Ketogenic Diet Plan & Epilepsy – – My personal experience.
The Paleo diet, Dukan diet and the ever-popular Atkins diet are based on the Ketogenic diet plan. I’ll share with you the effectiveness of Ketogenic diet and yoga for epilepsy through my own personal experiences. Stay with me to find out is epilepsy curable.
I first came across Ketogenic diets when my then 7 year old son developed benign Rolandic epilepsy and was admitted into hospital. My wife and I were given the skinny version on the diet and advised that it was not a particular healthy diet because of the high fat proportion.
But when our little boy had another episode a month later, we started to seriously consider the ketogenic diet. He was given anti epileptic drugs as well which we really did not want him on but wanted a more holistic approach to controlling the seizures. His seizures were seemingly connected to sleep deprivation. So the first thing we did was to make sure he was in bed by 8pm to be asleep, hopefully, by 8.30. His seizures happen around 11pm so that timing became the witching hour – to be avoided at all costs. Of course, we were told by doctors that he won’t suffer from seizures every time he goes to bed late but we were not taking any chance. Here was an element we could control, so control it we did.
Next came diet. As outlined in our earlier video on Ketogenic diets, the removal of carbs from our diet tricks the brain into thinking that the body is in starvation mode. Fats instead of carbs are converted into glucose for normal brain function. Glucose produced in this way appears to stop seizures or reduce the number of episodes that happen in childhood epilepsy. I also noticed that a lighter meal in the evenings meant that my son slept better. Mealtimes are around 6 in the evenings so he goes to bed with a lighter tummy. He drinks plenty of water throughout the day so he is well hydrated especially as we live in such a warm and humid climate. Interestingly, when he drinks sports drinks, they affect his sleep and lead to pre-epileptic symptoms. So watch for that. I have simply done away with carbonated drinks from his diet. He has occasional fresh juices but prefers fresh fruit instead. This works well for him.
Kiran is on a modified Ketogenic diet which is heavy on lean meats, middling on vegetables mostly raw, so salads are it and a very tiny portion of carbs in the form of potatoes, gluten free pasta and brown rice. Meals are spread out into 4 to 5 times a day instead of the traditional 3. Dairy products are eaten in small amounts even though they are allowed as part of the traditional Ketogenic diet. My son has an egg allergy, so eggs were not an option for him. But on a modified ketogenic diet plan, he started to feel and look generally better. Then we decided to explore the benefits of exercise on epilepsy. Bingo! We discovered yoga.
Yoga and meditation calms the mind and steadies the dopamine levels of the brain. When the dopamine levels were up, my son’s blink rate would increase dramatically. A gentle reminder to “Calm down and BREATHE!” wherever we were, usually did the trick. Through yoga he has found a great way to exercise and yoga has definitely helped in controlling the seizures. Yoga also has the happy result of releasing endorphins in the brain, making you feel good and happy. It reduces stress and this is a big contributing factor in managing my son’s seizures.
Please note, that we placed a cap on TV viewing and use of hand held games, computers and other electronic devices and limited it to about 30 minutes a day, all in. Plus none of the above after 6pm. There was a real difference in his sleep patterns. He slept a lot more soundly and there was less restlessness and talking in his sleep than before. He was encouraged to read and play quietly before bed so that he is quite relaxed by the time he turns in.
Let me quickly recap on how I managed my son’s epilepsy. We put him on a modified ketogenic diet, plenty of water, less to nil carbs and sugars, limited tv viewing and computer usage, regular yoga and meditation and early bedtimes. Fingers crossed, he has been off his meds for 9 months. He is still on the schedule I outlined for you in this video.
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