Here's What Happened When I Tried the Keto Diet: Part 2

“Did you start The Ketogenic Diet? What are you eating for dinner?” my sister asked.

“I started yesterday, and I think we’re ordering Chinese Food!”

“You can’t eat that,” my sister said.

Bye bye, sugar

She explained that sugar was an added ingredient in the sauces of my favorite dishes. When I called the restaurant to inquire they confirmed this. In fact, when I asked which meals had no sugar they suggested I eat a salad. I began to understand the severity of my new food program and a greater truth—sugar is hidden everywhere. To possibly help my migraines, I wasn’t changing my food choices, I was changing my lifestyle.

Kitchen confidence

I was concerned because most of my life I’d avoided cooking like someone who avoids cooking. Add to that my exhausting chronic migraines and I wanted to use any extra time to nap, not cook. How I was going to do this for three months? I started eating simple organic meals at first, like scrambled eggs with sour cream, chicken with hot sauce, and I discovered I could make anything from cauliflower. I found my groove and learned it was easier to pre-cook my meals in the morning when I felt best. After two weeks, my cravings for chocolate cake abated. I felt optimistic because this how the ketosis would start and maybe my migraines would stop. I wondered if I'd see any changes.

Good start

After a month, a small change came: My regular aches and pains left. The constant jaw, neck, and shoulder pain I’d been experiencing since my migraines became chronic left me. My body felt like the heavy school backpack I’d been carrying for over two years was suddenly gone. Would my migraines be the next to go?

Continued progress

Two months into my diet (after I’d perfected my cauliflower mini-pizzas) an unexpected change occurred: My anxiety lessened. When my migraines became daily, the fear of their pain and not being there for my family gave way to a growing panic. My anxiety had been increasing, and I was heading down a slippery slope. With sugar no longer impacting my diet, I noticed that heavy tension lessoning. Just as caffeine could heighten my nervousness, sugar seemed a contributing factor in my anxiety levels. After doing some research, I found studies linking sugar intake to anxiety (examples can be read here and here). I knew I was on the right track listening to my body.

Migraine relief?

By the end of the third month, I was hoping I’d see a change in my migraines. I stayed on the diet for three more months to be sure, but they persisted. The Ketogenic diet didn't change my migraines, but it did change me. I know my migraines aren’t food-related. That neck and shoulder pain never returned. I have much more energy. My anxiety stays at a low hum. I eat significantly healthier. I’d love to be able to say Keto cured me. Still, it has been a huge plus feeling better on my migraine-free days, and that's a change I didn't see coming.

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