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Fuel for Happiness

Blog entry posted by Lisa, Apr 22, 2010.

The last week has been a rough one around here for us. Jeremy started his anti-candida medicine and so has been feeling very foggy, tired, and easily run down from the die-off reaction. Today will be his first day at the full strength dose. The course of treatment lasts for three months but hopefully a week or two from now he won't hardly notice any ill effects from taking it once the initial die-off finishes at this strength.

I've been having trouble with him taking the medicine. Odd as it sounds, it seems to be triggering MCS problems for me - likely from the toxins he's expelling when he breathes. I do better when we are not in the tent together. Even with the windows and door open 24/7 there isn't enough air exchange to clear out what he puts out.

On top of all this, we had some solvents from the neighbors roll through briefly a few days ago though thankfully nothing as strong as they normally do. All in all, a hard MCS week.

<img src="http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/1987/cutepuppyface1.jpg" alt="sad puppy" />
<strong>I was a sad puppy this week.</strong>

All of which seems to have left me in a real funk of a mood. The last few days I have felt like I haven't the energy to be anything but down, happy is just more than I could muster. Its been very frustrating because I've done so well the last several months. Then last night we hit on exactly what I need to feel a whole lot better.

Chocolate.

Yes, the food of gods is exactly what I needed to pick me back up again, albeit a temporary effect of a few hours. We mixed some organic cacao powder (chocolate comes from cacao beans) with a good amount of heated coconut milk for a very delicious cup of hot chocolate. The coconut milk sweetens the otherwise bitter cacao powder and also provides a lovely rich and creamy texture.

<img src="http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/94/cacaotreewithredfruit.jpg" alt="cacao pods on plant" />
<strong>Cacao fruit on the cacao tree.</strong>

Chocolate is well known for its mood enhancing properties. It alters brain chemistry through boosting serotonin levels, and low serotonin is something I've come to learn over the years is the cause for many of my funks. Getting a boost in this area certainly has a very positive effect and seems to help get my chemistry out of the rut it finds and back in line much sooner than if left on its own.

The coconut milk while providing a good base for the cacao powder, also helps to serve in boosting mood by providing an influx of fat and some natural sugars. These give my brain some extra power to run off because it seems one drawback I'm finding to this lower carb paleo approach is that when plagued with MCS I tend to need more carbohydrates to burn than otherwise is the case.

<img src="http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/121/chocolatefaqs3main.jpg" alt="inside of the cacao pod" />
<strong>Inside of a cacao fruit pod- the beans where chocolate comes from.</strong>

I've boosted my carb intake today with extra veggies and will likely have another cup of hot cocoa later. Feeling so much better already, just needed some easy fuel.

I have been coming to the conclusion that the detox pathway that uses glucose to help turn toxins to harmless substances passed out of the body, often times when it is stressed (like with Jeremy's toxin expelling from candida die-off) I tend to have troubles if I do not up my carbohydrates. It burns too much of my easier fuel, which apparently this time was stuff I've been needing to keep my brain chemistry inline. Life gets much better if I simply eat more of the right stuff.

My friend Grant summed it up well this afternoon upon hearing of my chocolate loving improvements when he said it was fuel for happiness! I also like to think of it as 'better living through chemistry' but that's me just showing my true nerdy roots.

<img src="http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/4006/cacaofruitbeans.jpg" alt="bag of cacao beans and pod" />
<strong>Bag of cacao beans and fruit pod.</strong>
  1. Sunday
    Very interesting, Lisa, especially for your fellow nerds...food for thought. I also really enjoyed the puppy picture; sorry you felt like that for a week, though. Very discouraging always. I'm very interested to see how your chemistry is responding to the paleo diet. While I think it's thought-provoking, it does leave out considerations such as, "What was your ancestors' diet?" I think that's an important question when it comes to dietary health. My own ancestors were dairy- and grain-eaters. I gave up dairy for two years in my twenties, and when I started eating it again I felt so much better - contrary to the stylish mandate. I gave up wheat and refined sugar for two months last year and didn't notice much difference when I went back on, but I may not have given that one a fair trial.

    Body chemistry is a quirky thing! There are even some people who don't like/respond well to chocolate. Imagine.
  2. Lisa
    Wow! Such wonderful comments. :) I've been yet again under the weather since writing last. Allergies and now a touch of stomach flu I picked up from my father-in-law. >.<

    Thank you all for taking the time to post a comment. They warm my heart greatly!

    I too was very surprised by the appearance of the cacao fruits (also surprised by them being a fruit lol) and knew I had to share as soon as I took one look at them. :)

    I hope everyone is having a very chocolaty good day! :D Lisa
  3. Resting
    Lisa,
    How wonderful that you have found a natural remedy for the improvement of those awful downer days we all know too well. Chocolate also improves blood circulation which allows more blood to reach our brains helping with the brain fog, among other things.

    That puppy picture just reached in and grabbed my heart. It was so neat to see all of the cacao bean photos as well. Thanks for sharing. I think I will go get me some chocolate, feeling fully justified!
  4. starryeyes
    This is a lovely blog Lisa and I love chocolate too! It has many chemicals that improve moods and physical well-being; among them the chemical our brain produces when we fall in love.

    I just love the pics you posted. I always wondered what cacao beans look like inside and out. I didn't realize it's considered to be a fruit.

    teej
  5. L'engle
    Sounds like what I drink: cocoa powder, half rice milk half water, with coconut oil. I eat about 1/2 lb of VCO (virgin coconut oil) a week. It's a good food as well as a supplement and has so many benefits that its a no-lose. Helps get through the carb troughs with less need for sugar and starch as well.
  6. SeaShel
    Lisa, I'm so impressed that you were able to figure out a helpful strategy for dealing with the funk. I find that once my physical pain tips out of the 'under control' range, my coping strategies go right out the window. Just can't think straight. Same with getting blue or being in a funk. I've even written myself a list of strategies, and then I can't even remember to use it. Ack.

    Wishing you continued improvement and hope the die-off funk has run it's course.

    Shelley
  7. jace
    Lisa, your hot chocolate sounds georgeous! I'm going to make some for me :) Coconut oil is the source for the anti-Herpes drug Lauricidin, so I think it might be good on lots of levels!

    Hope the path stay survivable with at least some sparkles of fun for you and for Jeremy. May your good days grow x