Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Schizophrenia and Gluten

I have been for a long walk this morning with the dog and some friends.  I was loath to go because of the freezing weather conditions; started rehearsing my excuses last night, but knew that I would go really, for the conversation as much as the exercise.  It was lovely at the beach of course - the puddles on the promenade were crusted with ice and the sand was rock hard underfoot, which was surreal.  Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and it is great to walk the dog in all weathers and all seasons - the landscape is stable and yet not.  The paradox of nature.

Gosh, I am deep for this time of day.  The walk has either stimulated my brain cells or frozen them.  Hard to tell.

I recommend exercise for keeping a stable outlook on life - of course, this is nothing new, the benefits of exercise are thoroughly documented.  There is nothing like a dog in particular though, for getting a person up and out.  I think if the Government persevere with getting those on benefits to earn their money, it might be an idea to get people to volunteer at a rescue centre.  The benefits of looking after animals are also well known, and to walk a dog is healthy in so many ways - not least the interaction that it brings with others.  All sorts of people stop and pass the time of day during a walk with my dog - it is a very sociable exercise (it helps that she is adorable, and no dog lover can prevent themselves from pausing to making a fuss of her). 

Pets put no pressure on - I always feel calm in the presence of my little dog.  Definitely beneficial for anyone with mental health issues, or any issues really.  So, yes, a dog-walking community service type thing - might even result in homes for the poor abandoned animals.  Government, you can have that one on me.  And if you are ever looking for a Mental Health Tzar...or should that be Tzarina?  Louise the Tzarina - it has a ring to it.  Yes yes, I know, delusions of grandeur....

Anyway, the other thing I wanted to mention before, which I have also written about already, is the benefits of a gluten free diet.  I feel so much healthier in the six weeks or so since I started it - I go to bed two hours later every evening now, and still have more energy than I used to.  And I am sure that the improvement in my nerves is also partly due to having become gluten free.  It sounds odd, but apparently a reduction in anxiety is quite often a side-effect of giving up gluten - I can't remember the science behind it offhand, but it is certainly has been true for me.  I suppose nerves and the gut are closely allied, and so if the health of the gut improves it has a knock on effect on the nervous system. 

Fab.  The only downside is that I have put on weight - only a few pounds, but it hardly feels fair when I have foregone all biscuits, cakes and sundry other fattening items.  I know why though - apart from the fact that I no longer have 'stomach problems' (translate the euphemism; I know you can) I am over-indulging in crisps.  Crisps have always been my weakness - but the spare tyre that is forming around my middle tells me that I have to conquer this fallibility.  I am going to do it by thinking of the health of my heart - the fat in crisps is of the bad sort, and when you are an 'apple' shape as I am (susceptible to storing fat around your middle) your heart is particularly at risk.

Heart trouble is something that is on my mind anyway at the moment - my poor Mum is having a few problems, although hopefully nothing that can't be sorted out.  So I am going to put 'heart' up there as a picture-word of warning in my mind, next to 'crisps' and hopefully this will have the desired effect of putting me off them.

I'll let you know how I get on.

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