This is my October update, a little late…
I have continued to stick with the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) as a seizure therapy. I’ve been on it for 4 months and it continues to go well.
This month I had a few bumps in the road. My seizures are still well controlled. However, I’ve noticed it is getting a little harder on some days to stick with the diet. The most difficult thing is the fact that I feel like I’m always thinking about food and what I’m going to eat next! Towards the end of the day I’m thinking did I get enough fat, carbs, protein, and fiber today? I’m not measuring portions as much, but it is still often enough that it makes me focus on food. I still use the Carb Manager app to track these things, but it makes me crazy to always have food on my mind. Some people meal plan for their week or at least 3 days at a time. I found this hard to do because on some days what I planned a couple of days ago doesn’t sound good. I use Carb Manager to plan food one day at a time, but again this keeps me thinking about food.
Earlier in the month I got a little bit sick with a stomach bug. First of all, when you get sick often times seizures can get worse. If you have escalated seizures, one of the first things neurology will ask you about is if you have been sick or think you’re getting sick. When I know I’m getting sick I tend to worry because I know my seizures will get worse. They could be worse for a short time or weeks after being sick. Getting back to baseline after being sick is a challenge.
Unfortunately, because I was sick I did have a few more small seizures over the course of the 4-5 days I wasn’t feeling well. I haven’t been having any seizures during waking hours, but on a few of those sick days I had a few small motor seizures during the day. Since I don’t get sick very often I’m kind of a chicken and hardly know what to do with myself. Being sick was nothing like it used to be before this diet therapy. I got through the sickness much better than I used to with minimal seizures. I’m so thankful for that!
Because my stomach was bothering me, my eating was off. Since I couldn’t eat my usual comfort foods like chicken noodle soup, something simple like saltine crackers or toast, I had to get creative. As I’ve mentioned throughout this journey I’m a person who finds a few foods I like and rotates them. I did get concerned because of the high fat and my upset stomach. I wasn’t sure how I could keep my fat to carbs plus protein up to a ratio of 1:1 and remain in ketosis. I tested my ketones once a day over those 4-5 days and was always in the correct range that has worked so far. The nutritionist also gave me some good ideas. It has been so great to have someone to consult and learn from as I figure this diet out.
So what did I find to eat?
First, I ate a lot of eggs with butter. I left out the sausage and bacon I usually eat in the morning. I was able to eat a little Greek yogurt.
Second, we got creative made an egg drop soup.
1 tsp. of Better Than Boullion
1 cup of water
2 oz. of canned chicken
I also ate the 5 carb taco shells that I enjoy, whole wheat CarbBalance. It is a good source of fiber. I put cinnamon, butter and Swerve on it. I haven’t had to use a fiber supplement much but over the days I wasn’t feeling well I did.
I also switched over to unsweetened almond milk and have been drinking one or two glasses a day with 2-3 Tbsp. of heavy whipping cream. I didn’t used to like almond milk, but as I wrote last month I have to enjoy the small things and not miss the foods I can no longer eat.
Another challenge this month was the fact that the joints in my toes have been sore. I went to primary care doctor and she didn’t really have answers. We did some blood tests and tested for gout, but everything was fine. I was referred to an orthopedist but we didn’t learn much there either. However, the x-rays didn’t show any signs of arthritis. I posted a question up on the Modified Adkins Diet for Seizures support Facebook group about whether or not joint pain was part of this diet. One person responded and she does have sore toes off and on. Her doctor thought maybe what she had going on was gout, but wasn’t sure. To try to lessen her joint pain she looked up foods to avoid or eat in moderation if you have gout. She encouraged me to do some of my own research. Everything I can eat and other suggestions to avoid is on the list I discovered with my research. I’ve been mixing it up a little more alternating chicken and beef. I don’t know that it makes a difference. However, I’d take sore toes over seizures any day!
I had one night this month that I woke with seizures. Thankfully it didn’t last long, but it did throw me for a loop. We’ve decided in the last 4 months, at least once or twice a month I do wake up in the night from seizures. For the most part, I sleep through any seizures I may having. I always check my ketones for the next couple days if I notice a seizure. When I’ve had seizures, my ketones have been a bit low. Over the past week I’ve decided that I need to up my fat so that I’m closer to a 1:1.3 ratio to stay in a higher ketosis.
I made chocolate chip fat bombs to get a quick boost of fat. This makes about 9 servings, but I eat 2/3 of a serving. There are 2 carbs in one fat bomb and 14 grams of fat.
¾ c. whipping cream
½ c. butter
¾ c. Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour
¼ c. Swerve
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. sugar free 85% dark chocolate chips
Store the fat bombs in the freezer
Also, to satisfy my candy cravings at Halloween I found sugar free Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1 carb each) on Amazon. So good!! This was my favorite candy previous to this diet (not sugar free of course). I also enjoy the Atkins chocolate coconut bars (2 carbs). They taste much like a Mounds candy bar. I also found sugar free Peppermint York Patties. I look forward to trying those sometime too.
We had a conference at church this month. Friday night was when I woke from seizures. In the past when I had a night like that, I would not feel like going somewhere early the next morning. This diet has changed my life so much because I was able to attend the conference early Saturday morning. I was a little tired, but I made it.
My weight loss has slowed down some but I continue to lose. I feel better just from the weight loss.
As some of you know last May I started a handmade card business. It has been slow, but over the past couple weeks I’ve had some good opportunities to get the cards out there. Larry Myers at River Ridge Hardware is now selling my cards at his store. Last week a florist from California whom I made a small order for a few months ago contacted me for more cards.
I’ve also been volunteering remotely for Focus on the Family and their Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) children’s radio drama for the past couple years. Volunteering for them has been a great opportunity! I work with a team of other volunteers across the country who are also remote. We market AIO through our social media accounts. I’ve been able to volunteer more closely (still remote) with the AIO marketing team. This month they beta tested their Club Membership app. I had the opportunity to help with collecting the data.
I took the membership class at church this past month too. This is a big deal for me because that would’ve been hard to do when I was having more seizures. The class was during the early church service and it was always hard for me to get up early. I’m still a huge fan of second service, but being able to attend that class was just one more step to a more “normal” life. I’ve continued to be able to keep up and participate in things, still confident I don’t have to worry about having a seizure. I have always needed a nap in the afternoons and now I can make it through most days without one if I have to. The dog on the other hand misses our snuggle time in the afternoon and loves her routine! Let’s be honest everyone loves a nap.
Every month I’m getting more of my life back. I am thankful to have time and feel well enough to enjoy all the new opportunities I’ve been given. Life is not perfect and this month especially had its challenges but it was so minor in comparison to the daily seizures I used to have.
Thank you for continuing on this journey with me. I look forward to writing my November and December updates as I learn how to enjoy this new diet over the holidays.