Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diet

For those living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet is important.

The word ‘diet’ can bring up images of deprivation, or of something temporary.

It may help to think of the word ‘diet’ as simply referring to your normal way of eating.
Everyone has a diet. Some people's diet is coke and chips every day. It's not a diet I would recommend!

There is no official treatment for CFS/ME at this time. So it makes sense to have a diet which helps your body to be as healthy as possible.

For example, as you probably all know 5 portions of vegetables a day are recommended as a minimum.

If you have little movement and energy to prepare meals the changes you make to have a healthy Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet may be limited. Be gentle on yourself if you can’t do all you would like to do.

In this CFS article I look at the basis for 3 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diets that you might want to consider.

CFS / ME diet

I look at...

In another health article I consider...

My knowledge of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet is purely from my own experience.
Diet is an important subject but not one that excites me. So please take this CFS article as a starting point for further research.


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What is food sensitivity? What is food allergy?

Food sensitivity is different from food allergy. 

  • With food allergy, symptoms from eating certain foods are likely to be immediate and may be dramatic.
    With food sensitivity the symptoms may be delayed or simply contribute to underlying fatigue or other ongoing symptoms. (NB. This can also be true of food allergy.)
  • Food allergy may show up in allergy tests. Food sensitivity will probably not show up in allergy tests.
  • With food allergy, the advice is to avoid a certain food. With food sensitivity, by making sure you don't eat the food too often or in too great quantities, you may be able to eat the food without experiencing symptoms.
  • Food allergy can be life threatening. Food sensitivity is not. Food sensitivity may however cause low grade chronic symptoms which significantly impair your quality of life. For example, they might be a cause of fatigue, or stomach pain or headaches.

Sometimes the food you crave the most can be the food to which you are allergic or have a sensitivity.

Eczema can be caused by food allergy or sensitivity. Click through for advice on how to stop itching.

The advice given to discover a food sensitivity and recover is to undertake a rotation diet. See below.


Click above to read about plant-based natural minerals used by and recommended by myself, webmaster Katherine

Rotation Diet

As part of a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet during the more severe years, I was on a permanent rotation diet.

Anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk of developing food sensitivity. A rotation diet is therefore advisable.

In my case, once I was no longer healthy enough to make myself a meal or walk to the kitchen, I had snacks by the bed. I was at a level where even these were difficult to reach and eat due to the muscle fatigue in my arms and hands.

I ate the snacks if a caregiver did not turn up. Typically when there were days in a row when this happened, I became sensitive to the food and was no longer able to eat it.

My regular diet was set up to stop me developing food sensitivities by ensuring that I did not have any one food for two days in a row.

A rotation diet is one where the foods are eaten in rotation and not continuously.
A typical British diet, for example, might include milk and bread every day. With a rotation diet such repetition is avoided.

I won’t dig it out at the moment, but if anyone reading this is living with severe CFS/ME and would like a copy of the rotation diet I followed for many years, you can contact me.
My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet was checked by 2 dieticians on separate occasions and passed as being healthy. I was however advised that I needed more calcium (I was not eating dairy products).

I warn you though that the CFS diet I had was very boring and designed for caregivers to use.
It involved eating the same meal three times a day.
The time allocated for carers was short and there wasn't time to organise cooking different things.
My communication was minimal so I couldn't ask for something different to be cooked.


Cut down on sodas

diet

If you drink a lot of canned drinks, fizzy drinks or sodas consider aspartame poisoning as a cause of some or all of your CFS/ME symptoms.

Symptoms of aspartame poisoning can include the following:

  • migraines,
  • dizziness,
  • tinnitus
  • blurred vision.

Cut down on or eliminate fizzy drinks or sodas.

Replace your sweetener with Stevia which is a natural sweetener. The natural Stevia is best if you can get it - green instead of white.

If you are sensitive or allergic to aspartame, you may feel worse intitially if you give up your soda drinks, due to withdrawal symptoms. It may take several weeks to see the health benefits.

What is Candida?

Candida is a yeast-like fungus found on human skin. It can live on the mouth and in the intestine. (For women, it is also found in the vagina).

What is Candidiasis?

The term Candidiasis indicates that Candida Albicans has overgrown and the balance of helpful to harmful micro-organisms has shifted. Symptoms result.

Symptoms of CFS overlap with those of Candida. For example brain fog is a symptom of both. Some people with CFS/ME find benefit from being on a candida diet.

A candida diet is especially worth trying if your symptoms include bloating and itching.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet for candida

The candida diet is one I followed almost through accident throughout the years of more severe CFS/ME.

The demands of a candida diet overlap with those of a diet for hypoglycemia combined with avoidance of common allergens such as wheat and dairy.

The recommended candida diet is as follows:

  • a low sugar diet,
  • avoid moulds such as those found on grapes or on some grains.
  • (A strict candida diet will avoid many other foods, at least at first.)

Please find a candida website to give you more details of candida symptoms and diet.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Weight

Another consideration for a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet is that if you are not able to exercise normally you use up less calories. You therefore need to put less calories in your body. The last thing you want if you're feeling tired all the time is to be carrying around more weight.

Having said that, people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome seem to have two contradictory responses to calorie intake.
Some people – like myself when I had more severe CFS – need to eat a great deal and lose weight even though they are lying still in a bed.
Others find that they eat very little and yet their weight gain is dramatic.

Adapt your CFS diet to work out what is right for you.

A protein drink can help some people to lose weight by allowing them to keep the calorie intake the same at each of the protein drink 'meals'.

By adding in calories to each drink, you can also use a protein drink to help you to gain weight.


Be Mindful of the energy involved in food preparation

When considering your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet you are going to need to assess the following

  • The energy-time it takes to shop
  • The energy-time it takes to eat the food.
    If you have muscle fatigue in your hands and arms, you will find certain foods more tiring to eat.
  • The energy-time it takes for food preparation
  • The energy-time it takes for clearing up

One of the key symptoms of CFS/ME is post exertional fatigue. There is no point trying to have a perfect diet if it requires you to become exhausted in order to prepare it and eat it.

You may want to eat wonderful organic vegetables. But if they arrive covered in mud that requires extra washing, you may not be well enough to prepare them.

You may want to eat fresh vegetables, but find that frozen vegetables can be delivered to your house, last longer and are there when you need them.

If you have little movement and energy to prepare meals you might have to compromise on the healthy Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet you would like to have. Be gentle on yourself if you can’t do all you would like to do.

I take a protein drink as a meal replacement for breakfast as a quick way of preparing one of the meals. You might want to do the same.


My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet

Since my significant dramatic improvement in 2008, I haven't continued to get better and better. Perhaps one reason is that my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet is now far less strict. But it is oh so much more enjoyable!

I also gave up a social security benefit which meant I could no longer afford to take so many supplements. I have had periods of giving up magnesium and Vit B.

It is a dilemma how much to pay for CFS vitamins and minerals when the benefit of taking them isn't always clear.

It is SO important to consider a low blood sugar diet (hypoglycemia diet) for CFS.

Read here about the benefits of plant derived minerals over the usual rock derived minerals. These have helped me so much.

Move from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diet to read about CFS Vitamins and Minerals.

© Katherine T Owen. All articles on this website are copyrighted. I am delighted if you choose to click above to share this page on social media, but please do not copy, print or otherwise use without my permission. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner. The articles on this website are not to be taken as medical advice. Please consult a medical practitioner as necessary.