recipe developer . podcast co-host . cookbook author . photographer . mental health warrior . online educator


food . travel . life

keto . low carb


gluten-free . grain-free . sugar-free

drama-free . dogma-free . mean-free

TOday's most popular POSTS

Keto Cookbooks


Copyright © Carrie Brown 2010-2024, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

Testing! Testing!

Back in July when I had to raise my hand and wave the flag of surrender, I really had no clue where to start in trying to untangle what was happening in my body that was making me unable to function.  I think it’s probably fairly typical for peeps with brain dysfunctions to assume that everything that isn’t working quite right stems from their neurological disorder.  Deepening depression, exhaustion, lack of interest in anything, inability to focus, inexplicable sadness, insomnia, desire to sleep at any given opportunity are all classic symptoms of various mood disorders, so there is a tendency to scurry straight off to the doctor to change or increase the meds because OH-HELL-NO I do not want to become suicidal, manic, or at the simplest level feel like I am feeling right now for one second longer.  We tend to assume that it *must* be brain related because our worlds revolve around making sure we are suitably medicated, so it’s easy to become fixated and believe that we are simply the sum of our medication(s).  We curse our broken brains and weep at the frustration of feeling like the rest of our lives will be controlled by a chemical concoction dreamed up in a lab somewhere, and without which life will plummet to every level of suckiness including the possibility of death.

So in July when I finally couldn’t keep going any more and had to decide on a course of action, my first thought was, “I must need to change my Bi-polar meds, since upping them a few weeks ago did nothing except stop me wanting to kill myself”.  Which was a good outcome, but still.  It seemed like upping them got me out of crisis but didn’t fix everything else so therefore – as the neurological disorder logic goes – I must need to change the meds altogether since these are no longer effective.

Hand on heart though, I was waging a war on the whole process of changing meds and the likely uproar and side-effects that would entail.  No.  I decided it was time to find out why I had Bi-polar disorder and how to cure it – or at least manage it without the use of medications.

I was going to figure this thing out or die trying.  Whatever it took.

My first port of call was to the brilliant Dr. Ted Naiman – who I irreverently refer to as Dr. 6-Pack – the ridiculously intelligent man who wrote the forward for my last cookbook, “101 KETO Beverages”.  He is so not your ordinary family physician – not in mindset or in looks, and it’s hard not to pay attention to a Dr who has a body like his.  I mean, seriously?  He has to be doing something right.  I had remembered from our conversation over coffee a few months prior that he had said he was sure we could manage my Bi-polar with diet.  Now I was {more than} ready to hear about that theory.  Blood was drawn.  The first lot of testing was underway.

That same week a friend contacted me via Facebook and we got talking about all the food sensitivity testing that she had recently had done and how excited she was for what was transpiring as a result.  I was {more than} ready to be excited about getting some results of my own.  I called the Naturopath who had done the testing for her and made an appointment.  Blood was drawn.  The second lot of testing was underway.

During my consultation with this Naturopath she recommended that we also find out exactly what was – and was not – floating around in my veins in terms of nutrients, toxins, chemicals, and the like.  Seemed like a good idea to me.  Blood was drawn.  A lot of blood was drawn – now there’s a 3-hour-long-13-puncture-wound story I’ll have to share with you some day.  Regardless, the third lot of testing was underway.

Just to round things out we decided we may as well re-do the adrenal stress test that I had done way back in January 2014 to see what my adrenal glands were – or were not – up to.  Spit was hurled into vials at various times throughout a 24-hour period and shipped off to Tacoma.  You might be surprised to learn how much effort it takes to consciously produce enough spit to fill a vial, especially when you don’t get to count the froth.  Oh, and when you aren’t allowed to eat anything for an hour before each collection.  Producing a lot of saliva takes work.  The fourth lot of testing was underway.

A few weeks later I contacted another Naturopath about starting some NAET treatments.  NAET is a muscle-testing protocol which I have had before and which had a remarkable effect on clearing some of my allergies – notably cats, perfumes, and pineapple.  It made sense to me to check in on potential food sensitivities via this method as well as the blood tests.   While this Naturopath was doing my initial work up to get the full picture on everything that was ailing me, she suggested that at some point it would be good to do a full GI panel.  No, there was no spitting in vials required for this one.  Vials, yes.  Spitting in them, no.  A lot of shaking was required, and a strong constitution.  The fifth lot of testing was underway.

There followed a lot of waiting.  Apart from the blood tests ordered by Dr. 6-Pack to check on lipid panels and general health markers, the other testing takes a while.  The kit has to be shipped to you, the various substances removed from your body *ahem*, and the plethora of vials shipped back to various labs across the country for testing, analysis, and reporting.  It’s quite the process.

So why all the testing?  It made perfect sense to me that if I have symptoms, something is going on to cause them.  You don’t get symptoms unless there is a quirk in the system.  There *MUST* be something that shows up somewhere indicating where things are not working quite right.  Blood, saliva and poop (there! I said it!) seem to be the obvious starting places to find out what is happening since the body is continually producing these.  It makes sense to me that these would give me a snapshot of my health.

I am going to share all the results with you, but I am not going to just dump them all out there in one hit.  I promise you I am not telling you bit by bit to drive you nuts.  I am doing it slowly because  1. There’s a LOT 2. It would be overwhelming 3. It would be confusing, and 4. I want you to see the logical progression of how we figured out the whole puzzle.

While this whole testing malarkey started as a quest to unravel my Bipolar and find out how to stop all these dastardly symptoms, once we had combed through all the results we found that the vast majority of my symptoms were not related to Bipolar at all.  There was most definitely something else going on, and the domino effect was alive and kicking around my poor body.  This whole process killed two birds with one stone – literally.

So now we get to the exciting part: what the results were, what they meant, what we did about it, and what happened as a result.

The two most important things for you to know at this point is that the change in my health since I started on my ND’s plan is nothing short of miraculous, and that the root cause of my symptoms had absolutely nothing to do with my SANE diet up to that point.  There are things that can make you {very} sick that are not related to diet.  Furthermore, had I not been on a SANE (or similar real-food-no-crap) diet I would have been a lot sicker.

I confess that I am both mad as hell and happy as a clam that this whole riddle was solved with just blood tests, spit tests, poop tests, and all in just a matter of weeks.  Had I known at age 10 what I have found out now my life would have unfolded in a completely different (better!) way.  But that’s another story for another blog post.

Let’s dive in!



Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • DaveYou go girl! I do hate suspense, though.ReplyCancel

  • DavidFW1960You are such a tease :)ReplyCancel

  • SusanI’m really looking forward to seeing your test results and getting all the details. Thank you so much for sharing and best of luck…ReplyCancel

  • HeidiAnxiously awaiting the next post!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy P.Not fair! I was hanging on to every word …. ready to dive in. Then nothing. That is so not right! :o)ReplyCancel

  • WrenYou got me on the edge of my seat! This is all very interesting. Thanks for the link to Dr. 6-pack.ReplyCancel

  • FiHi Carrie,
    I’ve searched your site for some way of contacting you, to no avail.
    I’m in the UK and would like my hubby to receive similar testing to what you have gone thru. He’s presenting with a LOT of non-specific auto-immune disorder type ailments. We’re in Surrey near London but happy to travel for the right recommendation. You don’t mention the names of the Naturopaths you’ve met with altho I’ve msgd Dr Nailman on FB.
    Happy to contact your Naturopaths directly to see if they have UK contacts/recommendations – Appreciate any assistance you can give in directing our enquiry, ML Fi xxReplyCancel

    • carrieFi!! I am so sorry I missed this – you somehow ended up in the spam bucket – RUDE!!! Email me at cb @

  • WeaverGraceI just finished listening to you on Jimmy Moore’s podcast. You and I are so much alike. My blog includes something about what my migraines and bipolar were like a few years ago. I’m continuing to search for practitioners who can help me find the cause.

    I’m hoping that you specify which tests you used. If so, then I’ll find them as I continue through your precious blog posts. If not, will you please email them to me? Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Androula GrayHi Carrie,

    I just watched your talk on your bi polar journey, which was very moving and insightful. My son suffers from bi polar and is in a very dark place at the moment and is often suicidal, it’s heart breaking watching a intelligent young man disintegrate. He is taking Quitiapin at the moment but it doesn’t seem to be helping and he has also taken Lamtrogine in the past.
    I was hoping you could give me a list of the testing you had, so maybe it could help him. I’m very familiar with the keto side as I’ve been on that journey for the past couple of years.
    The MTHFR test, can that been done by post and will that show breaks in neurological pathways, or is that some other test? Also how many food sensitivities did you have tested, was it the minimum or the maximum as the price varies considerably? And any other tests you may of had that could be helpful.
    Thank you.

    Kind Regards