Can I start with how Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killersby Dr. David Perlmutter is one of my favourite books? You may ask how this book could cause so much excitement for me. I would have to take you back to December 2012…
Around 8pm on a Saturday, my husband John called 911. “Ambulance,” he said. “She’s been throwing up everything for hours now. She can’t even keep water down. And she’s having one of the worst headaches of her life.”
I also seemed to be slipping in and out of state where I couldn’t use my brain properly. I tried to tell the paramedics but they didn’t take it seriously. At that point, even my husband didn’t understood the seriousness of what had begun to happen to my brain.
The staff at our small hospital hardly wanted to deal with me. I’m a dialysis patient and most “small town” hospitals don’t have renal failure staff available in the middle of the night.. They gave me pain meds, anti-nausea meds and IV fluids. I stopped throwing up and the drugs started to ease my headache. They asked John to return at 7 a.m. to pick me up.
During those hours I tried to communicate to the doctors and nurses that something was wrong with my brain. They ignored me. They even tried to give me cookies and ginger ale to relieve my concerns.
John took me home the next morning. I was crying and telling him something was wrong with my brain. He put me to bed and called a major hospital in London, Ontario. He spoke with a nephrologist connected with my dialysis unit. John explained my symptoms. John thought that it was due to a build up of toxins in the brain. The doctor thought it was a stroke. The nephrologist recommended I check into emergency in London.
As hours past in London’s ER, my brain function continued to deteriorate. I could speak but the words were nonsensical. At this point I don’t even know what I was saying. I was so frustrated and scared (as John was) that I became a little hysterical. I couldn’t recall my son’s name. I knew I had one but that was it.
In fact, I couldn’t recall any nouns. It didn’t matter whether it was a person, place or thing. The doctor would show me a picture of a table and I couldn’t get my mouth to say “table.” But if they asked me if it was a “chair” I could say “no.” And when they asked me if it was a table I could say “yes.” I could understand English, just couldn’t speak it.
After tests and more doctors, at midnight they moved me to the stroke unit. They didn’t really know where to put me. The brain scans showed I did not have a stroke. The next morning I was able to speak again. In a few days my brain was back to normal other than the headaches continuing.
We went home later that week. Other than the pain meds, my stay in the hospital was of no help. John started researching and investigating. He felt certain that the brain had become inflamed due to a build-up toxins in the section of the brain that handles speech. I had already been having trouble remembering words before the incident in December.
The source of the toxcity was a surprise to me. It was corn — but not corn I was eating. In part two of this article I’ll explain exactly what caused the stroke-like symptoms. Let’s just say I was suffering from a “Grain Brain.”
Later in 2013 we heard a podcast with Dr. David Perlmutter. I knew his book Grain Brain was going on my Christmas wish list. The book discusses the the long-term damage to the brain caused by high blood sugars and toxic byproducts of grain consumption.
By the time we heard of Grain Brain we had already been following a diet very similar to what the book recommends for optimal brain health. We had already gone gluten free, grain free, low carb, high fat, no sugar, little fruit and high-quality protein.
These changes have had a positive effect on my brain. It used to take me so long to remember nouns. I would often refer to people as “they” and objects as “things.” Now I recall names quick enough.
In part two of this article I’ll explain exactly how corn (from a very unlikely source) caused my brain to have a meltdown. Plus, I’ll share more of what I’ve learned from reading Grain Brain.