I am intrigued. For all the health and fitness information on the internet, stacked in the aisle at book stores, there is very little written, spoke, or researched on the dietary needs of someone living with cerebral palsy. This condition varies from person to person, depending on the extend of neurological damage.
A parent is left to seek answers from well-meaning doctors with little nutritional education and even less knowledge about adults living with cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, this leaves parents like me left to figure it out.
When searching for answers about the nutritional needs of people with CP, I discovered a recently published fact sheet on Fatigue and Cerebral Palsy written by the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. In short, people with CP use three to five times more energy to do the same movements able-bodied individuals use in their daily lives.
I had long thought Mikelle’s fatigue and seizure activity were tied to drops in blood sugar but could not find any research in this area. Then, I discovered high fat, especially avocado and peanut butter mixed with a high protein drink. Combining these foods reduced seizure activity, improved her mood, and gave her more energy for a longer and more active day. As I dug deeper, we used a modified version of the popular Keto diet, which many people use for weight loss. The Keto diet was initially developed in the 1920s for people who had seizures before anti-convulsant medications were developed.
We tracked her seizure activity and worked with her acupuncturist to treat her with needles and herbs, which led to improvements from several seizures a day to just a couple a month. From 45 seconds to 5 seconds. After speaking with her doctor, we have decided to stay on this path to wellness by maximizing her diet, routine exercise, and stress reduction, which has been interesting during the pandemic.
Currently, Mikelle has three young women working personal support for her. One of the ladies, Mary Ann, is studying to become a nutritionist and dietitian. We asked Mary Ann to share her perspective.
In her studies, she learned an acronym which she believes in, and I agree with her assists us all in staying balanced and focused on making healthy choices.
N: Notice nature.
O: Observe our breath.
U: Unite with others.
R. Replenish with good foods.
I: Initiate movement.
S: Sit in stillness.
H: Harness your creativity.
Our strategy for healthy living here at The Shining Beautiful Community embraces all these elements and a few more with our focus on fun and laughter. Stress reduction is a crucial element for helping Mikelle stay healthy and for our team to perform at their best.
Everyone is different. Every family seeks the best options for their family members who experience a disability. In no way are we prescribing a particular path. We are discovering our own each day.
Best of health to all of you!