And now for another chapter in the Diet Chronicles also known as The Great How Diet Effects CFS Experiment.....
In a galaxy far far away there lived a middle aged woman with CFS. After exhausting the western medicine options in her local vicinity (which wasn't much) she heeded the odd advice of her yoga teacher from years ago: "If what you were doing got you into this mess, what makes you think that continuing it will get you out of it?" She was referring to exercise, the Standard American Diet (SAD) and western medicine. Couple this way of thinking with the results of the Diet From Hell experience and it got me thinking: if food can make me sicker it should be able to make me better. Maybe not cured but at least better than I have been doing. Plus I met someone on the net that had a complete remission from CFS within two years after following the GAPS diet. This was the third person that I had heard of that had at least improvement if not complete cure from CFS after drastic changes in diet. So I've been on a diet quest. I've been reading about the Weston A Price (WAP) diet, Paleo diet and the GAPS diet in particular.
To start my baby steps down the path of healing through nutrition I started ordering meat from the Midwest which shows up at my door after it was flash frozen by the butcher. The cows are pastured and fed only grass. The chickens are truly free range so that they can eat bugs as well as grains and generally go about being chickens. The pigs are also certified humanely raised. This is all in accordance with the WAP diet.
I also weaned off grain products and sugar. Although I don't eat wheat, I do eat a considerable amount of GF products such as breads, English muffins, waffles, rolls and pasta. NONE of the GF products I eat are organic (those are almost impossible to find) and I have no idea how many of them are GMO. Since most of the GF stuff I eat is corn based (I HATE the rice based stuff), I'm guessing I'm eating a lot of GMO crap. So I've gone off grain products in general. This was easier than I thought. I kind of started doing this without thinking about it. I noticed that I felt crappy after eating a bowl of cereal or a granola bar so I stopped eating them and over the course of a few months I've eliminated most grain products from my diet. Oddly enough, this is one of the principles of the Paleo diet.
To sum up: I've been eating organic/grass fed/free range meats and eggs; I've reintroduced beef into my diet; I've reintroduced grass fed butter; I've drastically reduced grains; I've almost entirely eliminated white sugar; I've been consuming full fat organic dairy; I've been eating raw milk cheese; I've been using Ghee, butter and olive oil for cooking; I've switched over to Celtic Sea salt for everything; and I've buying most of our fruits and vegetables at the farmer's market from an organic vendor. I've been doing this for about a month. It loosely follows WAP and Paleo.
Results: I am doing better! Not great but better. My head is clearer. My recovery from exertion is faster. I have a little bit more energy so I've been able to do a little bit more. My gastro symptoms have improved dramatically. No more heartburn. I've been off my gastro meds for a little over a month now and I haven't even taken much activated charcoal. I only had to eat Tums after I stupidly ate some Oscar Myer precooked bacon (can you say chemical sticks?).
I love that my digestion is doing so well. A month ago it was hard for me to even drink enough water on a daily basis. My heartburn was so bad if I drank water it felt like someone had taken a blow torch to my chest. Makes it very hard to eat and drink properly when everything causes great pain even when taking meds. At one point I was bringing up so much stomach acid that I lost my voice and ended up in the ENT's office with a swollen throat. NOT fun.
Hubby has noticed a difference as well. He is funny. He hasn't said anything until recently but he has silently followed my lead and reduced his grain and junk food intake. He is still eating sandwiches but is using better bread which comes in smaller slices. He is also not eating as many treats and has switched to tortilla chips from potato chips. He says he is feeling much better. Today he told me that his tummy feels weird. I asked him how and he told me that it is squishy. Turns out he has been bloated for years from eating grains which made his tummy hard. Now that the bloating is going away he has a squishy tummy. I told him that is a good thing. The same thing happen to my Mom when she went GF and stopped consuming anything with high fructose corn syrup in it. Don't you just love our modern foods??
So I'm happy to report that things are improving. I even managed to drive a couple of times over the past two weeks. Granted I'm driving like a little old lady (I feel like Miss Daisy not going over 25mph), taking only local roads and only going short distances but hey I'm on the road again and it feels great! I've managed to help with the dishes twice. Again I pull a chair up to the dishwasher but it is an improvement over having to lie down after dinner. I've been cooking a lot and even made mayonnaise from scratch. Not difficult but hey I did it! A month ago I was barely functional. Just making a pot of tea and a boiled egg would send me back to bed for a rest. Now I can make an omelet and then wipe the counters down afterwards. Woohoo!!
This might be just one of those CFS things. You know, an unpredictable upswing, but I have a feeling diet is a strong portion of my improvement. If I cheat I feel worse. I get more brain fog, experience more malaise and of course my gastro symptoms return. If I stick to my diet and do some preemptive resting, I can now cook dinner at dinner time which is my worst time of day! Whatever it is, I'll take it.
Of course I'm going to continue tinkering with my diet. Adding bone broth and raw milk yogurt are the next steps. I bought grass fed beef bones and yogurt culture this past week and am very excited to try them out. I even have some fresh raspberries and honey to add to the yogurt. I can hardly wait! Let's kick some CFS ass!