DIET & WELLNESS

Apologies if I've posted this before now. I can't remember if I did, ot not. This was a general article I wrote on diet & health last year (I think?) - not necessarily ME/CFS/FM.
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There is no one diet that is right for everyone all the time. You know that saying about one mans meat is another mans poison. Well I believe it to be true 100% true.<o:p></o:p>
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So what is the best diet for you most of the time?<o:p></o:p>
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Only you can answer that. Learn to be in tune with your body. Learn to read your body. When youre chronically ill, you need to understand your body. You dont need to be a scientist or have a multitude of degrees tucked under your belt to do this. <o:p></o:p>
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You just need to be observant awareness of intake, awareness of initial reaction and awareness of final effect. What made you feel good today? What made you feel lousy? Is it a physical symptom? Have you got IBS (pain, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, gas) or dizziness, fatigue? Or is it emotional (change of mood - anger, irritability, depressed, euphoric, spacey)?<o:p></o:p>
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When you go to the mirror in the morning to comb/brush your hair, look at your eyes. Are they white, bright and sparkling, or dull and lacklustre? Are the whites tinged with yellow (usually a sign of liver congestion)? Do you have dark circles under your eyes? (often a sign of allergy eg dairy allergy). Are your eyes puffy? Or, are your cheeks tinged with a healthy glow?<o:p></o:p>
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Look at the backs of your hands. Do they look like crepe paper? Are they sunken between the bones? In other words, are you dehydrated? Or are they soft, smooth & clear. If the answer is yes, then you have probably had sufficient water intake and sufficient oils/fats in your diet. (I mean the right fats of course). <o:p></o:p>
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Do your eliminative organs work regularly? Bladder, bowels, in fact all orifices including the skin. Do you perspire when hot or after exercise? (which is the bodys natural method of regulating your body temperature).<o:p></o:p>
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I used to work with a young Italian girl in her twenties. She said to me once, that Australians diet too much. They think that to lose weight or be healthy they need to delete all fat from their diet, but she said no matter how much she dieted or changed her eating habits, she always had at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil every day - a good fat. <o:p></o:p>
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She had beautiful, luminous skin at the time (although I knew she smoked cigarettes fairly regularly). I bumped into her some ten years later after we had parted (working together). I was shocked by her appearance. She looked twenty years older (not ten). It was the cigarettes no doubt. Cigarettes apart from the danger to your health, are incredibly dehydrating and aging to your appearance. So is coffee. Nothing is more aging than dehydration & lack of bodily oils (or over consumption of alcohol).<o:p></o:p>
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I used to be a party girl in my twenties. I was a social smoker and a social drinker (well I called it social drinking but I was a binge drinker). Its not something Im proud of, but there it is, I was shy and nervous and felt awkward around the male species, so I had a couple of drinks before I went out at night just to relax me and give me confidence. Then I continued to drink at whatever venue or party our group socialised at. Todays youth are constantly berated for their binge drinking habits. Its got out of hand, but its not a new habit. Us 50 somethings did it too. I sometimes think we invented it binge drinking, I mean. The only difference is the percentage of the young who binge drink today is far higher than in my youth.<o:p></o:p>
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I called a halt to that lifestyle at 30. I stopped smoking after a bad cold/cough that lingered for about 6 weeks. When I recovered I lit up a cigarette and it tasted disgusting. I stopped smoking there and then. As to drinking excessive alcohol, an incident at a party when a so called girlfriend acted irrationally and in a most bizarre manner revealed to me the reality of my lifestyle. I never went out with that social group again. I stopped my old lifestyle there and then.<o:p></o:p>
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It was never really me, anyway, it was the alcohol talking, and I was acting in a manner that I assumed was necessary to be part of the group to be in with the crowd to be normal. It wasnt normal. It was a superficial reality that would eventuate in a short cut to old age and death. <o:p></o:p>
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Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, go straight to jail, just like a monopoly game. Only life isnt a game.<o:p></o:p>
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Life is for living.<o:p></o:p>
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Anyway, getting back to diet. Specifially, diet and ill health, because thats what were really interested in here.<o:p></o:p>
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When I use the term ill health, Im not necessarily talking about a specific disease that has a diagnosis & prognosis. I use the term ill health (or dis-ease) to describe any symptom which negatively impacts the mind, body & spirit & diverts our path from our regular, normal, healthy daily routine. The symptom may be a minor ailment which comes & goes with just a faint whisper in your ear, or an overwhelming flood of pain, fatigue and debility, which closes down your whole bodily function completely.<o:p></o:p>
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Lets compare the human body to a car. When its new, filled with the right petrol & oil, sheltered from the elements and given regular use, it runs smoothly, giving us a vehicle to get from one place to another. The car is designed to run well, support a moderate amount of weight, reflect a moderate amount of sun, and withstand a moderate amount of wind & rain, and a moderate amount of wear & tear in use.<o:p></o:p>
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The key word in this paragraph, is moderate.<o:p></o:p>
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But fill the tank with the wrong fuel, let the radiator boil dry, overload the springs, leave it out in the weather or leave it lying stationary & neglected for length periods of time, and youre bound to end up with a stiff, rusting heap, weathered and running sluggishly at best, or at worst, not running at all. The result is not even kind on the eye. Who wants a pile of junk?<o:p></o:p>
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Leaving out the family genes which may influence our start in life, there is a strong connection between the fuel we feed our bodies, the environment that surrounds us, and the knowledge fed to our brains (giving us the tools of life). Too much, too little or the wrong kind, has a profound effect on all of us.<o:p></o:p>
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Eventually.<o:p></o:p>
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So, lets examine our start in life. Most of us are born into a healthy, happy, loving family, rich in the essence of fresh food, fresh air, lively exercise & a stimulating environment and hopefully, entering into a broad education with opportunities to develop our brains to their fullest capacity. We are nurtured and guided by parents who, no doubt, rejoiced in our birth, eager to reproduce and continue the family tree.<o:p></o:p>
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The main care giver in the early years is usually the Mother, who like her Mother before her, gave great thought to the first nourishment her child would take. If possible, breastfeeding is undoubtedly the most complete food the Mother could give her baby. Breast milk has all the nutrition required for the newly born. If for some reason, either choice or inability to breast feed, the Mother would seek out the appropriate alternative. Most Mothers carefully introduce solid food taking care to provide variety, acceptable taste & texture, and a general balance of protein, vitamins and minerals that the young body needs to grow and develop.<o:p></o:p>
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The early years are also a time of experimentation. Right from the beginning, toddlers may develop a taste for particular foods. These food tastes may be influenced by the diet of their parents. Parents who eat fresh, healthy food set the example for the toddler who will (perhaps subconsciously), see what their parents eat or seek out what is provided in the cupboard or fridge. <o:p></o:p>
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Lucky are those toddlers who see fruit and vegetables growing in their backyard and see food at its source. Even luckier are those that see eggs and the chickens that produce them. But in general, most toddlers will see the copious aisles of processed and packaged food lined up on the supermarket shelf like a regiment of stiffly tailored soldiers standing to attention, waiting to be called upon to fill the shopping trolley. Those soldiers are plumped, powdered and gaudily wrapped, crying for attention. They fight for our visual pleasure and initially, at least, give little indication of their contents or taste. <o:p></o:p>
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So in the first instance, our food is chosen, not for its taste or quality or nutritional value, but purely on the advertising hype or visual appeal of its presentation in the supermarket aisle. Clever are the advertising agencies who successfully draw our eye to the product (supported by the biggest advertising budget). Clever is the imagination of these creative advertising agencies who arouse our visual pleasure centres, and build the profits of the manufacturing processors and supermarket chains.<o:p></o:p>
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Successful are the media who bombard our minds with the delights of the processed, additive and preservative plumped raw product, which often ends up bearing no resemblance, taste or nutritive value to the original, raw food. The raw product ends up being processed to death! The nutritional value of that food dies a slow and untimely death, often to the detriment of the humans who devour it.<o:p></o:p>
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Add in a modern lifestyle, geared to devouring the latest, biggest, most visually & physically pleasurable technological tools, and the action-packed, manically fast-paced stressful job, world-wind social life, and there you have it - a recipe for the breakdown of mind, body & spirit. The result is a short-cut to old age & early death. That is, another short cut. A nicotine addict or alcoholic may follow a slightly different path, but ultimately ends up in the same destination.
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So when your body, mind & spirit is broken, how do you put it back together again?<o:p></o:p>
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Face the reality. Learn to start again. Clean the body out, scrape down the rust, rebuild the basic structure, give it fresh fuel, give it fresh, pollution-free surroundings with a clear path and set it in motion. Give your body the chance to move again & breathe new life into its workings. After such a devastating breakdown, your body needs support. It needs to be re-built from the ground up. It cant magically start by itself. It needs all the help you can give it. But it IS capable of starting again. It is capable of re-birth and a long, happy existence for many years to come.
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You CAN do it. <o:p></o:p>
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You just need to learn how. Be pro-active. Educate yourself. Learn to discern whats good & what works for you. Dont accept every book, internet article or site, medical practitioner or alternative therapists advice as gospel. These sources & medicos are only as good as the writer or education & experience behind them. And you are unique. You are an individual with individual needs.
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Sometimes, your own trial & error practice can provide answers to your bodys problems which others have been unable to answer. But be sensible, if a bone is broken, go to the hospital. If the task is beyond you, seek help, but ensure the help is that which is in tune with your bodys needs, not the needs & ego of the medical practitioner youve consulted.
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Consider the following:
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Hippocrates was a Greek physician born in 460 BC on the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:placeType>island</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>Cos</st1:placeName></st1:place>, <st1:country-region><st1:place>Greece</st1:place></st1:country-region>. He became known as the founder of medicine and was regarded as the greatest physician of his time. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body. He held the belief that illness had a physical and a rational explanation. He rejected the views of his time that considered illness to be caused by superstitions and by possession of evil spirits and disfavor of the gods. <o:p></o:p>
Hippocrates held the belief that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts. He accurately described disease symptoms and was the first physician to accurately describe the symptoms of pneumonia, as well as epilepsy in children. He believed in the natural healing process of rest, a good diet, fresh air and cleanliness. He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms and that some individuals were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others. He was also the first physician that held the belief that thoughts, ideas, and feelings come from the brain and not the heart as others of his time believed.<o:p></o:p>
Hippocrates traveled throughout <st1:country-region><st1:place>Greece</st1:place></st1:country-region> practicing his medicine. He founded a medical school on the <st1:place><st1:placeType>island</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>Cos</st1:placeName></st1:place>, <st1:country-region><st1:place>Greece</st1:place></st1:country-region> and began teaching his ideas. He soon developed an Oath of Medical Ethics for physicians to follow. This Oath is taken by physicians today as they begin their medical practice. He died in 377 BC. Today Hippocrates is known as the "Father of Medicine".
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I believe his simple philosophy is still relevant today.<o:p></o:p>
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Comments

Good food has a greater impact on health than possibly anything else. It is also much cheaper to do it for yourself. And a home made dinner doesn't have to take any longer than nuking some plastic-wrapped orange goo. Ready meals, especially of the budget kind, are high in cheap ingredients salt, sugar, cheap fats.

So much of our food is nutritionally compromised. Instead of picking a salad from the vegetable garden outside the kitchen door, food comes thousands of miles before we eat it, loosing vitamins and flavour all the way. The cheap pork joint comes from an animal that was even more sedentary than us, having lived in a cage too small to turn around in. The cheap chicken is fed, like the caged pig, as economically as possible to maximise profit. I find it hard to justify eating these poor creatures. I would rather eat beans for my protein, but I will certainly make full use of any free-range animal I buy.

However, even perfect people get sick sometimes, and everyone dies in the end. I am hoping for another period of health before I go, and I'll do what I can to aid that. Diet is important, but if it was the whole answer, then many of us would be boogieing on down at the disco by now. Roll on greater understanding and effective treatment of ME.
 
Well done Vicki! I love food but I didn't start off loving veggies. I hated them growing up. It wasn't until I became ill that I started eating right. I wish I had done it sooner. I have the circles under the eyes. The awful allergies. Don't drink, don't smoke, don't like coffee. Can't have dairy and never liked milk and that's interesting because it makes me sick. I hated it as a toddler.
 
I had a good diet most of my life (except for that era of "drinking excess alcohol" & "social smoking" for about 10 years) & I still have had health problems. But I do notice that I am getting many health problems similar to my parents & grandparents. That is, they are inherited - it's in my genes.

But I am working to transform that predisposition (to diabetes & heart attack), into a longer life span.

I have lowered my high blood sugar, dramatically improved my cholesterol & reduced my IBS symptoms by changing my diet - alot of trial & error, as well as being in tune with my body & it's reactions.

I believe alot of my health problems have been due to stress - perhaps I even got FM due to prolonged stress?

Who knows.

When you are stressed, you body cannot function correctly - it cannot digest & assimilate the food you ingest.

Good diet does not guarantee perfect health, but it DOES help.

And yes, if the perfect DIET was the "be all & end all", we'd have a cure for every chronic disease including ME/CFS & FM.
 

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