Introducing Me, My Father and the Alzheimer's
I've done a basic intro on the introduce yourself thread, but I thought I'd do a separate post as well because I have an interest in how the paleo/primal lifestyle intersects with other aspects of my life.
The main one is that I live with, care for, and therefore also cook for, my 93 yr old father, who has Alzheimer's, and it occurs to me that this may be a subject of interest to other PB/MDA people.
In fact my interest in low carb nutrition led me at the end of last year to Dr Davis's book, Wheat Belly, which prompted me to remove all wheat and wheat products (now including all other grains) from his diet. The improvement in his cognitive ability was evident within about a week and was noticeable to my brother who had spent a day with him in October and noticed the improvement for himself on Boxing Day. Further reading led me through Gary Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories to the Primal Blueprint and The Paleo Answer and a stack of other books on specific aspects of diet and nutrition, that I'm still working my way through! As are my brother and his wife (who is a nurse).
The truth is that my father is fairly well down the Alzheimer's track and was diagnosed at 90 when he had no idea who we meant when we were talking about my brother. But only 2 years before that he had been towing a caravan across the continent twice a year, navigating French, Spanish, German and Italian roads. He has no idea who I am, but crucially he trusts me and is grateful for my presence and my guidance. It's a difficult balancing act, to maintain a good quality of life for him while still trying what I can to improve his physical and mental health through diet and nutrition. He may never improve beyond his current state, but even holding the status quo against Alzheimer's is a victory and quality of life, for whatever years he has left, is our top priority.
I'm fortunate to have the support of my family (my brother and sister-in-law) in this and we're all exploring the primal pathway for ourselves while choosing what we can apply to my father without disrupting his daily pleasures.
One of the reasons I decided to join this forum and participate is that CW dominates the world of Alzheimer's support. The CW line is that Alzheimer's is progressive and has no cure and there's pretty much nothing you can do except take the medication. While the medication (cholinesterase inhibitor) has certainly helped my father, I'm not satisfied with sitting back and doing nothing else now that I have some understanding of what may underlie his condition. There are a few stories out there of people who have seen significant improvements (coconut oil for one) and I want to know as much as I can about how and why. The big difference between CW and primal/paleo, is that people are asking questions and using the information, not just waiting to be told what to do by doctors who don't really know much if any more than we do..
Also, while there's plenty of talk inside the Alzheimer's support community, I do feel that there's not much talk about Alzheimer's in general. I've been posting about it on my own journal for the last year, because I hoped that it could help to inform people and help with managing the impact of that smack in the face when a loved one is diagnosed with what is generally considered a one-way journey.
The other things that intersect with the paleo, I'll probably keep to myself for a bit and certainly keep separate from discussion of Alzheimer's.
So, Hi. If there is anyone who has an interest in Alzheimer's or dementia, even outside of paleo/primal and nutrition, I'm always happy to talk about it.
As for me, I've been losing weight for the last 6 months on a path from mostly low carb, to very low carb, to paleo/primal. I've lost 37lbs so far at a rate which has been much steadier since giving up dairy as well as grains/starchy veg. I reckon I have another couple of stone to go (28lbs) and then it'll be about body form/composition and the 6-pack I've promised myself for Christmas.