties are at the root of these problems.

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        • #34
          I've been journalling for the past week (intend to do it all next year) so that I could possibly notice trends. I just realized that every entry I've made mentions "fuzziness" or "stasis" which is just another word for the brain fog.

          Yesterday I wrote this:

          Itís this sense of stasis that I have to get past. Even when I decide to do something and realize Iím dragging my feet making any progress is like swimming through molasses.
          I've had mild depression and anxiety, and significant ADD, all my life, but I've lately begun to realize that it's so very much worse at 300lb than it ever was at 135.

          It's one of the reasons I'm doing PB for 2011, hoping that getting my body right will help me be more productive in other areas. Lift that fog.

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          • #35
            Hi everyone,

            Eight months on is as good a time as any for a catch-up I thought. Any improvement at all? Hope so.

            I've been undergoing mindfulness therapy for my cognitive issues, though other than that the docs have decreed that I'm at the end of the line and written me off where any kind of physiological treatment is concerned. Talking about my childhood isn't really cutting the muster so I've been plugging away at the DIY diet tweaking as usual. I say 'tweaking', but going from a vegan to an animal corpse munching carnivore is no minor adjustment.

            After a long period of eating mostly nuts and eggs (oh, and an insane return to oat bran) I finally developed intolerances to these, and in the depths of despair very reluctantly went back to eating meat. Actually the brainfog I thought was being brought on by eggs was really a reaction to the olive oil I was eating with them so I cut that out and kept the eggs. Aside from the odd banana, a sweet potato a day and some butternut squash I'm now following the PB to the letter. I've had a few moments of clarity, but no major breakthrough as yet - not like the one I had after my rendezvous with gastroenteritis where I didn't eat for two days.

            Unfortunately it's not been plain sailing because I've found that most meat either brings on the brainfog or makes me feel sick and bloated. I can't handle pork or beef, and salmon with the skin on makes me dizzy so 'magic meat/fish' (as my dad sees it) isn't going to be the solution, although low-carbing could well be. If it wasn't for chicken I'd be right back at square one. My next move will be to eliminate the last remaining starchy carbs. Strangely enough I can get away with eating highly glycemic fruits like dates so I'm wondering if starch is the main culprit for me.

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            • #36
              Nice to speak again, PlaydogYeti!

              Do you have any major ailments (ie. IBS) aside from the brain fog that you're addressing? It definitely seems to be diet-related for you, as your first couple of posts noted! I find it odd how certain meats may make you feel that way -- did you ever go through phases of very little meat consumption, or anything like that? Any digestion issues? Perhaps you'll adjust to meat again as you slowly begin to eat more of it..

              My brain fog is still here as the incredibly annoying companion that it is, but I'm much more happier than I used to be, as strange as that sounds. Why? Because I think that I may have an allergy to something indoors that's causing my symptoms.

              I know for a fact that my fog is due to less-than-optimal sleep -- I fall asleep very easily, but the quality can definitely be improved to how it used to be a couple of years ago. I've noticed that I always have a dry throat, slightly blocked ears and a dry throat every morning I wake up, regardless of what room I sleep in. What's more irritating is the fact that my nose is always congested 24/7, yet all of my symptoms improve the moment I get outside. I took an allergy test and it seems that I am not allergic to dust mites, cats or pollen, so those are ruled out; however, I also own 2 dogs, and there's also a bit of a mold issue in the bathroom which could definitely be causing problems. Basically, I need to move out of my parent's house, as much as I love it and the company. If my health improves by moving, then there's no hesitation. I'd best get a job first, though! :P

              I'm sure that other members will be able to throw out some more suggestions for you, but for now it's best to keep going with the trial-and-error. We'll crack it soon enough!

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              • #37
                You too

                Well I was diagnosed with ‘oh yeah, there’s probably something wrong disorder’ (aka ME) in September last year for what that’s worth. I continue to avoid all the foods that trigger my migraine aura, but can’t tell whether the residual symptoms relate to one condition or the other. I’d been riding the aura-Ibuprofen-aura-Ibuprofen train for so long all this could be one massive hangover from eating the wrong foods without realising (multiple triggers, plus a high-carb, low-fat diet which played havoc with my blood sugar). I imagine I wouldn’t be in this mess if I’d received some decent advice from my GP and migraine specialist from the beginning rather than leaving me to fumble around in the dark with nothing but the internet for help. Actually, I self-diagnosed migraine and eventually the doctors agreed! It’s not as if it’s a one-in-a-million condition with symptoms that are difficult to identify.

                For the last few years I’ve been vegan/vegetarian. Two or three years before that I would eat meat maybe once a week when I went to see my parents, so my stomach has definitely got out of the habit of knowing what to do with the stuff.

                Good to hear you’ve got some more avenues to explore and they’re maintaining your optimism. Maybe you could try staying with relatives or friends for a while to see if your health improves?

                Sleep disturbance is a major component for me too, though it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s a symptom or an exacerbating cause. I wake up three hours after falling asleep and then drift off again for a few hours if I’m lucky before having to get up for work (and even when I don’t have to be anywhere). This has been going on every night for about three years now. The only thing that has broken the cycle in that time is rum and gastroenteritis, but I wouldn’t recommend either as a long-term solution!

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                • #38
                  I have been suffering my entire life (34 years) and pretty much thought that I must just be a slow learner, always suffering from brain fog in the afternoon. When I wake up in the morning, I am clear as a bell but by mid day I am foggy, tired and my cheeks flush bright red. I just got done with my allergy testing and was tested positive only for cat/dog allergies (the doctors neglected to test dairy or eggs so I will be re-doing those). I went on a gluten free diet about a month ago and also stopped dairy because my son was diagnosed with allergies to those and some other foods. He seemed to have similar symptoms as I did as a child. I was very surprised to find that I am "not" allergic to wheat, corn or soy as my son is and it seems that these foods cause my brain fog. I was gluten and dairy free for 2 weeks and then broke down and had 2 pc of pizza for supper with my family. 10 minutes later I was flushed and foggy. So I went back on my diet faithfully. I still had some minor fog but overall had improved a ton and even my red cheeks were better than I had ever imagined they could be. Today at lunch I asked my husband to pick up a diet pepsi for me at the store for lunch. I had not realized but did not consume any pop during this new diet time either. I had only taken a few sips of the pop when my "normal" headache started. The one I have had for as long as I can remember. My cheeks flushed and I noticed that I could no longer focus, even with my prescription for the adhd they gave me. So from what I can gather (and I plan to continue my gluten free plan because I lost 10 pounds in a month now and feel great) my 2 triggers for headaches and brain fog are something in the pop, my guess is asparatame, and any dairy products. Has anyone else had these symptoms?

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                  • #39
                    Hi,

                    Good to hear you're getting a handle on your health issues after all these years.

                    I wouldn't put much faith in allergy/intolerance tests. The industry is a complete racket designed to net desperate people who are at their wits end. The only true test is to perform an elimination diet and then reintroduce foods slowly, one at a time. If you react to a particular food, it's not compatible with your digestive system and you should avoid it. You may never establish why exactly as frustrating as that is.

                    Aspartame is up there in the top 5 migraine triggers. I'd rather drink swamp goo! It should come with a government health warning.

                    The mistake I made was to look for individual problem foods like wheat when instead I should have been focusing on food groups such as carbs. That's where the Primal Blueprint comes in - ditch all the junk in one go and you'll be on the road to recovery. It sounds like you may suffer from something like adrenal fatigue/insulin resistance so should give sugar and carbs a wide berth.

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                    • #40
                      Hi everyone, I am glad that I found this forum. Since 2009 I have started to suffer from strange symptoms like brain fog, ringing in the ears, incohesion in my mind, mood swings, loss of short term memory. Since then I feel the same way, it has become slightly better during these 3 years but still i don't feel myself as I felt before. in the begginning i used to feel worse immediately after eating. my symptoms subside after sleep but it does not take long, symptoms come back within 5-10 mins. I have also noticed that I feel better when I fast, what is very weird for me. Before, when everything was ok it would be very hard for me to concentrate and study when i was hungry, now it is vice-versa. I come to think if it is a kind of allergy or sensitivity. this condition is really debilitating, I have lost my self-esteem, I can't handle difficult tasks (before such tasks were only an inspiring challenge for me), I have missed a lot of opportunities for promotion at work and etc. I wish you all good health and success in solving your health issues

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                      • #41
                        I'd look into leaky gut, food intolerances (especially gluten if you're still using it occasionally), and other toxicities. Maybe be tested for malabsorption, antigliadin antibodies, autoimmune disease... ?
                        5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                        Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                        Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                        Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                        ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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                        • #42
                          I am actually thinking of seeing a new neurologist and an allergist these days. I want to offer the possibility of coeliac disease although i do not have any abdominal pain. I do not think that leaky gut is diagnosed in my country but I will give it a try. One more thing is that since the start of my symptoms I have been experiencing eczema on both of my hands and constant tinnitus. I have noticed that after i consume foods containing wheat I feel kinda sluggish and weak, the situation is not the same for other carbs like rice and potatoes.

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                          • #43
                            hi. About 2 weeks in on wheat elimination it felt like 2 teeny room darkening window shades suddenly rolled up behind my eyes andI woke up and felt more alive than I have in a very long time. Energy galore. Ran my first sprint yesterday. 63 yr old granny and I feel young again!

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                            • #44
                              Dear junkgrl,

                              I am also on wheat elimination for 5 days. before when i used to go to GYM I would suffer for two days after such exercise, I would feel tired, sleepy and very weak. Yesterday I went to GYM again and felt very alive this time. I think it is not a coincidence and it is somehow related to food allergies. Haven't been able to see an allergist yet. I will get back to you as soon as i find a clue or an answer.

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                              • #45
                                When I switched to high fat diet it was if a fog had been lifted, there really is no better way to describe it. It blew my mind because I was only expecting to drop some weight and add some muscle. I accomplished more in the first month than I had in the previous 4. While I was in the fog, I constantly wondered how people got so much done in a day, and pursued such challenging occupations. I believe the key to lifting the fog is a ketogenic diet (high fat, adequate protien, low carb)

                                The reason I think that a ketogenic diet is the way to go is that it changes the fuel that your brain runs on ketones instead of glycogen I think.
                                Joseph Arcita: A Guide to Ketosis

                                If you search the Mark's daily apple (MKA) forums for brain fog, you'll run across a few threads of people who are "following" the primal diet by eating chicken, steak, eggs. A sirloin steak is 65% protein, a whole roast chicken is ~55% protein. Not nearly high enough fat content to get the proportion of protein below the required 40% threshold. If you're not familiar, if you ingest more than 40% of your calories from protein you will go into Rabbit starvation which causes a huge build up of nitrogenous wastes and eventually death, . . . doh! Eggs actually provide more than 60% of their calories from fat. It seams that most people that are trying to eat primal are actually eating a diet much closer to the atkins diet.

                                I've read accounts of native americans hunting Deer and consuming all the fat and leaving the muscle for the wolves. I haven't found any detailed accounts of what they ate of the deer, but I assume this included any stored fat on the body and gut, brains, and bone marrow.
                                Apparently the species H. Erectus (Homo sapien's predecessor) is known as the fat hunter. I just thought that was cool.

                                So my point is if your going to try the primal diet and dramatically reduce your carb intake, you must then dramatically increase your fat intake, you can't just eat meat. Save the fat left from your bacon, suck the marrow out of your chicken bones, get a bucket of pork fat from your local farmer and render it yourself, collect all the leg bones from your friends deer kills and eat the marrow and brains if your really brave (Research Chronic wasting disease first).

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