Tomorrow will be around two months and two weeks since I’ve eaten meat. I made it about two months vegan before deciding to ease into a more vegetarian diet, to give myself more flexibility. I ordered a veggie pizza with cheese from the grocery store and ate a few slices, then saved the rest for the next day. I felt no different that night, but the next day, no more than ten minutes after eating the leftover pizza, I had what my neurologist calls an “aura” seizure (feels like a long bout of lightheadedness followed by an hour or two of grumpiness, nausea, and a headache).
The cheese, I thought almost immediately. It had to be the cheese. After all, I hadn’t had a seizure in weeks. What also hadn’t I had in weeks?
It made sense. I have Catamenial epilepsy, which means I have seizures during hormonal changes–primarily when I ovulate, or have a period–and there are hormones in dairy products, even the kind made from cows which haven’t been injected with anything to help their production. Adding these hormones to my diet seems to affect my own hormonal balance.
It took a week or so before I worked up the nerve to try cheese again, just in case it might have been something else. But during a family emergency, I had no choice. I didn’t have a seizure–that I know of–but wound up with one of my “electrical headaches” (basically feels like someone is crumpling tinfoil in my head).
So I decided that was it, and have decided to give up dairy for good. Since then I haven’t had any issues.
Now I do still have the occasional egg, as some might have guessed from my recent recipe post: Tiny Vegetarian Quiches, and so far I haven’t had any issues from them. I make sure to buy the local Amish eggs, which are certified Humane, free range, hormone-free, etc., etc., which makes me feel better about eating eggs.
Now for the exhaustion…
One of the reasons I decided to try switching to a vegetarian, or even a light meat clean-eating diet, was because of this sudden wave of fatigue which seems to be clouding up each and every day. Things have stopped getting done. I watch TV. I’m lazy. I hate it! I made a list of potential suspects:
- Burnout (this stay-at-home momma might need a mini vacay)
- Depression (not surprising, considering I’d weaned to a lower dose of Lexapro)
- Cabin Fever (haven’t driven in 2.5 years! It does things to you!)
- Nutrient Deficiency (though an extra B12 supplement gives me headaches)
- Meds (Most likely, especially since I read Lexapro interacts with Klonopin and makes you more tired)
- Allergies (Also likely)
Once I had my list, I started to try a few remedies.
- I called my doctor and talked to her about switching me from Lexapro to something else and she started me on Zoloft. So far, I’m getting more done, but the exhaustion hasn’t left me.
- Maybe I was sleeping too much? Decided to stop the snooze button and just get out of bed. Didn’t seem to work.
- Tried Yoga first thing in the morning. All it did was relax me, which made me more tired.
- Instead of eating a breakfast on the run, or drinking my coffee in front of the TV, I sat at the table to write a morning blog with a bowl of oatmeal and my coffee. That seemed to work. It turned a few gears and got me moving. From there I began working on a list of things I needed to get done around the house, and even got some gardening done. It was refreshing!
- I’ve started to have less “lazy” meals. For instance, instead of throwing a vegan TV dinner into the microwave, I’ll make a yummy chickpea salad sandwich with a ton of veggies and nutritional yeast for an added vitamin boost.
- DRINKING MORE WATER. Apparently it doesn’t take much to get dehydrated and feel fatigued. Whenever I start to feel a little run down, I go drink a big glass of cold water and it seems to perk me up.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from having epilepsy, it’s that our bodies are a work in progress. We are always learning what works and what doesn’t. Although I’ve gained a deeper understanding about what makes my brain go haywire, I’ve run into a road block of exhaustion. Is it the meds? The pollen? Or is it something I’m not getting enough of, like water or B12?
Fingers crossed I find out soon!