I slowly made changes to my diet when my symptoms started to take over my life. The pain and discomfort was unbelievable and I felt hopeless at times. My first step was to reduce dairy – the current nutritional experts maintain that it can contribute to an increase in inflammation so I decided to give it a try. I moved on to unsweetened almond milk for porridge, cheese on maybe a weekly basis at first and a little milk in my tea. I found this made a huge difference over time. I used to have a sore throat every day and a lot of chest infections and colds. These were greatly reduced. I then tried to reduce gluten by eating whole unprocessed foods I cooked myself and found my symptoms improved again. I then moved on to sugar, my biggest vice. I am not perfect, still have it but have found new healthier ways to have my sweet fix which have some nutrition involved in them! I am currently working on caffeine and it isn’t easy. I can feel a big change in my energy levels throughout the day… more steady and less extreme highs and lows. I am a proper addict so am doing this very slowly… I found a great decaffeinated coffee for a treat with no chemicals. I have this once in a while as I love the taste of coffee so much!
So for easy reading my top tips are as follows:
- Reduce dairy, wheat, sugar and caffeine gradually. Only do one at a time so you know which has the most impact. I chose one a year and this worked well.
- Cook your own food as much as possible and avoid any gluten free packaged food, chemically laden dairy substitutes and stick to ones with only one or two ingredients like Oatly oat milk or unsweetened almond or cashew milk. An omelette takes 5 minutes and there are loads of quick and easy recipes which take 10 minutes maximum. I will be putting these on the blog in the coming weeks.
- Eat healthy fats such as coconut oil, seeds, nuts, olive oil, rapeseed oil etc. These are so good for your health and actually help your body burn fat. Check out Dr Mark Hyman for some sound medical evidence for this – I found his advice life changing. Have a look for yourself http://drhyman.com/
- Stock your cupboard with healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, oatcakes, nut butter or seed butter if you have a nut allergy. Look out for healthy snack recipes that I will post as soon as I can. Here are a few to get you started. My go to snacks are oatcakes and nut butter, energy balls, nuts, fruit with nut butter (green apples with almond butter are delicious), rye toast with coconut oil or nut butter and I love Kind bars (a little pricey for everyday so working on making my own!). In the meantime check out the energy balls recipes on the Mae Deli website, Fit Foodie Finds and Ambitious Kitchen. These are delicious and full of the healthy fats I mention above.
- Move as much as you can. Find something you enjoy and just do it whenever you can. Toby Morrison has a lot of fantastic advice on this and videos to help you learn what to do when and how to help yourself. He focuses on CFS/ME but covers fibromyalgia as well and has helped many people adjust their lifestyles through his own experience suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome as a teenager. Visit http://www.cfshealth.com/
There is a lot more to come! Until then I hope you find these tips helpful. They have been life-changing for me.