Today is Day 7 of yet another experiment with yours truly serving as both research analyst and guinea pig.
While I wait on my April appointment with a headache specialist, some friends convinced me to try (another) dietary approach to dealing with the fatigue and pain associated with chronic migraine. So it is that I find myself trying out a diet that flies in the face of everything I have ever associated with healthy eating: I am on a ketogenic diet.
Today is only the seventh day, and so I do not yet know if it will actually help the headache situation or not. However, the last seven days have been the best I’ve had in weeks.
I was told both by my friends and through all my research that I should expect to feel perfectly lousy for the first few days. Dutifully, I blocked out a couple of days on the schedule and began the diet last Wednesday fully expecting to wake up on Thursday or Friday with the so-called “keto flu.”
But I didn’t. If anything, those two days were better than average for me. Who knew?
So far, seven days into eating extremely minimal carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein, and high fat content, I find I am still feeling better than usual. Admittedly, I was exhausted and a little sluggish yesterday, but I strongly suspect that it has more to do with an enormous energy expenditure plus inadequate consumption the day before. Besides feeling lethargic, I was also hungry all day which lends credence to my theory.
I suppose a 14-mile hike fueled by a couple of boiled eggs and a handful of nuts will do that to a body.
At any rate, my first week has been promising. I haven’t had significant head pain since the day before and the first day of beginning ketogenic dining. With the exception of last Thursday and yesterday, I have not suffered the debilitating fatigue that has long been a marker of my days.
And honestly, Thursday’s crash could easily have been due to the 48-hour migraine that preceded it and I’ve already mentioned the possible cause of yesterday’s listlessness. However, during the hike, my energy never flagged and I enjoyed every single minute of the trek.
If this works, I plan to make it a lifestyle and not just a “diet.” I’m certain I will “cheat” here or there down the road, but in all honesty, any food that becomes associated in my mind with pain becomes less desirable anyway.
For instance, I know that wheat is a killer for me. After enduring weeks of ocular migraine, a constant underlying headache, and increased severity of “full-blown” migraines following each intentional cheat or unintentional wheat consumption, I do not miss cookies or cake. I’d rather have less pain, thanks.
That being said, if there is something as simple as a dietary change, no matter how radical it may be, that could help me get off the meds and gain some of my life back, I’m in for the long haul. I’ve counted the cost and decided that even if I have to give up sweets forever, I am resolved to focus on thankfulness for all the years I enjoyed them rather than indulge in self-pity for whatever time I cannot.
As I type those words, I cannot help but note that my attitude towards following Christ ought to reflect the same principle. If obeying Him and drawing close to Him means giving up anything at all, no matter how much temporal pleasure it may bring, it is worth it. I will follow Him, no matter what the cost because He is worthy.
There, too, I have counted the cost… and both the cost and reward in Him are so much higher than mere physical well-being.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?