Late summers have traditionally been a tough time for me dealing with mental illness. I usually have to be real careful from late July to early September. So far this year has been different. It could be due to reducing my stress levels and avoiding stressful people and places. It could be due to the medication changes I made a few months ago. And it could be due to changes in my diet. I now don’t eat much wheat or anything that’ll upset my stomach. I have found that I feel better on days I don’t eat bread than on days I do. I have had stomach problems in the past. Stomach issues aren’t uncommon in people with depression and mental health issues. I pretty much limit myself to lots of protein and vegetables anymore. About the only grains I eat on a regular basis anymore are rice based foods. Rice seems to be easier on me than wheat and other grains.
When I do go to restaurants I don’t order things like french fries or most other fried foods. I do occasionally treat myself to chicken strips at KFC. I have pretty much also cut out sugar too. When I do crave caffeine, I usually opt for green tea, coffee, or diet soda. I notice I’m less irritable on days I limit sugar consumption. Easing back on the caffeine was tough the first several days as I would occasionally sleep more than I would like and sometimes experience slight headaches once a day. But I think I have gotten past the worst of the caffeine withdrawal. I used to drink four to six cups of coffee a day, certainly not healthy when dealing with mental health problems.
I have found myself eating more vegetables than usual. Even when I order delivery pizza, I make it a point to get the mostly vegetable pizzas. I don’t feel as weighed down and bloated after a few slices of vegetable pizza as compared to the all meats or cheeses pizzas. Since I’m on a limited budget I have to be careful about buying fresh vegetables that won’t spoil within a couple days. So I usually eat a can of vegetables every days, usually green peas or green beans. I have had some good sweet corn, a Midwest late summer tradition. When I was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to have sweet corn with dinner three nights a week during the month of August. Most of our meals during late summer involved locally grown sweet corn, tomatoes from our garden, and bacon sandwiches. My parents have introduced my nephews and niece to this August tradition too, even though it will be another few years before the kids develop a taste for tomatoes.
Overall I have felt really decent this summer. I don’t have much drama to report. I’m glad that the push for the playoffs in baseball is starting. I’m also looking forward to the start of football season here in the US in a few weeks. Fall practice has already begun and school will be starting again in a few days. I saw that many countries started their soccer seasons this weekend. I have made a habit of following the US national team since the last World Cup. I hope we make it to the next one coming up in 2018. Since the World Cup will be hosted by Russia next summer, I imagine I’ll be watching soccer at a lot of odd hours to adjust for the time differences. I have kind of gotten into soccer as I have two nephews and a niece who play the game. Even as a kid I was a slow runner but didn’t mind getting hit or hitting others. So that’s why I played football in high school. So that’s why I still watch football in the falls. But we have made it through the long stretch of summer and fall will be here soon. It helps that it has been cooler than usual the last several days in my part of the US. Makes me hopeful for fall and the return of cooler weather.
Healthier eating and cooler weather is a good combo!