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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 08 2017

Little Leafy’s Keto Diet Success Story

By Guest
40 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

When our baby daughter, Leafy, suffered a frightening seizure at home we had no idea what was to come.

When more seizures followed a pattern emerged; blue lights to hospital, assessments, nights in hospital wards, medical tests, fear and exhaustion.

Despite the frightening length and regularity these incidents were diagnosed as Febrile Seizures, caused by temperature spikes from ill health.

We carried on as best we could, juggling caring for our 2-year-old son whilst trying to manage Leafy’s reoccurring long-lasting seizures.

As time went on she endured many more seizures. Her worst time was when chicken pox was shared around locally and she caught the infection. Leafy suffered seizure after seizure in 30-degree heat while covered in hundreds of itchy, angry pox marks. It was a real low for us all. We watched her small body struggle so much and were not able to help her.

Finding Keto

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 9.07.33 AMSomething was clearly not right, so we started researching. We read late into the nights, on the triggers, the seizure syndromes and the treatments and eventually found the Ketogenic diet.

The possibility of an evidence based diet that is effective in controlling seizures through food alone seemed golden! We read up on everything we could on following a keto diet, learning the practicalities of how to follow the diet, the potential side effects and how to sensibly mitigate those.

Starting Keto

When Leafy was diagnosed with epilepsy, aged 2, we took the decision to start her on the Ketogenic diet straight away. Food before medication.

Cropped_Leafie _ Leafy with keto Pizza IMG_0245Within days the diet began to have a hugely positive impact. Her shortest seizures, she was having up to 60 per day, stopped and have not returned. Her longer seizures reduced in length and frequency from 3 per week to fortnightly, and continued to reduce.

Along with dramatic seizure reduction Leafy’s sleep improved, she was brighter, less distressed and wobbly on her feet. We were getting our daughter back again!

Leafy’s Modified Keto Diet

We opted for the Modified KD. It has a lower fat to carbohydrate ratio than Classic KD. With MKD Leafy eats a wide range of low carbohydrate vegetables with moderate protein and liquids and still a good portion of healthy fats.

Resized_Leafie_ lasagne2IMG_0095

Medical KD often relies on formula foods and highly refined oils. We opted for good quality nutrient dense whole foods. To optimize her nutrient intake carbohydrates are from low starch vegetables and salads, and her wide range of good fats are from animal sources, nuts and seeds.

Resized_Leafie keto chocolates_0093

Her typical favourite meals include paleo muesli, almond orange cake, cheese and salmon omelette, aubergine pizza and raspberry ripple ice-cream.

My Nutrition Work – Leafie.com

The healthier Leafy became through diet and the more I learned about our bodies’ need for healthy fats and whole foods, the more concerned I became with how crazy mainstream foods and diets are.

I have re-trained as a Nutrition Advisor and now support other families to rebalance their foods and take their health back into their own hands.

Leafie is named after my happy, vibrant daughter and reflects my passion for sharing what I have learned.

I’m also mad about good fats and taking on the saturated fat myths. I now supply fantastic quality tallow culinary and skincare products—Goodfats.

Resized_Leafie_Leafy and mama

 

Marks Daily Apple

I was so inspired to find Mark’s blog. I admire the work he is doing to shatter the prevailing food myths and to bring whole food into the primal low carb movement.

Update 12/19/17:

Leafy’s family is starting a non-profit organization, Food As Medicine—Leafie.org, to help other families learn about and institute diets that support the healing of various health conditions. You can read more about Leafie.org, contribute to their campaign, or share it with your social media circles here.

Feature_Leafie_Family BigWheel Leicester

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40 thoughts on “Little Leafy’s Keto Diet Success Story”

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    1. Yes, way to go Leafy! What a beautiful and inspiring story. And your mom is an amazing woman!

    2. Thanks Priya! I’d love all of our children to be access nutrient dense wholefoods, before symptoms and ill health result.. I have been working on tackling food and health inequalities in deprived areas. There is so much more to be done!

      So glad to be part of Mark’s community on here, spreading the wellness messages further and further.

      Claire x

  1. This is so inspiring! Leafy has a much higher quality of life thanks to the persistence of her parents. Love stuff like this! I’ve seen some of the medical keto menus for epilepsy patients and they are always loaded with processed crap. So wonderful to see how she is eating whole, nutrient dense foods, which the whole family can benefit from. True success story!

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth,
      Yes, now when I see the mainstream lunches and snacks that other children have I know that our children are the lucky ones! There are drastic changes needed in children’s diets, what is advertised and sold to them. Im so glad to be in a proactive community that gets this..

      BW, Claire x

  2. Thank you for showing what keto can do for children with epilepsy. It’s an amazing turn around. And congrats to you for becoming an advocate for not only your own, but other children as well.

    1. Thank you very much Beth, it is truly amazing what can be acheived with food and so concerning that this is being overlooked by our Food Policy Makers and leading health charities too! BW, Claire

  3. Can’t even imagine what you’ve been through…and very happy Leafy is doing great! I was wondering how to convince a child to eat something healthy instead of the unhealthy stuff. My daughter developed eczema that just wouldn’t go away and I put her on healthier diet, nothing crazy though, but she doesn’t eat, gives me really hard time and says I hurt her feelings with that food (she’s 4). ?

    1. EllaB, stay strong. Remember that you are the Mom, and you are doing what’s best for her. It can take some time for kids to readjust their tastebuds to new/healthy foods stick with it and keep encouraging her to ‘try 3 bites’ of everything. Eventually she will thank you…like 30 years from now….

      1. It’s like power games now, I must be strong and consistent. Thank you, Jessica!

        1. I remember that age, fussy eater boy, I would say “well, that’s what we have for dinner/breakfast/lunch” and then just carry on, letting him know that he likes it and he has to eat 3 bites. Usually he’d “not like it” until after the 3 bites and then it was gone. Sigh, he’s still picky but so am I so I’m getting what’s mine I guess…… Hated food when I was little too.

    2. Hi EllaB, I agree with the comments with great suggestions here. I’d also add that you could start with swaps and upgrades. Replacing the worst foods that she likes with better healthier ones initially, like replacing sauces full of sugar, or sugar syrups and transfats with a naturally free from and sugar free brand. Replace her nuggets with flax coated homemade ones but keeping her other go to foods. Keep trying and celebrate the small wins. Try not to make it a big deal, but have other foods and sauces for her to try on the table at meal times. remembering that modelling rather than requesting or forcing is the best lng term strategy. So you eat healthier and she is more likely to copy you and eat like you.

      For eczema and other autoimmune condition I follow GAPS and WA Price, old fashioned, natural, nutrient dense foods that are easily digested and sooting on the digestive system. If you can get broths and stocks into her and beneficial bacteria foods (live sauerkrauts, pickles, kefir) this will help rebuild her microbiome calming her inflammation and building her natural digestive defences, supporting her skin from within.

      For the outside I of course love my Tallow skin balm products, you can source locally, please me sure to look into the quality.

      Kind wishes,
      Claire

  4. This is utterly amazing. I am so glad that you took your own and your daughter’s health into your hands. Also, how good that you realized what the medicinal KD was and crafted your own. She is beautiful. EllaB, don’t lose heart. Give her things that most kids like, such as chicken and CHEESE on just about everything! That’s a good way for kids to like veggies, put some cheese on them. Otherwise, let her “help” you prepare food. Kids are very proud and usually try a bit of what they helped prepare.

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’d like to make the orange cake. Would love the recipe.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your comment. This Keto Orange and Almond Cake Recipe now appears first in my blog, with a pic of Leafy helping to prepare the cupcakes!

      I don’t think that I am able to share the link here, so you will have to follow the Leafie link from the main article above.

      Kind wishes, Claire

      1. Got it thank you! Food grade Essential oils in food. That’s new to me. I’ll try it.

        Is almond essential oil just almond oil?

  6. Woop woop!!! I found Keto because a friend got involved in Prüvit and i tried exogenous ketones for the first time a year ago… my life will never be the same! So happy for you all!!!!! I have also overcome so many aspects of my illness and can now choose how i feel, day to day!!!!

    1. Hi Amber, Im pleased that keto works so well for you! I however avoid supplements and steer clear of the keto marketing products like my life depends on it… and it does.

      keep up the good work.

      Kind wishes, Claire

    1. Thank you Dana, it shows that there is hope for a wide range of conditions and symptoms and just for all of us in optimising our own health. Best wishes, Claire

  7. Right on! Ever seen the sci-fi movie “Knowing?” Certain kids, only the specifically “receptive” ones, are picked by aliens to be the survivors of the human race on a new planet because Earth will be destroyed by some kind of sun explosion. Paleo kids will be the new generation of healthy human survivors right here on Earth!

  8. Sorry, hit send too fast.
    I was going to comment about how Leafy’s experience might say something about the rest of us in less extreme circumstances. I’m reminded of Dave Permutter’s observation about celiac disease and it’s definition. It turns out that many of his patients suffer gluten sensitivities, but not to the extent to be diagnosed as celiac.

    Perhaps many of us suffer to a much lesser extent than Leafy, perhaps just brain fog, minor coordination issues, or other “more minor” symptoms. What would we have to loose to adopt or at least test the keto diet?

    1. Hi Dave, good points. With most of us the symptoms might be minor initially and difficult to link up or trace the cause. My initial passion with healing is the gut healing discipline, which can be combined with paleo or keto disciplines quite well. Gut healing diets such as GAPS or WA Price protocols have amazing results for many autoimmune, skin, digestive conditions.

      What you need to lose..If you mean in terms of foods I’d say it is more a case of what you need to add. FATS and healthy diverse ones. I am a big fan of tallow as a nutrient dense fat source that really supports keto adaption well. I provide a source here in the UK which can be shipped, but there are other excellent providers, you must of course always check their ethics before purchase.

      Kind wishes and happy keto-ing!! Claire

    1. There are studies that indicate that a keto diet can be beneficial for autism, although too small research numbers prevent these studies from being conclusive it is hopeful. I would advocate a gut microbiome enhancing diet, with primal or keto, for the most impact. Research GAPS diets and uses to use incombination with low carb primal or keto.

      I hope that this is useful. Best wishes, Claire

  9. Hello, thank you for such positive comments. It is great to be part of such an enlightened foodie community.

    I have shared our story to hopefully inspire others to take full control of their own health! Claire x

  10. Do you think it would be possible to do keto for children with absolutely no nuts? Just lower carbohydrate vegetables, meats, eggs, seeds possibly, and fruit? It sounds really limited!

    1. Hi Jennifer, yes I do think it would be possible to eat keto or very low carb with limited or nut free. There are so many low starch veggie options and well sourced fats deliver good range of nutrients. If you plan a meal or snack in this style take a look at how if looks compared to a conventional child’s meal or snack. i would suggest that this style of eat would still deliver more variety and quantitiy of minerals, vits and nutrients x

  11. Strict keto diet also shows promise as a cancer cure. A strict keto diet is high in good fats, low in carbs, moderate on protein and the most important is absolutely no sugar, not even fruit because fruit contains natural sugars.

    What happens is the liver stops or greatly reduces the production of glucose. The liver turns to stored or digested good fat and starts producing ketones.

    Here is where the magic happens. Cancer cells cannot use ketones for fuel so without glucose they literally starve out of existence.

    Why is this not being used as a cancer cure? The cancer industry makes way too much money from chemo drugs. Does pumping your body full of poisonous chemo drugs make any sense? I thought not.