“Nourishment is not just what you put in your stomach through your mouth.
It is also what you put in your mind through your eyes and ears.”
—Jay Robb, “The Bad Boy of Nutrition”
For many folks, much of their life is governed by fear. Yes, fear. Unchecked, chronic fear can easily become a phobia that leads to anxiety. In simple terms, anxiety is caused by the fear of the future. In other words, if you imagine doom and gloom in your own mind as your prediction of the future, you can become anxious in the present moment due to your own imagination. Usually, none of this is real but it seems so real in your imagination that your body responds accordingly by increasing the frequency of breaths you take in per minute. Breathing too rapidly may sound like it is a great way to get more oxygen to your brain and cells, but in reality, just the opposite is true. Let me explain.
The Domino Effect of Fear
In a resting state, most relaxed adults respire (inhale and exhale) about six times a minute. This breathing pattern is ideal for bringing fresh air (including oxygen) into the lungs as you inhale, and removing waste products (especially carbon dioxide) from the lungs as you exhale. But what happens if you breathe too little or too frequently? If you are not breathing enough, your body signals you to breath more. It is painful to under breath and this pain is a natural safety check that keeps your body functioning properly. If you are breathing too frequently, there is no pain that puts this in check. What is important to know is that you are breathing too frequently because you have imagined something stressful is about to happen to cause you to go into a fight or flight mode (a hormonal reaction that takes place when you believe you are in danger).
When you sense imminent danger, adrenaline is secreted, your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes shallow and more frequent. These changes prepare you to flee quickly or stand up and fight. These changes happen in real life as a response to someone trying to harm you, rob you, or scare you. These changes can also happen when you imagine harm is coming your way, such as watching a dramatic or violent movie, hearing about doom and gloom on the news, reading about world problems, hearing about the dangers of the coronavirus, or when you imagine something is about to happen that is not real (such as fretting over a speech you will be making to a large audience). No matter what the cause of this imagination-created fear, the results are the same. Adrenalin is fired off and you begin breathing more frequently.
When you breathe more frequently, you do not deliver more oxygen to your brain, you actually deliver less! How can this be? You are taking in more air which is rich in oxygen so that should result in more oxygen being delivered to the cells of your brain. But the exact opposite is the result of breathing too often. Every time you exhale, you remove acids from your bloodstream. One of the main acids in your blood is carbon acid (carbon dioxide). When you breathe out, carbonic acid exits your body. The exhaling of carbonic acid is one quick and easy remedy for blood that is too acidic.
Why Your Fear is On Steriods
Your body runs on a simple acid-alkaline balancing act. Acids should be confined to your stomach colon and urine, and the remaining fluids should be slightly alkaline, including your blood. Your blood pH should be in a tight range of 7.35 to 7.45. Anything higher or lower than this range and death can occur. To maintain this tight range, your body can quickly remove excess acids from your bloodstream by simply breathing more frequently. Anxiety can result when you breathe too frequently and remove too much carbonic acid, causing your blood to become a bit too alkaline.
Due to breathing to frequently, the partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide (PaCO2) causes vasoconstriction (tightening of the blood vessels), especially in the brain. This constriction decreases the blood flow in the brain and to the brain, which can cause confusion, increased fear, and anxiety. When this happens, it is like putting your fears on steroids. Because you are not thinking clearly due to oxygen starvation of the brain, thoughts can go wild. Something small and insignificant in your life can be completely blown out of proportion. A small concern can become a major fear. And the more fear that is generated, the faster your breathing. The faster your breathing, the less oxygen your brain receives. Acutely, this can lead to a panic mode, a panic attack, and severe anxiety. Chronically, this problem can lead to chronic anxiety, uncontrolled stress, fears, and phobias.
Over breathing causes enough problems on its own. When you couple hyperventilation with low blood sugar, you are now ready for a severe panic attack. Unless you are ketogenic (burning fat exclusively while following a very, very low-carb diet for at least three weeks), your brain runs almost exclusively on glucose (blood sugar). If your diet is too low in carbs or you are eating too many simple carbs with a lot of fat (think candy bars, cookies, ice cream, and desserts), your body may produce too much insulin to manage those extra carbs. Excess insulin can remove too much of the sugar from your bloodstream creating a condition known as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Your blood should be carrying about 80mg/dl of sugar most of the time. If the amount of sugar in your bloodstream drops too low, say it drops to about 60mg/dl, your brain can become starved for fuel and will function poorly. Brain fog, fears, anger, emotional upset, and anxiety are common symptoms when you have low blood sugar.
Hyperventilation alone is problematic, and so is low blood sugar, but when both happen at the same time you have double trouble. It is my professional opinion that the epidemic of anxiety, depression, fears, and phobias that are plaguing Americans are all linked to the brain being starved for fuel and oxygen—temporarily or chronically. A poor diet can cause low blood sugar and over-breathing can cause oxygen deprivation, both of which can cripple your ability to think clearly. Have you ever experienced brain fog, poor memory, anxiety, or a panic attack? If so, you are not alone as millions are also experiencing these same troubles.
Switching Out Fear with Peace
The good news of the day is that all of those troubles could be avoided by three simple changes in your lifestyle.
1) Making a change in your eating habits.
2) Becoming consciously aware of how frequently you are breathing.
3) Meditate daily for 20 minutes.
At one time in my life, fear, anxiety, brain fog, and panic attacks challenged my existence and crippled my lifestyle. In short, it was horrible!! But instead of going on meds, I took full responsibility for my problems and started doing my homework. Through endless research and the careful observation of my own behavior, I discovered the root causes and simply changed my eating and breathing habits. I also began meditating daily. It is interesting to note that by simply eating a low-carb diet (my tried and proven Fat Burning Diet), you naturally breathe less because you starve any misplaced bacteria or fungi in your small intestine. Why are you breathing less? Because eating carbs can feed misplaced bacteria and fungi in your small intestine.
As those little bugs feast on a plentiful amount of the carbohydrate you ingested, they produce acidic gases (methane or hydrogen primarily). As these acidic gases accumulate, your body falls prey to systemic acidosis, which can affect your blood’s pH. As your blood pH rises, you increase your breathing, which starves your brain for oxygen. By cutting carbs, the misplaced bacteria and fungi (which are often the cause of any belly bloat you have) die off and your system stays more alkaline naturally. This returns your breathing to a natural six breaths per minute. Slower breathing means more oxygen to the brain. Eating properly means more fuel to the brain. Once you adapt to burning fat for fuel, your brain will begin burning fat and you will no longer be susceptible to hypoglycemia (episodes of low blood sugar which starve the brain of fuel). More oxygen and more fuel to the brain make you a very happy camper.
How do I know all this? It’s simple. I did a massive amount of research plus I have personally been afflicted with belly bloat and systemic acidosis caused by misplaced bacteria and fungi proliferating in my small intestine to the point it made me ill, caused brain fog, anxiety, and sometimes panic attacks. In other words, I am not speculating on this problem. I faced it head-on, exposed its cause, and carved out a simple yet very effective solution.
While there is far more I can share on this topic, today’s blog is meant as a quick overview that can help you beat the bloat and avoid brain fog, memory impairment, fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. This information is especially important to help us all avoid fear and panic as we ride out the coronavirus epidemic. Eat right, think right, and breathe right, to help you be at peace with life and any challenge you are facing.
Other ways to ease stress and anxiety:
- Take a relaxing bath with these Epsom salts or this bubble bath. These bath bombs are also a favorite in our home.
- Put a light amount of calming essential oils in your diffuser. This is the one we use in our home.
- Listen to some calming and peaceful music. We use these portable speakers in our home so we can enjoy music inside and out.
- Snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of herbal tea.
- Get outside and get some sunshine. These are two of our favorite swimsuits. These are the boardshorts I wear every day. My wife really likes this one.
Peace, love, and hang-loose my friend!
The Bad Boy,
“The Bad Boy of Nutrition”
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