Prior to embarking on the healing journey to Bali, which I spoke of in my previous post, I met a lovely woman who had approached my mum when she overheard her speaking about me and ME/CFS at a cooking class. She suffered from ME/CFS herself and was really keen to share what had worked for her and what she believed would work for me also.
We met over the phone a few days later. She spoke to me about how she flew to Canberra to consult with a practising biologist Bill Giles, who himself had suffered ME/CFS, recovered, and was now treating a variety of chronic illnesses from the Canberra Medical Ecology Centre. He has a book published which I purchased called ‘No More Chronic Fatigue’ which addresses what he believes to be the three main contributors to ME/CFS: emotional stress, grain lectins and herpes viruses. Obviously not exclusive to these but this is from his own experience and trials with patients. He has undergone thousands of clinical trials with patients removing grains from their diet as well as fructose free trials. When speaking to her about this new approach I got soo excited! There was new hope. I was about to go to Bali though so I would have to begin the trials after my return.
After returning from my healing journey worse for ware I read his book and then contacted his office for an over the phone cosult, so I could get some more personal and in depth assistance. They then sent me an information pack and charts and questionairres to chart my response to the trials. Each day I had to mark my major symptoms from 1 to 10 on this chart and after the month, link these up.
The overall protocol that was recommended included:
- Eliminating grains/grain lectins
- Deal with any underlying emotional stress, treat any viral bacterial and fungal infections.
- reducing fructose intake to a bare minimum,
- No processed foods, no sugar, no dairy
- Limited amount of nuts and seeds
- Real, whole foods
- Light yoga and meditation
- Authoimmunisations for HHV6 virus
- Food rotation
- During this time I was also taking probiotics, prebiotics and other supplements from previous regime
- Meals were large and breakfast was usually a 4 or 5 egg omelette with left over vegetables cooked in coconut oil. Lunch and dinner were similar and usually consisted of some form of free range, grass fed, chemical free meat, starchy vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin and greens. For desserts I experimented with lemons, eggs, stevia, agar agar and cinnamin.
These recommendations were personalised to a degree and the book does discuss some of these more in depth. In Bill Giles book ‘No More Chronic Fatigue’ he states “Many health professionals are unaware of the defence chemicals in grains called lectin proteins, which can cause distruption to our immune systems. Plant physiologists say that lectins are involved with plant defence against viruses bacteria, fungi and sometimes to animals that eats them (including humans.) when people eat grains, their immune systems are challenged and, if chronically ill, they wil have poorer than normal ability of recovering their normal immmune strength and good health if they continue to eat grain foods.” These lectins as well as many other anti-nutrients in the bran of various grains such as phytic acid are essentially the grains immune system and keeps the grain fresh until it is sprouted and brought to life again. They can keep for up to a hundreds of years because of these defences. In his book he includes many graphs from clinical trials. One in particular shows how as the immune system weakens certains foods become less torable and reactive to the sufferer. From clinical observation the first foods that the body cannot tolerate and reacts to is grains, then dairy, fruits, herbs, vegetable and lastly meats. The more severe the immune dysfunction the less the body can tolerate. From a biological and evolutionary point of view grains and dairy have not been a staple of our diets for very long and our ancestors only ate very small amounts of fruits. It makes sense that these can easily become less torable, even in healthy individuals as it takes a long time for our digestive systems to evolve from eating predominantly meat, eggs, vegetables, herbs, soft seeds and fruit on occassions, to consuming a diet high in grass seeds. You may be interested in reading ‘Grains; The Double Edged Sword’ by Loren Cordain. This document will explain this subject further and more in depth.
Following these trials I became very interested in an evoluationary, paleo and stone age diet as recommended by ME/CFS specialist Dr Sarah Myhill. It made so much sense to me.
Although these trials were not a cure-all. They helped immensely with gut issues associated with excess fructose intake and the difficulty of digesting grains. I wont go into too much depth of what these symptoms were (embarrassing) but I am sure many understand how it feels to not tolerate such foods. One thing this regime cured was my hypoglycemia. Prior to this regime I ate quite a high carbohydrate diet and if I did not eat every 2 hours I would begin to feel severely faint, become very shaky, exacerbated ME/CFS symptoms and feeling very emotional to the point of crying. So I am very thankful for that. It has been well over a year since implementing these changes and I have continued to be grain and mostly fructose free. It makes such a difference for me. In hindsight this was just the beginning of the journey to finding out what truly works for me from a nutrition point of view.
If you know you can tolerate grains, dairy and some fructose or just cannot give them up there are some particular preparation techniques and certain products you can choose which make eating these more digestible and healthy. I will speak of these later.
If you would like further information please do not hesitate to ask!
And remember what I am sharing is to urge you too look further into things and are my personal experiences. I am not a medical professional.