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Effect of food on physical issues - placebo?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by KatieDid123, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    These kind words mean a lot to me. You are one of the original TMS angels; ever patient, kind and inspirational. You have one of the smartest and most beautiful of hearts and I am grateful you are here.
    Lainey, Lizzy, balto and 3 others like this.
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Balto and plum, what a great dialog! Thank you for your wisdom and kindness!
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Check this one out:

    https://theconnection.tv/the-film/ (The Connection: Mind Your Body)
    JanAtheCPA and plum like this.
  4. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Of course, Nutragirl, a reasonable diet is good, who would doubt this. I think Plum and Sarah already outlined how mind-body healing is also connected to healthy nutrition. And yes, more vegetables, less meat etc. seems to be healthy. But being perfectionist about food will have the effect that the nervous system will be even more excited. Don’t get me wrong, taking care of yourself and eat properly can have a soothing effect. But being perfectionist about it and being afraid of every little piece of food you put into your mouth will only contribute to the overheated nervous system.
    I was there. Because I was afraid of having IC and vulvodynia I started on the IC diet, then combined with not gluten and low in oxalates. I then tried to eat mostly vegetarian. There is not much left that you can eat on this kind of diet. I started to be scared of food (and I sometimes still am) and it helped nothing with the pain, actually it made it worse.
    Since I fully accept that my pain is caused by TMS I am doing much better, right now pain free. And I eat whatever I want - in moderation.
    It is difficult to evaluate the studies on food and certain diseases. Not all studies are good scientific studies. There is a lot pseudo-knowledge out there.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wise advice from plum, reminding us that it is our primitive brains that keep us stuck.
    And these are spot-on observations about perfectionism - including the perfectionism that is procrastination (and it takes a procrastinator to know procrastination - I'm an expert).
    Then there's this:
    Nutragirl, I'm not sure where you heard this - probably not on this forum. Unless you are defining "therapy" as working with a TMS therapist. Many of us did not do that - we found success and recovery by doing the emotional work on our own - typically by doing the SEP or Alan Gordon's program.

    And sadly, this is exactly why you are stuck - and it's exactly where so many people become stuck, so believe me, you are not alone.

    The problem is that you are still looking outside of yourself for reassurance. Yet every time you do that, you* find a way to become disappointed or dissatisfied. It's the "Yes, but..." syndrome. *And by you, I'm talking about your primitive fearful brain. It's still in charge, because you are unconsciously still allowing it to be in charge.

    You don't yet have the strength, or the self-awareness, or the self-acceptance, or the self-love - it's one or more or perhaps all of these - to just say NO to your fearful brain.

    It's really scary, but you need to make a commitment, take the risk of opening up your deep unconscious, and do the work.

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  6. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

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  7. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    That’s a fantastic article. You can feel her warmth just looking at her photo.

    Stories like this would seem to tell us that while diet can harm the body, positive emotion - love, purpose, connection, can cancel out some of those effects. It all come down to balance.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  8. colls100

    colls100 Well known member


    When you say you've been hearing multiple things won't work, I assume you're reading this on lots of different websites and forums.

    The best decision I have made so far is banning myself from any other website than the tmswiki! (for health purposes I mean).

    By all means research plant based recipes, but don't go searching for 'plant based diet reduction of xxx symptoms' (if youre anything like me you have done this!)

    You could spend hours researching different cures and stories and opinions. But it's better to keep checking in here, search for all your symptoms and thoughts and see what people have to say. Just commit to this. You will learn to respect and trust many of the regular posters on the site and from time to time you'll think 'What would baseball or jan or plum say about this?' It provides consistent help and support and stops you wavering on the path to healing.

    I struggle with the diet thing too. Having regular migraines the first consideration is always diet - no cheese, coffee, red wine etc. And I've actually conditioned myself to have reactions to these things now (the power of the brain)

    Anyway, I think you should keep eating plant-based. Because it's GOOD FOR YOU. And not because you think it will resolve your symptoms. I try to split reasons I do things into these two camps. For example, I don't eat cheese often, because I don't think dairy is very good for you or easy to digest. However that has nothing to do with my tms. Same way I exercise because it's good for me. But not to try and reduce my tms symptoms. It's helpful to say in my head, I'm doing this for my health and longevity, not for my temporary and silly symptoms of tms.

    TL;DR Eat healthy because it's good for you. Do the TMS work because it will help your symptoms. The two are not mutually exclusive.
  9. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Healthy eating is certainly not a placebo effect for everyone. For a number of us, healthy eating is an absolutely critical component of our overall well-being. As one example, poor nutrition has been linked to inflammation; inflammation has been identified as one of the causes of depression, anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, etc. in some individuals. I didn't truly comprehend how significant the the food-mood connection was until I went from eating fairly poorly to embracing an anti-inflammatory diet (as a hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos patient, my affected family members and I experience digestive inflammation quite regularly, so this is critical for me). I've always been slender with fast metabolism, and I never felt guilty about my poor lifestyle choices.

    A great deal of research has shown time and time again that certain foods can help you create neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, etc. (pharmaceutical drugs fall short here because they do not actually help with the creation of neurotransmitters), while other foods may deplete you of energy and negatively affect neurotransmitters. There are other factors at play, such as spikes in blood glucose and how that can affect one's well-being. Ultimately, it depends on the person and their individual body.

    In fact, I quit Cymbalta this past November; due to my body beginning to respond poorly to the drug, I was tapered off way too quickly. I might as well have stopped cold turkey. Cymbalta withdrawal is simply your body having to rebalance its neurotransmitters. Not realizing that 90 to 95% of serotonin is made in your gut, I was absolutely puzzled as to why I was suddenly having even more severe intestinal swelling and digestive upset, among other troubling symptoms (paranoia, anxiety, depersonalization, sleep paralysis, headaches, shakiness, brain twitches that were similar to brain zaps but not quite the same, etc.). Previously, I was convinced I wasn't going to experience any strong withdrawal symptoms because I had such a positive attitude, but I was wrong. My doctor put me on an anti-inflammatory diet as a way to alleviate the digestive inflammation I was dealing with, but I unexpectedly realized that many of the other symptoms related to Cymbalta withdrawal began calming down pretty quickly, too. For some of us, food is critical for balancing neurotransmitters. In my personal situation, I believe that my positivity combined with healthy eating and reasonable exercise alleviated Cymbalta withdrawals and rebalanced my neurotransmitters.

    Does this mean I can never "let loose" and enjoy a slice of carrot cake every now and then? Definitely not, because I don't want this to become an obsession for me. I refuse to completely restrict myself. However, it would be silly for me to deny how much I've benefitted from implementing a healthier approach to nutrition into my daily regimen. Similar to how managing my anxiety and depression has greatly calmed down my autonomic nervous system and sympathetically-mediated pain, I also have to eat and drink heathily. That's just me.

    Of course there are always going to be the few chronically unhealthy eaters, cigarette smokers, binge drinkers, etc. who live to be 100, but it's important to remember that not everyone is going to be as lucky, and some of us aren't able to balance consistently poor lifestyle choices with our health. Same as everything else, it varies from person to person. My body isn't your body, and I can't say whether you're going to be as sensitive as me or my neurotransmitters.

    The food-mood connection: https://experiencelife.com/article/the-food-mood-connection/
    Diet and depression: https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/is-your-diet-making-you-depressed.aspx (Is Your Diet Making You Depressed?)
    Nutritional psychiatry: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626 (Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food - Harvard Health Blog)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  10. Artmuzz

    Artmuzz Well known member

    I believe that it's all in the mind and that if we think certain foods are bad for us then the mind will play on the fact and the psychosomatic actions of feeling awful will happen just like if we think certain foods are good and have health benefits then again the mind plays on that fact and we will feel great after eating them.

    One example is that the other week I was drinking wine and eating sweets and I felt guilty because I know that sweets and alcohol are bad and after consuming them I started feeling agitated, nauseous and light headed and generally unwell. However the other day I had a couple of glasses of wine, a bar of chocolate and some sweets and thought nothing of it and as a result the symptoms weren't as bad as before. It just goes to show that the mind is in charge of everything.

    On the other hand though there is truth about nutrition being important. The book The Brain Maker by Dr David Perlmutter is a very interesting book to read and it tells how bad nutrition and leaky guy syndrome can affect mental illness, depression, anxiety and inflammation. However for other people like myself I think the main cause of anxiety, depression, inflammation and physical pain is due to suppressed anger and emotional stress and NOT diet though diet can help a little bit.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  11. colls100

    colls100 Well known member


    Oh I'm all for healthy eating in combination with TMS work. And I think a healthy diet can help things along, but I don't think it's the root cause.

    And I don't think it's helpful to focus and obsess over one particular diet INSTEAD of doing TMS work. But hey, this is the TMS forum and the biggest challenge people face is committing to the program/diagnosis at first. So I think it helps to advise people to forget everything physical such as diet and physical therapy for a while. So there is no confusion that TMS healing makes a difference.

    But once you have the hang of TMS thinking, a well-rounded approach to health is the best one. Including a balanced diet, lots of exercise etc.

    And it's interesting you say that about cymbalta. I've been on an antidepressant for 5 years for daily headaches. Now that I'm seeing improvement due to TMS work, I'm considering coming off them at some point. (just thinking about it for now because it's a big decision!)

    I do fully intend to use diet as well as TMS techniques to support me through this period, because I know my body is going to struggle to reset itself after all those years on pills, which have no doubt affected my brain chemistry.

    How quickly did you taper? I'm planning to go from 100mg a day to 0mg a day over a period of 6 months. What was most helpful for you from a diet point of view?

    I'm planning to increase my omega3s, B vitamins and daily intake of greens and veggies. Plus magnesium oil. Anything that helped you specifically?
  12. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    For many of us (myself included), yes. However, I do know there are instances of vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies causing severe depression in some individuals, so I can't say this is always the case for everyone, of course! If you're someone who is experiencing mood-related symptoms due to such deficiencies, TMS work on its own isn't going to super helpful, either. As with anything else, it varies by the individual and their unique situation.

    Unfortunately, my "taper plan" won't be of much use to you or anyone else, as it wasn't very safe or effective. Truthfully, I should've been taken off Cymbalta (Duloxetine) immediately after starting it, as I never responded very well to the drug. Within a few hours of taking my first dose, I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible side effects. However, I had been convinced by a neurologist that Cymbalta was my only hope, given how severe my pain, depression, and anxiety were; I had even gotten to the point of concocting a suicide plan because pain rendered me unable to do so many things. I was also told that a certain degree of side effects were normal when starting the drug, although the symptoms I was experiencing definitely weren't normal. Because of this, I soldiered on when I truly shouldn't have. Months later, even though I was feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically better thanks to therapy, biofeedback, and neuroplasticity concepts, my body began rejecting the medication even more (one of many symptoms included severe urinary retention, which was not tolerable). This will not happen to most people, and my intention is not to frighten anyone else, but this was my person situation. Tapering off over a longer and safer period of time wasn't going to be feasible for me.

    It didn't help that Cymbalta only offers 60mg and 30mg doses (apparently, some pharmacies offer 20mg, but this is difficult to find), making it even harder to taper off. To more gradually decrease their dosage, some patients have to open the capsules, count numerous beads (my prescription had ~300 beads per capsule), and then put a specific number of beads back into the capsule. Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company, advises against this, but this is the situation they've put patients in by not offering more dosages and a safe wean plan. None of my doctors understood how to properly taper off Cymbalta - they thought it'd be perfectly fine and safe to go from taking 60mg daily to only taking it every couple of days for a few weeks and then stopping altogether. I was on board because hey, I was feeling just fabulous mentally and emotionally, so I totally had nothing to worry about! However, this failed miserably because it simply induces withdrawal over and over again - your body doesn't learn how to rebalance its neurotransmitters). I then tried the bead counting method, not realizing that you have to put them back into the capsule for slow release. Very bad, and my body just wanted off this drug that it didn’t respond well to.

    I had tapered off Zoloft (Sertraline) twice before this (I can't remember the exact taper plans), but Cymbalta was a completely different story. I even had some doctors try to prescribe me similar drugs such as Effexor with an intention to immediately wean me off, but I wasn't interested given how it had an even shorter half-life than Cymbalta. We tried the Prozac trick for about four days, but I believe that a positive attitude, good nutrition, and exercise helped the most, so I ultimately didn't need the Prozac for long.

    I'm telling you this so you don't make the same mistakes I did. Work closely with your doctor, and stay off message boards dedicated to SSRI and SNRI withdrawal. For success, I followed an anti-inflammatory diet with an emphasis on foods that increase neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, took multi-vitamins and fish oil, meditated, exercised appropriately, and kept smiling. Remember, it's all about rebalancing your neurotransmitters, which often requires a holistic approach to health - you can do it.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  13. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Thanks for all the info. I have been on the SSRI withdrawl boards and never intend to visit them again. I found one post that was a successful withdrawl and that was about it. However, I do have to remind myself that most people don't post their positive experiences online!

    But thanks for the reminder that they're very unhelpful and damaging resources of information.

    I am going to increase my intake of anti-inflammatory foods, start taking fish oil and add another workout per week. And I think I'll take it really really slowly with the taper. I've heard people doing it over one year.

    However, I'm not there yet! But this is really helpful for when I do take the plunge.

    It's becoming more evident all the time that a holistic approach to well-being is the best option.

    I'm glad you are better now x
    Dorado likes this.
  14. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you! :) It was incredibly helpful for me to frame the situation as my body simply re-balancing its neurotransmitters and reminding myself that this is indeed possible, rather than thinking of it as "impossible" Cymbalta withdrawal that many people online post about and struggle with. I think this is a very deep hole many people end up digging themselves into. Even if I was having a rough day, I told myself that it was all part of the re-balancing process, and anxiety or the ability to accept this would only worsen the situation. Attitude helps immensely (and don't we know it around here)! I'm sure that if I had been able to taper much more slowly, I would've gotten better even faster and safer. Unfortunately, my approach to "tapering off" after the failed bead counting was too similar to cold turkey, and that can be dangerous. I do not recommend it to anyone.

    And remember - 90 to 95% of serotonin is made in the gut! I truly saw the most drastic improvement in my neurotransmitters once I began giving my body the nourishment it required, and I wasn't even expecting it. I was under the impression that my doctor's anti-inflammation diet plan would simply mitigate my digestive swelling, but it worked wonders beyond those specific symptoms. Actually, it's funny because I attempted to eat healthily during the initial weeks of quitting Cymbalta (I didn't understand the significance of doing so, but thought I might as well try to treat my body better), but foods I assumed were nutritious weren't actually that great for my situation - the placebo effect certainly didn't work here.

    That said, this doesn't mean you can never treat yourself! I haven't let this become an obsession for me at all. Life is about balance.

    I wish you all the best when you begin tapering!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  15. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    I find it so hard to know what a ‘healthy diet’ is now.

    Is it whole-foods-plant-based diet?
    Is it vgetarian?
    Is it paleo?
    Is it low carb diet?
    Is it no-dairy?
    The anti-inflammatory diet?
    The acid-alkaline diet?

    I was of the understanding that TMS meant you could eat what you liked (within reason - a balanced diet) and get well because the cause of pain was not the body.But there are so many convincing arguments in this thread.

    And what about hormone-related (female) pain conditions? Just mindbody work for those too or a different set of rules and diet?

    When I open the fridge, the only ‘safe’ food seems to be a carrot :(

    I agree with Nutragirl, how on Earth are we meant to determine what is we need to do to get better? I’d do anything if I couldn’t just work out what that is. Does diet matter in TMS? Because if it does, then does it change based on what the condition is?
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  16. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Hi Ewok2,

    I went through a similar stage (trying to eat the “right” diet). The claims and the contradictions caused me a lot of stress.

    I decided to talk to my two 90+ year old grandmothers. They both advised me to eat Whole Foods, eat a balanced diet and engage in social activity.

    I’m not a doctor but I think most of the diets advise real vs processed foods when you can and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

    This isn’t really a forum to hash out what the best diet is. Taking care of yourself is great. Being afraid you are not eating the “right” thing every waking minute can cause stress.

    Anyway, this is a great discussion as we all struggle with this.

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  17. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi friends,

    I've posted a bit about this before...AC45 has a good point above. There is so much fear and misinformation spread through the media, advertising and diet companies about supposed diets that are healthy. These trends go in and out over the years and none have been "proven" better than the others.

    I've been through my own journey with this kind of stuff and know a lot about how it can mess with your mind. The truth is a lot simpler. What you eat contributes only a little bit to your health as compared with other factors, mostly out of your control (environment, socioeconomic status, genetics). Use common sense, eat a balanced diet and things that tend towards whole foods and not packaged if that is possible for you, and try not to stress about it or shame yourself. There are a few conditions that do require some specific dietary restrictions (Celiac, etc) but a doctor would have caught that and a nutritionist could advise you.

    Please keep the psychological at the forefront of your mind, know that TMS is caused by neural pathways in your brain and food/diets will not solve it just like any other physical remedy will not solve it. If anyone wants some great resources about letting go of fear from food and learning to eat more intuitively, let me know and I can point you to some great books, podcasts and blogs!
  18. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    If the cause of your pain is you mind then how the "right" diet cure you tms? The "right" diet may have some minor influence on how you feel but it would never ever cure tms. All of us probably know someone who eat junk food all the time and doesn't have any tms symptoms. We also know plenty of people who eat the "right" diet for years and still sick and ill with tms. Sometimes it is frustrating to see people promoting/defending this and that method while they themselves are still sick with tms.
    I myself have been on the tms bandwagon for more than 25 years and I have never seen anyone cure himself/herself with the "right" diet. Never.
  19. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Thanks guys

    My brain is constantly searching for something else to focus on that could be THE ANSWER even though I am getting stuck into TMS work and thinking

    Helpful to hear your thoughts on it all
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  20. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Unless you're one of the individuals who experiences depression and anxiety as a direct result of nutritional deficiencies or sensitivities (and as I mentioned before, there are indeed people who fall under this category), or if you're someone whose body requires healthier eating as a way to further balance neurotransmitters and your gut (I personally fell under this category), you honestly do not need to get completely hung up on diet. And truthfully, while I don't know much about your personal situation, something tells me you're probably not one of those people.

    Your best bet - as with anything in life - is to strive for balance, but make sure to eat foods you enjoy, too. There's nothing wrong with having some dessert! Life is meant to be lived.

    I think it'd be silly to say healthy eating has absolutely zero affect on our bodies and moods, or that some people aren't more affected by diet than others, but this doesn't appear to be a situation where you should find yourself obsessing over diet. Again, I personally had to be more cautious about my diet because the withdrawal symptoms needed to be calmed down ASAP, or I felt like I was going to begin obsessing over them and go back into TMS-mode. It was difficult for me to be happy or not feel incredibly anxious when I was dealing with digestive inflammation and lots of other symptoms. Re-balancing my neurotransmitters was a priority for my doctor and me, and the serotonin-gut connection cannot be overlooked in such situations. I also have hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos, and digestive havoc is part of my life, so eliminating it as much as possible is necessary for my well-being - inflammation itself can cause depression and anxiety. But that isn't you. People with TMS are prone to obsessing, so I just want to alleviate any concerns you may have on this topic, especially if my previous posts were confusing. :)

    To anyone in this post who says they don't feel they have a good grasp on what "healthy" eating means, that's very understandable, given that new diet fads and dietary issues are popping up on a daily basis. Ultimately, our bodies are all so different from one another, so it's impossible to prescribe a one-size-fits-all diet to everyone. Just be aware of how certain foods make you feel, remember to focus on vitamins and minerals, and don't completely deprive yourself of some good treats!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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