CHRONIC FATIGUE – DIET

April 27, 2009 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

I’m doing a series of posts to give you a bit more information about my battle with chronic fatigue – what worked, what didn’t, where to go for more help.  I will add to it on a regular basis as I get time.

There is no one thing which provides the whole answer. It is a combination of things that help: diet, exercise, supplements being the main ones, so I will start with DIET.

DIET

When you have chronic fatigue, managing your energy levels is difficult. Mostly, you just run out of energy before you run out of day. I remember thinking to myself that it was like having one of those small espresso cups of coffee and that was your energy quota for the day. Not nearly sufficient to get you through a normal 16 hour day! And when it was gone, it was gone. There was no more energy. You found yourself almost at the point of collapse. So one became very cautious about how one spent that energy, and very focused on ways to top it up.

At the beginning of my battle, I used to eat foods that I thought would give me an energy boost – muesli bars, nut bars, chocolate bars etc. Most of these were sugar-laden and provided a short term energy spike which led to a later (even bigger) energy slump. I realised that they weren’t helping me.

My doctor suggested eating foods which are as fresh as possible – young fruits and vegetables that are just picked. Things like sprouts and lots of leafy green vegetables. I tried this, but it didn’t make much difference to me.

In order to give my body the maximum energy and try to maintain that energy at an even level throughout the day, I started eating low GI foods. This turned out to be one of the best things I ever did, and I still eat low GI foods today. Low GI foods are those that contain protein, are more dense, and take longer for your body to process. Therefore they deliver energy over a longer period of time and avoid the energy spikes that come from eating high GI carbohydrate rich and sugar laden foods. For more information on Low GI eating, go to http://www.glycemicindex.com for a list of foods and their GI. You will also find some great low GI recipes at http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/low+gi

I also eliminated ALL sugar from my diet. I had been a “cookie monster”, loving my cakes and biscuits. I had never had a weight problem and so never needed to pay any particular attention to my diet. I ate pretty much what I liked. However, I hated having chronic fatigue so much and was so determined to get better that I thought it was worth the sacrifice to cut sugars out of my diet. Initially it was difficult, but once you have been through the “withdrawal” period your body adjusts and you no longer crave the sugar. After a while, the sweet treats you used to love are no longer enjoyable, as they taste just TOO sweet. I was quite zealous about this. No sugary drinks at all, no lollies, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice creams. If I allowed myself to have even just one lolly it would start the craving for more. Like an alcoholic I suppose – can’t stop at just one drink!

Cutting out sugars from my diet is one thing that did make a marked difference. It seemed to make my body less achey and a little less lethargic. If I indulged and had sweets one evening when we were out to tea I really regretted it the next day, as I felt heaps worse. I learned that it was worth making the sacrifice. Interestingly enough, now that I have recovered I find that I can eat the sweet stuff again without any after effects. I still stick with a low GI diet, but I’m not quite so extreme about eliminating ALL sugars.

Cutting out all sugars is one thing I would highly recommend if you have chronic fatigue. When I met other people with chronic fatigue I would tell them of how much I had benefited from cutting out sugars, but they were horrified and said they couldn’t do THAT! I was surprised at their reaction – I was so desperate I would have done anything to get well, but they preferred to stay sick. Go figure! If you need more convincing that sugar is not good for you, go to http://www.formerfatguy.com/articles/124reasons-no-sugar.asp

I also cut out tea, coffee and alcohol. I wanted to keep my body as “clean” as possible and not give it any toxin load to cope with. Again, this seemed to help, and I would recommend you try it. I drank lots of plain water and green tea (for its anti-oxidants). I really enjoy a glass of wine, but again I decided it was worth the sacrifice to be well. At social events I would drink soda water, either plain or with a small amount of natural orange juice (no added sugar!).  Again, now that I am well I find it doesn’t affect me at all to have a glass of wine.  But while I was sick, it make a big difference to cut it out.

I used to eat a lot of plain yogurt – it is good for your intestinal health. However I discovered much later that although I am not lactose intolerant I actually do better on a non-dairy diet. Cutting out dairy foods seems to agree with my body, and I still use only soy milk and keep the use of cheese to a minimum.

I discovered the benefits of a non-dairy diet while on a liver-cleansing diet. I would never have thought to try this, but my doctor discovered that my liver was not doing well as a result of some medicine I had been taking and he put me on a liver cleansing diet. I was already 2 years into my healing journey by then. I wasn’t happy about this to start with, but it did make a difference to how I felt and it did fix my liver problem. A sluggish liver that is not performing properly can make you feel terrible. So a liver cleansing diet is always worth a try.

What works as far as diet is concerned is a very personal thing. I have told you what works for me, but we are all different. If you want to be well, it is worth trying these suggestions. Don’t make excuses in your own mind about why you shouldn’t try it – have a go and if it makes a difference to you, then you will be glad you did.

CONTACT SUZI

Email:  sumos@westnet.com.au

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/SuziMorris

Myspace:  www.myspace.com/suzi1956

Squidoo lens:  http://www.squidoo.com/HealthOver50

Business Building:  http://sumos.magneticsponsoringonline.com

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How fast are you? CHRONIC FATIGUE – EXERCISE

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