Update on the Keto for Narcolepsy Journey

Way back in 2018, I did a post about Breaking up with Keto. A recent comment led me to revisit the post and give an update of where my journey has gone since then. Spoiler alert – keto and I got back together, with conditions.

What has changed

When I decided to “break up with keto” I was really learning the power of my own mind. I was curious about if I had created the connection between carbs and feeling low to give myself something to do about narcolepsy. Feeling helpless doesn’t work well for me. I crave freedom, so at times, my mind helps me out by creating problems that I can solve. I asked the following questions in my previous post:

Did the keto diet work for me because I needed it to, and believed that it would? Does eating carbs make me feel sleepy because I believe that it will?  I have done a few random tests of this over the past months, and it seems like its possible my body doesn’t need keto, but my belief system has a hard time with change.

– Breaking up with Keto, Dec. 12, 2018

My conclusions now are as follows. It is not that I NEED keto, but following a keto diet is like giving myself the gift of life. When I eat clean, I have less brain fog, less fatigue, better sleep, and my mental health is so much stronger. The keto for narcolepsy journey has taught me a lot not just about food, but also about my values.

jalapenos with cream cheese and beans with homemade veggie soup
Image by Author

Adapting Keto for my values

Now eating Keto isn’t about meat, and I do not include any of the processed meats that were my staple for years in Spain. No more salchicha, bacon, or cold cuts. I was a vegetarian before I was keto, and I realized that mentality just lines up with who I am so much better than eating animals.

But I am not strictly vegetarian, my new way of eating has so much more flexibility and flow. I probably eat meat a few times a month, at least while I am here in the USA, and have access to locally grown, fed by my family members beef and pork.

What does keto look like now?

adapted keto breakfast with yogurt and some fruit
Image by Author

I mostly eat vegetables, eggs, and dairy. I throw in legumes pretty often, and tofu probably at least once a week. I no longer make a ton of “keto treats” unless I’m craving something in particular. For the most part, I don’t consume anything that comes from a can or a box. If there are ingredients that I can’t identify or pronounce, it’s definitely not going to be a staple in my diet.

I eat more fruit than would probably be in a standard keto diet, but after being fat-adapted for so many years, I think I get away with it. I eat half an apple, half an orange, or put a few apple slices in a salad.

I CAN break the rules occasionally, but I do it smartly. That means if I’m really craving a banana, and I know I have been eating low carb the whole day, I will smother one in peanut butter and eat it in the evening. This has been a fun part of my keto for narcolepsy journey.

“Cheating” vs. “Allowing”

What I used to call “cheating” I have reframed to be “allowing.” I “allow” myself treats that are delicious, maybe not keto, but also not self-sabotage (update on this in 2021). For me, that means beans a lot of times. In fat-filled creamy Indian sauces. Often I accompany them with some gluten-free Indian bread made from Chickpeas, that is still a little high in carbs, but it has protein and doesn’t cause me any ill effects later.

A lot of this is just about listening to my body. I eat foods that my body craves, not the ones my mind says are yummy. And yes, when my partner is eating ice cream or brownies or something that looks absolutely amazing, I may eat a bite or two (same 2021 update). But this is a huge improvement from ordering my own and indulging in wayyy too much sugar.

The Keto for Narcolepsy Journey Continues!

I know that my journey with food with continues to evolve and that’s okay. For now, this is where I am at. Please comment with your own experience or reach out to me using any of the links below!

To read more about the Keto for Narcolepsy Journey I have been on, you can check out the following links:
Before Going Keto
What is Keto
Breaking up with Keto
Life After Keto
Is Keto the Best Diet For Narcolepsy

If you are thinking of trying Keto, I cannot recommend enough The Madcap Misadventures of a Narcoleptic and her Facebook group Madcap Keto for Narcolepsy.

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