Can Keto Diet Help Manage Epilepsy? Jade Nelson Tells Us Her Experience
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In this article, DISCOVER:
- Jade's healing journey from epilepsy
- how the ketogenic diet transformed her life
- the foods she incorporates into her diet (and the ones she avoids)
- Jade's best advice to women facing similar challenges
1. Please tell us the story of your health issues.
In the summer of 1987, I had my first seizure a month shy of my eighth birthday.
During the spring of 1988, I had a brain biopsy that determined I had a scar on the left side of my temporal lobe. I was officially diagnosed with Epilepsy.
Over the next 30 years, I would try over 10 medications, spend time in various hospitals and have many periods of being seizure free. The longest period was 6 years but in the end, I would always have a seizure and I felt like I was starting over.
My journey has been a long one but through it all, I knew I was strong enough to handle it. That even on the bad days I knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. I just had to keep looking, I had to keep creating a life for myself, and I had to get out of bed every morning because that alone was an accomplishment.
Fast forward to 2014….
I had a seizure during swim practice and thus began another round of medication changes. I became very sick in the process. I ended up losing over 25 pounds, had every side effect imaginable, and was eventually diagnosed with stomach gastritis. For the first time in my life, I truly felt like giving up.
In late 2015 I received a call from my little sister saying “you need to look into the ketogenic diet”. This is where the story takes a turn and I would finally see what living truly meant.
I went to my doctor and said: “please take me off this medication, I want to try the ketogenic diet”.
He sent me away with a titration schedule, the Charlie Foundation website and told me 'don’t eat more than 50 grams of carbohydrates and as much protein as you want.'
For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful and I had a purpose and it was “to heal myself”. I would end up spending a year figuring it out. I spent hours researching, reading and looking for new recipes that were keto compliant.
During this time I started an Instagram account sharing my journey while looking for others like myself. I struggled in ways I never thought possible physically and emotionally. But I kept pushing forward because I wanted a “new normal”. Over time, the diet brought control to my Epilepsy disorder allowing me to begin lowering my medication. I also had the benefits of decreased muscle pain and inflammation, balanced moods, clear skin and more clarity and focus when it came to my brain.
2. How did real food or nutrition help you in your healing journey?
It became the missing piece of my healing puzzle that allowed me to tap into better brain function and move beyond the struggles of my diagnosis. Using food as my medicine became the missing piece that led to optimal health for myself.
Can keto diet help manage epilepsy? Check out this personal story.
3. Could you give us a quick list of foods you incorporate into your diet and the foods you avoid?
What I Avoid
all sugars (yes even natural sugars)
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4. What do you wish you knew when you were diagnosed?
Honestly, there isn’t anything I wish I knew because I believe each person’s journey of healing is uniquely individual and plays a large role in who we are. My experiences failures and triumphs made me who I am and I wouldn’t change a thing. But if I had to give one thing, it would be that I had discovered the Ketogenic Diet much earlier.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to other women facing similar challenges, what would it be?
Know that you are stronger than you think. Don’t give up, don’t lie down and don’t stop trying to find your “new normal”. Make healing your full-time job. Make time to research, read and educate yourself about your diagnosis. Living with a lifelong diagnosis can make you feel like you have lost control but taking responsibility for your own health is the most empowering thing you can do. Become an active participant in your care!
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Any questions for Jade? Share them in the comments below.
Jade Nelson is the author of My Keto Tool kit, an eBook on how to begin your ketogenic journey. She has lived all over the country but currently resides in Austin, Texas the city known for keeping it weird. She spends much of her time educating and empowering others on the benefits of low carb, high fat, moderate protein diets. Jade is also a motivational speaker, writer, and health coach who believes we all have the potential to heal. When not helping others, Jade can be found traveling and having wild & free adventures.
Do you want to be featured next? If you are a woman who have/had chronic illness with real food success and healing story to share, email me [Mary] at email@example.com. If you choose to be anonymous, that's fine, too.