I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for over six years now. It took me a very long time to even get a diagnosis. I got very sick over a matter of months and then became practically bedridden. To this day, I suffer from this disease. It can be brutal.
In my efforts to find out what was wrong with me, I saw many doctors. A few were helpful, but many thought I was crazy or lazy or depressed. It was extremely difficult. The few doctors who I saw weren’t able to help me much. They just didn’t know much about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
So I did some research on the internet to try to find out what was wrong with me and to try to feel better. I didn’t find much. The only thing that I kept coming across was about diet. I kept reading that if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that you should not eat any carbohydrates. In fact the few doctors who were helpful told me the same thing. Don’t eat carbs.
Now this is very difficult advice to follow if you have been a vegetarian for a few years and have a general problem with the food chain. But I felt sicker that I ever had in my life and I couldn’t work or think or function. So I once again became a carnivore.
Diet and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
For a few years I heeded this advice. I stayed away from carbohydrates and ate natural or organic foods. Still I felt awful. I did learn however, that when I ate more processed foods, I felt worse. So I stayed away from the carbs and the chemicals.
Getting rid of the chemicals actually helped me to be able to function enough to get back to work after several months. It was as though my body was detoxing somewhat. I had given up caffeine about a year or two earlier, so the advice to stop all caffeine was moot.
But I was still so tired. No matter what I did, I felt like I could sleep for days…and days…and days. But as least I could get back to work. After several months of no income and doctor bills, I was getting very nervous.
So I staggered around, dizzy all the time. I always felt like if I didn’t eat something fast, I would faint. It was very hard. I always kept some nuts or other snack around to help me feel like I could function. And I drank water like a fish. I drank water all the time. I was going through about a gallon a day. But it helped.
The problem was that I was beginning to think that food was somehow tied to my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It seemed that the more I ate the better I felt. Great. As if I hadn’t gained enough weight since being sick. I had been hoping the lack of carb would help me lose weight. Not so.
But the more I read, the more I read that people with CFS should not eat carbohydrates. The theories behind this are many. One being that if you have a yeast or fungal infection in your digestive system, the carbohydrates will only feed it and cause it to multiply. So I stayed faithful and I felt awful.
To Carb or Not to Carb?
On occasion, I would crack. I would really live it up and have some raisons or some brown rice. It took a long time, but I finally realized that when I ate carbs I felt much better. I tried to keep with the no-carbohydrate diet, but it was nearly impossible to work and stagger around like I was.
So little by little, I added some carbohydrates back in. I tried some fruits, some brown rice and some natural breads. Wow. What a difference. But it was a tough decision. Would eating these foods give me a temporary kick, but hurt me in the long run? It was impossible to know.
I tried to keep a good balance. I ate some good carbohydrates, but no sugars, and tried to keep them to a minimum. My friends all would tell me to go ahead and have some energy food and some caffeine if I need it. Why not? That’s what everybody else does. But they did not understand; my body was not like every else’s. If I consumed these things, I might only be delaying a cure
It was a tough choice. Everything I heard was to stay away from these types of things. I didn’t want to sacrifice the short term for a long term cure. In the meanwhile, I was visiting doctors and alternative therapists and was getting a little stronger, but not much. I was still staggering around feeling like if I didn’t eat right now, I would hit the ground. I was shaky all the time.
Find Your Own Balance
Over the next couple of years, I did add more carbohydrates back into my diet. The results were astounding. I can now function and think more normally. I am not shaky all the time and I have more energy. However, let me be clear on this point. I can work and that’s about it. I still feel like I am coming out of a coma every day when I wake up. I still feel very tired and dizzy and have given up almost all of the things I used to enjoy.
But at least I can function. So if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and you have been given the advice to give up carbohydrates and all caffeine, think about it. Is it really helping you? I think that over the last couple of years with this illness I have come to realize that there isn’t a cure. I may feel this way for a very long time. So, I guess the debate of whether eating carbohydrates might feed an infection which would cause longer term problems is no longer the issue.
Now, I do what ever I have to do to feel well and have some energy to earn a living. I eat carbohydrates on a regular basis and no longer to eat only natural foods. I have sugar if I feel I need it and caffeine on a daily basis. I try to balance that with a generally healthy diet. And I feel better. I know that those doctors, and by this time there have been very many, who told me I would feel better with out the carbohydrates meant well. And I am glad that I really tried to cure myself that way. But what I have found along the way is that the experts may not always have all the answers. So now I question everything, research as much as I can and make my own decisions. And I think I feel a little better because of it.