To answer this, I must tell you a little about my health journey. I have struggled with anxiety, reading difficulties, memory problems and chronic fatigue my entire life. As I aged this continued to worsen and in my early 20’s I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. This likely resulted from genetics, my own unique neuro-diversity and the chronic stress of having reading difficulties and learning differences in school. As a result, I eventually burned out, and began to isolate myself.
One day, I had enough and decided to take control of my health and began my own journey to recovery. I started following a whole food diet, removed sugar and gluten, uncovered food sensitivities, and supported my gut. I also reached out for professional support and was surprised how many resources were available. In a fairly short period of time, my mind began to feel sharper. My long-term struggle with reading significantly improved!
The more I worked on wellness the better I felt. Eventually, the feeling of anxiety faded and I was able to go back to school to become a naturopathic doctor.
That said, although not as severe, I still can experience aggravations of anxiety and chronic fatigue. The main difference now is that I have established wellness practices, a good team involving family members and a counselor that can support me when this happens. Practicing acceptance and opening up about the anxiety has also really helped. That said, I am always searching for extra tools from natural medicine to help. This is where the ketogenic diet comes in.
About a year ago, I went on a ketogenic diet. After 3 days my energy was higher than it had ever been. But something unexpected happened, my anxiety disappeared! Nothing has ever done this before in this way so it was very exciting for me. My sleep improved and I stopped relying on so many supplements to keep up! It was like a light had been turned on in my brain!
So will this diet work for everyone? We all look different on the outside and the same is true for our internal body chemistry. I know that there is no single diet for everyone, but the ketogenic diet may be an excellent therapeutic option for a variety of health problems. When I implemented the ketogenic diet I had build a very strong foundation so I transitioned very smoothly. I would highly recommend seeing professional support and working on foundation nutrition first for those with an anxiety.
I have found that almost everyone makes one big mistake when they follow a ketogenic diet. They try to follow the more extreme, one size fits all model for the diet that is so popular on the internet. For some this works well but for many others if may be disastrous.
My view of a ketogenic diet will be very different from yours. What most people don’t realize is that there really are no RULES for the ketogenic diet other than reducing sugar. The SECRET to unlocking the potential of this diet is finding the right levels of ketones, combinations of fats, protein and carbohydrates that make you feel great and meet your goals!
For myself, I had to remove dairy because I noticed it was causing a chronic cough and fatigue! For others, it may mean, increasing protein or following a vegan ketogenic diet. Or some may need to fast or cycle carbs in and out of the diet. Some people also get reactions like hair loss, rashes, and fatigue when following the one size fits all ketogenic diet approach. This can be scary when you have no one to guide you and it can really turn you away from the diet. This is unfortunate since most of our current chronic health conditions involve underlying metabolic problems like obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. This diet can really help with this problem when guided by a health care provider that has extensive training in nutrition and a clinical focus on the ketogenic diet.
As a naturopathic doctor, I can help guide you on the ketogenic diet to support your weight, energy or brain health. But you should know my approach is different. In my practice, I draw from my own experiences. I have grown my health over the past 15 years and accomplished goals I would have never thought would be possible. I know the struggles and setbacks you will face along the way as I have been there. Because of this, I can see your potential when you can’t. I know that the outcome is worth the battle and that you will achieve success despite any obstacle you face!
Nathan Jeffery ND, BSc.