David Brown

Brain fog and anxiety

For years Company Director David Brown struggled with lethargy, forgetfulness, anxiety and depression. He discovered he has an intolerance to egg white and egg yolk. Since eliminating them from his diet, his symptoms have disappeared and says he feels ‘reborn’

Hard work and a determination to expand his transport company is paying off for David Brown. Since starting out in 2010 with him and a van moving large, heavy and fragile items, the business has been steadily growing and he’s added more drivers and vans to his fleet, which has given him the freedom to be based in his office.

David, 39, admits that the commitment this requires has taken up all his time and energy, so his personal life has had to take a back seat.

“I’ve never been married and don’t have children, but I met someone last month, and while it is very early days, things are going very well.”

Happy, energised and full of enthusiasm for the future, it’s hard to believe that things were looking very different for David a few months ago. Working long hours was taking its toll on his health; he felt constantly tired and lethargic and complained of a ‘brain fog’ that made it difficult to focus and think clearly, which was jeopardising his expansion plans.

David recalls, “I noticed my fatigue, irritability, confusion, lack of focus and motivation becoming a problem around the same time I employed my first driver in March 2014.

"Looking back, this must have been a coincidence, but I went from driving ten to 12 hours a day without any problems, to becoming very tired and unmotivated since becoming office based and spending my days staring at a computer screen.

"This also had an impact on relationships as I was always angry and irritable. On top of this, I often felt anxious and depressed.”

David tried to eat healthily and exercise regularly to banish his lethargy and tiredness – a struggle after his working day. During workouts at the gym, lifting weights brought on dizziness, even if it wasn’t a particularly strenuous workout.

“I visited the doctors on several occasions and my blood was tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as diabetes. I also had my eyes tested to see if that was the cause of my fatigue as I was staring at a computer screen all day. A minor issue was found and since then I’ve worn reading glasses, but unfortunately this made no difference.

“Beginning an egg-free diet wasn’t easy as I had no idea just how many foods contain it! My previous attempt to eat well had consisted of eating lots of eggs, so unbeknownst to me, I was sabotaging my efforts.

"When I started to explain my symptoms to the nutritionist, she used the phrase ‘brain fog’ which immediately resonated with me. I thought, yes, that’s exactly what it is, like my brain is immersed in fog.”

David looked it up later and it was as if the symptoms were written for him. “It was a huge relief to have a diagnosis and to realise I wasn’t alone and there were ways to tackle it.”

Despite his new-found awareness of his issues, David admits that at first he didn’t commit wholeheartedly to an elimination diet, although he stopped eating eggs and mayonnaise.

But as he carried out more research, became more knowledgeable and discovered handy mobile apps to help him avoid his trigger ingredients, he resolved to have the willpower to stick to it.

“Funnily enough, I haven’t found it as hard as I thought to make the changes. Shopping and preparing meals isn’t too tough, but I am more concerned about convenience than taste and variety!

I am sure that with a little more imagination, my diet could be more varied, but I live alone and rarely have the urge to cook from scratch just for myself and I am fine with being a bit ‘boring’. I tend to have porridge for breakfast, sandwiches with egg-free salad cream for lunch and tea is chicken breast with steamed vegetables or steak and chips, or sometimes a carefully selected microwave meal.

"I keep an eye out for millet when reading ingredients, but haven’t found it in the things I buy. I avoid seeded bread just in case though.”

It didn’t take long before David noticed the difference in his symptoms. “After about ten days of being 100 per cent egg free, not only was the brain fog lifting, but my anxiety and depression also seemed to fade. This was a revelation for me, as I never in a million years expected such a complete and total change in my health.

"I honestly felt reborn, like my brain had been taken out, thoroughly cleaned and serviced, then popped back in!

“I am sharper, more motivated, focused and can think so clearly. I no longer get flustered or confused when things are getting stressful and most unexpected of all, my anxiety has gone.

"I can watch the news without becoming convinced that it’s the end of the world as we know it, I can be in a room full of people and not feel uncomfortable and finally enjoy deep conversations and debates with friends or family without becoming tongue-tied and flustered.

"Most importantly of all, I’m happy. All this from not eating eggs – I never would have believed it unless I’d experienced it.

"It is hard to put into words – I am a different person and the brain fog, anxiety and depression have now disappeared. I feel reborn and finally have my life back.”