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Learn which foods which can cause panic attacks. A personal diary record of an anxiety disorder sufferer and fitness fanatic.


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Over the 13 years that I was a sufferer of anxiety disorders, one of the few things which kept me going was my fitness regime. It helped to ensure I kept my head above the proverbial water line.

My self-esteem, something which usually nosedives in anxiety disorder sufferers, benefitted hugely from my program. Over time I became a pretty competent marathon runner, and I was also doing gym workouts to bolster my endurance and body strength.

Due all the energy I was expounding, I simply craved food. Whatever food was given to me, I just ate it. My wife said I became a veritable eating machine.

Running of any sort, if you are even half-serious, involves keeping records of distance run, time taken, etc. I was not just recording that data, but also what time of day I trained, and how I felt both before and after. At times my work schedule was crazy, and I was never sure from week to week if, on a particular day, I could find the time to either run or go to the gym, so to me this information was important.

As my anxiety disorder worsened, I noticed that there appeared to be a tailing off of my performances if I had run after certain meal times. I then started keeping a diary of what foodstuffs I was eating and did this regularly, for a few years.

I began to see from my diary records that I trained better during the day, but apparently was at my peak if I either ran, or trained in the gym, before breakfast

What stopped me in my tracks was the evidence that my performances were hit badly if I ran/trained after eating certain cooked meals, and this was heightened at weekends, if the family naturally ate more cooked meals than during the week.

I also found that my own anxiety issues would be heightened after eating certain meals. Do remember that I had decided to note in my diary how I was feeling each day, both before and after training.

I was always interested in finding out new ways to improve my performances, with food being right at the top of my study list. As a result of this my knowledge of nutrition in sport grew, and I now asked my wife to only purchase nartural and unprocessed foodstuffs as long as the weekly budget could sustain this

We were now eating a lot of fresh fish, fresh poultry, eggs, rice, potatoes, home made pastas, and every sort of vegetable and fruit on the planet, especailly bananas. I was eating so many of them, that I think I would have given up all hope if the world's supply of bananas had dried up!. What was now interesting was that my daily diary was telling me that not only were my performances benefitting, but also I was feeling better whilst training.

Not only was my training improving, but some of the heightened anxiety issues I had experienced after certain meals seemed to have almost gone away.

We did not eat out much, not just because of my training and nutrition issues, but also because of our family and work schedule. In any case, on one specific occasion if we did go out with some friends, to a very good chinese restaurant, I had some very bad reactions.

I was hit with a really bad anxiety attack a few hours after the meal, one of the worst for some time. I remember thinking that here I was throwing all this highly processed foot into my digestive system, if I had been eating "clean" food for so long, so there had to be a connection.

I had, in turned out, got what is called MSG Sensitivity.

MSG stands for MonoSodium Gutamate, which is a food flavor enhancer used in the processing of a vast array of foodstuffs, and other products besides. It is most usually used in things such as fast food, frozen foods, packaged meals and tin soups, to name but a few.

Now we are all different, and I am no chemist, but my experiences, recorded experiences remember, had proved to me unequivocally that the MSG in the food I had eaten had not only affected my training in the way I have outlined, it also heightened my anxiety disorder.

I decided to check out in which foods MSG is prevalent, but it would have been easier to find food where it is NOT present. Once if I was at the local supermarket with my wife I did my own realtime test and came up with the following list, and this took me just 15 minutes. I gave up after that, as the stuff literally appears to be everywhere.

This was the result of my brief search through the shelves - Broth, Baby Foods, Packaged stuffing, Seasoning, Packaged dinners, Soup, Salad dressing, Soya sauce, Frozen dinners, Shampoo, Cosmetics, Tinned vegetables, Processed meats.

I am not going to go on in this vein for the very simple reason that we ARE all different, our biological makeup is unique, and we all react differently to different foodstuffs, and I am neither a food expert nor a chemist. In any case, this has given me further proof that you literally are what you eat and that there are most definitely, in my opinion, foodstuffs which do trigger anxiety attacks in certain people.

This next point, which is a summary of what has already been covered, is irrefutable. I found that MSG was present in most of the foods that triggered my symptoms. I also noticed that my body could handle a modest amount of foods containing MSG without symptoms, yet if I ate more than a modest amount, my body apparently had reached a trigger point and symptoms occurred. As a side issue, this MSG also seemed to be affecting my training.

Most people will understand that a bad diet can be a major factor in contributing to an anxiety disorder. Also, most people will again know that by removing the disorder's root cause, you can prevent it happening again. I would content that in my case I proved that to be 100% correct.

However difficult it is in this age of fast foods, I have worked very hard to ensure that I eat as cleanly as I can, with processed foods removed from my diet. As an example, fresh fruit is my only snack food, althouh I do eat a heck of a lot.

Whether the root cause of an anxiety disorder is a bad diet, or bad sleep patterns, or financial worries, or work pressures, or whatever, the way to cure it permanently is to work on getting rid of that root cause. You will find more information on that by following the link below.

There are techniques which can be learned and incorporated into one's everyday lifestyle. These are very simply techniques and applied over time have had proven results as you will see for yourself

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