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My Keto Diet

Why am I on a ketogenic diet?

By 2014, I had enough.  I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I was experiencing pain in all my joints.  Getting out of bed in the morning became a chore.  It took about 10 minutes for me to move without a limp because of painful plantar fasciitis.  At that time I was 46 years old and my cholesterol levels were off the charts.   I was on track for Type II diabetes, my blood pressure was consistently pre-hypertension and my doctor had made me promise that I'd try the medications if my numbers didn't change.

A bunch of other really weird things happened around that time.  I almost went deaf (twice!) because of a phenomenon called Sudden Sensorineural Deafness Syndrome.  An amazing doctor in Denver, Dr. Hogle, treated me within the short 14-day window of treatment and I saved my hearing.  But the aches and pains continued,  Every couple months I'd become really sore from a bone spur or from extremely sore buns, something called "sacrolitis."

I felt like I was falling apart! I was taking 10-14 Advils a day.  I was taking steroids like Prednisone every few months to reduce some flare up.  The worst was a recurring problem in my arms, hands (and sometimes feet).  My hands and arms fell asleep every night and I'd wake up many times to pump blood back into them.   The tingling and pain in my arms was unbearable.  It hurt like hell.

I did X-Rays, MRIs, everything.  I was getting bone spurs and degeneration, some doctors thought it was arthritis, but somehow everything looked relatively normal.  It sure didn't feel normal.

I logged on to the Internet and started biohacking.  I was already on a "gluten light" diet but the Internet told me to try it 100%.  Going gluten free requires family commitment, and my partner Paige agreed, and so I committed for 3 weeks in early 2015.  Within three weeks of going off of gluten, my waist shrunk from 36" to 32".   It was wild.  Not even much weight loss, just a pound or two --- but the inflammation was really different.  More importantly, the tingling in my hands and arms was greatly reduced.

I continued on a gluten-free, Paleo-esque diet for about a year, and the tingling in the arms and hands was greatly reduced.  But it kept happening.  Every time it would happen I'd stay up and do more research about it.  There are so many things that could cause tingling and pain: pre-diabetes; a pinched nerve; carpal tunnel; peripheral neuropathy; Raynaud’s disease; etc.  I got a 23 & me, and I researched my family history.

I didn't grow up with my father (he died in the early 90s) but I learned that he had Ankylosing Spondylitis, a really bad arthritic condition.  In his case, new bone grew through his spine (sometimes called "bamboo spine") and it froze the movement in his back and affected him up through is jaw.  Basically, A/S is a really bad autoimmune disease that caused the joints in my dad's back to fuse together and for a lot of other bones and joints to either fuse or stop working as they should.

The Internet told me that there's a high correlation between A/S and a blood disorder called HLA-B27.  So I tested myself for HLA-B27.  Yes, I have that.  No, I don't have A/S.  But this blood marker, HLA-B27 is associated with lots of other autoimmune conditions.

So my theory: find a diet to treat the broadest number of inflammation-related autoimmune conditions.

That's where I found the ketogenic diet, and I've been on that diet since April 2016.

Results:

  • Arm and hand tingling went from nightly (regular diet) to 3x/week (gluten free) and now, on keto, once every 4-6 weeks;
  • No joint pain (I also work out a lot now which helps);
  • Went from 10-14 Ibuprofens daily to none;
  • All cholesterol and triglyceride levels are in the normal range;
  • Blood pressure went from pre-hyepertension to my levels from college.
It works! For me, anyway.  The ketogenic diet is perhaps the most anti-social, pain-in-the-butt diets around, but it helps me sleep at night.  Why?  It keeps inflammation down really low.  That's the main reason that it works for me, I think but I don't really know.  

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