Mulligan.

I legit believed that going to visit my parents for a week would give me the time and opportunity to finish putting together a keto meal plan, recipe archive, and grocery lists. So foolhardy!

I always forget that the first 2 days in Colorado are eaten up by travel and altitude sickness and the last one is also eaten by travel.  I also tend to forget that “visiting my parents” actually means visiting my parents.  It doesn’t mean “dropping my kid off with my parents and taking the opportunity to finish doing a lot of work.”

I have to say that I’m incredibly proud of myself — both for going on this trip and for the way that I handled a ton of situations while I was there. I flew twice with my 3 year old, without anyone else on the plane with us, and everything went well. (We even got compliments!)  I saw my parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, cousin, and aunt, and despite the millionty reasons that PTSD, GAD, or depression could have thoroughly hijacked our good time, I managed to leave town on good terms with everyone, and only had a couple of less-than-optimal moments. I managed to leave the room, collect myself, and cool down instead of being immediately reactive and escalating anything. I asked probing questions and listened to the answer to see if what someone was intending to communicate was, in fact, what I actually understood. I used the butterfly technique successfully when necessary.

So, I have no regrets about not starting the ketogenic diet today.  I could have done it anyway and tried flying by the seat of my pants, but every website I have read with regard to this WOE (Way Of Eating, for those not in diet discussion circles) says that careful planning and execution are the keys to success… and even though it means 1 more week of the SAD (Standard American Diet), I’m not wasting any energy on being disappointed in myself.

TBH, I’ve been too busy today alternating between schvitzing like a refrigerated can of coke on an August day in Memphis and suddenly having intense chills and seizing. Thank goodness I’m back in IL and can take an edible that I know works to make it stop. Heck, once the temperature goes above 85, I’m not really good to anyone outside unless I have the right medication and am wearing the proper equipment…

Which brings me to my yearly reminder for anyone who has MS: GET SOME COOLING PRODUCTS SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.  You’ll thank yourself.  I wholeheartedly recommend these guys, but there are plenty of other retailers out there with cooling equipment options. I’m still in love with my under-boob corset of cold and neck wrap.

And now I’m going to get back to work on the diet stuff, because Henry is enjoying Blaze and the Monster Machines, and nobody knows how long this “downtime” will last.

Wishing you the most enjoyable day possible on our national day of outdoor grilling and mourning loved ones.

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Ke(y)to Happiness?

The other day, I made a comparison chart for 7 diets that I had considered trying or had actually tried in an effort to improve my MS. It ended up getting featured on Modern Day MS, which is pretty cool.

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I am almost certain that the diet that I need to be on is the traditional ketogenic diet. It’s ostensibly the best diet for overcoming NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease). This graphic outlines 7 ways that being in ketosis can help you, and I need help with all seven things!  

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Unfortunately, despite my logical brain knowing that this is a good idea, the most of me is absolutely dreading this shift. I will miss the convenience of restaurant food and delivery very much. I will miss comfort foods. I will miss the quiet calm of not having to justify my nutritional choices to others or to myself. (Because, let’s be real, the constant chatter and fretting of Anxiety will happen no matter what, and it’ll do its damnedest to make me question myself every bite along the way.)

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I think one of the hardest things about changing my way of eating at the moment is the fact that I have a precocious three-year-old who survives primarily on Goldfish crackers, peanut butter Ritz Bits, chicken nuggets, French fries, and various fruits. Honestly, reading that, I feel Shame. (“Big S” shame. Toxic shit.) Of course, like anyone seriously considering this diet, I watched The Magic Pill on Netflix, and felt like a terrible parent.

My boy is 39 inches tall and nearly 40 lb. I don’t know that changing his diet is the right thing to do – but, I do know that I will absentmindedly snack on Chex Mix if I’m serving it to him. If I’m genuinely convinced by the science surrounding the ketogenic diet — about it being the optimal way for humans to eat — why would I continue to feed my child a diet that is likely to set him up for type 2 diabetes in the future?

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My little ham.

Why am I so filled with anxiety over justifying these nutritional choices even to myself? Do I just like sugar that much? And, why is it so damn hard for me to just be part of normal society? Isn’t it enough that I’ve got a majillion chronic illnesses? Do I need more social isolation? Do I really have to make my life even more difficult? 

And will it just make life more difficult, or will it actually work?

If it works, it could make things so much better for us. I want to be able to imagine a future free from complications of NAFLD, hypertension, high cholesterol, and depression and anxiety. I’m honestly a little giddy over the thought of raising my seizure threshold. If I actually believe the science regarding how my physical health should improve, then it’s absolutely worth it…

Unfortunately, I have doubts. And it’s reasonable that I have doubts! Scientists sometimes lie for money. I did everything I was told by my doctors regarding diet for most of my life, which meant eating lots of low-fat, high complex carb food, which has, in part, led to the health that I am currently experiencing.

I feel so hopeless and depressed.  Living in a post-fact society, I have no idea who is trustworthy.  I want to feel empowered and excited. I want to inspire you to come of a journey of health and rebirth with me, knowing that the outcome will be stellar and worth the emotional investment.

The truth, however, is that I’m having a really hard time even being motivated right now, and so I’m looking for as many credible studies as I can find. Like these… and these… and this. It’s easy to find pieces challenging it.

My therapist isn’t much help with my depression these days. She says I have all the tools in my tool box.  It’s all up to me.  Well, either it’s all up to me to take the best possible actions or it’s time to find a new therapist, which may also be one of those positive actions, depending on whether or not I’m able to continue to hold myself together. To be totally honest, the idea that I could have “beaten” my mental illnesses sort of cracks me up when I legit had to do EMDR butterfly hugs just this morning.  

Still, I know meditation and my actions are only part of the equation.  Major depression is a biological disease affected by MS and caused by brain inflammation. Oh, and btw, “[p]eople with depression who [experience] suicidal thoughts … exhibit significantly higher levels of TSPO, … indicating inflammation of the brain.” [source] I’ve only visited that thought pattern a few billion times. 

But, guys — guess what is decreased when you’re on a ketogenic diet? Brain inflammation. [source]

So, I will start this diet on Memorial Day whether I feel like it or not.

I am ready to feel better. I want to be happier and lighter-hearted and thinner and to live longer for my boy. I’m just not looking forward to the hard part.

I’m glad to be reading Barbara Applebaum’s book Be Your Own Superhero. It’s really helping me with motivation right now.

Also in a positive direction, I have logged out of Facebook in Chrome on my telephone, and I will not log back in. So, now I not only do not have the app, but I have to actively log in on Chrome or open up my laptop if I want to immerse myself in other people’s opinions, problems, and other random bullshit.

I decided I’m tired of putting myself in harm’s way, and with the knowledge that real life is triggering my PTSD on its own, (Thanks, Dominionists!) I don’t need to poke the bear. I want to use my time better.

So, I’m using that time to craft a month-long meal plan with recipes. I’ll have a plan for ~1400 calories/day for me and one for whatever Adam’s ideal calorie count happens to be. I’m guessing ~1800.

Let me know if you want to do it with us.