What is keto?
Using Keto for narcolepsy is not something that you will find in many books or even online resources as of right now. Most publications about the ketogenic diet are focused on weight loss. However, it was originally developed as a treatment for epilepsy. Keto is a low carb diet but it is not the same as all the other low carb diets out there like Atkins, Paleo, or Zero-Carb. Before deciding on keto for narcolepsy, you may see if one of these other ways of eating works better for you. This diet requires you to restrict your carb intake below a certain threshold, but we do eat some carbs from healthy sources like vegetables. It is important to understand the science behind why we have to restrict our carbohydrates for this to work.
How does keto work?
When you eat carbohydrates, your body produces glucose and insulin. The body likes to use glucose to convert into energy. Insulin is produced to process glucose. This is natural and healthy for some, but for people with narcolepsy, that process can make us feel incredibly sleepy. Often we describe the feeling as brain fog. Our brains use a lot of energy every day, and studies show it runs more efficiently on fats than on sugar. So if we remove the carbohydrates and sugar, and provide our bodies with lots of healthy fats, we end up in the desired state of ketosis.
The easiest way to figure out what you should be eating is to use this chart however after getting started, its best to listen to your body and see what it needs. This is by no means a strict guideline. Everyone’s body is different. These numbers are generally used for people who are trying to lose weight. If you are already underweight, you may need to see a health professional before getting started. You will likely need a lot more fat and calories than the chart recommends.
What do I eat?
Next, you will inevitably start wondering, how do I maintain this? What can I eat? The answer to that can vary a lot but let’s start simple. You should eat dark leafy greens, fatty meats like chicken with the skin, red meat, fish, and even organ meats. Eggs, nuts, seeds, and full-fat dairy are generally rich in nutrition, fat, protein, and fiber. Anything else you find that fits this criterion generally is keto-friendly. Although fiber is a carbohydrate, it doesn’t count towards your maximum carb intake because its not digested as one.
When reading food labels, you have to consider where you are in the world. Many countries already list starch and sugar carbs separately, like Australia, the United Kingdom, and most of the European Union. Check the labels to be sure. In the US, however you can subtract the fiber content from the carb content. Not everyone likes this approach. If its too complicated just go with the carb count on the label, it will only make your total net carbs lower than necessary. Just be sure you are getting enough fiber through vegetables.
What do I do next?
Maybe my explanation is not quite enough to convince you. Check out this Science-y Booklet from The Madcap Miss . It is full of cited research that provides more insight into why and how this lifestyle works. I also recommend her Beginner’s Cheat Sheet that helps you know what is best to eat to reap the benefits of this ketogenic way of eating. She has a great blog and facebook group that can really help you understand if this is something you are willing to commit to.
If you are still confused about what to eat, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt has a great guide with convenient photos. A lot of questions are going to come up as you start to change your diet. You can also follow the Keto Reddit, check out Keto Adapted or ruled.me for more information, stories, tips and more.
I do not believe that keto for narcolepsy is the right treatment for everyone. It is ultimately up to you what will work with your lifestyle. I believe in each person choosing their own path, and enjoying their own journey. But I will challenge you to question your beliefs before you make a decision.
What is stopping you?
Is it a belief that you don’t have the ability or the will power? Is it something real or a belief that it is time to let go of? One thing that might help you decide is if your thoughts are telling you, “I can’t”. We can work together to change “can’t” into “can”. You can try keto for narcolepsy if you believe it is the best treatment for you.
How can I change my beliefs?
There are excellent tools available for reprogramming your mind and break bad habits. If you are worried about failure, there are tools for that too. I would suggest using EFT or hypnosis. If you already have a coach, like a life coach, a fitness coach, a wellness coach, any of those people should have the appropriate training to reprogram your mind. If you are not sure where to go, look no further, reach out to me. Let’s chat about how I can show you how to help yourself!
I wish you all the best on this journey! Please comment or contact me to ask any questions you may have!