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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seizures triggered by diet?

I think I've found another of my seizure triggers: food (and/or nutrition.) For various reasons, I know that it is possible for diet to both cause and prevent seizures (depending on the situation)

It seems like a lot of these seizures are occurring when I haven't eaten in a while. I'm not necessarily hungry, just haven't eaten in a while.

I noticed a while ago that it seemed as if my seizure almost correlated with my workouts, but the relationship wasn't quite there. I didn't look into it heavily, but I did look enough to make the decision that "nah, I don't think that has anything to do with it." I still don't think that they are correlated... at least not directly.

Working out means that you need to increase intake. It makes your body require extra nutrients in order to maintain the energy level that you are used to. Specifically, working out mainly requires extra carbs and extra protein. I know most of you are thinking... "but I've always heard that low carb diets are the best!" Not quite true. Carbohydrates give you energy. If you workout without increasing your carbohydrate intake, your body is going to be lacking necessary energy. If you are trying to lose weight with diet alone, and no extra exercise, then a low carb diet is probably better.

A quick science/nutrition lessen:

Carbohydrates: There are 2 main types of carbohydrates - simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are things that your body can break down easily and use as short term energy. Complex carbs take longer for your body to break down, and therefore provide long term energy.

Some sources:

Protein: the main function of protein is to help your body repair itself and grow.

Before a workout, you should have a mix of carbs and some protein. The simple carbs will give your body extra energy that will help kick-start your workout, some complex carbs will help sustain the workout, and protein will help your body to start to repair itself as quickly as possible. One of the best pre-workout meals is a PB&J sandwich. The PB provides the protein, the jelly provides simple carbs, and the bread provides complex carbs.

After a workout you generally need more protein than anything else. While working out you are literally damaging your muscle by causing microscopic tears. The muscles repair themselves over time, and are stronger after this repair process. Extra protein will accelerate this process, as well as allowing the muscle to repair itself more thoroughly, increasing strength just that much more.

The difference between these two requirements are why there are different protein bars for before a workout and after a workout.

So why all of this diet and science mumbo jumbo? Well, as a lot of you know, I've been working out a lot lately. Mostly walking (and running when my leg allows me to) and some lifting here and there. My body is in a constant state of searching for energy and repairing recent muscle damage from those workouts. Since it is constantly looking for these things, I need to constantly provide them. Constantly.

I seriously try to eat once every couple hours. Not necessarily a meal, but some fruit or a snack of some sort. Sometimes a "snack" is a sandwich, sometimes it's pretzels, sometimes it's whatever I can find. But eating that often is not always possible. When my body requires this fuel and can't find it, it doesn't know what to do. Lack of sleep and exhaustion are common seizure triggers... so my guess is that lack of carbs and/or protein may exhaust my body, possibly to the point where I start seizing.

Now all of this is just a theory... "A game theory"... Oh wait, this isn't YouTube (look it up.) But although it's just a theory, I think it has a lot of merit. It's seriously hard to eat enough to provide my body with what it needs. I am not usually tired, which means that I'm probably getting enough carbs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm getting enough protein. I said at/after camp that I didn't think I was getting enough protein, and that may have been causing the (many) seizures that I had at camp. That food was extremely lacking in the protein department, which is what brought that thought to mind. If I'm not getting enough protein, then my body could be overworking itself in an attempt to heal and, boom, seizure.

Now the question is, how do I provide myself with constant protein throughout my work day?

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