Many years ago the talk show host David Letterman had a skit where he asked random strangers a series of questions. I don’t remember the questions but it went something like this: What’s your name? Where are you from? How are the hot dogs in Kentucky? ARE YOU WACKY ON THE JUNK? The reactions were hilarious. One guy shook his head immediately like, “Yeah, I’m definitely wacky on the junk.”
The skit stuck with me. I grew up eating Fruit Loops, Pop Tarts, Cheetos, and Hamburger Helper. It didn’t go well for me. I remember when I first saw Lily Tomlin’s character, Edith Ann on TV. She was a precocious six year old who sits in a giant rocking chair and tells a story about the sandwich she makes with mustard, peanut butter, lettuce, pickles, salami, raisins, cheese, pretzels, tuna fish and leftover oatmeal. She mashes it together with a dictionary, then she gives it to her dog, Buster. He doesn’t like the sandwich so Edith Ann takes a bite and says it’s awful. She ends the skit, “and that’s the truth” followed by a raspberry, the sound effect of flatulence.
Edith Ann was the first comforting reality that maybe I’m not alone in the world.
I read an article that one possible cause of depression and anxiety is inflammation caused by food allergies. What we consume affects our brain. Alcohol is exhibit A. Sugar is an inflammatory and it’s linked to depression and bipolar disorder.
I radically cleaned up my diet. It was life changing. For the first time in my life I felt comfortable in my skin. I have a deep sense of joy I have never experienced before. I’m even-tempered. My family is grateful I no longer go from zero to sixty on the emotional scale in three seconds.
There are so many causes of mental illness. A percentage of patients do not respond to anti-depressants. It’s encouraging that one solution may be to change what we eat.