Food and Mood: Why I’m A Compulsive Label-Reader

I bought myself a treat two weeks ago. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

The mistake? I didn’t read the ingredients list. Normally, I’m an ingredient-reading maniac. I read all of the ingredients on every list. ALL OF THEM. This time, I figured the meds would keep me safe.

That’s what they’re for, right? To keep my moods stable no matter what?

Oh, you sweet summer child. No. I learned my lesson the hard way, one black cherry soda-induced anxious rage day at a time. See, the medications will keep me stable up to a point, but against high doses of Red 40, nothing stops the rage and anxiety from building to a panic-inducing head.

That’s one of the funny things about bipolar. Environmental factors can play a huge role in successful treatment, and that includes the food I eat on a daily basis. Dyes, MSG, other additives, artificial sweeteners of varying types, all can contribute to mood swings and instability. So I am a compulsive label reader, and happier for it.

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