can you look at my food intake? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 04-13-2011, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A brief history-- I have suffered from unexplained severe fatigue for years.  I have most of the classic signs of chronic fatigue syndrome.  This is one of the things that made me start reading about nutrition and to start a vegan/ mostly vegan diet.  I recently started moderate daily exercise which I fully expected to help my energy levels but it hasn't.  At a loss, I posted on a few diet/ exercise forums (not mdc) and was told my diet is "horrible" that I am "malnourished" and that I "need to eat some steak."  I'll say upfront I am not opposed to eating meat/ dairy if I thought it would help me... I just am not convinced it would and I felt no better when I was eating meat.

 

I do feel healthier on a vegan diet (I hardly ever get sick) but my fatigue levels are not improved by it.

 

A typical day for me is:

 

breakfast-- fruit or big carrot salad (shredded carrots, ground nuts, raisins, oranges)

 

lunch and dinner -- some combination of whole grain, legumes, greens (usually broccoli, collards or spinach)-- very big servings of everything

 

snacks-- nuts, fruit, salads, whole grain toast

 

beverages-- water, calcium fortified OJ, grape juice

 

I am careful about my juice intake (limited to 16 oz) but for me it's the most convenient way to get calcium (which I'm concerned about even though I eat so many greens).  I don't eat refined sugar/ grains (though I have in the past) and at most will use a little maple syrup in a recipe.  Everything I eat is homemade-- nothing processed.

 

What do you think?  Do you see room for improvement?  I really don't think my food intake is the cause of my problems.  I don't count but I would guess I'm at least taking in 2000-2200 calories a day.

 

(btw I am a big fan of Eat to Live!)

 

TIA!

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#2 of 11 Old 04-13-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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You may want to look into food combinations a little more closely. It's possible your body isn't processing nutrients efficiently. Do you eat fermented foods at all? You may need more digestive enzymes for all those whole grains and greens. I tend to look to international cuisine for inspiration because a lot of times food that has been combined a certain way for over a thousand years often has a rhyme and reason to it. Like falafel in pita with cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and tahini dressing. Brown rice with tahini dressing and nori and some japanese pickle is a nice satisfying meal.  Or rice and dahl with chapati and salad. If you are eating a lot of raw foods you may want to add coleslaw and miso soup and tempeh and other fermented items to help with digestive enzymes.

 

Also, have you considered a DHA supplement? Udo's has a good blend and there is a vegan Barleans called Omega Swirl that is a good source. It can be hard to find vegan DHA because even when it's sold in capsules it's sometimes in fish gelcaps (huh?).  Flax seed oil alone is not a good source of EFAs because you have to process all the flax to get the nutrients out that you need and you need a lot of it. If you mix some Udos with olive oil and vinegar for salad dressing or make a nice tapenade with Udos and kalamata olives and lemon zest. I really like this cookbook http://www.healthy-eating.com/product/491/235

 

You mentioned you are eating nuts at least twice a day, what sort? Another easy protein snack is some sprouted beans like lentils or chickpeas tossed with a bit of crushed ginger, salt and pepper, and fresh squeezed lemon. 

 

Just some ideas...what do you think?

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#3 of 11 Old 04-13-2011, 10:57 PM
 
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How much sleep are you getting?


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loving my plant-based, whole foods lifestyle
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#4 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your suggestions!  As far as DHA, I had a severe reaction to it which I guess is rare but not unheard of.  It made my insomnia worse and I felt "trippy" for nearly two days, with racing thoughts and anxiety.  I have read a lot of combining foods, and my understanding is that as long as you eat the foods within the same day, they don't need to be eaten in the same meal, though I typically combine legumes with whole grains for lunch and dinner.  I do eat some fermented foods... I mean overall I think my food intake is very healthy, it closely follows Eat to Live with the exception that I use more nuts and oils than he recommends, and my portions are probably bigger, since I just want to maintain my weight as opposed to lose.  As far as raw, it depends on what I have in the house-- ideally I go 50/50 raw/cooked on greens but sometimes it it a lot more cooked, since I am limited on how often I can grocery shop.  I'm very conscious of getting enough protein which is why i eat more nuts than ETL recommends (usually almonds, but also peanuts, macademias, and cashews) and loads of legumes.

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#5 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambereva View Post

How much sleep are you getting?



This is a huge issue for me-- I have severe insomnia which has been resistant to any treatment, both natural and medical.  I rarely sleep more than 2 hours at a time.  I think if I could solve my sleep problems a lot of my fatigue would go away.  This, actually, was why i was trying daily exercise, since so much of what I reads says it will help my sleep.  So far it hasn't greensad.gif.  I don't eat sugar or caffeine either, primarily due to my sleep problems. 

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#6 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 06:52 AM
 
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I've heard of Eat to Live but I would have to look it up more. I'm sure it's a healthy diet but you have to take into account your personal requirements. If your body isn't good at processing a certain nutrient maybe you need to figure it out. The insomnia could be a symptom of that. Have you seen a nutritionist or considered you may have some food intolerances? We are a vegetarian household and went wheat/gluten free for a year and it had a very positive impact on my son. No one here is allergic to gluten but it seemed to be causing a disruption in my son's digestion and body comfort. I worked wheat back into our diet since then because the effect was not as big as the effort to be gluten free. But it was a nice change. 

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#7 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 07:10 AM
 
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Hmm the only thing I see is that it seems a bit high in fruit/juice/etc. but I might just be hyperaware of that due to my own issues. Even fruit sugar can cause huge fluctuations in blood sugar which can affect your energy levels.

You also might try adding in various seeds & pseudo-grains (i.e. quinoa)...

I saw substantial improvement in my energy when I went gluten-free. It's hard to explain because I don't really FEEL different when GF, but the difference is noticeable in my ability to do things -- when I eat gluten, I am unable to do any housework, cooking, etc. but when I'm off it, I can often do those things, even though I'm still dealing with chronic fatigue... it just makes it more manageable, if that makes sense?

I don't know anything about Eat to Live...

Anyway, those are the only dietary things I can think of at the moment...

Have you had a sleep study? Maybe there's something going on there (sleep apnea or something???)

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#8 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post





This is a huge issue for me-- I have severe insomnia which has been resistant to any treatment, both natural and medical.  I rarely sleep more than 2 hours at a time.  I think if I could solve my sleep problems a lot of my fatigue would go away.  This, actually, was why i was trying daily exercise, since so much of what I reads says it will help my sleep.  So far it hasn't greensad.gif.  I don't eat sugar or caffeine either, primarily due to my sleep problems. 

My professional philosophy is that there are 3 facets of good health: eating, moving and sleeping. You diet sounds pretty good (the only suggestion I'd make is to try eliminating grains for awhile and focus on eating protein, healthy fat and fruits and vegetables in copious amounts). You're moving now, so you're getting on track there (again, only one suggestion, make sure you're fitting in a short bout of high intensity work most days, even something as simple as running stairs for 5 minutes. Something to get your heart rate up high and metabolize all those stress hormones modern life caused our bodies to pump out). Now to tackle the sleep. Because I'd bet good money that that is your problem. Poor sleep is a killer, literally. It increases your risk of pretty much every disease and makes you feel miserable. I suspect as you refine your diet and get in the habit of moving daily, you will see some improvement in your insomnia, but in the meantime I gently encourage you to look into insomnia remedies. You can try melatonin to start, but there is absolutely no shame in taking a sleep aid. Benedryl works for a lot of women I know, and is one of the safest, cheapest medications out there. And I know MANY otherwise very holistic, natural mamas who rely on prescription sleep aids. I agree with you that it is not ideal, but living without sleep is worse.
 

 


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#9 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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Your diet looks fine.  I don't see anything major wrong with it unless you're sensitive/allergic to some aspect of it (like gluten). 

 

I worked for a sleep doctor for a while and for most people drugs (including melatonin) are only a temporary fix--to permanently fix sleep problems you have to work on your sleep hygiene and setting up a good sleep schedule that will work for you.  Good luck.

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#10 of 11 Old 04-15-2011, 09:23 AM
 
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I don't think you have unexplained fatigue. I think you have insomnia related fatigue. I had insomnia most of my life, and it was awful. What finally worked for me, after meds and natural remedies didn't help, was something called EFT. I'm a skeptic about something as weird and new agey as this sounds, but a friend of mine does it, and she bartered a 2 hour session to me for a couple of dinners for her and her family, and I figured what the heck, I'd try it. That was a year ago. I've had NO sleep problems since she sat me down and cleared the triggers for it. You might give it a try. PM me if you want contact info for my friend - she's awesome and can do phone sessions.

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#11 of 11 Old 04-17-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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I agree with Ambereva.  No sleep is a killer.  Ds was sick for a week and I was getting 2 hours of sleep a night for 6 days. It was horrible. My TMJ got so bad that whenever I lay down to rest I was in extreme pain.   Everytime I felt stressed the pain would be excruciating.  The last few nights I slept and I am better.  I cannot imagine getting 2 hrs sleep on a regular basis.  The other day I got some accupuncture done, went for a 10 min shoulder massage and then took an epsom salt bath.  That really helped me.  But I was ready to take anything to help me sleep.   The exercise really

helps me as well.

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