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What category do you fall into for your diet?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Dan Neuffer, Jan 29, 2013.

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Which category do you fall into for your Diet?

  1. I was Vegetarian/Vegan IN THE TIME LEADING UP TO my illness starting.

    8.2%
  2. I was Vegetarian/Vegan for during most of the time I have been ill trying to recover..

    1.4%
  3. I have been Vegetarian/Vegan for most of my adult life.

    8.2%
  4. I have not been Vegetarian/Vegan. (excluding any short trials)

    82.2%
  1. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    I expect the idea vegetarians (who as others have pointed out can have a significantly different diet to a vegan) are more likely to develop ME has been around quite a while. In the late 1980's when I told my GP I was "tired all the time" he asked if I was a vegetarian. He actually said I looked like a vegetarian and when I queried him on that he said it was my long hair. (That's the one and only time I've had a close encounter with an idiot doctor, fortunately! Given the length of time I've been sick I've probably got off lightly.)

    Is the notion that people who develop ME/CFS are more likely to have been vegetarian, perhaps confused with some evidence people who don't eat meat and who also become iron deficient or possibly B12 deficient could be more likely to develop chronic fatigue?? These people might even return to full health after supplementation?

    FWIW, Same as someone else mentioned above, my iron levels returned to normal within months of stopping eating grains in 2007. I'm not celiac but there was something else going on there inhibiting absorption. Getting good nutrition seems to be an individual thing?
  2. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    I eat a normal diet. Meat, veggies, fruit, dairy grains with an extra serving of gluten.
    rosie26 and Marg like this.
  3. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    I think that is a correct statement Anne. In general, from what I found doing research, a plant based diet gives the best chance for good health and longevity. See: http://tinascocina.com/healthy-eating/ BUT, one must take into account individual differences. Some people are lactose intolerant, some are gluten intolerant, some can't eat soy, some can't eat sulfites and on and on the list can go.

    I think, for CFS, some of us are dealing with pathogens that have impacted the GI tract leading to food intolerance. I *think* that is what may be going on with me. For others of us, our CFS may be only food intolerance related, or mold related or pathogen related or another issue related.

    So, quite the puzzle.

    I do think it is necessary for good health to eat the best nutrient dense diet that we can eat to help our bodies heal. So it is wise to cut out all junk food and only eat food that can nourish our bodies (within what individual dietary limitations that we have.) Today on my blog I posted the first of at least a 10 part series on how exactly to eat healthy. At some point one of the blogs will be on food intolerance.

    Best, Timaca
  4. Living Dead

    Living Dead

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    All my life I've fared best on very-high carb diets.

    During two periods when I was very ill I could not tolerate much protein. During the first period I made dinner out of vegetables only on some days because I knew any protein would knock me out.

    In the next period I felt that it wasn't the protein that knocked me out, rather the lack of carbs. So my diet was fruit salad every 3 to 4 hours. I have never had a more stable blood sugar. For dinner I ate normally, carbs, meat and vegetables.

    Except during the first period noted above I need both protein and carbs for dinner, or I will be knockered after half an hour. And when I say protein, I mean meat or eggs. Fish does me no good, it's worse than not eating at all energy-wise.
  5. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Hi, All.

    I've clicked in Dan's poll but for some people it may be hard to decide whether 'veg in period leading up to illness' or 'veg most of adult life' was more accurate. I had to do some mental arithmetic to decide which was me!

    I became veggie in 1976 and vegan in 1983, and developed ME in 1995. But I think that Merry has hit the nail on the head - veggies and vegans probably often replace animal products with carbs, and a lot of veggie convenience foods contain significant amounts of wheat, etc. Only now is it becoming easier to get gluten-free ones. I've noticed how carb-addicted some local fellow-vegans are too - they are overweight but still stuff themselves with sweet and starchy foods, consuming them with near-orgasmic relish! On the other hand, of dozens of people on an ME forum I used to frequent, I appeared to be the only vegan, and there were very few vegetarians.

    I went gluten-free in January 2012, and further reduced my intake of grains and sugar in May. The reason I made the latter change was this paper:

    http://integrativehealthconnection....1/Leaky-gut-in-CFS-treatment-of-leaky-gut.pdf

    It has led to significant improvement, including easy loss of excess weight.
    heapsreal and Timaca like this.
  6. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I know a fair number of perfectly healthy vegetarians, but the only vegans I have known all have dreadfully thin and sparse hair - which got thinner and more sparse as time went on.
    They were also very anaemic-looking, and their skin was bad, which again got worse and worse as time went on.
    They all looked very ill.
    This may have been because they were students and could not afford proper supplementation, or perhaps they were ignorant about it. (They weren't scientists.)
  7. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    They don't sound at all typical of vegans, Peggy-Sue! I don't think anyone in my local vegan group has noticeably thin hair, or bad skin, or is particularly pale. They don't look ill, and are very lively and animated. My own skin is very good, and I will have been vegan for 30 years this month. Two of us have ME though. One was trying to set up a business making (VERY sweet) vegan ice cream. After I read about the low-carb/leaky gut diet, it occurred to me that this might not be a good business for someone with ME, as they would inevitably be sampling their own wares.
  8. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    I did the no gluten thing for a while but it certainly didnt cure the ME. I nowdays do have "some gluten" but not much at all. (some times I nowdays go up to 10 days without any at all while other times Im having 3 small crackers daily). I still do think that gluten thou may be a "part" of my issue but there seems to be even bigger parts to it going on. (my MTHFR polymorphism has been playing a part.. messed up methylation... same goes with the high insulin issue as well.. on top of that I have reactivating virus stuff).

    Most of us with ME/CFS have MANY different things going on.
    Timaca likes this.
  9. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    MeSci~ Is there a particular part of the diet or therapy (eg supplements) that you think helped you?

    Best,
    Timaca
  10. PhoenixBurger

    PhoenixBurger Senior Member

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    Moderation in everything. Vegetarian diets are not healthy by themselves. However the complete (or near complete) absence of vegetable intake can be and is implicated in countless chronic illnesses. I dont think this poll should ask "Were you vegetarian". Very few people fit that criteria. The real question is "What level of vegetable intake did you have prior" ..... during ... after.
  11. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    I am the same. Veggie for more than 20 years, but also eat some fish off and on now.

    My diet is almost all nonprocessed foods, I try to avoid grains, don't do well with them, and try to eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and lower mercury wild caught fish. I do well with higher protein, lower carb. If I eat dairy it's organic and I don't do well with eggs so I rarely have them. I avoid high fructose corn syrup, things like that. I eat beans, nuts, seeds, low fat dairy, and fish for protein.
    justy likes this.
  12. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I'm really not sure, Timaca. The weight started falling off when I went gluten-free, as well as my gut function improving (much less IBS-type urgency and looseness). I think it improved further when I reduced sugar and grains. I'm still up and down, likely due to the excessive exertions necessitated by everyday life sometimes. I started taking l-glutamine when I went low-sugar/low-grain, and also started taking sodium bicarbonate to reduce gut acidity, so it's very hard to unravel cause-and-effect.
    Timaca likes this.
  13. Dan Neuffer

    Dan Neuffer

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    Yes I understand that most people realise that their symptoms improve from adjusting their diet, I was really curious to find out how many ate a vegetarian/vegan diet now or at some time before they made the changes.
  14. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I don't see a problem with someone investigating a suspicion/fledgling-theory. The more knowledge the better!

    I hope that no vegans or veggies are deterred from taking part for fear of providing evidence that there may be a problem with their dietary choices. If it does turn out to be the case that veganism or vegetarianism is associated with ME, steps could then be taken to identify the reason(s), and it may be possible to make dietary changes that do not require abandoning one's principles.

    I think that for vegans the 'palaeovegan' diet may be the way to go.

    One thing that will need taking into account in any study on this topic is the percentages of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores in the general population.
  15. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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  16. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    Timica, am interested you advocate a plant based diet with grains. What are your thoughts on the paleo diet which is opposite? I do best with some protein and small amounts of starch. Seem to need both
  17. Dan Neuffer

    Dan Neuffer

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    Hi Timica,

    You make a really valid point about the limitation of the poll. Also, I don't think it has been designed that well and am not convinced people are always answering the question I was really wanting to ask, which is whether the have a history of vegetarianism/veganism.

    It isn't just about what is healthy, but about what is supportive for people with CFS/FMS. I meet a disproportionate high number of people who have a history of not eating meat or animal products in the CFS/FMS community. They may have changed their eating, but the history is notable in my mind.

    I hoped to try and get some meaningful statistical numbers, but don't think this has been achieved.

    To me, there are clear reasons for why such a connection would exist, which is not just about what people do not eat (ie. concentration of certain amino acids), but also what they eat instead - grain based carbohydrates. Whilst I am not saying that a vegetarian diet can't be healthy, I feel that most actual vegetarian diets are not. Of course, the same can be said about non-vegetarian diets.

    But vegie diets add certain pressures that are pertinent to the overall pathogenesis of CFS/FMS in my opinion.

    Cheers,

    Dan
  18. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Totally disagree that veggie diets often lean heavily toward grain-based carbs. I really don't think it has anything to do with eating veggie or not, but with the individual's priorities, preferences, and individual choices. I have been vegetarian for more than 2 decades and am basically fully gluten free and grain free with no problem. I do as of recently eat some fish but even without that there is plenty to eat on a veggie diet without grains. In my opinion I eat far healthier than the average, mainstream American diet, which usually is not vegetarian. I eat organic, seasonal, local when possible, whole, non-processed foods.

    Additionally, many who eat meat also plenty of grains, like bread with their meat sandwich, etc. Also many animals that people eat are fed grains or corn rather than their natural diets. Do you have some kind of stats or established facts that you use to come to your conclusion/feeling that most vegetarian diets are not healthy in practice? What aspects of a veggie diet do you see as being particularly a problem with CFS?
  19. Dan Neuffer

    Dan Neuffer

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    Hi - well, I don't doubt that you eat a great diet - good for you. It is my view that a huge proportion of people, vegetarian or not, eat a poor diet.

    A stricly veg diet in my view has to increase their carb consumption in order to meet their calory consumption, which can be a problem for many based on their choices. Also, often people eat reduced amounts of protein and fat and compounds like carnitine, all which does not help with fatty acid metabolism or the production of many key neurotransmitters.

    Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying people shouldn't eat vegetarian, but a strict vegan diet certainly makes things very difficult and without careful planning, it may cause further difficulties.
  20. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    The Cave Man diet puzzles me and I feel it to be a gimmick more than anything else.

    I could understand it more if it was raw meat.

    But since learning of it I have paid attention to diets and peoples stories.

    My local M.E. groups all eat omnivore apart from a tiny minority.

    But in Vegetarian cultures/ cities, I have not heard of rampant M.E.

    I have heard of all different combinations of people feeling better after makinv dietry changes - becoming macrobiotic(high brown rice intake), being vegan macrobiotic, paleo, raw vegan, juicing;

    It is a good poll idea.

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