I generally don't eat gluten, at all. It makes me unwell and makes all my pre-Paleo symptoms flare up again.
Last weekend, I was on holiday and got some really sad news regarding a member of my family. So I went on an emotional eating binge (I'm an emotional eater/recovering binge eater) and ate anything and everything for 2 days solid. I ate bread, some cake, cheesecake etc. Yes, I felt absolutely awful after it.
For the last month or so I've been making some big plans to move to another country and have been 100% sure of these plans. But on Sunday evening, I was psychologically all over the place. I was an emotional wreck and began re-thinking these definite plans that I had began to put into action for my big move. I began having doubts and was really freaking out and wondering if I was making the right decision. I honestly think that my gluten binge altered my thought process and made me doubt my own decisions and life plan.
Today, after 2 days of Paleo eating, I'm back on track, happy with life and absolutely sure of my plans.
So, my question is, does gluten affect your decision making abilities? Does it mess with your head enough to drive you to doubt yourself? Has anyone else had an experience like this?
Looking forward to your responses!!
For me, yes. I get irritated easily. I would guess at least some if it is due to feeling miserable- bloated, crampy, gassy, ticked at myself for eating that crap. But I find that little things get me worked up, and I get very impatient with my husband.
This is how I felt when I started taking antidepressants, and after a few years of drugging myself, I started eating healthier- less processed food, more whole foods, everything homemade. I didn't link the diet to being happier, but eventually felt good enough to get off the antidepressant. However, I still had relapses, ups and downs, and couldn't determine what was driving my moods. When I started eating paleo, things got better, and quite quickly. I was surprised at how a piece of cake and a couple beers could make me so cantakerous for the rest of the weekend! I'm a stable calm, happy unless there's a reason to be unhappy, and I'm certainly not as impatient and doubting.
This past weekend was my free-for-all weekend for my birthday, and I had beers, cereal, cake, a pretzel, some bread... and man, was I mean by Sunday afternoon. I stopped eating crap mid-day Sunday and felt better last night and even better today.
Gluten breaks down into peptides with opiate activity? Yes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9276449 Could such opioid peptides affect cognitive functions? Possibly under the right physiological circumstances... http://questioning-answers.blogspot.com/2011/02/leaky-gut-and-autism.html
YES! This happens to me. When I eat gluten I am a wreck afterwards, for at least a few days if its a tiny amount. I am sure that I hate my job, am breaking up with my boyfriend, and all my friends hate me. It passes and then I can see clearly again. My family and friends say that when I eat gluten my personality changes. WHOA. I think I'll stay clear of that!
I don't know if it's just the gluten, but there is evidence that it (and other aspects of a bread/cake/cheesecake diet) have a psychological effect. The most obvious example is how treacherous a slope it can be, undermining all kinds of confident decisions to eat and stay healthy. There's a lot of people reported more general depression improving with a switch to paleo. We could endlessly debate the exact hormones involved and how that impacted your decision-making ability and emotional state and what purpose such a response would serve in the paleolithic world but the details aren't really the important thing.
Recognising your doubts as somehow part of a natural response to what you had been eating, and getting back on track are the important things.
That's all I have to say.
I see gluten issues daily as I face a classroom of students whose main food sources are processed/packaged goods.
And for me...yes, I go ADHD within 20 mins of gluten poisoning. And it takes about 3 days before I get my "mind" back.
So, my story may sound familiar to others. In late high-school and college I had a lot of angst. Suicidal, depressive angst, lots of poor decisions, mood swings galore, and even a lack of attention, even in some of my most exciting classes.
Then we found out my family is predisposed to celiac. And that I had it.It wasn't an overnight change. But I will say, as I have finally begun to heal my leaky gut and other celiac-related issues (not just my gut, but almost everything it seems), my mood became a lot sounder too.
Another anecdote proved that for me. I had a bed gluten exposure, and not only did I have physical symptoms, but also memory loss, depression, etc. If I'd said or done something for a couple of days after, it didn't feel like me doing it. And it wasn't pretty.
I don't want to totally blame gluten. But I do think that in time science will discover psychological effects of toxins like gluten.
Here is a link to a talk that mentions brain inflammation and gluten. It is available today only though, so don't wait! I think you can find old podcasts of a similar talk if you miss it:
My depression, which was medicated up till a couple years ago, lifted after taking out gluten. But the moment I do have it, I freak out. On paleo, I have this sense of well-being, which disappears when I've been "glutened", and everything seems kind of.. dismal. And I become really irritable and contentious and difficult to be around. Plus brain-fog... can't retain information easily at all. It lasts about 3 days and it sucks, so it's really easy for me to just not touch the stuff. The lesser evil though, gluten-free substitutes, still haunt me from behind the bakery counter...