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Can head injury change appetite?

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  • Can head injury change appetite?

    I've been doing very well on Primal for the last couple of years - lost 65lbs, several dress sizes, also lost my hayfever, eczema and early arthritis problems, and generally felt fantastically well (even though I had stopped losing weight with quite a way to go - the usual plateau which, whilst annoying, was not frustrating me).

    However, about 6 weeks ago I managed to injure my head (CT scan shows signs of brain injury, and will be seeing a neurologist about this) and since then have been all over the place with appetite, eating and cravings for bread, chocolate, etc. Most of the time I've managed to manage these (not all the time, it must be said, particularly with chocolate - bread is easier as I'm a coeliac!), but have really noticed that my eating habits have become disordered and I am more likely to stray from the Primal path. I asked my doctor whether this change in appetite, cravings, etc could be related to the head injury, and was given a blank look.

    Given that I'm now not allowed to exercise other than walking until given the go-ahead by the neurologist I was wondering whether anyone here had any coping mechanisms or advice ... I really don't want to go off the rails with diet, as I had been feeling so much healthier, but there are times when the compulsion is such that I cannot fight it.

  • #2
    This isn't quite the same thing, but last night I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of William Shatner's "Werid or What?" There was a dude on it who was struck by lighting and suddenly developed the ability to play the piano.

    Compared to that, a change in eating habits seems possible!

    But seriously, maybe your body is cravings high carb foods cos' it needs the energy to heal? How's your fruit / starch intake?
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    • #3
      Your appetite is controlled by your brain. It isn't particularly extraordinary to presume that a brain injury might affect it.

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      • #4
        I've been eating more in the way of white potatoes - maybe twice a week, and also more fruit, neither of which hits the spot! Weight has remained stable so far, thank goodness!

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        • #5
          White potatoes are good for you. It is harmless to eat them a few times a week.

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          • #6
            Listen to your body - it's craving something for a reason. Think about what's in the food stuffs you're wanting.
            "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

            In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

            - Ray Peat

            Comment


            • #7
              Seems to me to be mainly sugary foods, or foods that will raise insulin, that I'm craving which, given that I never had a particularly sweet tooth even before Primal, makes me suspicious. I've also been craving fish, which is easy and healthy to satisfy - we've had loads of fish pies topped with mashed potatoes which does ease cravings and is reasonably inoffensive. I'm sure that there must be something that my body needs, and have been desperately trying to eat the healthier options (frozen bananas with double cream instead of ice cream, 70%+ cocoa solids plus chocolate instead of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, for example), and have been taking fish oil supplements, magnesium and Vit. D3. I don't know how long the good old NHS will take to refer me to a neurologist (it only took 10 days for the CT scan), but I think judging by my GP's reaction this morning it might be quick. Maybe more light will be shed on the problem then. I'm told I managed to end up with a simple fracture on my forehead, no sign of blood clots, and damage to the "white matter" behind the fracture ... So all in all, it might take a while to recover.

              I will try to listen to what I'm craving and see whether or not I can find out what vitamins/minerals etc are in those foods and then try to find the healthier options thereto. I think that maybe I also ought to start doing my shopping online so that I can't be tempted to put a bar of chocolate in my basket ...

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              • #8
                Absolutely. There are all sorts of symptoms that can be caused by TBI (traumatic brain injury). For me it was ADHD.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by oliviascotland View Post
                  Seems to me to be mainly sugary foods, or foods that will raise insulin, that I'm craving which, given that I never had a particularly sweet tooth even before Primal, makes me suspicious. I've also been craving fish, which is easy and healthy to satisfy - we've had loads of fish pies topped with mashed potatoes which does ease cravings and is reasonably inoffensive. I'm sure that there must be something that my body needs, and have been desperately trying to eat the healthier options (frozen bananas with double cream instead of ice cream, 70%+ cocoa solids plus chocolate instead of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, for example), and have been taking fish oil supplements, magnesium and Vit. D3. I don't know how long the good old NHS will take to refer me to a neurologist (it only took 10 days for the CT scan), but I think judging by my GP's reaction this morning it might be quick. Maybe more light will be shed on the problem then. I'm told I managed to end up with a simple fracture on my forehead, no sign of blood clots, and damage to the "white matter" behind the fracture ... So all in all, it might take a while to recover.

                  I will try to listen to what I'm craving and see whether or not I can find out what vitamins/minerals etc are in those foods and then try to find the healthier options thereto. I think that maybe I also ought to start doing my shopping online so that I can't be tempted to put a bar of chocolate in my basket ...
                  Interesting that you're craving something very high carb, and carbs are the first fuel for the brain. Just a thought.
                  "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                  In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                  - Ray Peat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hope you get better soon btw!
                    Last edited by YogaBare; 04-29-2013, 09:53 AM.
                    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                    - Ray Peat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are several posters around here with neurological issues that have been improved by staying to the lower carb side of paleo. Rita Rose was dealing with a series of head injuries a while back. Cori has an ongoing brain swelling issue that she thought was going to necessitate brain surgery but VLC brought it under control. Knifegill and several others who talk about being "on the spectrum" of autism to one degree or another have found that VLC stabilizes mood and energy levels. For me it is epilepsy. I've been ably to cut my meds by 25% so far while maintaining total seizure control.

                      Nora Gedgaudas' book, "Primal Body, Primal Mind" is a great read. You also might like the blog of Dr. Georgia Ede, a psychiatrist, which is called "Diagnosis: Diet".

                      I think your craving for seafood should be indulged. And try some coconut or MCT as well.

                      My best wishes to your bonked noggin.

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                      • #12
                        First of all, thank you everyone for your kind thoughts!

                        Paleobird - your advice is, as ever, pertinent. I had, prior to this injury, been trying to keep around the 20 - 30g of carbs per day, as generally I feel much better at that level. I am sure that it would be helping now as well if only I could maintain it for more than a week at a time! I do, thankfully, eat plenty of coconut oil, too. Maybe I should be exploring the "make your own chocolate" threads, and use the stevia that arrived this morning instead of sugar ...

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                        • #13
                          Some inspirational information to help you do what you already know works well for you.

                          Nora Gedgaudas

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                          • #14
                            I'm thinking the head injury and craving must be linked. Glucose is the brain food, I wonder whether the brain is requesting additional energy for healing? In my experience the aspect of sugar that causes the problems is the fructose bit. It might be worth seeing if a small amount of pure glucose satisfies the brain and lowers the general sweet craving? But as Paleobird says many brain 'conditions' do best with VLC but this doesn't feel in quite the same category - assuming you normally have a 'condition-free' brain (so to speak!) what you have is a temporary injury that requires healing which seems different to me.

                            Just a thought.
                            Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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                            • #15
                              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.

                              http://primaldocs.com/opinion/your-brain-on-ketones/
                              Last edited by Paleobird; 04-29-2013, 03:23 PM.

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