It’s Time to Rename “Fad Diets” as “Treatments” – You’re Not on the Real Keto Diet

Meet the keto diet.

However, in the epilepsy community, it’s known as the ketogenic diet and it can be traced back to the 1920s and 1930s.

But, hey, someone said they lost 120 lbs on keto. So, toot, toot! All aboard the temporary weight loss train!

The ketogenic diet is not a diet. It’s a treatment for children and teens with uncontrolled (refractory) epilepsy. In 1994, it gained mainstream attention – as a seizure control treatment – when a young boy with refractory epilepsy was kept seizure free thanks to the ketogenic diet. I live with epilepsy, and I learned about the treatment as a teenager.

When a patient first goes on the ketogenic diet, it requires their doctor referring a dietitian. The dietitian calculates the ketogenic formula for the patient, accounting for their height, weight, level of physical activity, medications and/or supplements and so forth. Each morsel is either restricted, monitored, and measured to the milligram.

Unless you can claim these measures, you’re not eating the ketogenic diet. Because this high fat, low carb diet is a wing and a prayer for families. Not a chicken wing, hold the sauce.

We need to stop taking diets meant for chronic diseases and assigning them cutesy names just because we want thinner thighs and flat stomachs. Because these aren’t fad diets. They’re not even diets. They’re a treatment.

Yes, the ketogenic diet can help with other diseases, however, seizure control is the primary intent.

Fitting into your size 4 dress by New Year’s Eve isn’t a disease.

And please stop flipper-flop dieting. One day you’re keto. The next you’re gluten free. Then you’re paleo. Then back to keto.

A moment on paleo. Do you know what paleo is? It’s food found in nature by hunting and gathering. Do you remember the last time you saw paleo chocolate chip cookies hanging from a tree? I don’t. But stores carry paleo chocolate chip cookies. So, they’re out there. Being gathered. In nature.

So, please, stop stealing diets. No one was interested in Celiac disease until they saw people becoming temporarily thinner. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Oh, you’re on the gluten free diet! How much weight have you lost?”

Um, my soul and will to live?

The Celiac disease diet can also help fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. But I wrote “can,” meaning it’s possible. Plus, a person with Celiac disease doesn’t have a choice. They have to ensure each ingredient is gluten free.

Restrictive, ketogenic and Celiac disease diets aren’t fads. They aren’t optional for people whose health depend on an ingredient or calculation. These diets should be called treatments.

Not fads.

Because you can cheat on a fad diet.

Losing Grandparents Doesn’t Become Simpler with Age

My Gigi Karatchuk died on December 2, 1984 when he was 67 years old. My older sister (brown overalls) and me (sucking thumb) with my paternal grandparents, Baba and Gigi, circa 1980.  

“Grandparents are only with us part-time.”

That was the gist of a late-80s MTS commercial.

If grandchildren are fortunate, we’ll have memories of our grandparents – even if we lost them at a young age. However, if our grandparents are still with us in our teen years, or our 20s, 30s, or 40s – we start to believe they are invincible.

While we need our parents, there’s a special bond between grandparents and grandchildren. And when a grandchild – young or older – loses that connection, it has a profound impact.

As children, our grandparents were the ones who feed you forbidden treats. You’d spend time with them, and you wouldn’t have a care in the world, except when the Smurfs turned purple. Grandparents could calm you down with sweet tea and Mr. Christie Coffee Break Cinnamon Raisin Cookies. They assured you there was a boogieman or a bear outside your window.

As an adult grandchild, when we walk into our grandparents’ house, we back revert to our childhood. Our worries are left at the door. We don’t have to think about the realities of life. In Grandma and Grandpa’s, Amma and Afi’s, Baba and Gigi’s house – we’re safe and sound, and eternally five years old. With endless puffed wheat cake and hot chocolate with coloured marshmallows.

Front to back: little sis, me, big sis, maternal Baba and Gigi Taraschuk, 1999

But when we lose our grandparents, we lose our sanctuary and sense of security. As grandchildren, we feel a range of emotions. Anger, emptiness, abandonment. And, we, the grandchildren have to face the harsh reality that grandparents were human like everyone else.

But our grandparents weren’t just anyone.

Because they were our grandparents, and they weren’t supposed to leave. The love from a grandparent is unconditional and irreplaceable. They will defend and protect you whether you were right or wrong – especially when they know you’re wrong – because you’re their grandchild.

Often, grandchildren’s pain and grief is forgotten when a grandparent dies. We’re overlooked during the chaos. The ones usually left out of the obituary because we weren’t their children.

We were though. Our name says so. We were their grandchildren.

Yes, our grandparents are in our lives part-time.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t play a major role.
Originally published in the Interlake Spectator and Selkirk Journal on April 28, 2015.
Spelling errors and grammar mistakes omitted, and extra content added

Worship at Home, Not in a Parking Lot – Manitoba isn’t “Attacking Your Religion”

My maternal Baba and Gigi were staunch Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Every Sunday, they used to attend services – referred to as meetings – at the Kingdom Hall. However, my grandparents developed health and mobility issues, making it difficult to drive into Arborg for meetings. The Kingdom Hall solved the problem. My grandparents were provided with a phone with conference call capabilities, and they were able to partake in the meetings from home.

That was in the late-1990s.

Manitoba’s COVID situation isn’t improving. The province has been under code red (restricted) for almost a month and the numbers aren’t dropping. On Sunday, November 29th, the Province of Manitoba announced 365 more cases, 336 people in hospital – and 44 in the ICU. We lost 11 more Manitobans, bringing the number of people the respiratory virus has stolen from family and friends to 301.

On Saturday, November 21, the province updated their health orders, closing churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and alike – including drive-in and drive-thru services. Religious leaders are allowed to hold services via the internet and remotely.

However, the ink was barely dry on the health order, when Tobias Tissen – Minister of the Church of God in the Rural Municipality of Hanover – held an in-person Sunday service. According to a CBC story, Tissen received a ticket and said, “That ticket and the whole idea and agenda behind them fining people does not make sense to me, because it goes directly against our constitutional rights.” On November 29th, Tissen attempted to hold a drive-in service, but, the RCMP barred vehicles from entering the parking lot.

This comes a day after Pastor Leon Fontaine of Springs Church in Winnipeg invited people into the church parking lot to hear “the word of God.” The church released a video before the service, promising, “We’ll have police present.” Yes, the police were definitely present.

You can listen sermons at home. You can worship from home. You don’t have to attend a bricks and mortar church to prove you’re dedicated to your faith.

During the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, all church services, funerals, and weddings were cancelled. People worshipped God at home. The Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania mailed their parishioners sermons and Bible materials. The church encouraged them to start their in-home Sunday service at 11 a.m. The theory was even though the congregation was separated, everyone could worship at the same time and feel connected.

This isn’t about Charter rights. This is about life and death. As for people travelling to churches, it’s household members only in the vehicle. No relatives or friends outside your bubble. If you live alone, you arrive alone. You’re allowed a household visit, not a road trip

However, it’s unfortunate that children are being dragged into this situation. Children are taken to services and they aren’t given a choice. Maybe they agree, but do they understand what they’re agreeing to? They’re impressionable and inquisitive, and they need to understand COVID with a sensible and truthful answer. But some adults are teaching them it’s okay not to listen to governing authorities. Saying God is the governing authority.

However, Romans 13:1-2 states: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God AND those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

My translation: a person is made in God’s image. If a person become part of a governing authority, we should listen to the authority. Anyone who opposes the governing authority is opposing God and will be punished.

I don’t have a religion, but I do have a Bible.

I understand the need for religion. The social aspect and isolation. The sense of community. But the people saying the lack of church service’s are contributing to drug addiction and mental health issues? These were issues pre-COVID. Now that we have COVID, you’re concerned about this issues? I’m not saying there hasn’t been an increase, I’m just questioning whether you’ll care post-COVID.

Will you visit your depressed neighbour who hasn’t showered in three months? Or that person who’s addicted to meth or fentanyl? That person you haven’t seen at church since last August who lost their partner to COVID. Maybe check on them.

Good Christians don’t decide whether they care about people. They always care about people. While they have different views and opinions, they don’t break laws to prove a point.

You will worship in your church with your congregation again. But for now, you must wait and obey the health orders.

Or your congregation might be smaller when you return.
Note: On Sunday, November 29th at 2:03 a.m. CT, Pastor Leon Fontaine of Springs Church was contacted via Messenger for an interview. While the message was viewed on Sunday, November 29th at 11:29 a.m. CT, no reply was received before the publication of this story.  

Photos by Pixabay
Candle photo: S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
Story source: CBC Winnipeg:

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