Epilepsy sucks. Trust me. I don’t have it, but I’ve watched my #2 daughter struggle with this for almost 15 years. She somehow gets up most days, goes to class, participates in sports, and clubs, and she (thank God) has a ton of great friends ( who’ve always been very supportive); but it can really knock you down sometimes. She had a really rough weekend that culminated in a middle of the night hospital stay, scary “heart attack like pains”, memory issues, and other symptoms. We’re changing her meds and praying that it works. Here’s two pictures of Amanda: on the left is about a month ago on the lawn at her school, and on the right is in December after getting about 25 electrodes glued on her head for a 2 day EEG. It didn’t last 2 days because she had a middle of the night seizure and “activity” that caused her to get up and take every single electrode out. That’s from the meds, one of them disrupts her REM sleep, a lot.
Anyway, Mark and I rushed down to Charlottesville around 1 am last night and stayed up the whole night. It’s a busy, busy hospital and there’s absolutely NO sleeping in the ER. Checking my email the next day, I got not 1 but 2 emails about lack of sleep and over eating / craving bad foods. One was a friend who has a puppy, and the other was a lady with a baby. Sometimes there’s no way you can sleep through the night, right? And wow, it really does a number on your immune system, your neurotransmitters, and your “hunger hormones”, ghrelin and leptin.
I have good news though: the “unavoidable munchies because of lack of sleep”?? They can be avoided!! Lack of sleep is such a hit to the body because GOOD THINGS DON’T HAPPEN when you’re up in the middle of the night (these are different things from what we’re warning our teenagers about, but just as bad). When we’re asleep, the brain does repairs, the muscles do repairs, the immune system makes particular hormones, our glands make corticosteroids and sex hormones, the body makes Human Growth Hormone, the liver is incredibly busy breaking down hormones and toxins, the skin the lungs the kidneys, EVERYTHING is cleaning and repairing or making things. Trust me when I say I just seriously condensed what goes on during our sleep. If your sleep is disrupted, or you don’t go to bed early enough, you can get into real trouble.
Sleep has been a pretty big issue and topic in the news for the past few years, and I’ve often seen advice to “eat more protein” on the days you’ve missed sleep. I agree with that, but I want to add: Eat More Fat, on these days and every day. Your body is CRAVING nutrients; you think it wants junk food, but that’s YOU, not your inner brain talking. Your deepest smartest brain parts know exactly what it takes to build and repair your body, and it’s not carby cereal, or ice cream, or pizza, or chips, or a trip to Fast Food. Carbs build NOTHING, they’re just an energy source. What you “hear” are the habits you’ve established as comfort when you’re tired/stressed/happy/sad/etc. Give your body the fat and protein and vitamins and minerals it really wants, and you’ll see those cravings disappear, I promise.
Add the butter, add the fatty broths, pour on the olive oil, make treats with coconut oil, butter, or milk; up the good fats with your proteins and vegetables and truly sooth your brain and body. Also, make sure your Neurotransmitters are full: the serotonin, dopamine, GABA, catecholamines. These things make you “normal” feeling. Amino acid supplements, on a particular timed schedule, do this. Read the Mood Cure or the Diet Cure by Julia Ross, I swear it’s for real. I’ve used her protocol on ourselves and several nutrition clients now, IT’S FOR REAL.
Another important factor: don’t set yourself up for failure by having any thing munchie/quick/junkie in your house. Nothing. Quit telling yourself your kids might need a snack. NO ONE needs crap that sets up life long bad habits or creates a state of terrible health in the body and mind. NO ONE. Not you, not your kids.
DO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS: have plenty of fats, vegetables, ….INGREDIENTS,.. that you can mix up and genuinely provide your brain and body what it’s actually craving to rebuild, repair, and make hormones and neurotransmitters. (Remember: ALL your steroid hormones, and ALL your sex hormones are made from Cholesterol, Saturated Fat, and Minerals. ALL OF THEM. )
It always comes back to: eat Real Whole Food, doesn’t it?