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How to Recover from Pandemic-Induced Mind Fog

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In the first months of the pandemic, many people suddenly had trouble focusing on work, finishing books, and staying awake during meetings. Others reported instances in which they forgot their own phone numbers, put the clean laundry in the washer, and got into the shower with their glasses on. Ceiling-staring and aimless scrolling reached an all-time high.

It happened to me too – a sort of “mind fog” that made it more difficult to do almost everything. I became slower, drowsier, less motivated, and less focused. (And I wasn’t very focused to begin with.)

Experts in newspaper columns gave us a quick explanation: anxiety. Stress and anxiety can cause this sort of mental haze, and they’re a normal response to such an abnormal situation.

I always found this answer suspicious. It seemed too simple, and it was usually expressed without doubt, despite the “unprecedented” nature of the situation. It particularly made no sense in my case, because by spring 2020 I was experiencing far less anxiety than I had for the previous eighteen months. At that time I had just emerged from dark period of my own, and by April my anxiety had dropped to almost nothing compared to its peak. But the mind fog was new, and it was unmistakable.

It has also persisted ever since, even as the pandemic now seemingly recedes. Reading, problem-solving, meditation, and other cognitive activities are still a lot more difficult than they have been most of my adult life. Energy and motivation in general are low.*

For a while I just bided my time, as per the standard advice. Eighteen months later that approach no longer makes much sense. The pandemic era has already occupied a significant portion of our lives. I’m forty and it’s been nearly 4% of my life. For my 7-year-old niece, it’s 20% — much more if you exclude the part she was too young to remember.

In any case, I no longer believe the standard NPR explanation that I am just stressed about the new normal. I have a different hypothesis, and maybe it will resonate with your own experience.

Never knew the old normal

The New Normal is Just the Old Normal with Less Competition

My suspicion is that pandemic mind fog has a more complex cause, and figuring out how it works for you might illuminate places where certain lifestyle choices were already causing problems.     

Being 21st-century consumers, we are at all times exposed to conditions that probably contribute to mind fog or other forms of malaise. We’re full-time subjects in many mad science experiments: industrialized food, noise pollution, overabundant passive entertainment, decreasing face-to-face interaction, increasing employer demands, blue-light-emitting screens, over-identification with news and world events, lack of physical activity, separation from nature, separation from community, and many more well-known and well-discussed pitfalls of modern life.

We already know we should moderate these influences. In fact, we’ve been talking about some of them for decades, or even longer. A small minority of people attempt to remove them from their lives almost completely, by living in an off-grid shack or trekking into the Alaskan wilderness. The rest of us can only try to ride the line somehow, taking advantage of what modernity offers us, while being careful not to let it run us into the ground completely.

So we opt for whole grains sometimes, take periodic breaks from the news, and try to get to the park on Saturdays, and it kind of works. By the dawn of the pandemic, many of us had negotiated our way to a tolerable mode of living, where we could partake in modern conveniences with enough moderation that we don’t get overwhelmed by their detrimental effects. Of course we’d be better off renouncing social media entirely, waking up with the sun, and growing our own food, but that level of self-intervention doesn’t seem necessary to feel pretty okay most of the time.

Then the pandemic happened, and mind-fog-inducing lifestyle choices became a lot more prominent for many of us – namely questionable dietary habits, excessive screen time, and deficits of physical activity, natural light, and in-person interaction. In the first months of the outbreak, you may have noticed that your level of self-moderation was slipping a bit, but we were assured this is a temporary and justifiable response to stress, so it felt easy not to worry about it.

Meanwhile, each of these changes is bound to make us feel a little worse, and feeling bad begets more of the low-effort behaviors that make us feel bad. You’re too drowsy or distracted to read in the evening, so you thumb through your phone instead. This makes your sleep a little worse, which makes you feel worse in the mornings. Your diet and exercise regimen suffer because of it, and on goes the unhappy snowball.

All of this slippage could happen gradually, without obvious changes, but together it’s enough to sap your ability to moderate your intake of everything else. And it is only this tenuous ability to self-moderate that has so far kept us (or some of us) from succumbing completely to the hazards of modern living. It’s a house of cards really, and the breeze gets stronger every year, as technology draws us further from what’s optimal for our well-being. Then the pandemic comes in like a drunk roommate with the worst timing.

How to Come Back from The Dead

That’s my theory anyway, and I’m done biding my time. I’ve begun to comb through the crime scene and piece together how it happened for me. It’s complicated, but there are leads.

** flips open detective notepad **

I know my sleep is lower in quality and quantity. I also know my screen time has been relatively astronomical. I know I I’ve been eating more junk, and also more non-junk. It’s been hard to connect with my meditation practice, despite doing a number of (online) retreats. It’s been hard to focus on anything really. Social time has been abundant, but half of it is really just me talking to a laptop.

My strategy is to dial back what I think are the most detrimental unhealthy influences first, even if I didn’t think they were an issue before the pandemic, simply because they ought to make the biggest difference. When one well-being element improves, I expect others to. That’s the upside to having cascading, interconnected problems – the solutions are also interconnected.

Two weeks ago I stopped eating grains, sugar, potatoes, alcohol, and dairy, six days out of every week. Mood, focus, and sleep quality have all improved noticeably. The difference is drastic enough that I now suspect those foods have been having a significant effect as long as I’ve eaten them, it just wasn’t bad enough for me to question them. The new diet seems to be better for me, and I’m going to stay on it for the time being.

The next modern-day scourge I want to address is the effect of artificial light and screens on my sleep. One clear difference between my pre- and post-pandemic life is a major increase in screen time. I’ve been aware of the warnings for years now, but didn’t change anything because I still slept well. I can no longer say that – at least half of my sleeps are fitful. The diet is helping, and I suspect my nighttime phone usage is at least as big a factor. I used to read or meditate in the evenings, but lately I’ve been too drowsy to do that. Instead, reflexively, I pick up my phone, which is something I never seem too tired to do.  

An Experiment

My new experiment will test the claim that the modern world is messing up our sleep with artificial light.

Our bodies still take their circadian cues from light, and your body doesn’t know that your phone isn’t the sun. For this reason, sleep experts recommend going outside and exposing your eyes to daylight (not to be confused with staring directly at the sun) as early in the day as possible, as well as limiting exposure to bright light sources in the evening, especially blue light. Nothing could be farther from this ideal than browsing Reddit and playing online chess minutes before I try to sleep, which means there’s abundant room for improvement.

Optimizing my sleep hygiene would make for a multi-habit experiment that I’m unlikely to stick with, so I’m only going to commit to one simple thing: no phone use after 9pm. To some people that might sound laughable, but for me it will represent a major reduction in sleep-disrupting light intake. I’ll do that for 30 days, starting today.

Aside from that, I’ll follow most of the standard recommendations to go outside early, and reduce bright or overhead lighting late in the day. I also purchased blue-light-blocking glasses, which I now wear in the evenings. I don’t know how effective they are, but they make me feel studious as I read by gentle lamplight.

Me, shielded from radiation

You can follow my progress on the experiment log, where I will describe my experiences and give a subjective letter grade to each night’s sleep. As always, you’re welcome to join me and make your reports in the comments there.

May we all find our way back from wherever we’ve strayed.

***

*Some might suggest depression as an explanation. That is a possibility I’m taking seriously. However, my experience doesn’t quite match what I’ve read about depression. I don’t have difficulty enjoying life, and I don’t feel hopeless or empty or worthless. Mind fog is often experienced by people with depression, but I don’t seem to have the mood disorder part. In any case, the interventions I’m planning – clean diet, exercise, meditation, and sleep hygiene – are recommended for depression anyway.

Tree photo by note thanun (cropped from original)

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{ 41 Comments }

Joy August 26, 2021 at 2:28 am

Here in New Zealand we’ve just survived our first full week of lockdown since – well, it was long enough ago to not really remember – and things are not looking up anytime soon so this was very timely.
I had already signed up (prior to lockdown) to start an 8-week gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb challenge next week so I’m looking forward to see what a difference it makes…

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:05 am

Let us know how it goes!

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Vilx- August 26, 2021 at 4:38 am

Good luck with your experiment! I’ll follow this one. The blue-light claim in particular has seemed quite sus to me for a long time. There was a question on Skeptics SE about this (https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/3465/does-the-color-temperature-of-a-computer-screen-affect-sleep-patterns), but that was over 10 years ago. Back then there wasn’t a whole lot of evidence to support this hypothesis (just one or two studies on a couple dozen subjects), but there might be more research done in the last 10 years. It’s certainly ingrained itself in popular culture – even phones now come with built-in anti-blue-light settings. I’ll see if I can re-open that question and get some more solid proof.

One other thing that came to mind both about your diet change and sleep change – the placebo effect will definitely be strong at first, so you need to wait for a good while until the novelty wears off to see if the changes have any actual lasting effect. But I’m hoping that 30 days should be enough.

Good luck! :)

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:10 am

Yeah I don’t think the color temperature of the light is that important, it’s the timing. In fact I wonder if the color filters on our phone give us a false sense of security about staring at screens at night.

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CARLA August 26, 2021 at 5:46 am

I know it sounds woo-woo, but for me it is like the energy of the world around me is the soup I swim in, and the pandemic forced many people to change. Change isn’t something people are, for the most part, fond of. So, that foggy confusion could also have been feeling the energies around us as well as within us. Do we wash our groceries, wear a mask, how many are sick where I live, and how do I home school and work from home? There was mass confusion all over the world, and I believe that sensitive people feel it. Of course scientists can’t measure that, so it’s not going to be at the top of the news.

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:12 am

I’m sure you’re right that there are many difficult-to-measure effects happening. Also agreed that the news is only interested in simple narratives, and so that’s what we’ve received. That’s why I think it’s so important to experiment.

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Alice August 26, 2021 at 7:53 am

Turning off devices 1-2 hours before bed is a good idea but the blue light glasses are not really supported by evidence. Can’t hurt to try though.

I’m betting people in general got less exercise during the pandemic, too. Nobody could go to the gym for a long time, for one thing. I think I never got that mind fog because my routines were relatively unchanged. For an introvert like me there were actually some bonuses.

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:26 am

Exercise and activity level has to be a huge factor. The pandemic has shifted us a few notches toward the future depicted in Wall-E, where we interact with the world more and more digitally. The benefits of physical activity are very well known at this point, so getting less for a prolonged period is undoubtedly going to cause problems.

My assumption is that parallel to the obvious physical activity deficit (as well as diet problems) there must be many more ways in which unhealthy modern changes were accelerated by lockdown conditions. I suspect light is a big one. The glasses are a new thing so there aren’t many studies on their effects. What they seem to do for me is signify a sort of behavior shift in the evening. When I put them on I feel like I should be looking at a book instead of a screen, and I do.

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Alexander Kidder August 26, 2021 at 8:10 am

Hi David – my wife and I did the diet thing during the pandemic (about 6 months ago). We did whole30 (which is very very much like what you are describing, but more restrictive). We both felt so much better during and afterward that we haven’t gone back to our “normal” eating. We have exceptions – Friday Pizza night and we eat out normally (albeit rarely) and will eat whatever is on offer when eating socially. But our day-to-day is no sugar (biggest thing), no grains, no alcohol, etc.

That said, we both have had our meditation practices take a hit during the pandemic and they didn’t return with our newfound energy and weightloss. I still notice a fogginess at times that is frankly scary. But I like the new energy and would probably take this trade if it was either/or – but hoping it isn’t. I’m keeping my detective hat on for this one as my screen time didn’t increase really and I still don’t have a good explanation. It isn’t constant (which actually makes it more infuriating), but will sometimes last a couple days. My wife will notice that she’ll ask me something and I’ll take much longer than usual to respond, although I thought it was just a normal response.

I wish you the best of luck with this experiement.

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:34 am

Thanks for sharing this Alexander. I’m glad to hear the diet change has been both sustainable for you and that the benefits remained. The “exception days” are huge part of this working for me. On Saturday I have pizza and a beer or something like that. Not only does it make the change sustainable but I feel like I’m really appreciating the indulgent stuff when I have it.

Interesting to hear that the meditation fog has remained. It makes me wonder what other factors could be behind it. I suspect that a good part of it is simply the lack of practice momentum, as my sessions are much less fruitful and I’m getting a lot less cushion time. But what caused it is still a mystery. Let me know if you figure anything out!

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Jill August 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm

I’ve got that slow response time thing too, yet my hubby seems to be quicker (or doesn’t seem to want wait for a response) I thought it was menopause brain but maybe not.
Lots to think about, and I agree diet &/ what I ingest makes a massive difference to my mood/energy/behaviour.

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Martha August 26, 2021 at 9:03 am

I’m always amazed (and envious) of people who say “I stopped eating sugar”. Maybe it’s because I have a few generations of alcoholics on both sides of my family, but sugar is one thing I have tried and failed to cut out (I don’t drink at all). I was told after a few days I wouldn’t miss it, but I did manage to give it up for almost a week once, and by the end of that time I was pacing through my house, picking things up at random, putting them down, unable to focus on anything. I don’t get much hidden sugars, I’m careful about those, but I can’t seem to exist without a few cookies, or half a chocolate bar, at least once everyday. So I’ve adopted the attitude that since I’ve given up cigarettes, drinking, smoking dope, and swearing I’m allowed some sugar, even though I’m sure I’d feel better without it….

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Mary-Ann Owens August 26, 2021 at 9:32 am

You might have candida in your system…you might want to look it up.

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:38 am

I’ve heard of people having strong reactions like that to giving up sugar, so you aren’t alone. Some have said there was a very difficult initial period and then they felt better. I’m lucky that I started to feel better almost immediately after getting away from it. I suppose each of our bodies have different things going on in them at different times, which makes it difficult to pin down causes. In any case, playing around with the variables can give you clues.

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Mary-Ann Owens August 26, 2021 at 9:30 am

Hello David, I appreciate your awareness and sharing with us what is happening. I borrowed the book Breath by James Nestor during the pandemic. He recommends a technique of mouth taping to help with sleep. My husband and I both swear by it and are sleeping really well. No snoring and deeper sleep and rest. We both dream a lot now, which I often struggle with (too much to process). I guess this means lots of REM sleep. I have recently cleaned out my email and am cleaning up my computer. I get all these emails that are trying to hook me to view Facebook and Linkedin more often. I have unsubscribed from them. My computer crashed and I had to get a new hard drive. I went without a computer for almost 3 weeks. I realized how much time I waste on social media. So now I look at it once in a while, but I don’t spend much time there….that is a big change which is welcome. Thanks again for your post. Mary-Ann

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David Cain August 26, 2021 at 10:43 am

I’ve never heard of mouth taping, but I will look into it. I didn’t mention it in this post, but I think breathing during sleep might be a factor. I have fairly narrow nostrils and the last few months I’ve noticed more nose congestion while I sleep, so I often wake up breathing through my mouth, which doesn’t seem good. When I’m looking into sleep apnea as a possibility, I don’t seem to match the description, but it there are different forms of it. My bedroom is not the best-ventilated room in the house, so I think I will try sleeping in different rooms and see what happens.

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Tara August 26, 2021 at 11:07 am

It might help to clean your nose of mucus before you go to bed and use those Breathe Right strips that hold your nostril passages open wider.

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David Cain August 27, 2021 at 10:27 am

I’m going to try nasal strips. My impression was that neti-pot-style cleaning isn’t good for you but I’ll look into it again.

Alice August 26, 2021 at 11:18 am

I did not fit the description at all….thin woman, no neck fat, but I was used to a certain level of exhaustion. I would always fall asleep during meditation and accepted that that was my fault. A doctor finally sent me for a sleep study and I have apnea and use a cpap and I can meditate for an hour and not fall asleep. It’s made me wonder how many people who fall asleep during meditation have apnea and don’t know it.

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David Cain August 27, 2021 at 10:28 am

A sleep study might be in my future

Mary-Ann Owens August 26, 2021 at 10:54 am

The author’s website is http://www.mrjamesnestor.com. He has some dentists and scientist videos that are very illuminating. We cut off the two sides of a bandaid and tape the middle of our lips. In that way, you can still breathe through your mouth if you absolutely need to. It sounds like this might just assist you.

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David Cain August 27, 2021 at 10:25 am

I ended up getting this book on Audible because I had a credit. So far his story is uncannily similar to mine. I’m glad you mentioned it!

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Martha September 5, 2021 at 8:47 pm

Reading your original post and accompanying experiment log entries prompted me to investigate mouth breathing and I was quite shocked at what I read about it – I had no idea it was so bad for you. I have a husband who snores very loudly (I wear ear plugs every night) and who gets up every night so has very disturbed sleep. We’ve started mouth-taping (just with a small piece of tape in the middle of the lips) and hubby has slept through the night both nights which is a small miracle.

Thanks for the tip and best of luck with your sleep efforts.

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Tara August 26, 2021 at 11:04 am

My diet and activity level have taken a huge hit since the pandemic started, as well as excessive screen time because I have been too anxious and depressed to do much else. (I have not slept well in 20 years due to hormonal changes.) But I’m starting to come out of it, I have finished 3 books in the past month and most nights am off the ipad by 9pm. I plan to move that up to sunset, and my main goal for the next six months is to regain my muscle and cardio strength through bike riding and yoga. I’ve done yoga throughout the pandemic but it just isn’t enough. As for grains, sugar and dairy, there is no way I’m giving them up. They are my greatest eating pleasures as a vegetarian.

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Tara August 26, 2021 at 11:10 am

This is not to imply they make up a large part of my diet! But I’m not giving up buttered toast for breakfast or a small dish of ice cream or a cookie for dessert. They are important small pleasures for me.

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David Cain August 27, 2021 at 10:26 am

Glad to hear you’re headed the right way. Best of luck.

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Christina August 26, 2021 at 11:06 am

Like you, I have also turned my eyeballs square by looking into glowing boxes for far too much of the day. Getting off of them in the evening especially is hard so I applaud your efforts. I find that if I exercise in the early evening — even if it’s just a leisurely walk with an old dog (which is my case) — it helps me have a more restful sleep.

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David Cain August 27, 2021 at 10:23 am

I have avoided exercise in the evening because I was worried it would make me restless, but I’ve never actually tried it. I will!

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Paulina Kay August 26, 2021 at 2:17 pm

Yes You are right. We normally are told why we feel the way we do and media will never ever mention the real causes of that. I don’t know where you live but have you take a look at the sky? people don’t look at the sky anymore and a lot is going on. Have you noticed that our skies are not blue and clear anymore? they have a grayish-white layer covering all the time and the last year has been the worst. First you see the white trails and these dissipate all over. Our skies have been sprayed with chemicals for many years as well our water and this is causing a lot of mental fog and many other health issues. Many people have tested water and air and the results are surprising. Here in California the spraying is heavy and I believe in many other states is. The mental fogginess is an epidemia which is also caused by all you mentioned.

A close friend just did his hair test and shared it with us. The results show this:
lithium…rubidium…barium…vanadium…germanium…strontium…zirconium…potassium…nickel…tin…arsenic…uranium. And if you didn’t know Uranium strips the myelin sheath off your nerves. (Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrigs Disease).

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David Cain August 27, 2021 at 10:24 am

I feel lucky to live where I live, as the skies are clear and air pollution is low for a city. We have had a lot of forest fire smoke this summer though, which can’t be good.

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Steven Schrembeck August 28, 2021 at 9:59 am

David, have you read 4,000 weeks? I think you’ll find you’ve already stumbled upon some of its truths. Excellent, snappy non-fiction book that I’m working through now.

The core premise is that we’re using time and thinking about productivity all wrong, and perhaps there is a better way

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David Cain August 30, 2021 at 9:46 am

I am reading it now, and on board with its message so far. I’m a fan of Oliver Burkeman’s.

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Ingvil August 30, 2021 at 3:51 pm

Thank you for this thoughtful analysis and looking forward to hearing more about the results! I am really looking forward to being able to go back to the gym and improve my diet.
One thing I was able to do during the lockdown was to take control of my phone time. Had to actually buy an analog alarm clock so I wouldn’t need the phone for that. Then turning off the phone in the evening and on again at around lunch time. It’s wonderful and liberating to feel how little I need it and how much more time I have without it.

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David Cain September 1, 2021 at 11:08 am

I have an analog alarm clock and I think it’s time to break it out again. I’m too accustomed to phone on the nightstand, and even though I’m not using it at night, I check my phone before even getting out of bed.

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woollyprimate September 1, 2021 at 10:56 am

I think you’re very wise to consider diet and lifestyle as causes of brain fog. I would urge you however, not to lump in grains and potatoes, or at least not potatoes (in case you do have a gluten issue). Potatoes are wonderfully healthy, and I feel my cleanest when I eat potatoes. There are many people extolling the virtues of potatoes…Dr. John McDougall is the oldest one. Been extolling the virtues of potatoes since the 80’s. But there are some new guys…Potato Strong and SpudFit.

Also, you might try taking 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin C 3 x a day. I take much more than that, but I have asthma and allergies. I noticed my breathing became easier and I wasn’t congested at night as much. And if you don’t take a multi with plenty of B vitamins, you might want to start. Low B vitamins are associated with increased risk of dementia.

Another thing to consider, if you give up too many things at once, and you feel better, you won’t know if you gave up something you didn’t have to (like potatoes). I think you have given up alcohol before, yes? And you felt better. So, def give that up again. And sugar. See how you feel with those before you give up the others.

I have Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune thyroid disease) and I gave up gluten on the advice of my doctor. I retested my antibodies and they were lower, but still quite elevated. I gave up dairy myself and then had my antibodies retested, and they will almost down to normal! So, after giving up alcohol and sugar, the next thing I’d try would be dairy. Grain would be a last resort, as would potatoes. I know some people are sensitive to nightshades, but as I said, I feel flippin’ great when I eat potatoes, much better than when I eat rice, even.

And there is also the risk that things will take longer than you suspect. For example, you could eliminate alcohol and sugar and start to feel a bit better after a couple weeks. Then you eliminate grains and then in a couple weeks you feel REALLY GOOD. And you would think it was the eliminating grains that did it, when it could be that the alcohol and sugar were the problems, but you just needed a full month or more really feel the benefits.

I just hate seeing people be too restrictive with their diets. Jordon Peterson just eating meat? OMG! That’s nuts.

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David Cain September 1, 2021 at 11:07 am

I know what you’re saying. The “rational robot” way would be to change one variable at a time. I am honestly not organized enough to do that successfully. If I make a more drastic, multi-variable change and it proves to be clearly better over time, then I have a new place from which to experiment. I will eventually test out things like potatoes, but not until I’m beyond the “new habit” phase of the dietary change.

I also don’t particularly like potatoes unless they are deep fried or some other nasty thing has been done to them. It’s much easier for me to avoid things like french fries and the foods that go with them if I have a no-potato policy. I don’t think I’m missing anything. I will try vitamin C supplementation.

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Glenn September 8, 2021 at 6:28 pm

I’m guessing you’re probably already aware, but just in case you aren’t, vitamin C will interfere with the efficacy of ADHD stimulants if you take them too close together. So just be mindful to put some time in between the stimulant and the vitamin C. I’ve read that an hour is enough, but I just take my vitamin C in the evening, so that there’s no question. Plus, the vitamin C will help flush the stimulant from your body, which should help with the med’s negative effect on your sleep.

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Maureen S September 5, 2021 at 7:56 am

Hi David,

Oh boy. I can relate to everything in your post. So fat, I haven’t had much progress in making any changes, though. I start out optimistically in the early morning, writing down my latest plan. Some days I’ll keep at it for several days, and then it falls apart.

I wonder how you have managed to actually *make yourself* change. I purchased the beta version of your “How To Do Things” book and it’s helped a lot. I am much more productive at work. Are there principles from the book that you’ve used yo help you change the things you mentioned in this post? I think I know what the things are that I should do, but I don’t seem to be able to stick to them. The scaled-back pomodora was so life-changing so I’m hoping you have some insight in how to change the non- work stuff.

BTW, I am an IT person who has been working from home throughout the pandemic. Grateful, really, but I never was one who wanted to work from home because of the blurred boundaries. And that has proven true.

Thanks for your work. I’m a fan!

{ Reply }

David Cain September 6, 2021 at 10:30 am

Hi Maureen. For the most part I find it very difficult to change habits, but I am constantly trying new things and sometimes they stick. I think the changes that stick tend to be the ones that create an immediate positive difference. The diet, for example, made me feel better within 24 hours, and a month later I still feel better. So it’s a no-brainer. Working using the How to Do Things principles also created an immediately rewarding change, so I still do that too. I have never been very successful when I have to try something for a long time to see a difference.

The principles in HTDT are how I approach everything difficult now. If I have any trouble getting something done, for whatever reason, Blocks are the way to go about it. Otherwise it’s too open-ended and I don’t know how to start. I’m glad to hear it’s been working for you.

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William September 5, 2021 at 9:19 pm

Hi David, I am wondering, could you expand on your diet in a future post or link to one you have already written? I echo some of the same ‘fogginess’ you describe. I try to stay vigilant in regards to what distractions/time detractors have crept into my life. I think I do well balancing those but I do think I need to turn more attention to physical activity and diet. Anyways, long time reader, really enjoy reading your thoughts. Thanks!

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David Cain September 6, 2021 at 10:41 am

I eat what’s sometimes called a “slow-carb” diet, popularized by Tim Ferriss. Basically:

-Don’t eat grains, potatoes, dairy, or foods with non-negligible sugar content (including fruit)
-Don’t drink alcohol, or basically anything aside from water, coffee, and tea

You do this six days a week, and then one day a week you ignore the restrictions if you want to. There are some other recommendations (have a high-protein breakfast upon waking up) but that’s the gist of it.

I feel better, lost some extra weight, and my mind is clearer. I also find I don’t crave food like I used to. I enjoy it as much as ever, but I don’t have the same sense of “I NEED TO EAT THAT.” It’s been a month now and I’m convinced it’s a lot better for me than how I used to eat.

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