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Beating My Daughter's Epilepsy With Avocados

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I woke up to an unusual noise and went to check on my 6-month-old daughter, Leafy, asleep in her cot. Realizing she was shaking uncontrollably and could not respond to her name or touch, I called my husband to phone for an ambulance. The ambulance arrived in under 4 minutes and Leafy was sped to hospital where she was treated for a febrile seizure. The seizure had lasted around 25 minutes and needed strong medication to stop.

We thought we could put this behind us. My husband, Justin, and I had no history of seizures or epilepsy in the family and Leafy soon bounced back to full health. We had no idea then that this would be the first of many, many seizures she would have. By her second birthday, Leafy was having up to 60 seizures per day and the cause of these was still unknown. Her health, sleep, speech and ability to live a typical carefree childhood was being devastated.

Other relevant stories:
What Are the 12 Types of Seizures
What to Do When Someone Has a Seizure
Can a Woman with Epilepsy Have a Baby 

We read and researched treatment options for seizures and eventually found a medical diet called the Ketogenic Diet. The Keto diet works by suppressing the carbohydrates in the body so that the body changes from glucose to ketones as its source of energy. We were impressed with the evidence of the diet’s effectiveness in reducing seizures in different seizure disorders and most importantly the side effects compared to relying on medication.

When Leafy was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy around her second birthday, we made the decision to start her on a version of the Ketogenic Diet, called the Modified Atkins Diet. Leafy took to the new foods brilliantly, typically eating avocados, seafood, meats, eggs, cheese, seeds, salad, green vegetable and nuts.

Within days of the diet, the majority of her seizures had stopped, and three years later, most have not returned. Her longest seizure type rapidly reduced in duration and frequency, until Leafy began to enjoy long seizure free periods. Her sleep, confidence and her smile returned, she had returned to her old self pre-seizures.

From our experience with Leafy’s life changing diet, Justin and I have been inspired to start and now help families to find evidence based diets that have the ability to change their health and lives for the better.

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Originally published: January 8, 2018
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