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Can head injury change appetite?

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  • #16
    Yep. Don't go ZERO carb, but if you low carb it your body will prioritise the glucose for the brain.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    • #17
      Brain injury can absolutely change your eating.

      I had 2 within a year, one that knocked me out completely, then another about 8 months later that wasn't anywhere near as bad (just a knot on my head) but actually had worse after effects.

      After the 1st hit, I noticed my immune system was compromised and I gained a little weight (maybe 5 pounds) even though I was eating the exact same foods. I had been eating Primal for about 3 months at the time. Then my immune system fixed itself and the weight went away within about a month. All good.

      After the 2nd hit, even though it seemed to be minor, I got really moody and irritable. Everything pissed me off. I got really insane cravings for the most horrible crap food ever. It was worse than before I went Primal. I had an MRI, and there is scar tissue on my frontal lobe (insert sarcastic "yay!" here), but I'm definitely better now. Your brain WILL reroute, given time and good nutrition.

      I've kind of been MIA on these boards for the past year or so because I honestly couldn't control what I ate. I tried, probably every month for a year, to start eating Primal again and I just couldn't last more than a day. Wednesday, for example, I had 3 donuts, 2 candy bars and a 20oz mocha frapp - all before lunch. Yeah, that bad. I felt like crap because that's how the food made me feel and because I knew I was hurting myself. It was honestly embarrassing.

      So... now I'm back again. I guess I healed up enough to have some control over what I eat. It has been a little over a year, which seems to be pretty typical. As of today, I've been able to stick with it for 5 full days, which doesn't sound like much, but it's a really big deal.

      My suggestions?

      Get some cold pressed, unrefined, organic coconut oil - this is the one I have - and have a spoonful at least once a day. Ease into it if your stomach is sensitive. I noticed HUGE difference in my moods, focus and ability to control my impulses when I did. And coconut oil has been shown to be incredibly good for brain health in general.

      If your brain is telling you to eat certain foods, and they're healthy foods (like the fish you mentioned) then I would absolutely do it. Sometimes our bodies crave certain foods when they're lacking the nutrients in them, like wanting chocolate when you're low on magnesium. If you start craving ice cream, donuts, cookies, etc., then that's a downward spiral you do not want to be on, though.

      Unfortunately, it's just plain going to take some time. But it WILL get better. Our brains find new paths. That's just what they do.
      Durp.

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      • #18
        Hi, Rita I was hoping you would jump in for Olivia here. I'm glad to know you're doing better.

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        • #19
          The problem is that you shouldn't try to force damaged tissues to alter their metabolism. They are already damaged and don't need more insult by starving them until they change their energy source. Short term stick with the healthy carbs and don't worry about it. Long term you can think about going low carb again. TBI is very different from many of the conditions mentioned and shouldn't be compared.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
            Hi, Rita I was hoping you would jump in for Olivia here. I'm glad to know you're doing better.

            Thanks, Paleobird. Now I have an extra 30 pounds to lose and a frozen shoulder to heal. 4 pounds down already...
            Durp.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
              But as Nora said in that video, VLC is good for any condition involving brain inflammation (why it works so well for Cori). A brain trying to heal from a trauma is going to have a lot of inflammation to resolve before healing can take place.

              And that "glucose is the brain fuel" thing is not really true. The only cells in out body that absolutely need glucose are the red blood cells. All others, once adapted to ketosis run just fine and even better on ketones.

              BTW, Hiya Kelda.

              Your Brain on Ketones - Primal Docs
              Hiya Paelo

              It runs very nicely on lactate too but that isn't going to be helpful as generating it will 'jiggle' the noggin! I didn't have a chance to look at your link, and I'm not medically trained, of course, just intuitively OP seems in a different category some how. The desire for fish is interesting, I'm thinking the omega 3 hit is what is being required and that's an anti-inflammatory of course.

              Time is the greatest healer, and being kind to yourself as you heal (as I know you know!).
              Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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              • #22
                Thank you all again! Rita - your description of your second injury sounds scarily familiar, as well as your reactions to it - I think that something similar may be happening for me (certainly I have a frontal brain injury, the severity of which is yet to be ascertained). I am lucky in that to get to any shops I have a minimum of a five mile drive, so satisfying cravings is not as easy as popping out of the front door, and I really have been trying to stay lower carb but, as you say, control seems to be non-existent in situations where I simply wouldn't have had to even consider an ounce of self-control beforehand; very strange indeed. So far, whilst I haven't been VLC, I haven't been consistently very high carb (thankfully), so I think I shall try to ease back into lower carb - a tiny bit lower every day - and see how that goes. Nora Gedgaudas has very good advice, and a re-read of her book definitely seems in order. I guess the only thing to do is to take each day at a time and do the best I can, and accept that healing may take some time.

                Thank you all so much again for the good advice and the good wishes! I really had been thinking I was going out of my mind and it was only when I got the results of the CT scan yesterday that I started to wonder whether the two could be connected.

                Rita - I hope you're back on track and that your shoulder heals quickly, too.

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                • #23
                  Good to see a fellow Scot here :-)

                  You are not going out of your mind at all - you've injured an area of your brain that is involved in the control of impulses, self-control etc so it's not surprising you are noticing some behaviourial changes at all.

                  Now you've seen the scan it must be reassuring, you are very much in your mind, not out of it!! The fact you can sit here and speak to us and mull through and notice the changes is a very good sign indeed!

                  Recover well
                  Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by oliviascotland View Post
                    Thank you all again! Rita - your description of your second injury sounds scarily familiar, as well as your reactions to it - I think that something similar may be happening for me (certainly I have a frontal brain injury, the severity of which is yet to be ascertained). I am lucky in that to get to any shops I have a minimum of a five mile drive, so satisfying cravings is not as easy as popping out of the front door, and I really have been trying to stay lower carb but, as you say, control seems to be non-existent in situations where I simply wouldn't have had to even consider an ounce of self-control beforehand; very strange indeed. So far, whilst I haven't been VLC, I haven't been consistently very high carb (thankfully), so I think I shall try to ease back into lower carb - a tiny bit lower every day - and see how that goes. Nora Gedgaudas has very good advice, and a re-read of her book definitely seems in order. I guess the only thing to do is to take each day at a time and do the best I can, and accept that healing may take some time.

                    Thank you all so much again for the good advice and the good wishes! I really had been thinking I was going out of my mind and it was only when I got the results of the CT scan yesterday that I started to wonder whether the two could be connected.

                    Rita - I hope you're back on track and that your shoulder heals quickly, too.
                    Just don't get frustrated. It takes time to heal, and that's just how it is, but you'll see what an amazing job the brain can do to reroute pathways and work things out. It's kind of surprising how effective it is at getting around the scar tissue.

                    It feels like I'm back on track, so I'm pretty excited! The 2nd hit was a little more than 14 months ago, so do your best to be patient. Definitely try the coconut oil. It was a huge help.
                    Durp.

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                    • #25
                      Finally saw the neurologist today, and it was an interesting appointment! Will be having varying scans and tests, as there are definite problems with left-sided weakness and change of sensation, and the theory is that I damaged my neck and possibly damaged a blood vessel leading to a small stroke (this is to be confirmed or otherwise by an MRI and angiogram) - but what was the most interesting was the advice to consider low-carb to control symptoms. It's clearly gaining traction even in the good old NHS! The downside is that the only exercise I'm permitted to do is walking until I've had the scans and further tests.

                      I must say that trying to get into ketosis was a huge help - I'm not out of the woods yet, and the cravings for sugary/starchy things are still there (and I've not been consistent about a ketogenic diet, and I can feel it when I've slipped up), but things are much better than they were.

                      Thanks again to everyone who was so supportive.

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                      • #26
                        I had a serious head injury with fractured skull a few years ago and was repulsed by grains during the 2 months afterwards, I only wanted to eat cheese and, weirdly, fruit and nut chocolate. As a result, and knowing how much chocolate I ate, I probably stayed under 120g carbs per day, without meaning to - those were the only foods I could stomach. I was vegetarian and low-fat eating at the time, I suspect had beef, butter and so on been on my radar for food options, I may have eaten lots of both, but I do know grains nauseated me.

                        I made a great recovery and eventually went back to eating grains, only to discover recentl;y that cutting gluten made me feel awesome, so maybe in its fragile state way back, my body was sending signals to get me to eat the most palatable high-fat and grain free diet it could, while it fixed the old noggin?

                        I told people about it at the time and, low-fat firmly ensconced in their minds as Healthy, they all laughed at the idea, but recent changes in views on sat fats have prompted a rethink, as has the growing number of people who feel better when they eliminate gluten.

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