arrow52 Comments
  1. sipora
    Mar 04 - 12:13 pm

    I don’t feel like Myhills diet is the same as the Mediterranean diet. I feel the right CFS diet is still very unclear, although maybe diet is different for everyone. The only similarity that each diet has is too not really eat grains….

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 04 - 12:22 pm

      Both avoid processed foods, both are high fat diets, both emphasize vegetables, both allow meat but the Mediterranean diet cuts back a bit and limits red meat..

      The diet study focused on adding fatty substances – olive oil or nuts – to the diet. Myhill does that but she includes fatty meats in her diet and even emphasizes them. She includes nuts if your guts are in good enough shape.

      Myhill knocks off all sweet stuff – a good choice for ME/CFS; the Mediterranean diet knocks off sweet stuff except for fruits.

      Both are pretty low carb/higher fat diets…

      The main question in my mind is, if people with ME/CFS have an increased risk of cardiovascular problems – how can they ameliorate them through diet? This study suggests some ways to do that…

  2. NV
    Mar 04 - 12:24 pm

    Paleo for Auto-Immune Disease is a great one too Cort. Thank you for blogging about this one.

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 04 - 12:25 pm

      Thanks Andrea….I’ll check it out.

  3. Rosalynde Lemarchand
    Mar 04 - 1:29 pm

    Thank you for this good blog. I have made lots of changes in my diet and have moved towards a Mediterranean type diet and folllow Dr Myhill`s recommendations. I have felt better for it. I think changes in diet is the best way to help ourselves and to fight against this illness. I bought some olive oil today from a supermarket ( I live in France) and because it`s been so cold it`s easy to spot the real stuff as it`s already cloudy in the store!

  4. Rosalynde Lemarchand
    Mar 04 - 1:30 pm

    I have made lots of changes in my diet and have moved towards a Mediterranean type diet and folllow Dr Myhill`s recommendations. I have felt better for it. I think changes in diet is the best way to help ourselves and to fight against this illness. I bought some olive oil today from a supermarket ( I live in France) and because it`s been so cold it`s easy to spot the real stuff as it`s already cloudy in the store!

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 04 - 1:46 pm

      :)

  5. Enid
    Mar 04 - 1:48 pm

    I’ve no doubt it aids Cort – my own diet is now fish/white meat/veg/salads etc now as mentioned above. All in all less bloated, less GI problems generally as a result (and I haven’t given up the odd cigarette – can’t loose all one’s pleasures).

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 04 - 1:51 pm

      Agreed….I’m guilty on a beer every now and then….

      Cutting down on sweets and grains has helped my ever increasing bloating issues..Cutting out eggs ended up being important; I used to have a couple of eggs every day….I think probiotics are going to be quite important for me – I just started them…

  6. Carol
    Mar 04 - 5:02 pm

    Wow, here’s a novel thought–why not 1) look at the multitude of studies from the Mayo Clinic and other generally reputable places and go on the Fireman’s Diet? and 2) Maybe getting better from ME is not all about us–perhaps we can go vegan because it’s the best diet for our health AND for starving people of the world AND for the innocent other species who die for our whims and desires. Yes, this includes giving up dairy which should be obvious since why are humans the only species to consume milk meant for the young of another species?

    Yeah, I’m sick and tired. Sick and tired of selfishness.

    • Alex
      Apr 03 - 8:47 am

      Why is vegan the best for us? Isn’t the entire point of the large intestine to digest animal products?

  7. Celeste Cooper
    Mar 04 - 5:10 pm

    Cort, as an RN and healthcare educator, disabled patient with both FM and CFS/ME and several overlapping autoimmune disorders, and as fibromyalgia expert, I applaud your ability to tie the research with the importance healthy nutrition. I try to avoid the word diet when I write, because it is always met with resistance. I just did an extensive research because someone challenged a blog I did on sugar and the risk of yeast, SIBO and Leaky Gut a while ago, and found that I could not change my position, though I was willing to. The fact is there is little research.

    All the things you speak of have been associated with both FM and CFS/ME, I personally have loss of HRV and as an RN educator in cardiology, I understand what that means. What we eat does affect our immune system, LGS and SIBO/SBBO are also associated with other autoimmune disorders, including psoriasis.

    We need to pay attention to what we are eating because there is definitely a gut connection to immune disorders. Personally, I think you do a wonderful job of explaining the importance, and I believe that we need more studies regarding poor nutrition and the contribution of preservatives as toxins. They are few and far between because of the lobbying by the food industry. We all know how special interest groups with a lot of money and a secondary gain attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.

    I get what you are saying. It is about the common sense approach. We each have specific needs, some of us need a dietary consult for other health reasons, but I thoroughly enjoyed your article and plan to share it. ;=}

  8. Stephanie
    Mar 04 - 5:43 pm

    I have read that nuts contain arginine and arginine helps viruses multiple. I think the HHV-6 web site used to discuss the foods high in arginine. http://www.jacobteitelbaum.com/health_articles_f-n/Infections-treating_hidden_viral_infections_cfs.html. was the only current site I could find with a quick google search. I have been avoiding nuts for the past 2 years because of this. I only use olive oil but 4 tbs a day is a lot! I’ll have to try to get more down.

  9. Linda
    Mar 04 - 6:26 pm

    Eating a whole food, high-raw, vegan diet has helped me immensely over the last several years. I started by adding one hard-core green smoothie every day. That change alone prevented me from having the routine major crashes I used to have, and my health and cognitive function have only improved more and more as I became vegan, then mostly raw (easier in the summer than in winter up here in the cold north). I follow the work of various docs (Dean Ornish, T. Colin Campbell, John A McDougall, Neal D. Barnard, Joel Furhman, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, etc. ), that do not recommend using processed oils any more than other processed foods, and instead promote getting healthy fat in your diet from actual food (but animal) sources. It may not be for everyone, but it has helped me in a huge way. I also kind of agree with Carol, above, who takes into consideration the planet’s well being, as well as her own. If we can do both, more power to us!

  10. Linda
    Mar 04 - 6:29 pm

    Correction: Above should say…. “getting healthy fat in your diet from actual food (NON-animal) sources.” My typing skills are not up to Cort’s, that’s for sure!! :) Glad to see diet being discussed! Good to read many points of view and what has been helpful for others.

  11. Linda
    Mar 04 - 7:15 pm

    Food for Further Thought…

    Misleading Mediterranean Diets: Another Look at the Evidence (from http://heartattackproof.com/spanish_study.htm, accessed Mar 4, 2013, 7:10pm)

    The recently published New England Journal of Medicine article on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet,” has been roundly praised. It might have been better titled, “Promoting Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet.”

    All three dietary groups had almost equal facility promoting the growth and clinical appearance of cardiovascular disease which manifested itself as strokes, heart attack and death in those who at study onset did not have this illness.

    This Spanish study which clearly worsens cardiovascular disease, is not alone as earlier this month the British Medical Journal updated the randomized Sydney Heart Study, confirming that the addition of oils worsened the outlook for cardiovascular disease.

    By way of contrast, our small plant based nutrition study took patients with established advanced cardiovascular disease and not only halted disease progression but was able to demonstrate disease reversal. We will shortly publish an expanded version confirming our original findings.

    The epidemiologic ultimate confirmation of the power of plant based nutrition to prevent cardiovascular disease is best demonstrated in T. Colin Campbell’s China Study. In a rural province in China over a three year period examination of over 250,000 death certificates, not one death was attributable to cardiovascular disease.

    We’ve reached a crucial fork in the road: do we promote cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet or eliminate it with plant based nutrition?

    Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.
    Director Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Reversal Program Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
    February 26, 2013

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 04 - 11:17 pm

      Interesting stuff..I wonder if the Mediterranean diet study had any way of estimating expected cardiovascular events in its population?

    • Suesoo
      Apr 10 - 2:54 am

      The china study has been debunked. Vegan diets are not a cure all and it is misleading to claim the Med diet increases heart attack risk. In fact the massive tide of evidence is starting to turn right away from fats and to excessive carbs and sugars. The British Heart Foundation itself concluded this week that saturated fat does not cause heart disease!

  12. Baffled
    Mar 05 - 12:49 am

    I switched to Paleo over a year ago. Within a month I was off cholesterol meds and heartburn meds. I am one of those people that are borderline bedbound. Anything can tip me over the edge and result in more time in bed instead of sitting on the couch. Things I have noticed with my own diet: Pastured organic meats make a difference in my cognition (I switched back and forth a few times to make sure I wasn’t imagining this. Organic isn’t good enough. It has to be pastured.); pastured fats and bone broths have helped reduce gut problems and brought my cholesterol numbers back to where they should be; fermented foods make me feel better; I seem to have a good reaction to raw pastured dairy. Note to vegans: cats drink cows’ milk as well as humans.

    A few words on gut issues: this last year was the worst for me for both energy, cognition and the dizzies. This past Christmas I was treated with heavy antibiotics for an unrelated problem. As soon as the antibiotics were done, I took huge doses of probiotics and ate lots of fermented and cultured foods to replace the good bacteria I had lost. My CFS symptoms improved by leaps and bounds. I could read again. I could drive locally again. I could think clearly. I even took a couple of walks outside of my house!! At this point, two and half months later, my health has declined again but now my doc is looking at SIBO and possibly putting me on antibiotics to treat it. The dietary treatment for SIBO is the Paleo diet.

    Of course this is all N=1 information. However, I am not too surprised that gut health could play a huge role in CFS. Now if I could only kick the toast with my breakfast habit….

    • teefy
      Mar 23 - 12:15 pm

      I’ve found a lot of benefit from taking Amoxycillin. I first had this in mid-2010 for a cold-type illness and noticed a distinct general improvement in ME/CFS symptoms afterwards, so went back to the doctor for more! It was a very marked improvement – I even managed to do some physical activity like gardening without crashing, the only time in the past 4 years I’ve had a month mostly symptom free. The improvement didn’t last though.

      I’ve taken courses of Amoxycillin many times since, for relief of gut symptoms, but never had the same overall improvement again. SIBO – absolutely – that’s why antibiotics help, but you can’t keep taking them every day, and dietary modifications are essential. If I ever have a flare up I hit them with 3-4 Amoxycillin (Moxiclav) daily for a few days, then big doses of probiotics (5 or 6 times normal dosage), but avoiding foods that promote the SIBO is best. It can be hard when you’re too tired to cook or shop to be conscientious, so I always keep some Amoxy in the house.

    • Debbie
      Nov 12 - 4:56 pm

      Just be very careful with all the antibiotics. My mom took a series of antibiotics for a year because of continued sinus problems. She developed C-Diff and died after 2 months. ANYTIME you take antibiotics, ALWAYS take heavy doses of probiotics.

  13. Zac
    Mar 05 - 7:19 am

    Uggh, I’m experiencing heartburn right now. I ate a thick 4 inch beef roast. Tasted yummy.

    I’m much a believer in the gut. Its the tropical rain forest for our bodies. It’s extremely complex. All the nutrients come from there.

    I hear they just released a study where diabetic mice were cured with a gut fecal transplant from male mice. They have high hopes for treating more auto immune diseases with it. They associated increased testosterone in the females with the cure. Gee, I think our women should be trying to increase their testosterone levels. It makes sense since there are less men with this disease.

    Oh good, the heartburn has subsided.

  14. prefer not to say
    Mar 05 - 1:16 pm

    This is compelling information, but I would be perhaps even more interested is how CFS sufferers cultivated their motivation to stick with such diets. I am married to a man severely debilitated by CFS and it’s been very hard to talk him into changing his eating habits. I’m not trying to talk him into any nutty diet — I just want to get away from processed foods, commit to more vegetables, and eat organic. He argues that everything in his life has been taken away from him, and now I want to take away his sugary snacks which are practically the only things he enjoys any more, and there’s no proof it will help. Any motivating advice from CFS sufferers who’ve done it? I’m not going to nag him into anything he won’t cooperate with, but I sure would like to try and see if it helps.

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 05 - 1:33 pm

      It is really tough, when you’re down and out to have to give up one of your last remaining pleasures. I can get that. I would say that one thing doctors and nutritionists are in agreement on is that its best to give up sweets. Maybe you can do this slowly…say – OK – you can have your sweets but in return for me allowing you, whom I care about, to eat those I request that you eat more vegies and eat more organic food…

      Later on, after he has success with that and perhaps feels better, start in on substituting healthier sweets…?

      • prefer not to say
        Mar 06 - 12:42 pm

        Thx. I’ll try to summon up my charming wifely bargaining powers, and see what happens.

        • Cort Johnson
          Mar 06 - 9:59 pm

          Good Luuucccckkkkk :)

    • Linda
      Apr 06 - 7:15 pm

      I would try and deal with this reluctance by asking the reluctant one to simply try a healthy eating plan for a specific amount of time. Make a deal with him… If you try this for X amount of time, I’ll do *this* for you (use your imagination!). If you could talk him into a month, that would be great. Promise that, if after a month, he has not obtained any improvement, he can go back to eating whatever he wants, when he wants. (I am a bit of a tough-love person, so I would add, “But don’t complain to me about how bad your feel.” But that’s just me.) Keep a log of how he feels every day when eating his “goodies” vs. eating a cleaner, more wholesome diet.

      Here’s how I came to change my diet and stick with it … I was trapped in a motel room for six months at the same time I joined a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program. I had no cooking facilities and a TON of fresh, organic produce coming to me every week. What to do??? I bought a small blender and started to create green smoothies. I ate a lot of veggies. Mostly veggies, because that’s what I had. I ate them mostly raw or lightly steamed in a small microwave because that’s what I had. I made do with the restrictions imposed in me by my forced motel-living situation.

      And then I started to notice … this “weird” way of eating seemed to be helping. I could read books again. I very, very rarely came down with my usual array of CFS symptoms anymore (sore throats, fevers, extreme fatigue, total brain fog, etc.). I felt almost normal after years of feeling like crap. And I still do.

      What motivates me to stick with my plan?? How good I feel. And absolute terror of sliding back into the level of disability I used to have. When I do slip and start to include fats, processed foods and sugars in my diet, I notice an immediate response; sometimes the fatigue hits me so clearly and so immediately that I feel it before I even finish what I am eating. Amazing. So, now, my blender and a list of places to buy organic, whole foods go wherever I go. I have upgraded to a mega-powered, mega-expensive blender, but I still count my little Magic Bullet from the motel as one of my best friends.

      I also look at good nutrition not as something I am doing that is restrictive or negative in any way. I look at it as giving myself the gift of feeling better. I don’t even see my old favorite foods as attractive anymore. Donuts (an old friend)? Yuk. Processed food? Disgusting. And I am no longer caught up in the emotional and physical ups and downs a sugar and fat laden diet creates. I feel steady, even, almost normal! And I am NOT going to blow that feeling by filling up with what I now see as poison. No way.

      Maybe, just maybe, your reluctant man around the house would experience the same thing I did. Maybe not. But isn’t having some semblance of your life back worth a commitment of a month to find out?

      Best of luck and wishes for good health and happiness to you both.

      Linda

    • Aly
      Apr 25 - 2:05 pm

      1. Have him find healthier indulgences. ie. little bit of his favorite dried fruit each day, dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt (at least 70% cocoa), frozen berry smoothie, dark chocolate avocado pudding, peanut butter with honey and granola and dates and dried cranberries, etc. When I get a sweet craving, I eat a lot of dried mango slices. Maybe a lot of sugar, but it’s better than processed food!

      2. Find a way to make healthy foods taste good. Eating vegetables in excess is super important (maybe 8 or 9 cups a day of non-starchy vegetables should be your ultimate goal). Raw vegetables are hard to get into at first, so experiment with recipes like a salty soup with vegetables or roasted sweet potato, cauliflower, and onions. Or even making chips out of kale or brussels sprouts. Honestly, any vegetables taste good when cooked and seasoned with garlic, onions, salt, pepper, curry powder, or just a seasoned salt blend! Work these healthy meals into his diet slowly over time.

      3. Convince him to try just 1 day without junk food. (maybe one day per week. or 2 days in a row). When you go off of junk food, you see how much better you feel! Especially when dealing with a chronic illness. Sometimes I splurge and eat chips and then I feel really sick, which is just further incentive to stay healthy in the future!

      4. Consider a daily diet journal. It kind of makes you wake up and realize how you’re really eating.

      5. Remind him to see food as a healer, not an enemy. No one should ever get down on themself for being unable to fully stick to a certain diet. In the end, you want a healthy relationship with food. You don’t want to hate it, you want to take advantage of all it has to offer for our bodies. And with CFS, good nutrition, as well as supplements, has a LOT to offer. :)

      Nagging can be annoying, but sometimes tough love is necessary. I wish my family got on me more about sticking to my diet. Sometimes I just need someone to be like, ‘hey, you want to feel better, and this food isn’t going to make you feel better. it’s also going to negatively affect your body’s health. eat something else instead, or drink some water.’

      Best of luck!
      xox

  15. floydguy
    Mar 05 - 1:27 pm

    I find an improvement on just avoiding processed foods. No sugar, sweeteners or other crap. Also eating small and frequent meals seems to be good for me. Now I cannot eat out unless it’s a high end restaurant and I can’t afford that….Chipotle is the only “fast” food I do at this point.

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 05 - 1:33 pm

      If its going to be ‘fast food’ Chipolte is about as good as you can get. :)

  16. James
    Mar 05 - 1:32 pm

    Nearly everyone I know with CFS and related illnesses is on a gluten free diet. It got rid of my stomach pain and heartburn. I still have GI issues but no where near as bad. I also cut out all refined sugar.

    On another note, I think red meat gets an undeserved bad rap because all health studies I know of study people eating feed lot beef (and lump in processed meats). I enjoy 100% grass fed beef several times a week and it is actually the easiest meat for me to digest and very lean. “Regular” fatty feed lot beef is like a brick and makes me feel horrible. If you eat meat, do your research and know where it is coming from. In fact that is true of any food. Organic is not a guarantee of quality, just certain standards (no synthetic products, no GMO, etc.).

    And in the case of fat, I think many of us could be deficient due to a fat obsessed medical culture in this country. After changing my diet I ate significant amount of fat, olive oil, butter, and animal fats. After a year or two my body seemed to have had enough and I now eat a moderate to low amounts of animal fat and lots of olive oil.

    Trust your body, it knows what it needs. This can be seen in animals of all types. Farmers in particular know this, an animal will gravitate towards eating something rich in certain nutrients if it is deficient. While humans are a bit more complex, I would say don’t avoid a food just because a broad population based study shows a benefit to eating a certain way, we are all individuals.

  17. Gijs
    Mar 05 - 1:53 pm

    Why be scared. ME is a lifetime desease when you get a hartattack and be dead it can be better beacuase it is the end of your missery.

    • Deborah Ann
      Mar 05 - 6:32 pm

      Hi Gijs.

      Per your text above: ” Why be scared. ME is a lifetime desease when you get a hartattack and be dead it can be better beacuase it is the end of your missery” …..

      Made me laugh. That’s how I see it as well. I often read others posts and think “uhhh good luck with that” or ” am I more ill than all these people?” Maybe I’ve just tried every dam thing already and have accepted my reality. I am 62. Been ill since Kindergarten. Disabled since 1993. I surrender.

  18. Tina
    Mar 06 - 9:37 pm

    Unfortunately, the study “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet” did not include a cohort with a dietary fat intake limit of 10%. It would have been interesting to see those results next to the results that were published. My guess (based on the work of Esselstyn, Ornish and McDougall) is that a fat intake of 10% or less would have led to the best results of all.

    As far as which diet is best for someone with CFS it is the same as for anyone: choose a whole foods, plant based diet, with minimal animal products, focusing on consuming foods that are nutrient dense rather than nutrient poor. See what I wrote here: http://tinascocina.com/healthy-eating/ and here: http://tinascocina.com/2013/02/12/healthy-eating-part-2-plan-and-shop-for-nutrient-dense-foods/

    Our planet cannot continue to support a diet rich in animal protein. See: “Sustainability of Plant-based Diets: Back to the Future” and “Protein production: Planet, profit or people?” at this link: http://www.vegetariannutrition.org/2013-abstracts.html (These talks were given recently and can be found about 3/4 of the way down the page.)

    People with CFS may have food intolerance issues so that must be taken into consideration too. It may be necessary to be gluten free, lactose free, egg free, etc. I have enjoyed reading the two books listed in the Food Intolerance section here: http://tinascocina.com/resources/ I am currently exploring the food intolerance issue for myself. I know I didn’t have those kinds of issues when I was healthy, but they may be contributing to my illness now. I do find it ironic that while I would prefer to eat certain foods (eg: legumes) I cannot right now. So, while I attended the vegetarian conference, I was eating turkey for my protein!

    We do have to all try to eat the healthiest that we can, while listening to our bodies and trying to feed them what we think will be of benefit to us. It is a challenge for sure and I wish everyone the best of luck in doing that.

    Cort, thanks for a good summary of the recent research and for bringing up the topic of diet and CFS.

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 06 - 9:56 pm

      Lots to think about Tina – thanks!

      I have trouble with legumes as well (gas, bloating) and I love them…Eggs have things of the past as well. Wheat is not such a problem but I keep it down. Grains in general can tire me out…..Otherwise its fresh vegies and some protein (I think I may not need or want it as much as I think) and nuts. Few fruits for me and my touchy stomach…

    • david
      Sep 12 - 11:01 am

      Most doctors and specialists who deal with ME/CFS patients do NOT advocate a vegitarian diet never mind strict vegan.

      Dr Myhill and many others believe those with ME/CFS need the amino acids, protein and Iron that can only be easily gained from some meat and animal fats in the diet.

      Also it is not true that veganism is the only way to feed the planet, even if we all became vegan there would be starvation. Over consumption and terrible farming practices are more to blame than eating good, organic meat once or twice a week could ever be. Also, there are actually no truly vegan foods as animals are killed even for plant foods we eat.

      I think everyone should find the diet that suits them best but it’s good to remember that most ME/CFS specialists do not rec that sufferrers become veggie.

  19. Tricia Watkins
    Mar 06 - 11:45 pm

    We moved to the country last year and had our own olive oil cold-pressed from our 17 olive trees so we know for sure it is genuine extra virgin. Picked a bit early, it is extremely nutritious. As for so-called diets, what we should be eating depends on our individual metabolic type and I wonder if all of us could be fast oxidisers as there is so much talk about less carbs and more protein. I tried a vegan diet and found it to be a great detoxing experience but eventually had to go back to eating meat as my body just became too acid from too little protein (carbs make me go acid and protein pushes me towards alkalinity). It took me several months of an almost Atkins diet to get me back to a good pH. Fast oxidisers cannot exercise either as it makes them too acid. My doctor says I will live to 100 (God forbid!) as my cholesterol, BP and all basic test results are excellent even though I haven’t exercised for over 30 years (I am now over 60). If I do overdo physical activity, my BP drops too low so have to pace myself, as we all do.

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 23 - 1:00 pm

      Congratulations on the good basic test results. I was going to try and stop by for some olive oil but I noticed you’re in Australia :)… I had a similar experience with little meat; I felt better at first and weaker later on.

  20. Tricia Watkins
    Mar 06 - 11:52 pm

    I meant to add that if I keep my pH steady, I have no stomach problems and have excellent bowel function. The only grain I eat these days is small amounts of bread which is made from sprouted wheat and occasional small amounts of rolled oats. Normal wheat bread and sugar will give me a stomach ache with bloating.

  21. Enid
    Mar 07 - 1:52 pm

    Just wonder why we have to go on a diet in the first place – evidence to me ME is just not understood fully yet.

  22. Francesca
    Mar 07 - 6:00 pm

    I harvest olives here in Italy. They even get the pits ground into their oil for a cloudy look. We pour it on everything…

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 23 - 1:03 pm

      :) Talk about getting it straight from the source. I’ve started drinking small amounts of olive and it does seem calming. Did you know that your famous conductor used olive oil wraps to cure the rheumatism in his baton arm? But for olive world he might have given up conducting – a huge loss to the musical world. It’s a strange world. If you don’t mind my saying so I always loved the name Francesca – and I’ve always wanted to tell somebody that…so now I have :)

  23. Angela
    Mar 09 - 2:33 am

    I for one would love to eat healthy but what I can’t figure out, is how you do it when you are this sick? The only reason I eat processed foods is because I’m too tired to cook. And I can’t be the only one who feels this way?

    I live alone. How the heck do you cook, juice, and grocery shop? Much less search for the perfect cloudy olive oil? Much less take care of life’s other demands? Heck, a doctor visit lays me up for 48 hours. A trip to the post office and the bank in one day is huge for me. But it really comes down to having the energy to cook in the first place.

    puzzled

    • Linda
      Apr 06 - 7:28 pm

      Two words, as far as I am concerned. Green smoothies. Easy, quick, can do it sitting down. Huge benefit, little effort. Works for me! When I feel the best, I make them a bunch at a time and freeze them to retain as much of the nutrient concentration as I can. Then, I thaw oyt one or two a day and I am good to go.

      I also like those steamer bags for veggies. You can fill a bag with almost anything, pop it in the microwave, and in three minutes (for most things) you have a filling, nutritious option for lunch and dinner. I also collect herb mixtures to sprinkle on top of the veggies I steam to add interest. Green beans are boring, but I can eat them everyday if I vary the seasoning. One day I am eating French, the next Italian… or whatever. It works for me.

      Saving energy is so important, but you can do it an eat healthily, too. :)

      • Cort Johnson
        Apr 06 - 7:37 pm

        Thanks Linda, I’m going to be incorporating more fresh vegies into my diet. None of the grains seem to work for me – so its going to be mostly vegies – cooked ,raw and fermented and protein…

        I love the idea of green smoothies…I love smootheis :). My goal is to get a big enough garden to provide the vegies I need.

  24. Rebecca King
    Mar 11 - 10:15 am

    Very interesting information about the “olive oil”. In fact, I put mine in the fridge before making this reply so I could check it out. The Mediterranean and Paleo are quite similar. I have felt for a long time that what we are eating is contributing to the many diseases that are killing us.

  25. teefy
    Mar 23 - 11:41 am

    I’ve had significant gut problems since developing ME/CFS 15 years ago. I acknowledge how difficult it can be to cook or even go shopping at times, but what I’ve found most helpful has been:

    1. Elimination of FODMAPs foods: particularly lactose, gluten, fructans, and higher fructose than glucose fruits. Don’t feed the intestinal bacteria!

    2. Reduced carbs and low-GI sources only: with rices, Koshihikari is best, brown basmati is allowable. (I also have impaired glucose tolerance and take metformin). D-ribose as only sugar at all.

    3. Raw Foods: Dr Cheney suggests that raw foods maintain their RNA and DNA, which promotes production of Uric Acid, which scavenges peroxynitrite. So sashimi and sushi, salads, fruit with more glucose than fructose. Nothing processed (or very very little).

    4. Taurine injections twice daily: not the only reason to take the taurine, but apparently it assists production of bile acids.

    5. Probiotics, from non-lactose sources.

    By following all of the above daily I have at least stopped having gut problems, have lost weight and feel modestly healthier, although the big problems of post-exertive fatigue, catching every infection etc etc are all still present. I suppose you could call it a stone age diet, but a stone age diet with a distinctly Japanese emphasis. I’m a fan of Sarah Myhill but not her dietary ideas in entirety – too much saturated fat and not enough fibre.

    I wish I could find really good sources of information on fructose vs glucose content of fruits and other FODMAPs analysis of foods. Any hints?

    • Cort Johnson
      Mar 23 - 11:53 am

      Thanks Teffy…

      Have any of your sources ever recommended fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, etc for replenishing gut bacteria?

      • teefy
        Mar 23 - 12:43 pm

        Miso is off the menu because of the soya content, which contains oligosaccharides. Sauerkraut sounds worth a try though, as long as it’s sugar free. It’s not something I’d usually eat but from the Wikipedia entry it looks looks like a good way to get probiotics.

  26. MH
    Mar 28 - 3:30 am

    Several interesting points have been raised here and I thought I’d add my two cents. I saw a neurologist last year because I was having piercing headaches at the time (no longer) and was concerned about my family history of migraine and stroke. The neurologist (who is a leader in his field) alleviated my concerns in that area, then mentioned that my FMS would “disappear” (I was skeptical to say the least) if I adhered to what he called the “Caveman” diet,” which I assume is what others refer to as “paleolithic.” Basically this diet is as others have described it above: mostly protein (meat and fish, not dairy or beans). No bread, pasta, rice or fruit. The only carbs allowed: vegetables, the more green, the better. (I think some vegs like corn are excluded because of high carb content, but I’m not certain.) (The only veg I can’t tolerate, unfortunately, is tomatoes because it increases inflammation.)

    I tried the diet for two weeks and it really did make a difference in how I felt. It was hard at first because it took a lot of time (planning menus then shopping). I’ve since fallen back into bad habits, and I can tell. So reading your comments have been a wakeup call.

    One thing I noticed right away after eliminating dairy was that my allergies improved; my eyes and throat were no longer full of “gunk.” Over the past few years I had developed (in addition to cataracts, which is weird enough at my age) a strange eye condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. (One eye leaks continually and fills with matter–VERY attractive.) That too improved after I eliminated dairy. I told my ophthalmologist and he seemed skeptical, but I believe there is a connection. At least for me.

    Now that I’m in my mid-fifties, I’m starting to lose digestive enzymes. (We all do as we age.) Which means that even if I do eat healthy food, I won’t absorb all the nutrients unless I take supplemental digestive enzymes. Another doc told me to add probiotics, too.

    All my docs also recommended 5000 IU of vitamin D3 every day (I live far north) and Omega 3 fish oil for pain (and cognition). My eye doctor told me that the Omega 3 should be natural, though, not synthetic. Because I have a niece who is autistic, gluten intolerant and has celiac disease, I figured it would be worth a try to cut out gluten as well as dairy. I didn’t keep precise notes each day so I can’t say for certain if that was a factor.

    One point that no one has raised yet is Genetically Modified food (aka “Frankenfood”). I mention this because some are starting to wonder if there is a link between GM food and the exponential rise (in the US) in the number of children with autism, asthma and allergies. Could GM foods also cause (or exacerbate) autoimmune diseases?

    Practically everything we eat in the US is GM unless marked “Organic.” Federal authorities here have allowed corn to be altered for years, and starting this year they’ve allowed Monsanto to begin selling GM rice as well. Unlike the rest of the world, the US gov’t doesn’t require GM foods to be labeled. Monsanto, the giant corporation that supplies nearly all seed in the US, has enormous clout and has fought tooth and nail in California to defeat GM labeling efforts. They know that if law passes there, other states will follow, which would cost Monsanto millions if not billions. God forbid that we should know what we’re eating. And this is just about requiring labels, not concern over the safety of the food itself.

    Now I’m going to diverge from discussion of food.

    There are other factors in my own history that could account for my having developed FMS and CFIDS/ME 27 years ago. The most obvious is hormones: I developed FMS when I was pregnant. I happened to be living downwind of a factory spewing noxious fumes daily. (Later found to be in violation of clean air standards.) Chernobyl happened in my 38th week and the radiation cloud passed over England where I was living. (Pregnant women were told to stay indoors and not eat anything fresh until the cloud passed.) (!)

    Then there is my dad’s ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He had been healthy all his life but at age 57 began losing muscle function. He was diagnosed with ALS, and died five years later. I learned only in the past year that Dad was exposed to nuclear radiation onboard ship in the South Pacific during the Korean War. (It only took 50+ years for the Navy to admit this.) Since I was born within a year after Dad returned to the States, does that mean my DNA was damaged? Did any of your fathers also serve in the Korean War and later die of ALS?

    There there are the chemicals that were widely used in the ’60s and ’70s, like DDT. Ask your parents what chemicals they used around the house/yard, whether anyone got sick right after a poison was used. (YES–my dad collapsed and was hospitalized for two weeks after using DDT.) Were there perhaps any industrial plants dumping toxins into the air or water near where you grew up?

    And what about all the drugs we were given as children that were deemed safe at the time? I was given tetracycline as a child, which caused my permanent teeth (when they later emerged) to be permanently discolored. This happened to millions of us. Why was no class action ever filed against Pfizer? What drugs did our mothers take while they were pregnant that were supposedly safe?

    I hate to sound paranoid, but do we all read the fine print on our med inserts? Physicians like to pooh-pooh these as laundry lists of contraindications and possible side effects, assuring us that that would only happen to one in a million. I’m here to tell you that that “one in a million” happened to be my mom. After she had a series of “mini” strokes (causing permanent damage), I looked at her meds and half of the inserts said “could cause stroke.” Why did none of her doctors notice this? Maybe because her many specialists never communicated with one another?

    This just shows that we must be proactive and ask questions. Before starting a particular med, read the fine print, research articles on PubMed, and ask more questions of your doctors and pharmacists. Ask your parents what drugs you took as children. Document your family’s medical history. Request your pediatric records and study them. We need to conduct our own unofficial research then tell our physicians if we notice any possible connections. Tell them everything, even if you think it’s a minor matter, and ask that your physician DOCUMENT it. Write your legislators and government officials, demanding that CDC or NIH fund more research.

    I’ve had FMS and CFS/ME for 27+ years and am tired of waiting for answers. We all need to make noise if we want change to happen in our lifetime.

    (PS: One proven link, for women with AD/HD at least, is that we are at higher risk for developing fibromyalgia (FMS) than non-ADD women. All of Chapter 5 in “Understanding Women and Girls with AD/HD” (by Kathleen Nadeau, PhD) is about this connection and the 5 biomarkers for FMS. Why is a book by a (well-respected) psychologist the only book I’ve found that mentions these biomarkers?)

  27. Linda
    Apr 06 - 7:37 pm

    Thank you, thank, MH for all your wrote and especially for the bit about Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. I think I have it, but never knew “it” had a name. Am going to bring it up to my docs very soon! I love it when I find a new clue about a problem… 😉

  28. paleo weight loss recipes
    Jun 11 - 5:30 am

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