Since my last post so much has happened. I went to Europe to study and visited some major historical landmarks throughout England – hello Stonehenge at dawn! After the semester was over I took three weeks to explore more of Europe. I flew to Prague, trained it down to Budapest for an amazing music festival, then hopped on another train down to Split, Croatia, spent time on the island of Hvar, took a ferry to Italy and spent 4 days roaming Rome on foot. Then I flew up to meet a good friend in Amsterdam for a few days before making a one day stop in Dublin on my way home. Europe is spectacular and I can’t wait to see more of it. It was an incredible summer and I’m so lucky I was able to experience it all.
I came back to St. John’s pretty worn out and jetlagged however, and I actually had my first seizure in 4.5 years the day after I landed. It was such a bummer but I guess it has helped open my eyes in a way as well. I look back to the only two times in my life when I have had seizures and I have noticed a trend. I used to believe that they happened due to stress and a diet too high in carbs, but maybe there’s another reason. I’m starting to wonder if I can connect not just carbs, but gluten to my seizures. There’s a lot of research out there to support this connection and many epileptics manage their seizures with a gluten-free, ketogenic (high fat, low carb) diet. The last neurologist I saw in 2011 even recommended it. I’m going to try and get testing done soon. I’m currently on a one year waitlist to see a neurologist here – the NL healthcare system sucks compared to AB. When that appointment comes I really hope he is willing to discuss dietary connections, although it’s hard to be hopeful. I do plan on being extra diligent with my diet in the mean time however and hopefully I’ll remain seizure free until then.
In the summer of 2011 when I had my first two seizures I was doing some high millage training for my first half marathon and full marathon and I was eating a ton of glutenous carbs – because that’s what runners are taught to eat. This past summer I ate a lot of cheap pizza and croissants while touring Europe. When in Rome – you eat pizza (pun intended). There seems to be a trend here because I don’t normally eat a lot of wheat products at all, but during both of these periods wheat flour made up a major part my diet.
So in the name of curiosity and proactiveness, I thought I’d give the gluten-free thing a try. It’s been 26 days now and I actually feel amazing. I’ve not only lost about 6 lbs but also I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my attention span and my skin is much clearer. Along with the gluten I cut sugar again and it’s actually been the easiest time I’ve ever had deleting sugar from my diet. I even got through my period with zero pms or cravings whatsoever.
With a recent seizure to basically scare me back on the clean eating wagon, I feel pretty solid this time in making this a permanent lifestyle change. Sometimes it takes a scare like that to help re-prioritize things and I’d personally give up gluten and processed sugar for life if it means I never have another seizure ever again in my entire life. I mean, younger-looking, healthy skin, a clear, focused mind, and fitting back into my size 4 skinny jeans are just a bonus really.