i’ve been debating posting about this for a while because i didn’t know how to approach it.
to begin, i hate the idea of “diets.” whatever you eat regularly is by definition your diet, but “diets” – in air bunnies (0:51) – are a completely different beast. to me, “diets” are imbued with the stigma of being temporary, often drastic, and steeped in self-dissatisfaction. as a rule, then, i don’t “diet.” and even my general diet is rather flexible, albeit a bit plain, since i can only successfully cook a handful of items anyway.
i know a lot of athletes who ascribe to specific ways of eating, most of them with fancy names – Paleo, IF, CBL, IIFYM, and the list goes on and on. with the exception of cutting weight for my meet a few months ago, i don’t eat in any particular way outside of being a creature of habit.
i start meet prep this coming week. i’m not worried about making weight in april, since now that i’ve been down that road once i know what to expect. but i’m about to make a pretty drastic change to my diet regardless, and it has nothing to do with weight.
ketogenic diets have been shown (i.e., here) to be quite successful in helping children who have epilepsy that doesn’t respond to medication or other traditional treatments. and although it is rarely prescribed for adults, it has also been successful for many who have tried.
my seizures began a little over 13 years ago. it took nearly two years to get them under control with the right mix of medications. but they kept coming back, most notable when i was 26 and had been seizure-free and unmedicated for several years. i responded well to a new medication, but then six months later when my mom died, i had nearly a dozen seizures in just over a week.
we have never been able to pinpoint a biological cause. they’re unpredictable, sporadic, and brief – nearly impossible to catch while i happen to be hooked up to an EEG, although lord knows we’ve tried. and every time they come back after a long hiatus, they’re just a bit worse than the time before.
towards the end of the semester i started having auras that never manifested themselves into full-blown seizures. usually when that happens it means i’m on the brink of another cluster, but so far **knock on wood!** so good. it’s been almost two years since my last cluster of seizures, and i’d like to keep that streak intact.
which is why i’ve decided to embark on the very fat-y and protein-y journey of Project: Going Keto. i’ve been reading a lot about it the past few months – ever since my first aura – and i figure, it can’t hurt. if i start to really feel like crap from the lack of carbs, there are plenty of athletes who successfully incorporate carb-cycling into an otherwise ketogenic diet. because while trying to get a grip on my seizures is of utmost importance, my training and my sport and my ability to function daily with a high energy level are also crucial.
so i’m going to give it a whirl. i’ll keep an eye on my blood panels and how my body and mind feel, and i’m really hoping this will be a good move. but if it’s not – if i feel terrible or i start seizing anyway – i’ll go back to eating my normal way and call it a well-intended experiment.
but until then, i’m saying some prayers to the P:GK gods that the auras will stop, the seizures will stay away, and i’ll learn to love ground beef and eggs as much as i love cookies.