keto diet, adkins diet, seizures, migraines, confusional migraines, headaches, elisabeth bastos, naturopath, doctor. acupuncturist, clinic

I typically have not been a fan of the keto diet and infact still find it too difficult to find sound reason to prescribe it to any patient, however….the big but….

The keto diet showed well in research for reducing neuro inflammation which is linked to migraines

and seizures.  Researches suggested that a modified keto or modified Adkins style diet with low sugars, no grains can also be a potentially rewarding option for those with neurological concerns but requires more research.  These Adkins and Keto styles of eating have been linked to improvements in conditions such as

confusional migraines


brain tumor

behavioral issues in general with children (my own prolonged observations)

seizure disorder

Research holds promising outcomes when good fats are focused on in meals, no grains, focus on elimination of hi glycemic index foods.

A ketogenic diet can be very limiting and you should speak to your doctor and be monitored if following it strictly.

For headache, migraine, behaviour disorder and seizure sufferers I highly suggest logging your meals…I mean each thing you eat AND how much as it will open up a world of patterns to you.

This will allow you to see how strict on no grains, no sugars you will need to go and what other foods may be triggering you.

Note, you can also, in addition, seek testing such as Carroll Method and Proven Energetic testing and allergy testing IgE to decode more food mysteries.  Foods have been confirmed to trigger seizures, migraines and headaches in research.  These are just some of the foods I suggest you eliminate then log closely as you introduce a few bites back every 3-7 days:

Gluten, rice (could be only when you eat over a certain amount), sugarly/hi glycemic foods, potato, dairy (could be just goat or just cow), honey, any repetitively eaten foods, powdered onion or garlic, msg/glutamate, nitrates, food coloring, and yeast.

More about adding good fats:

This modified Adkins diet / keto diet encourages good fats at every meal, not just as a small snack. This means olive oil, nuts, avocado, wild salmon to name a few.  Research did find some Cardiovascular (heart and circulation) risks in patients on a strict keto diet (very high 65-90% fat), which is one of the reasons why I don’t recommend a strict keto diet…I personally would suffer in my circulation and heart health if I ate fats in that high amount based on my own history.

Caution when liver or gallbladder disease exists or if your Naturopath finds clues of distress signs in these organs.  You want to make sure you have professional advise on what fats are safe and suitable and in what amounts or you can risk fatty deposits as these organs would not metabolize fats as effectively for you.  Adding emulsified oil and omega 3 fats and avoiding omega 6, saturated (high in animal meat) and hydrogenated/trans fats is a good strategy to keep safer.

Low Carbohydrate (modified) in the migraine, headache, seizure, neurological concern sufferer:

This really boils down to full elimination first of most flour types starting with rice, spelt, buckwheat and wheat.  Also eliminate honey, cane sugar/sugar beet/beetsugar, fruit concentrates including juice.

If control in your health/brain/nervous system concern are not satifactory yet, remove the oats that was allowable and then corn (but organic corn foods may be convenient source of grain however in many) and remove other sweeteners like agave, and coconut sugar and use monk fruit, xylitol, stevia (the natural green powder) and erythritol instead.

I resisted this with my little one when she had her acute seizure and confusional migraine episodes in September 2019 but after a few weeks of her daily suffering we cut all of these out and it was astounding the turn around she had in her condition and even in her general behavior that I would clearly link to neuro /brain inflammation.  It’s easy to caulk up children’s irritation to their age, as we first did, but if it progresses too long it can turn into other neuro inflammation issues.  Children in need of these diet changes may seem very sensitive to what they eat in terms on missing meals or being sensitive and moody when eating high sugar amounts.

The Carb amount is 10-20g for the modified adkins diet…tough for most families to calculate and this does NOT include fiber (children and adults). Following the already stated guidelines forces you to keep carbs low so counting is generally not needed unless your Doctor advises and the situation is severe such as unresponsive seizures.  Do make sure you eat enough fiber from fruits with edible skin and veggies….this slows the sugar spike effect and fiber feeds your gut bacteria to make SCFA / short chain fatty acids that have excellent research in improving your health. To start, you do not have to limit any whole fruit or veggies and may stabilize nicely never restricting them at all.

Limit Juice.  At first avoid juice and once the concern is stable introduce a 1/4 cup daily, perhaps of grapefruit juice not from concentrate and focus on water instead.

So What can I eat?

I know…been there done that…I had to make huge changes but we found yummy solutions that worked for the whole family !:

Cassava pizza crust (using baking powder instead of yeast, a dough whisk to add air and let stand for 3o min before baking)

Almond flour pizza crust

Home made almond milk (or new varieties with no enrichment or gums added) + cocoa powder + green powder stevia and warmed for hot chocolate.

Try recipes using teff flour, arrowroot starch, almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour.

We used my gluten free bread recipe from my published book (see our website product page or amazon) but added no yeast….just baking powder instead and used the dough whisk to add air, substituted the rice flour for quinoa flour.

Keto friendly in town bakeries make amazing choices for bread and desserts

Tiger Nut Breads that are sourdough

Organic pure corn crackers or tortillas or tacos

Apple or Pear skillet crumble substitute regular flour for 1/2 arrowroot starch and 1/2 almond flour

Lasagna using green pea/lentil noodles…it was soft and tasty to my surprise

lentil pasta elbows (companies can use special techniques to make a softer lentil pasta.  Such as slower drying and special extraction processes)

Reach out to be added to my facebook intolerance free private group for more tips and food coaching.

Dr Elisabeth Bastos BSc, ND, RAcu

Bastos Natural Family Center

Tel: 519.767.9224

E: [email protected]


Love to read research ?Here are extensions to my topic:

Neurological Sciences Volume 38, Supplement 1pp 111–115| Ketogenic diet in migraine: rationale, findings and perspectives
Martin VT, Vij B (2016) Diet and headache: part 2. Headache 56(9):1553–1562
Stafstrom CE, Rho JM (2012) The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders. Front Pharmacol 3(59):1–8
Martin K, Jackson CF, Levy RG, Cooper PN (2016) Ketogenic diet and other dietary treatments for epilepsy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2:CD001903.
Woolf EC, Syed N, Scheck AC (2016) Tumor metabolism, the ketogenic diet and β-hydroxybutyrate: novel approaches to adjuvant brain tumor therapy. Front Mol Neurosci 9(122):1–11
Waeber C, Moskowitz MA (2005) Migraine as an inflammatory disorder. Neurology 64:S9–S15
Jeong EA, Jeon BT, Shin HJ et al (2011) Ketogenic diet-induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ activation decreases neuroinflammation in the mouse hippocampus after kainic acid-induced seizures. Exp Neurol 232(2):195–202