The Keto Diet & Recovery After A Stroke

I reviewed my friend Hilary’s book about her “new normal” after surviving a stroke at the relatively young age of 51 three years ago. As you would imagine, Hilary’s life changed in an instant. She had to contend with her altered appearance and independence due to challenges with her mobility. In the last 3 years, Hilary has worked very hard in concert with her doctors and therapists to get to the stage now where she can move largely unassisted and can once again perform basic self-care tasks. In her book, Hilary explained very clearly what strokes are and how they are caused. And I started to think. You see, in the last year and seven months that I have changed my diet to the keto diet, I have discovered a direct link between the food we eat and our health. The keto diet was originally conceived and implemented as part of the treatment protocol for epilepsy, a disease of the brain. My own improved general health while eating the keto way, prompted me to do some digging, and I have discovered links between keto and other diseases and conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, PCOS , high blood pressure and even mental health. So could the keto diet be useful in the road to recovery for survivors of stroke?

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Can The Keto Diet Help My Depression?

Low-carb and Invincible!” was my declaration one morning several years ago on Twitter. I was only a few days into cutting carbs from my diet on one of my many, many attempts to lose weight by going low-carb. I remember exactly how I felt. I was in a stressful job at the time, stressful because of the organisational politics and shitty personalities that I had to navigate daily as I tried valiantly to lead my team and deliver. That particular morning, my mind was crystal clear. I was able to focus with lazer-sharp precision. I was more decisive than usual and I was effortlessly channeling my inner and most times hidden “pleasant-yet-firm-and-direct” self. I felt the difference.

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Alzheimer’s, aka Diabetes Type 3! Could keto help?

Alzheimer’s has a face. And unfortunately, many of us know what s/he looks like. My late Grandma lived with dementia. She never got a formal diagnosis, but she lost her short term memory and soon failed to recognise her own children. All of her sisters bar one lived with dementia. Her father lived with dementia. Bringing it closer to my generation, at least 2 of her 3 daughters are now displaying symptoms associated with dementia. On my father’s side of the family, one of his brothers is living with dementia. His sister in law is living with dementia.

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Food: Medicine OR Weapon? *it’s complicated*

The subject of food and food choices is one that continues to fascinate.  There are whole TV channels dedicated to food. Culture and food are so closely intertwined and explorations into both have been the basis of some of the most interesting documentaries ever made; think Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Parts Unknown. We need food to fuel our bodies and keep us alive. But food is more than a means to an end. What we eat, why we eat it and the traditions around these choices bring people together, help us to get to know each other, differentiate us and define us.

I have been on the keto diet for over 14 months now. I wanted to lose weight, and I knew that from past experience, the best way for me to lose weight was to drop carbs from my diet. Whenever I went low-carb, the pounds came off AND I felt more “aligned” within myself. I wasn’t sure why or how, but I knew that I was in a better place overall when I eschewed carbs. I started chronicling my own journey on Instagram. I decided to commit to this low-carb way of eating, but in order to make it sustainable, I knew it had to satisfy two conditions:

  1. I must never be hungry
  2. My food had to be delicious and satisfying.

I also figured that going public would be a great way to hold myself accountable. Continue reading Food: Medicine OR Weapon? *it’s complicated*

Keto, diabetes and cholesterol: Beyond weight loss.

What if I told you diabetes could be reversed without drugs? What if I told you cholesterol could come down without drugs? Well there are living, breathing examples on the planet where this has happened. And it hasn’t happened at the expense of their general well-being and feelings of being satisfied either. Eschew all thoughts of strict, painful eating regimes where you are relegated to bowls of undressed lettuce leaves and gallons of almond milk (I happen to like lettuce and almond milk, but I like them with my steak and cheese and coffee and butter). These people are adherents to the keto (short for ketogenic) diet and not only have they have lost weight, but they’ve had some pretty awesome changes in other areas of their lives. Serious chronic illnesses have totally disappeared in some instances!

Continue reading Keto, diabetes and cholesterol: Beyond weight loss.