Bacon as a way of life

So my beloved says to me, “look at how far you have come,” related to my diet.  Indeed.  When we first met I was eating gluten-free, low sugar and fat, largely organic, and sweetener-free, and dairy-free foods.  I cooked a lot and was very particular what I ate at restaurants, often bringing my own nuts or dressings.  Supplements?  Yeah, in due time with my new doctor at the helm my pill box burgeoned to over 60 doses of something per day!  Then part of the story got crazier . . .

As severe illness set in, the supplements would change and almost disappear as time went on.  I could not tolerate any supplements at all after a brief hiatus required during overnight testing at the Epilepsy Center, University of Indianapolis Methodist Hospital.  By then I had added a low oxalate and Candida diet too.  After A YEAR on all of this with daily bone broth too, my brain fog cleared and my gut started to heal.  They say that 95% of your immune system is in your gut.  Perhaps part of your brain health is there as well?  (Now that last part could lend itself to some embarrassing teasing if I stay here too long.  Let’s move on!)

When dental pain increased, my nutritional sustenance all went into the VitaMix for about 6 weeks.  I became the master of the pureed diet and many soups, sauces, smoothies, etc.  My gut health slowed yet the convulsive episodes triggered by chewing diminished.   Gradually I got back to a chopped diet which is where I remain, 4 weeks post surgery for the extraction of two root-canaled teeth.  Healing continues.  It is wonderful to be able to chew better!

Then the convulsive episodes that had diminished some returned to their prior level:  2 to 5 hours per day.  So sad.  Over three years into this time of serious illness and still no one has figured out how to stop them.  I fasted for 24-hours, drinking only water and praying when my brain cells fired in the right direction.  The episodes stopped.  As intense hunger pangs overtook my weakness I decided to break the fast with an apple:  easy to digest and surely a boost to my low blood sugar.  I did not expect what followed.  One of the most violent types of convulsive episodes started my beloved hubby out of a sound sleep and sent me into an enlightened frenzy.  Enlightened?  Yes, this episode was triggered by glucose!

That night and the days thereafter I quickly ventured into a ketogenic diet.  I found a couple of Facebook Groups on the subject and the App they recommended to get me started.  A few days into the new direction a gal from one of the groups contacted me to clarify something:  was I using the diet for weight loss or medical reasons?  The grams of protein/carbohydrates/fats or “macros” are different with each type of ketogenic diet.  For both programs a person consumes very little carb grams yet for weight loss you eat more protein than fat; for medical ketosis to occur you must focus on more fats than proteins.  But it is in consuming very little carbs (I eventually got to 21 total grams) that the body is forced to utilize fats for energy instead of carbs.  The body then produces ketones that can often be picked up in a simple urine stick test or special blood glucose meter that includes ketones.  Ketones are hypothesized to stop or reduce seizures and may even help treat dementia in the elderly.

This week I reached ketosis.  My breath got bad and another tell-tale symptom appeared that is too much for even the transparency of this blog post!  It took me three weeks to get here and it could take a minimum of 2 months, usually 4-6 months, to see if the ketogenic diet will help me at all.  I am willing to try.  Heck, I already have a very restricted diet anyways.  And who doesn’t like (uncured, unsmoked) bacon?  The MyFitnessPal App is a gift from the Lord in managing this.  I would recommend it and their Facebook to everyone on a diet where a person must track macros.

So how about the blessings in all of this?  Surely there were some?  Indeed Gentle Reader.  You know me well!  You see I researched the ketogenic diet two years ago and periodically thereafter but could not find a local neurologist or dietician to guide me.  Close medical oversight including lab tests every three months are needed in addition to the periodic self-monitoring via urine or blood sticks.  Help has arrived just at the right time.  Briefly, check this out:

My first week venturing into the food plan, the gal who messaged me off Facebook just happened to be a retired nurse from the neurosurgery center at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  She manages her own true epilepsy in part with this diet.  Did you know that the only medical center in the USA with a dietary research and treatment center for adults with epilepsy is at John Hopkins?  I knew that and was ecstatic to spend that first Saturday night receiving mentoring from my “guardian angel” named Vicki.  Thank you Lord!

Around this same time I researched a foundation known to assist children with true epilepsy.  Maybe they would have some new information?  Oh yeah, a medical center close to our home in a smaller town had just hired a dietician to work with children and adults in all aspects of the ketogenic diet.  She had recently attended a conference with the Charlie Foundation and was added to their list of practitioners the week before!  She manages all of the referrals, orders for lab tests, and consultations.  And Mary is very sweet to boot.  Wow, Lord.

In many ways, in many long and exhaustingly arduous ways, this new treatment direction could be one more  bunny trail in the quest to recover from this wretched illness.  O.k.  Poor me baby.  Well then again, maybe not.  Sometimes you have to do more than one task to completely recover from a serious illness.  Remember the phrase, “recovery is a jagged line?”  The Ann Landers column about life being about the journey and not the destination?  The gratitude I feel in my heart for having met you Gentle Reader?  All of the computer skills I have learned about everything from ecommerce to social media?  The deepening of my relationship with Christ?  The revelation of the Godly character of my beloved husband?  And the fact that I did not die in all of those near-death experiences?  On this day I must say that I have seen the faithfulness and blessing of the Lord at some level every single day of the past 3 1/2 years.  His promises have seen me through and rung true every single day.  I will leave you with my fav promise from another time in my life of refining fire (and a side of bacon too please, crispy as in nearly burnt.  I like it that way!)  Take care, JJ

Jeremiah 29 11, Jeremiah, hope and a future, hope, plans, trust in the Lord, Christian hope, encouragin scripture, faith, ketogenic diet, chronic ilness, Christain and disability, Hope Beyond, Julie Horney
Jeremiah 29:11

Crazy Food Combinations

Gluten free oatmeal with beef gelatin for added protein?stop messin with my head

Sautéed celery, carrots, and turkey patties with salt and marjoram?

Baked and herbed chicken thighs?

Almond butter on iceberg lettuce wrapped around a slice of leftover turkey/beef meatloaf?

Almond/coconut milk smoothie with celery, carrot, avocado, and Celtic sea salt?

Yes!  Things sure can get weird when you’re on 3 diets at once:  1)  mold-free due to mold illness, 2) Candida/low sugar and starch due to a systemic infection, and 3) low sulphur due to probable methylation issues.  And you thought trying to lose a couple of pounds for your New Year’s Resolution was challenging?  That’s kid’s stuff  in my kitchen!  At least number 3 is only for 10 days before I add back cruciferous vegetables to see if they have contributed to the noxious symptoms of the past 2 years.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll figure out how to make pancakes out of squash and coconut flour after all!

In the meantime, note the incredible power of food.  I have a true Foodie friend who was able to help her sister recover from a deadly kidney disease in record time by painstakingly altering her sister’s eating plan.  The Nephrologist was astounded at the improvements in her lab results.  Yes, food is fuel and should require more of our time and attention if we desire better performance from our bodies or health.  While I do wish that my adherence to a mold-free and Candida diet for the past year would have made more of a difference, I know that I would be FAR WORSE if I had been more lax.  I am grateful for the supernatural strength of the Lord to help me shop for, prepare, and tolerate these special foods when I have felt very sick.

Somehow I am not be surprised that the Lord cares for all of these details of my life.

Matthew 6:26  (NIV)

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

The food of the earth was created for our nourishment and enjoyment from the very beginning.

Genesis 1  (NIV)

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
He has provided so much for us so I am challenged to be a good steward of that which He has provided.  I certainly can make it through the inconvenience and “missing out” of the sweeter and juicier foods for a time if it will help me get well.  I don’t need to know how long this will last; I am just grateful that there are new approaches to try and I only have to go to my local grocery store to find them!
So if you are facing some new dietary challenges this year, take heart!  You are not alone.  The changes you are making might just change your life in more ways than you imagined.  Besides, the smell of almond slices roasting in a little organic olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt is, well, heavenly!  Try it on a salad or topping a casserole in place of cheese and see whatcha think.  ;J