Epileptic youngster who had over 1000 fits a day ‘cured’ thanks to a diet of cream and cheese
An adorable youngster who had over 1000 seizures a day has had her life transformed thanks to eating CREAM and CHEESE.
Little Ella Hansen, five, from Wirral, Merseyside, tucks into heaps of cheese and cream as part of a special high fat diet to help cure her epilepsy.
The miracle diet, known as the ketogenic diet, includes calorific foods such as cheese, cream, full fat butter, and oil, which keep her seizures at bay.
The tot, who had over 1000 epileptic seizures a day, now has fewer than ten, and mum, Zara, 39, hopes Ella will be cured within the next six months.
Zara said: “Before Ella started the diet she was like a zombie, but after just two days on it she was running around and playing – like a totally different child.
“Cream and cheese have been real life savers for us.
“It’s strange giving your child so much fatty foods as you assume it’s going to be bad for them, and I certainly get some strange glances at my shopping trolley, but it’s been a miracle.
“We hope that within six months Ella will be seizure free.”
After Ella began her diet overhaul in May 2014, Zara was shocked to see a huge difference in her daughter in just two days.
Zara said: “Before Ella began her diet she was a mess, she would always be so tired, and never have the energy to do anything.
“But after two days she was running around the park until the evening – it was unheard of and just so amazing to see.
“Her seizures massively decreased instantly and now they’ve reduced by over 90%.
“She’s really chatty and can communicate well, and now even the special school that she goes to are questioning whether she should swap to a mainstream school.
“Her quality of life has just improved so much.”
Ella’s diet, the ketogenic diet, has been carefully calculated to ensure she is well nourished, whilst curbing her seizures.
The diet works by changing the fuel the brain uses, forcing the body to burn fats, instead of glucose from carbohydrates, putting it into a state of ketosis, which appears to reduce seizures, although it remains unclear how this works.
Zara said: “Ella eats tons of cream, cheese, butter and oil, but there are lots of ways to make her foods really tasty.
“Her favourite snack is toast with lots of butter on it and sugar free maple syrup.
“She eats tons of keto muffins and she really likes fat bombs too – they are basically small snacks made of dark chocolate and coconut oil.
“Anything she eats we will add extra fat to, so smoothies with extra cream, or humus with extra oil, and her toast will have piles and piles of butter on.
“At the butcher’s I will ask him to give me the cut of meat that has the most fat on.
“It’s funny because we’re always told that fat is bad for you, but it’s fat that is changing Ella’s life.”
Zara first noticed Ella’s condition when they noticed she was falling behind other children her age.
Zara said: “Ella had been doing perfectly as a baby but then stopped hitting her milestones.
“She was very late at crawling and she didn’t walk until she was almost two.
“Then I started getting very paranoid when I noticed her eyes sort of fluttering.
“Eventually she became diagnosed with global developmental delay in January 2012, so we got her extra help – she had a speech and language therapist and support at school.
“But then six months later I remember seeing her eye flutter again and it suddenly hit me that she was having a seizure – I knew she had epilepsy.
“When she had a brain scan it showed that she’d had over 20 seizures during the scan alone.
“She was put on medication straight away, but after a honeymoon period she just got worse.
“At one point last year she was having over 1000 seizures a day.
“During the seizures she would be completely absent and out of it, it was quite scary.”
Luckily, a consultant suggested putting Ella on the ketogenic diet, and after funding issues at their local hospital, Zara turned to charity Matthew’s Friends for help.
Matthew’s Friends promote and support parents using the ketogenic diet for their children.
Zara said: “Matthew’s Friends were amazing and really helped us out.
“They were a great support network, especially during the early stages of the diet.”
Now, Zara hopes that Ella will soon be free from drugs and seizures.
“The plan is that soon Ella will be seizure free, drug free, and eventually she’ll be able to come off the diet within the next few years.
“The diet has truly changed her life, and I would urge any parent considering putting their child on it to do so.
“There are some parents out there who don’t even know it exists and that’s a real travesty.
“It’s been a miracle worker for Ella – the high fat diet has given us our daughter back.”
Emma Williams MBE, founder of Matthew’s Friends Charity for Ketogenic Dietary Therapies said: “We are extremely proud of Ella and her family.
“The ketogenic diet can mean a whole new way of thinking about food as we have all been brainwashed that ‘fat is bad’ and that in itself can be extremely difficult for families to come to terms with.
“When you embark on a medical ketogenic diet such as the one used for Ella, then we have to completely change our thinking to ‘fat is good’ and the more of it the better.
“To say to someone that ‘butter made me better’ is an incredible claim but in this case it is completely true and has been for tens of thousands of people around the globe over the years, but please always make sure that you are medically supervised and never undertake a medical ketogenic diet without consulting with an experienced ketogenic dietitian”