Zombie Research Institute








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In theory- theory and practice are the same thing.

In practice- they’re not.


In theory:

You would go down the street to the local zombie detox center.

They would give you a nice room with a fluffy bed.  Then you would have Gluten-Free Low-Carb Boot Camp.   Diet Re-education Therapy.  (Don’t worry, there would definitely be a room with trampolines on all the sides for you to freak-out in.)  While you were there, somebody would go to your house and clean out your kitchen cabinets and restock them with legal food.

After three weeks you would emerge as a human again.

And everyone would live happily ever after.


In practice:

You have to do this yourself.

And your brain and your doctor will fight you every step of the way.





After a year researching , the most significant thing I have learned didn't come from books or the internet.  It's that nobody wants to stop eating bread, not even if it's killing them.  I can't make anyone comply with the diet.   No matter how hard I try. or nag. or beg.  They've got to do it themselves.   It's got to be voluntary.  And more than that, it requires effort and commitment in the face of temptation.  Gluten is everywhere, there's really no practical option of avoiding it, much less restricting access to it.  The diet isn't easy at first and is pretty inconvenient always.  


But the fact is: to keep from producing the antibodies you must be extremely strict on the diet.   Even a small amount of gluten can trigger a full immune response.   The sugar effect only lasts a few hours, but the antibodies survive for a couple weeks.  It's not like cheating on a regular diet, you have to detox all over again.


Unfortunately certain problems caused by the zombie disorders make this kind of behavior modification extra difficult for us:

  • Improper digestion of gluten produces opioid peptides which seem to be habit-forming.

  • Low dopamine levels inhibit decision making and motivation.

  • An overactive vagus nerve lowers inhibition control, making cheating more likely when in the presence of gluten containing foods.  It also makes us extra-sensitive to frustration so we are more likely to quit if we do cheat.

  • Impaired memory formation makes the many behavioral changes more difficult to incorporate into lifestyle.


The ironic thing is, all those things are improved if you don't eat gluten.   Your neurotransmitter pool will increase, you will have more energy, your thinking will improve and your moods will stabilize.   It gets easier.   Really, it does.   It gets to the point you don't even want to eat gluten.   I feel so much better now, there's no pastry or pasta on earth that is worth being sick again. 


My point is-  your brain is not working properly-  if you want to succeed,  you will need a strategy to overcome those obstacles until you recover.  If you are extremely impaired, ask someone to help you.


Choose a time to start when you can eat at home for a while.   Avoiding gluten in public is difficult.  Restaurants and parties are not recommended for brain-fogged beginners.  If you're anything like I was, this won't be a problem, you probably haven't left the house in a while anyway...


Plan ahead and stock up.   Make sure you have lots of legal food to snack on so you don't have to fight temptation while you're hungry or exhausted.


Don't try to change too much at once.   Pick one or two favorite gluten-free foods for the first couple weeks and stick with that.   I love nachos-  corn tortilla chips and cheese-  that's GF and I ate that for almost every meal just because cooking was so difficult and I didn't have to think about it.   You can pick anything if it's gluten-free.  Two weeks of ice cream maybe.   Yeah, it's not balanced, but you're sick.   Think of it as an intervention.   Once you feel better you can do research and get more creative.

Concentrate on gluten at first.  Clean out your nerves and intestines.  After a few weeks you can determine if you also need to cut back on carbs.


Unfortunately- what I have found happens, is that people feel deprived after restricting gluten, and hungry because their orexin levels increase- so they raise their carb intake or self medicate with chocolate.    This is counter-productive.   Gluten-free brownies are not the solution.



How strict you will need to be depends on how much damage you have accumulated.

  • Gluten-Free is required. 

    If it has gluten in it- don't eat it.  If you don't know if it has gluten in it- don't eat it.

    You must check everything. Trust Nothing.  Even licking your envelopes.  Take food everywhere with you if you must.

  • If you have lost a number of orexin cells, you will also have to cut back on carbohydrates or you will still be sleepy/moody.


I am extremely strict on gluten and arginine.   But if I'm not, my jaws lock together and I get a migraine.   I have learned that I really enjoy not having headaches, so it's an effective deterrent.  You will have to figure out your own triggers and do your own cost/benefit analysis.


Advanced zombies- I find shifting my eating schedule helps.  I usually skip breakfast and eat something right before bed.   In the morning your blood glucose levels are already high because your liver excretes it in the last part of the night. Fasting helps stabilize your system while your orexin cells get up to speed  (unless you wake up too soon, in which case you will be hypoglycemic and need protein.).  Protein for lunch.    If you must eat carbs, do it at night.  In general, eating in the late evening promotes sleepiness and a more regular sleep schedule.  


People often ask me what kind of results they should expect, but it's hard to explain...

Recovery is dramatic, but in this really slow, weirdly imperceptible way. 

You will notice little things within a few days. 
Things that don't happen.   You don't take a nap.  You don't cry.   You don't forget.
But it takes a couple weeks to think- Wow I really do feel better today!
One day you just notice you're not miserable.



Restaurant tip:

Chicken Caesar salad, hold the croutons.  

Learn it.  Repeat it.  It will come in handy.


When in doubt, order coffee.  


And, last but not least- here's my personal secret to staying on track-   Don't think of it as food, think of anything with gluten in it as poison-  it's brain damage on a plate.   As my husband says... "crunchy delicious brain damage".





Narcoleptic Rant




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