Ep.21: Epilepsy, Anxiety with Jennifer


Ep.21: Epilepsy, Anxiety with Jennifer

00:00 / 00:51:00
Between the lowered anxiety and the improved sleep, I'm like, "This is my life now. I'm keeping this forever."

Conditions Reversed

Epilepsy, Insomnia, Anxiety



Episode Notes:

[1:35] Jennifer shares her health background, which includes seizures since the age of 12. Her seizures are partial seizures, not grand mal seizures.

[3:00] Jennifer was actually diagnosed with epilepsy in her 20s. Jennifer was put on a slew of medications.

[4:05] Jennifer was already taking the maximum dosage of Keppra for seizure control (it was not working; she was still having seizures) when her doctor recommended upping the dose. Also, she was on a bunch of other medications to control horrible side effects (anxiety, insomnia): she was even on SSRIs.

[4:45] Jennifer had read about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy and had brought that idea up to her neurologist several times. Her neurologist always shot the idea down.

[5:20] When her neurologist upped Jennifer’s meds again (in 2017, at age 41), Jennifer researched the ketogenic diet for epilepsy further via The Charlie Foundation. She went out and got groceries which matched the macronutrient requirements (80% fat, 15% protein, 5% carbohydrate). She started eating that way.

[6:50] Jennifer typically had 6-10 seizures per month. Since starting the ketogenic diet (over 3.5 years ago as of recording), she has not had another seizure.

[9:40] Jennifer weighed almost 290 pounds when she started keto.

[12:25] Jennifer lays out a lot of specific ways her life has gotten better since adopting a ketogenic diet. This even includes shedding aphasia and improved short-term memory.

[15:15] Jennifer weighed 287 pounds prior to starting keto; now she typically weighs between 127 and 130 pounds.

[16:15] Jennifer’s doc not only recommended more and more meds, but she had also recommended a surgery to remove part of her brain!! Her medical care staff would have removed part of her brain before recommending a change in diet.

[20:15] After never supporting keto, Jennifer even found out later that her care system even had a ketogenic nutrition specialist on staff. And still they did not support it.

[22:15] What foods make up the bulk of Jennifer’s ketogenic diet?

[26:40] After 2 years of a largely traditional ketogenic diet (approximately 80% fat, 15% protein, 5% carbs), Jennifer tweaked her diet to increase protein. She now eats more of a Modified Atkins Diet approach (approximately 65% fat, 30% protein, 5% carbs).

[32:30] How did Jennifer’s anxiety and insomnia change after adopting a ketogenic diet?

[35:00] Jennifer got into powerlifting. She turned her addiction to food into an addiction to endorphins.

[36:05] “Between the lowered anxiety and the improved sleep, I’m like, ‘This is my life now. I’m keeping this forever.'”

[37:05] How did Jennifer’s family and friends respond to her transformation?

[38:50] Jennifer’s best friend started keto two years ago and got rid of her migraines. (Notably, her friend had been taking Topamax, which Jennifer used to take for seizures.)

[40:10] Jennifer’s mom started keto in July 2019. She was able to come off hypertension and asthma medications (she had chronic asthma). Another of Jennifer’s friends has adopted a ketogenic diet and gotten rid of PCOS symptoms.

[42:40] On her journey to health, what have some of the challenges been?

[45:50] Now that she has improved her health, what is one thing Jennifer enjoys doing that she couldn’t do before?

[48:35] Where can Jennifer be reached? She is active on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KetoHiking and via email at ketohiking@gmail.com

[50:00] For learning more about a ketogenic approach to treating epilepsy, Jennifer recommends The Charlie Foundation, this Johns Hopkins website, and Matthew’s Friends.


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