Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Overcoming Self-Harm: My Messy Beautiful

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

This post comes with a trigger warning because it is about self-harm. However, I hope that by sharing with you one of my most Messy, Beautiful stories, if you are currently struggling with self-harm, that this helps you “Carry On, Warrior,” as Glennon would say. We need to know we are not alone. In order to heal, we need to hear from people in similar situations as us who have carried on, and been able to work through some of these messy parts of life.

Here is my Messy, Beautiful story:

October 20, 2013 was the first day of Brene Brown’s online class, The Gifts of Imperfection, through Oprah’s Lifeclass series.

I had all my supplies ready for my art projects. I was ready for six weeks of focusing on combating shame and embracing vulnerability. I was ready to be courageous and embrace my imperfection!

The first part of the art project was “Permission Slips,” where you wrote down some of the things you needed to give yourself permission to do in order to engage in the work of this class. Some of the “Permission Slips” might even be things you needed to give up. I knew there was one thing in particular I had to give up if I was going to be sure I started to heal from shame. I did not want to write it down though.

The second part of the project was to take a photo of yourself with “I’m Imperfect and I’m Enough” written somewhere on your person; most people chose to write it on their hand.

As I was getting ready to take my “I’m Imperfect and I’m Enough” photo, I could feel the pain in my legs. Every time I sat down, the fabric of my jeans pulled against raw skin. I had to remember to be careful how I sat so that I did not aggravate the sides of my upper thighs where the day before I had cut myself. This was the thing I had to give up, cutting. 

Writing it down would not be enough because I knew in a few days the raw skin would heal, I would forget the realities of what I was doing to myself, and I would do it again. A picture would be the only way to remember the gravity of what self-harm does. A picture was the only way to adequately describe what happens to me, and many people like me, when shame is so overwhelming and so painful that the only way we know how to release that inner pain so we can get through our life, is to cut ourselves.

That’s what self harm is, a release. Not a cry for help, not one step closer to suicide, it is a survival mechanism. I admit, not a good survival mechanism, but often the only one we have when we are not getting the help with shame resilience that we need, or we have not healed enough yet to have other ways to survive. Contrary to popular belief, cutting is not only a teen phenomenon or even something that starts in the teen years. I did not start cutting until a few years go, at the age of 33. It was actually an accident. I dropped a dish and I was overwhelmed because it was one more thing that went wrong that day. As I was picking up the ceramic pieces, I cut myself on one of them. I felt relieved and calm, and that’s how it started.

Photo copyright Jeff Norris, 2013.
Then on October 20, 2013, I took the typical “I’m Imperfect and I’m Enough” photo where I am smiling with the words written on my hand, this is the photo I let others see. However, I also had my husband take a photo of me where I wrote “I’m Imperfect and I’m Enough” with the raw cuts on my legs. I was finally working with a therapist, the first in 19 years, who understood trauma and shame, and I was embarking on this six week class with Brene Brown. I knew that now was the time to give up cutting forever because I had the support system I needed to be successful.

That was the most Messy, Beautiful photo I have ever taken.


Rev. Katie

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Vincent and The Doctor:" In Celebration of World Bipolar Day 2014

Today is the first World Bipolar Day:

"World Bipolar Day (WBD) will be celebrating its inaugural year on March 30th, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder. The vision of WBD is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and eliminate social stigma. Through international collaboration the goal of World Bipolar Day is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness."

Logo from ISBD.
Since Vincent Van Gogh's birthday was chosen to celebrate this day, I think it is fitting to talk about one of the TV shows I feel raises awareness about bipolar disorder, helps decrease stigma, and increases compassion: Dr. Who's "Vincent and the Doctor" (Season 5: Episode 10.) When I saw this episode, I felt like part of my story was being told. It was a compassionate understanding of mental illness and the struggle of those of us with bipolar disorder.

I think what the episode shows about mental illness that most people fail to understand, is that while our mind may not work the way we want it to sometimes, one of the amazing things about our illness is the way we see the world. We often see it as more real than other people. In Dr. Who, Van Gogh not only sees the nuances of color, light, and beauty in the world, which makes him a great painter, he also sees truths that others do not see. As Van Gogh says, "There is so much more to the world than the average eye can see."

In this science fiction story, something has recently brought death to the community, which everyone blames on the "madness" of Van Gogh. We discover though that the thing which is bringing death is a monster from another world that no one else can see, except Van Gogh.

Our Van Gogh/Dr. Who Poster. Copyright C. Norris.
This ability to see more than others can- whether that be through physical sight, increased empathy (which can be seen in the show with Van Gogh's ability to see Amy's sadness over a loss even she does not remember consciously), superior leadership skills, the ability to see organizational systems, etc...- is well documented in bipolar disorder. You can read about this in A First Rate Madness by Dr. Nassir Ghaemi and Touched with Fire by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Many people see us as irrational, eccentric, too sensitive, too emotional, and thus disregard what we see and feel. The research shows that we actually have more insight that people believe we have. I love in the show when Van Gogh says "I may be mad, but I'm not stupid." So true, and what so many of us want to say to those who think we are incapable of contributing to the world.

Dr. Who also shows the great agony those of us with bipolar live with daily, and yet we fight to carry on anyway. One of the things many of us worry about is that our illness will make us unable to leave anything good behind when we die. Will we ever be worthy of the precious life we were given? There is a beautiful scene at the end of the episode when The Doctor, Amy, and Van Gogh travel forward in time to the 21st century and Van Gogh is able to see that he has made a difference and left the world more beautiful.

The museum guide, an expert in Van Gogh's art says of Vincent:
"He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy, joy, and magnificence of our world; no one had ever done it before, perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind that strange, wild man.... was not only the worlds greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived."

Transforming the pain of my tormented life into beauty and good is something I strive for every day. Most people I know like me are all trying to do this, but rarely does the world see our resiliency, gifts, or talents because too many people choose to focus only on the negative aspects of the illness.

After their trip to the future, Amy believes they have "saved" Van Gogh and prevented his suicide. After they return Vincent to his own time, she hurries back to 2010 and thinks she will see hundreds of new paintings by Van Gogh hanging in the museum. However, they were unable to "save" Van Gogh, and he still dies from suicide at 37 years old.

Bipolar disorder is complex and like any illness, it takes lives. We wish we could save everyone, but we can not. Sometimes we are unable to find the right treatment in time to prevent death by suicide. It is sad, and I wish this were different, but this is a reality our loved ones have to understand about mental illness. They need to understand this for their own well-being, because the burden of attempting to "save" someone is too much for anyone to bear.

Because they could not prevent his death, Amy thinks they did not make a difference to Van Gogh's life at all, but she is wrong. Showing someone compassion always makes a difference, it makes our life better, and we never forget it.
As Dr. Who says to Amy, "Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa. The bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And, we definitely added to his pile of good things."

I believe Vincent and the Doctor is the perfect show to watch on this, the first World Bipolar Day, for it reminds us that:
  • Those of us with bipolar see and experience the wonder and beauty of the world, also it's pain and sadness, in a way that others do not. This can be a struggle at times, but it is also an amazing gift, a gift which we can use to make the world a better place.
  • We may not always be able to fix or save someone, but we can always add to their pile of good things. The simplest way to do this is to show another person compassion.
In honor of World Bipolar Day, may we all add to someone's pile of good things today.


Rev. Katie

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Everyone Who Has Mental Illness Matters

I have been so conflicted over whether or not to write a post reflecting on the death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman due to a possible heroin overdose after 23 years of sobriety. He was a fantastic actor and his loss is felt by many people for how he touched their lives through his acting. Not very different from when Glee's Cory Monteith died last year also from a heroin overdose. Depending on your age, you may have felt a connection and deep sense of lose with the death of both of these actors. I have also written about other celebrities and mental illness such as the suicide of Lee Thomson Young.

When I write about these celebrities it is often to help raise awareness about mental illness. The stories of these celebrities remind us that mental illness is a very common illness but also one that we try to hide all the time. However, when we speak up, we help bring it to light. As more people can identify with those of us with mental illness, more compassion can be created, and the more people will want to help rather than make fun of or hide the illness.

For some reason though, even with how much I like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I felt like I did not know what to say, until I read an article by actress Jamie Lee Curtis on the subject of Hoffman's death and addiction in general. In it she says: "What we rarely talk about are the deaths of the unknown soldiers and civilians, the non-famous. Their deaths, no less sad and tragic, their families' grief, any lesser."

I could write about another celebrity and have a call to action through compassion and better care for those of us with addiction and mental illness. However, I have done it so many times before. What makes the stories of the celebrities any more important than the many people who die daily of overdose and suicide? Furthermore, I feel a bit like I am almost exploiting the deaths of these celebrities by using their death as a way to call us to action. Would they want their death to be used in that way? I did not ask them. Am I using their celebrity status for an agenda rather than seeing them as just another human being who struggled to live well on this earth, just like all the rest of us?

The truth is, everyone who has mental illness matters. None of these celebrities are any different than the rest of us. Yet we keep writing these stories because it's sensational yet a few months later we forget and nothing changes. In the mean time, people with mental illness are dying every day and we never mention them and never write about them. In fact, we cover up the reason for their death. In the mean time about 58 million people in America are living with a mental disorder and we do not do much about it.

How about now we do something about it instead of only talking about it when a new story comes out?

Here are some suggestions of what we can do:


Rev. Katie

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Disney's "Frozen": Why Elsa Matters

I have quite a few posts planned in reflection on the new Disney movie, "Frozen." (Note: while I do not tell you exactly what happens in the movie, there are spoilers and the ending will not be a surprise.) For this post though, I want to talk a bit about why I identify with the character of Elsa in "Frozen" and why characters like her matter.  Simply, I like her because she shows how scary it is to be taught to fear yourself and be told you might hurt the people you love just by being who you are.

My son says Elsa is like me because "She is scared of herself, that she might hurt someone she loves with her power. She has to learn to love and trust herself and then she is ok."

Photo from Disney's blog.
For me, Elsa is an important character not just because she needs to learn to accept herself the way she is, but because the writers show through her just how devastating and terrifying it is to fear your own soul. There is no terror and sadness like that of thinking you are bad and you do not want to be. It leads to a type of self-sacrifice and shame that actually makes you unable to heal. On accident, Elsa's parents taught her to be afraid of herself and taught her that the only way to protect others was to sacrifice herself. They shut her off from the world and gave her the mantra "conceal, don't feel, don't let it show." She becomes filled with fear, never learns to have compassion for herself, never learns to control her power, and thus she never knows love and belonging.

This can be seen in the song, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?":

Many people can relate to this archetype, especially people who have been physically or emotionally abused and were told they deserved the abuse because they were "bad." I am glad we finally have a character in mainstream media that shows how trauma can effect you and that bad behavior does not mean you are a bad person. (Which is why I also love Elphaba from Wicked.) My son says the most important line in the movie Frozen is in the song "Fixer Upper" that the trolls sing where they say: "People make bad choices if they're mad or scared or stressed." For some people if they are scared enough, even their ability to make a choice and control the fear is compromised. I feel like this scene from the movie best shows Elsa's fear and how much she wants to never hurt anyone. ("For the First Time in Forever, Reprise.")

Frozen seems to illustrate Dr. Brene Brown's research on vulnerability, fear, and shame. Shame, the belief that "I am bad," is what destroys people because it takes away the things we most need in life: love, belonging, and connection. I see Anna and Elsa both, in the end, as saving themselves by learning the components of true love. I am going to challenge the typical definition of true love (selfless love for another person, often a romantic love) and say that I think true love is radical compassion. Compassion for others, for yourself, and a community of compassion.

If you do not have compassion, you are unable to accept and truly love yourself or anyone else. Without compassion we engage in shaming and blaming ourselves and others, rather than seeing life as fluid and full of mistakes and success. Shame, blame, and fear keep us from healing. I find that in treatment for mental illness, compassion is frequently left out of the equation, and shame is the norm. No one ever learns to heal themselves and understand their mind when other people shame them and tell them they are a bad person.

True love and healing takes a combination of radical self-love (empathy and compassion for self) and compassion for others which extends to the world community.


Rev. Katie

Monday, January 6, 2014

Will 2014 Be the Year of Mental Illness Awareness?

Friends shared two article with me recently that call for mental illness awareness in 2014. This is exciting!

In First Up, Mental Illness. The Next Topic is Up To You, Nicholas Kristof says mental illness is the issue that needs more awareness and advocacy in 2014. Kristof states:

"So, if we want to tackle a broad range of social pathologies and inequalities, we as a society have to break taboos about mental health. There has been progress, and news organizations can help accelerate it. But too often our coverage just aggravates the stigma and thereby encourages more silence."

Kristof advocates for more truthful and comprehensive reporting about mental health, increasing proper care for mental illness, and talking about the realities of how prevalent mental illness is and that it is treatable and not to be feared.

Then in the article A Phrase to Renounce in 2014: "The Mentally Ill," Carey Goldberg eloquently lays out an argument for why we should no longer call people "the mentally ill" and how we need to use person first language. Saying "the mentally ill" implies that people with mental illness are separate than everyone else, other, which increases fear and misunderstanding. Goldberg notes something he learned from people with mental illness (peer specialists):

"Some newly minted peer specialists sat me down and re-educated me about the wrongness of using 'the mentally ill' and the rightness of using 'people first' language. A person is not defined by a diagnosis, they said. If you have a mental illness it doesn't define you any more than your heart disease defines you if you're a cardiac patient. A person is a person who happens to have depression or schizophrenia; the correct term is 'people with mental illness.'"

Both of these articles are well worth the read. I really do hope that mental illness advocacy is a focus of 2014. We have a long way to go until those of us with mental illness are not feared, victimized, hated, left untreated, and daily made fun of in our society.


Rev. Katie

Friday, December 20, 2013

What I Teach My Son When I Say I Am Fat

I saw this great article going around Facebook again this week called When Your Mother Says She's Fat by Kasey Edwards. It is a letter by Edwards to her Mom about what she learned from her mother when her mother insulted herself due to her weight. What Edwards learned struck a cord for me and the many women who have been sharing this article because these are the same things we learned from our own beautiful mothers who never thought that they were beautiful

As the mother of a boy, I then thought about what mothers teach their sons when we speak badly about our own weight and appearance.

What particularly struck me in Edwards' article is where she writes that as a child she looked forward to the day when she would be like her mother, until:

"But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ‘‘Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.’’

At first I didn’t understand what you meant.

‘‘You’re not fat,’’ I said earnestly and innocently, and you replied, ‘‘Yes I am, darling. I’ve always been fat; even as a child.’’
In the days that followed I had some painful revelations that have shaped my whole life. I learned that:
1. You must be fat because mothers don’t lie.
2. Fat is ugly and horrible.
3. When I grow up I’ll look like you and therefore I will be fat, ugly and horrible too."

In that article I heard two voices from my own life. 

I heard my own voice, just a few weeks ago when I was talking to my husband, in front of my son, about going to my husband's annual Christmas party. I told my husband: "I don't want to go. I am fat, disgusting, and you deserve someone who looks good like you." 

I heard my son's voice who so often has said "No Mommy, you are pretty" at the many times I have made comments like I did about this Christmas party. 

I bet almost daily I say something negative about the way I look and I know my son hears it. It has become a daily part of my life, natural for me. As natural as the girls in grade school who told me I had to be at the bottom of the pyramid because I was so fat the rest of them could not hold me up. As natural as the people who made fun of me for having fat legs. As natural as the people who told my husband when we were dating that I was not pretty enough for him. It seems totally normal to me to feel required to never let myself forget that I am fat and ugly.

The comment I made to my husband about the Christmas party- "I don't want to go. I am fat, disgusting, and you deserve someone who looks good like you," told my son a lot about me, about himself, about his father, and about women in general. 

These are the potential lessons I taught my son that day:
  • Body weight is a sign of beauty and thus there is one universal idea of beauty that we all must conform to.
  • Fat is disgusting.
  • His idea of beauty is wrong (because he thinks I am pretty and I am telling him this is not true.)
  • A wife must look a certain way for her to be good enough to be seen with her husband.
  • I am worth less than my husband.
  • I am not someone that anyone would want to be seen with in public, and thus maybe even my son should not be seen in public with me
  • Men should not love women who do not fit the cultural ideas of beauty.
  • A person's self worth is based on their weight.
  • I do not practice what I preach. I preach body acceptance and self-love, but I do not practice it. 
  • To practice self-loathing rather than self-compassion and love. 
  • To judge other's worth by their weight.
  • To judge himself by his weight.
Since this type of body hatred is so normal for me, I do not even realize I am doing it. It was not until I saw this graphic going around Facebook today that I realized how often, every day, and every year, I talk about my weight and how much I hate my body. This comes from a Facebook page called Grrrl:

So, rather than resolving to loose weight again this year I resolve to not talk about weight loss or worth being attached to weight and looks in front of my son. Eventually I want to never talk about it to anyone again, but I know I am not able to do that yet. However, I can take the step now to not expose my son to seeing his own mother hate herself because of her weight. 


Rev. Katie

P.S. After I wrote this post, I took a break to have dinner with my family and noticed that in order to follow through on this resolution I already had to stop myself from saying things I typically would have said before. Such as "I can't believe I ate that much. I should stop eating because I ate too much already today. I feel disgusting that I ate this."

Also, I should add that "fat" is not in itself a bad word. When we add qualifiers to it like "disgusting," or when we use it in a negative way, that is when it becomes a problem.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How I Discovered the Brain/Gut Connection

There is a news article going around from NPR called "Gut Bacteria Might Guide the Working of Our Minds." Quite a few people have contacted me about this article asking if I have seen it since they know I use diet rather than medication to manage my bipolar disorder. For me, the article is not new information. I heard about the brain/gut connection many years ago but it has not been widely accepted or talked about in main stream medicine so few people know about it. However, this information is saving my life so I wanted to let you know how I found out about it and give you some resources for your own research.

The NPR article only talks about gut bacteria and how they have found that the bacteria in our gut effects our brain. For instance, in one study with mice, they put the gut bacteria of non-anxious mice into mice with anxiety and the anxiety in those mice decreased. They then reversed it and gave non-anxious mice the gut bacteria of anxious mice and the non-anxious mice developed anxiety.

I first discovered at least a connection between what you eat and mental illness when I was a child. As early as I can remember, I would constantly overeat sugar in order to make myself feel better. I actually ate spoonfuls of sugar out of a 5lb. bag. Throughout my childhood I was anxious, scared, sad, manic, angry, and seeing things that were not there. Somehow I discovered when I ate large amounts of sugar, these things got better. Of course, at that age I had no idea what was really happening and I did not make the connection that eating large amounts of sugar only perpetuated the problem, making me more manic if I did not keep up with eating copious amounts of sugar daily. I first read about this and how sugar increases serotonin in the brain when I was in my 20's and found the book "Potatoes, Not Prozac." This started my journey of researching how food and gut bacteria effect the brain.

Brain food snack. Photo copyright Jeff Norris.
I think the hardest part about using dietary and lifestyle changes to manage an illness, any illness, is that most of the researchers never work together and they only focus on one part of the problem. For instance, "Potatoes, Not Prozac" does tell you to eliminate sugar but there is no research in there about gut bacteria and brain health. Basically, you need to do a lot of your own research and put together the information all of the scientists have discovered and find what works for you.

My next step was a psychiatrist who told me that cutting out sugar and increasing my daily amount of animal protein could help with my ADD and mania. He said he read a few papers on it but usually did not recommend it because medication was easier, "no one wants to change their diet," he said. As I did more research, it was not surprising to me that more animal protein helps with mania. There is a lot of research about using a ketogenic diet to manage epilepsy and the drugs used for epilepsy control bipolar disorder so it seems to make sense that for some reason a diet that helps epilepsy would also help bipolar disorder. But again, two fields of research working independently of each other and thus information is rarely shared.

Every time I implemented one of these dietary changes, I got better. After a few weeks of sugar withdrawal, not eating sugar made my depression better, but I was still angry all the time (mania). Increasing animal protein got rid of the anger. The biggest issue with any of this though, at least in my experience living in the midwest, is that few doctors, even if they have read the research, really ever use diet to treat mental illness so none of them can help guide you find out what works for you. I will write a full post on this issue, but this has been for me and the people I work with, the biggest reason it is so hard to stick with dietary and lifestyle choices, it is just not supported in our culture, especially by society in general. Try going to a dinner party and not eating dessert or drinking and you will find just how difficult it is to eat what is best for you. I also developed a binge eating disorder from the sugar addiction and then trying to follow Weight Watchers which got me to be militant about food rules. So for years I have gone back and forth with what I eat.

Then my husband, who has always had a iron stomach, got very sick. He could not keep any food in him and his immune system was shutting down. He had all the tests done and was told he had Irritable Bowl and there was nothing they could do for him. We could not imagine that his whole life would be like this and a friend told us to try cutting out gluten (wheat) even though my husband did not test positive for a wheat allergy. He got better right away and since I was eating the same as him, I noticed my moods evened out. From there I went back to researching the link between food and mood and then found the Paleo diet which cuts out all grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes and I felt even better.

Photo copyright Jeff Norris.
Through the Paleo community is where I found a wealth of information. Books explaining why I had Irritable Bowl since I was a child, as well as eczema and a whole host of other issues. There were many stories from people who said their moods improved on the Paleo diet and then I found all of the research on bacteria and gut health. It was amazing. All of these things completely made sense to me and just a week into a Paleo diet I start to feel remarkably better.

Over these many years, my eating disorder has gotten worse and today that is still the thing that makes it hard for me to stick to eating Paleo. Not only will people argue, shame, and pressure you not to eat this way, but any way of eating that seems to have a lot of rules can trigger your eating disorder if you have not worked through the eating disorder with a therapist. However, more people are writing about this and talking about how to ease into a Paleo diet and find the foods that work with your body and help you recover from an eating disorder. That might mean you eat some dairy or none at all. You might tolerate white rice, or not. However, no where have I found that people with mental illness do well eating wheat, sugar, or artificial sugars. Sugar and wheat easily allow detrimental bacteria to grow like wildfire in your gut.

I will not say this has been an easy path because it has not been for me. I will write more about the journey in future posts. Basically, I have been Paleo for over a year now and when I can be 100% Paleo, my moods even out within a week and I am very stable. It works better and faster than any medication I have ever tried, with none of the side effects. As I work through my eating disorder I am confident I will be able to stick to this better and better as time goes on.

I would like to link you to some resources that you might find helpful in doing your own research about the brain/gut and food/mood connections. These are just a few of the resources I have, but I think it is enough to get you started!

Rev. Katie

General Resources:
Blog: Evolutionary Psychology by Emily Deans, M.D. This is the place to go for all the real research and studies about food/mood and the brain/gut connection.  Seriously, fantastic. This is the place to start your research!

Blog: i bee free - Fantastic blog by Courtney who has been able to really stick with the Paleo diet with modifications that fit for her. From i bee free: "Under a doctor’s care for hypothyroidism, Courtney Rundell ended up in a mental hospital and was misdiagnosed bipolar. A year later, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune thyroid disease that causes both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Neither her psychiatrist or endocrinologist reconsidered her bipolar diagnosis...Improperly treated Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Adrenal Fatigue were the cause of decades of suffering. After a lot of trial-and-error, she’s found the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, minor supplementation, a regular sleeping schedule, yoga and meditation to be much more powerful than handfuls of pharmaceuticals."

Book:  Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia. by Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D.

Paleo Resources:
Website & Books : Balanced Bites by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC. Diane's website is a wealth of information but so are two of her books, Practical Paleo and The 21 Day Sugar Detox. She has information about the connection between food and your gut and all different illnesses.

Website:  Paleo Parents by Matt and Stacy. They have two cookbooks as well as chronicle living Paleo with kids. Stacy has lost over 100 pounds and talks about finding the diet that works best for you and loving your body as it is. This is a great resource for anyone with an eating disorder to start to learn how to eat even if you have health restrictions but not turn to eating disordered militant rules and body shaming.

Podcast: The Paleo View. Podcast featuring many Paleo experts covering all kinds of topics, including eating disorders, food and mood, and the brain/gut connection.

Website: The Paleo Mom by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. Sarah is a wealth of information about using Paleo to heal autoimmune disorders and she explains the science behind the Paleo diet.

Website: Chris Kresser L.AC. Lots of science about the brain/gut connection.

Go-to Books about Paleo and all the science behind it:
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. If you want a book with all the science but that is easy to understand, this book is for you.

The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. Considered the first book about Paleo that really got the movement started. There is a lot of science in this book and on his website with tons of published research papers.

Paleo and Eating Disorders Information:
Paleo and Eating Disorders from Paleo Diet Lifestyle by Sebastien Noel
Can the Paleo Diet Cure Bulimia? from Paleo Healing by Doron Dusheiko
Disordered Eating from Paleo Pepper.