I have been struggling with staying on the ketogenic diet which has mostly kept my seizure under control without medication. The problem is that I cheat. A LOT. Luckily, cheating once or twice doesn’t trigger a seizure unless it is during the time my hormones fluctuate.
Another reason that I want to implement the paleo-ketogenic diet is because I don’t have ANY hair. I lost my hair to an autoimmune condition called alopecia universalis. Losing your hair as a woman just sucks.
Now, this isn’t my first attempt to cure my illness. I started with the medical community and took prednisone for a while, but there were issues with that. It made me fat and pimply and then the doctor told me I had to take a break from it to get an accurate blood test. Needless to say, my regrowth fell out during that break.
I have tried a variety of diets with no success. I started with the vegan diet, moved on to the AIP diet and the GAPS diet. But it was very difficult to commit to strict dietary guidelines when there is no hair regrowth.
Enter the Paleo Ketogenic Diet
I started hearing about the Paleomedicina group about a year ago. The diet eliminates all grains and dairy in addition to putting the body in a ketogenic state. This is incredibly difficult to start out.
My biggest issue was BUTTER. In my family, butter is a beloved ingredient. My grandfather liked both cold butter and warm butter on his oatmeal. We liked to slather butter on toast and put it on vegetables.
I rationalized that there wasn’t much lactose in butter and I rarely ate dairy. Still, I didn’t have any hair regrowth.
I finally broke down and signed up for a consultation and follow up with the Paleomedicina clinic.
My Consultation with Dr. Clemens
I loved the fact that I could consult with the doctor from my bedroom over Skype. It was very comfortable. She explained to me that the lactose in dairy is one of the worst things for autoimmune conditions.
The doctor was firm, but encouraging. I didn’t like being told that I would have to eat liver and 35 grams of fat for every 100 grams of protein. That sounded quite gross, but I had been eating liver before. I knew that I could do it.
I already knew from looking around on the internet that I would be giving up fruits and vegetables initially as my gut healed.
After the consultation, I felt confident in the mentoring that I was receiving. I felt that with the follow up that I would be able to achieve success.
I bought 4 pounds of ground beef and stocked up on liver and suet at the farmer’s market where they sell local, pastured beef. I fashioned the ground beef into patties and tossed them in the freezer for some easy meals.
The suet has to be cut and measured. I hate the taste of raw suet. I have seen vloggers talking about how wonderful it is to eat straight and I’m convinced that they have lost their minds. I have figured out that if you heat it up a bit and salt it, it becomes more palatable. It almost tastes as good as bacon. ALMOST is the keyword there.
The first few days, I felt very hungry because the amount of food that she recommends is less than I normally eat. However, I added some bone broth into the diet. That seemed to tide me over a bit.
I still don’t want to give up butter, but after 5 days on the diet, I’m feeling more comfortable with it.
Monitoring My Blood
Prior to working with Paleomedicina, I did the ketogenic diet without much measurement. This was definitely a mistake. I justified it because I knew that getting out of ketosis from time to time wouldn’t trigger a seizure. I was also lazy. I didn’t want to prick my finger and measure my blood glucose.
Well, they told me I had to do it. Now, I’m doing it!
The targets for blood glucose are below 80 and for ketones are above 2.0. My first blood glucose measurement was taken after I ate and it was 86. This is actually a “normal” blood glucose. (My sister is a diabetic and I watched her monitor her blood for years!) At 86, my ketones were 1.7. Not bad, but missing the mark.
The second day was much better. I tested before eating and had a glucose of 80 and ketones of 2.1. By the third day, my blood sugar was 73 and the ketones were 3.5. This is where she wanted me to be, but I’m a little concerned. Diabetics are advised not to have blood sugars below 80 due to problems. Maybe if it is just below 80, it will be okay.
We shall see!
I am using the keto-mojo meter because it was recommended to me. Dr. Clemens said the strips were less expensive. The whole kit was around $50, so I felt it wasn’t a huge expense.
The side effects of adjusting to the ketogenic diet were similar to a seizure aura. I can’t really describe it well. I felt “off.” I was paranoid that I would have a seizure. I worried about more things than usual.
This lasted for the first three days. On the third day, I made up a pot of broth and drank that to suppress some of the hunger that I was feeling. I think that it helped to replace some of my electrolytes. When you lower your carbohydrates, you can start to lose water weight quickly and that can cause some issues.
I feel like one side effect may be that I’m experiencing more seasonal allergies, but that could simply be due to the weather.
By the 5th day, the hunger signals have settled down. I’m feeling full after eating and can go many hours before my second meal.
I get to consult with their nutritionist tomorrow! The Paleomedicina group has added a nutritionist 2 weeks follow up to ensure success with the diet. I’m pretty confident that I can stick with eating burgers and bacon for two weeks. But it is nice to check in with someone and make sure that I’m on track.
Dr. Clemens said that in 3 weeks, I will a complete blood panel. She wants to test my vitamin D, cholesterol, TSH, glucose, magnesium, potassium and a bunch of other things. This will give her an idea whether I have stuck with the diet and whether my levels are normalizing.
The follow will definitely help me to stay on track. Now to see if it helps my hair grow back!