Carley’s Carb-less Kitchen offers education on epilepsy

In memory of a special teen, families come together to learn about dietary therapy

Click here for full article


JESsICA's Blog

It’s a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD world...a dietitian’s experience on the Modified Atkins Diet

September/2015

Back in June I decided to take a little adventure. This adventure is one I talk about every day. This adventure is one I recommend many to take. This adventure is the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD).

Hi. My name is Jessica Lowe and I am the Ketogenic Dietitian at the University of Southern California. I have been working closely with the Carley Eissman Foundation on Carley’s Carb- Less Kitchen for a bit over a year now. Not only has this been a rewarding experience, but working with the Carley Eissman Foundation gave me the opportunity to take a step back, look at the greater picture of what this diet means and does for families and how I influence their experience.

I wanted to try MAD for a few reasons. The main reason, however, was that I sometimes fear I do not relate with the families I educate and counsel. Don’t get me wrong, I have so much respect and empathy for these families. I also try very hard to make myself available to address their needs. But this diet changes so much for an individuals and families’ life; it changes the grocery shopping experience, cooking habits, how one feels physically, emotionally and socially. Though I know I will never replace one person or family speaking with another about these experiences, I wanted to make sure I had a better picture of what they go through. It was my hope that by trying MAD I might not only be able to adapt my education materials and counseling methods, but gain some insight to and a deeper appreciation for these families’ efforts.

To be honest, I was quite nervous to start MAD. There were 3 reasons in particular:

  • -  Do I have time to prepare tasty meals after work? Though my weekday meals are

    pretty healthy they also tend to be quick and somewhat bland. My excuses for this are my 50 minute commute to and from work as well as the need to exercise myself and my dog.

  • -  Do I have the will power not to cheat? My favorite foods are chips with salsa, cheese with crackers and chocolate. I limit these foods to the weekend because these are special and calorie rich foods. I also tend to eat them in excess and I want to savor every bite. Unfortunately, all of these foods are carbohydrate rich.

  • -  Will this impact my social life? Though I know my friends and family would understand why I am doing this, I was not sure how comfortable having them adapt their plans to make this easier for me. I did not want to impose this adventure of mine on them even if it was only for 2 weeks.

    These are some of many questions I know the families I educate ask. I try to relieve their fear but as soon as I committed to this adventure they became very real for me too.

    Now that I’m finally writing about my experience I feel like I could go on and on. But for your sake I’ll save let you sit on this and we can go over what my MAD looked like next week. Other topics from my MAD experience you can expect to see are my favorite recipes I prepared, products that made my life easier and lessons learned.

    Until next time, Jessica


November/2015

Like most mornings I was in the Starbucks on our campus waiting in line to get my morning tea with cream. Then, I saw Moon Cheese. Never having seen this before and also because I LOVE cheese, I picked the package up to look at the nutrition facts. To my surprise (and pleasantly for that matter), I saw that this had no carbs*, it was also a good source of both protein and fat. That very moment I decided I had to try it. My opinion, it tastes awesome and is crunchy! This could a great salty, quick and easy snack.

Per their website they are sold at Starbuck and online (http://shop.mooncheese.com). I think they are bit pricey per package at $5 for 2oz, but per serving it comes out to be $1 per 6-7 pieces (sorry I tore off the label prior to the picture – I was too excited to try this). They currently have three flavors: gouda [0 carbs], pepper jack [0 carbs] and cheddar [1 carb]. I’ve only tried the gouda but if the others are just as good I’d snack on them as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these snacks so comment below Happy snacking!

Jessica

Jessica M Lowe, MPH RD | Ketogenic Dietitian University of Southern California

PS. I know I haven’t posted another segment on my MAD adventure – been very busy but am almost done with it so keep a watch out for it!

*Please remember that just because a food label says 0 carbohydrates does not mean 0. If a food has less than 1 gram of anything per serving the manufacturer is allowed to label the product as 0. Cheese does have a little amount of carbohydrates as it is made from milk. 


 

Jessica's blog post /July 15th

Low Carb Goodies…KetoKrate

 

Last Wednesday I came home to find special package at my door. I received my first KetoKrate box!  I was so excited I took a post-run selfie to document the occasion (please pardon the messy hair).

 

KetoKrate is a subscription service that sends samples of low carbohydrate snacks each month. The goal of this subscription service is to “find new, exciting and fun keto friendly snacks to assist you with your keto diet”. 

 

Over the past four years I’ve been a ketogenic dietitian, I must admit finding a variety of low carbohydrate products and snacks for my patients at times has been difficult. Knowing that, the mother of one of my patient’s informed me of KetoKrate. I immediately signed-up not only to educated myself on the products out there, but to ensure they were taste-y too!

 

KetoKrate sends 6-8 low carbohydrate snacks each month, totaling to less than 5 net gram carbohydrates per serving (net carbohydrates = total carbohydrates – dietary fiber). Most of these products are both low in carbohydrate and high in fat, but not all. Some of the products are low or non-fat. Please remember, for any diet for epilepsy it takes both low carbohydrate and high fat foods to achieve ketosis. If you choose to subscribe, be sure to discuss products with your dietitian and always read the nutrition label.

 

My goal is to let you know what are my favorite products each month! I will let you know where you can purchase these products, how many net carbohydrates are in each serving and if it should be paired with some high fat food.  

 

To explore or subscribe: www.KetoKrate.com

 

I look forward to sharing this adventure with you! If you have any questions please make sure to ask.

 

Yours truly,

 

Jessica M Lowe, MPH RD CSP | Ketogenic Dietitian

Keck School of Medicine | University of Southern California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lori's Blog


February/2016

Carley wanted to shout it from a mountain top that dietary therapy.....which to her was simply counting 20 carbs a day...worked for her to hid her darn seizures!   We are here because of Carley.  She would be so proud of her family and friends for passing on all our knowledge of how dietary therapy can end your seizures.  We are excited about supporting you and your family when you decide to try this very VALID option to ending epilepsy.

FEBRUARY/2016

Here we are in our kitchen at THE WELLNESS CENTER in LOS ANGELES!  We are one step away from THE KECK SCHOOL OF MEDICINE OF USC.  This incredible painting was donated by Carley's friends and painted by a fantastic artist Thomas Clark {tomclarkstudio.com}.  The painting now hangs in our kitchen. A reminder that food can change a person's life, especially those with epilepsy! My heart felt a lot of JOY THIS PARTICULAR night in February!  We were celebrating that ALL THREE OF THESE INCREDIBLE YOUNG ADULTS HAVE BEEN FOREVER CHANGED BY EATING THE MAD STYLE OF DIETARY THERAPY!  ALL THREE OF THEM HAVE BEEN SEIZURE FREE FOR ONE YEAR!!!!!!!  WE HAVE WATCHED BEFORE OUR EYES HOW MUCH THEY HAVE CHANGED IN EVERY POSITIVE WAY POSSIBLE!  WE ARE SOVERY PROUD OF THEM ALL! :):):):):)

HERE WE ARE AT OUR FIRST CARB-LESS COOKING CLASS FOR DIETITIANS, MED STUDENTS, AND RESIDENTS OF USC MEDICAL SCHOOL!  THE CARLEY EISSMAN FOUNDATION PROVIDED 'CALI' PIZZA TOPPED WITH ORGANIC CHORIZO SAUSAGE AND CHICKEN! THE SIDE SALAD WAS KALE AND ARUGULA MIXED WITH PARMA CHIPS AND ALMONDS!  AND THE BEST PART WAS DESSERT!  WE MADE OUR SLICE OF HEAVEN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE TOPPED WITH VANILLA BEAN WHIPPED CREAM....WHICH IS ONLY 4 CARBS A SLICE! 

OUR BIGGEST GOAL IS TO SUPPORT DIETITIANS WHO WILL STAND ARM IN ARM WITH NEUROLOGIST TO GIVE FAMILIES THE OPTION OF DIETARY THERAPY.  WE FIGURED THE BEST WAY TO TEACH THEM ALL WAS TO FEED THEM!!!  IT WAS A GREAT DAY!  OUR NEXT CLASS FROM THEM WILL BE MID APRIL!!!  THE ENTIRE MEAL WAS CARB-LESS AND DELICIOUS!!!  THANK YOU TO DR. ARTHUR PARTIKIAN, DR. LAURA KALAYJIAN, AND JESSICA LOWE FOR GIVING A FANTASTIC EDUCATION FILLED CLASS ABOUT EPILEPSY AND DIETARY THERAPY.  WE ARE SO PROUD AND HONORED TO BE PARTNERS WITH YOU!  SEE IT, TASTE IT, BELIEVE IT!!!!

Here is a video of our story and how we got to where we are now!  Simply said, food is changing the face of EPILEPSY forever!  Our goal is to be in every hospital across the USA.  Dietary Therapy is a well studied, published VALID option to either slow down or ELIMINATE seizures!

Just think.....communities coming together in a kitchen...in their city....in their hospital...with their doctor sitting right next to them eating a delicious carb-less meal!  The magic of our program is the families.....it is all about helping families right in their community......in their hospital!!!!


Are you HAPPY?”

July 2016

As I was quietly looking at some amazing artwork done by people with epilepsy at an art show, a young woman approached me and asked me, “ Are you happy?”  It took a few seconds to smile at her and respond, “I am working on it….”

 

This is my usual response to all that ask me that simple question. Yes, I am the mom that lost her daughter and happiness never seemed to be a word that I would ever use again.  It was actually the opposite of happiness.  Grief is an insane never-ending day by day struggle. All these horrible emotions rolled up will never bring Carley back to me on this earth, but a choice was made by me that I would do it all FOR Carley.  I am reminded of a story that a good friend told me soon after Carley went to Heaven.  

 

One day a man planted a beautiful tree outside his window. He looked at it every day.  He loved that tree.  It brought him great happiness in his life.  One day, it sadly died.  The     man had to cut down the beautiful tree and all that was left was the stump.  He thought of the tree often as he looked out his window.  He missed the shade that it brought to his yard and he missed its beauty.  

 

As years passed, he decided to plant beautiful flowers around the tree stump.  When they all blossomed with vibrant colors, he could look out his window and smile again. As he nurtured the flowers one day, he saw the stump of the beautiful tree and rested on it.  He sat and remembered how beautiful the tree was and how it now is still bringing joy into his life…….in the middle of all the beautiful flowers!!!

 

I think of that story often.  The CEF and our kitchen are one of my many flowers.  My amazing boys, my family, my friends are all the flowers now that surround that tree stump. Every time I see a HAPPY face on one of our patients who is NOW SEIZURE FREE because of trying dietary therapy I think of those flowers and my Carley. :):)

 

Carley would want us to stand on the highest mountain and yell that dietary therapy worked for her and it changed her life for 3 1/2 years of being seizure free!  Carl and I think of her every minute of every day, and if we can bring JOY to one family because their seizures are less or gone…..then we will just keep planting those beautiful flowers around her!!!!

 

Please join us for our AUGUST cooking class…..you will be reminded of what JOY really is.

IMG_1094.jpg