The first key point in nutrition tips and food planning is that I highly recommend setting a schedule for meals and committing to that through the use of a food journal.
I use what I call the '12 eating/12 fasting rule'. That means that we plan our meals during a 12 hour period. An eight hour window of eating is also good.
A good example might be planning meals between the hours of 8am-8pm, or whatever works for you to exert more control.
This helps to avoid the pitfalls of living with a chronic illness, like night eating, overeating, or grazing to deal with pain and symptoms.
Yes, non regeneration can contribute to weight gain, fatigue, lowered immune status, and increase of all symptoms in any chronic illness.
That is why we want to support our endocrine system by not eating late in the day. The liver, gallbladder and all of the detoxification organs start regenerating as the sun goes down.
Our Body Clock article explains more about this and how living with fibromyalgia can lead to non-regeneration of our essential organs and glands.
A disciplined food plan is essential when living with chronic illness. Structure, food quality, planning and preparing food ahead is crucial to avoiding unhealthy eating patterns, like eating late at night.
In fact, many studies have been done over the years linking lack of sleep to high cortisol levels and weight gain, however a new study from JAMA Oncology (March 31, 2016) indicates that fasting at least 13 hours overnight reduces the risk of breast cancer.
Yes, you heard that right!! Please do not be afraid of structured eating, otherwise known as Intermittent Fasting.
Working nutritionally with people over the years, I have found that many people tend to eat more of their calories in the second half of the day.
Many will say they don't feel like eating breakfast. Utilizing the suggestions here and on the juicing/blending article of the site here will aid in the "how and why" to making it work and creating a more balanced nutritional plan.
Eliminating excess sugars and grains is the goal here in order to support the endocrine system, metabolism and immune health.
If sugar cravings become an issue between meals, try using a half to one tsp. of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) or CCV (Coconut Cider Vinegar) in 12 oz. pure water.
Just be sure to go slow with cider vinegar, the taste should not be strong. Add a touch of cayenne pepper if you are not allergic to stimulate metabolism and circulation.
Vinegar should not be over used. Never take it straight. If you have a reaction or histamine overload reaction, avoid using any type of vinegar for a period of time.
This foundation (healthy terrain) will support all aspects
of well-being, physical AND emotional. The endocrine system is intimately involved when any illness is present in the body.
Nourishing and protecting the adrenal glands is essential due to the constant stress inflicted on them from ongoing viral activity, nervous system involvement and nutrient depletion.
Cultured vegetables, seaweeds and high quality salt will aid in creating a stronger foundation. As we say in the 'adrenal stress' article, the adrenals perform well on high quality salts and nutrient dense foods. Make them a part of your weekly dietary plan.
If you do not care to make your own, more companies are supplying cultured vegetables such as this Farmhouse Culture brand shown here.
1. A blender drink that incorporates alkaline fruits and vegetables is ideal for breakfast due to the body being in a more acid state upon awakening.
I recommend a safe protein powder that you tolerate, for a non-allergen protein that can be used at any time. We use Plantfusion for plant based, or goat protein for a safer whey to go. With added glutamine, this is an excellent choice for healing a leaky gut and absorption of a quality protein source to nourish muscles.
There are many protein powders on the market today, unfortunately many of them use additives, gmos, gums or other allergen forms of protein like rice or whey protein from cows. We prefer goat protein or beef broth protein.
2. Lean proteins, eggs (if tolerated), or any safe protein. Always eat proteins with alkaline vegetables such as greens, neutral vegetables such as summer squash.No more than 3 oz. of protein at any meal.
Include a healthy fat serving such as coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado. A side of cultured vegetables will aid in digestion. (Note: 'hard boiled' eggs are harder to digest, more acid forming and not always tolerated as well as eggs 'over easy'..easier to digest)
3. Gluten and/or grain free pancakes. To increase protein, add a tsp. of Original Plantfusion or your favorite protein powder into the mix.
Remember that eating protein in the morning or late morning if intermittent fasting, is essential to balancing sugar levels and reducing inflammation in the fibro body. Utilize raw honey if needed for sweetening. Keep it alkaline and low in natural sugars.
1. 3-4 oz. protein, such as turkey or grass fed meats. Vegetables (cooked and raw combined is beneficial), 1-2 fat servings. Limit fruit at lunch or between lunch and dinner for optimal metabolism and fat burning. Also, Cultured vegetables will aid in digestion of proteins and fats eaten at lunch.
2. Vegan salad with organic greens. Mix organic field greens, romaine, etc. Do not avoid all greens, but avoid eating excess spinach or kale if thyroid symptoms are present (See related article "Underactive Thyroid"). Add soaked or sprouted nuts and flax meal for added fiber and Omega 3’s.
If eating vegetarian, refer to the main diet page for tips on using sprouted mung beans or other sprouted legumes for protein. Cooked beans are high glycemic and harder to digest.
3. If eating out for lunch, choose lean or grilled meats or fish with steamed vegetables with dressing on the side. This way we control the type of fat our food is cooked in. Seaweed rolls or lettuce wraps are excellent.
Always be sure your food is well flavored. Curry, himalayan salt, oregano, cayenne, ginger.. these will add flavor and better digestion.
If eating at a buffet, start with vegetables or a salad, then meats and fats. Then have cooked vegetables in your favorite sauce instead of sugar or fruit.
Avoiding the tendency to eat sugar, even fruit sugar between lunch and dinner is one of the best ways to control cravings over time.
How do we control cravings or boredom in between lunch and dinner?
Deep breathing or a scheduled hour rest period will help to rest the adrenals and reduce cravings. (Essential because this is when cortisol starts to rise, and can rise abnormally in those with compromised thyroid and adrenal glands.)
Be extra mindful between the hours of 3-5 pm which is a great time for our second 20-minutes meditation time.
1. Soups made at home are a great choice. Use organic vegetables, onions, garlic, wakame or kelp seaweed, red potatoes, sea salt, etc.
Note: red potatoes are acceptable, white should be occasional or eliminated.
Use dairy cream, fat only or non-dairy cream to flavor. (Avoid too much dairy protein which can cause constipation in some people)
2. Root bake made with organic root vegetables. Combine any roots such as beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc. Cook with a small amount of coconut oil or clarified butter. Bake in the oven in a small covered dish. Root vegetables are full of nutrients and satisfying.
3. Winter squash (cooked whole to seal in flavor) Note: See Recipe article page for details on cooking squash, and your hands will thank you !!
Add both raw and cooked vegetables. Dinner is the time to reduce fats and proteins to support the lymphatic system. We are best to keep it light and easy on the GI tract.
Remember that bile activity is greatest at lunch time, so fats and proteins are used in greater quantity at that time and lesser at dinner.
4. An 'entree' salad, light yet filling.
Mixed green salads with toppings for
variety and if using a protein, only use like a condiment, sparingly at dinner
to support the lymphatic system.
5. Red potatoes are a great addition at dinner, they are very different from 'white' potatoes and are well tolerated without causing inflammation like other potatoes can. They are essential for supporting serotonin production which we need to naturally wind down at night.
6. Many people love sweet potatoes. Just be sure to avoid mixing them with animal protein for better digestion. This is another reason to eat them at night, when we are limiting or avoiding more concentrated proteins.
Check out our RECIPES page which is really more than recipes. Ideas, therapeutic foods and more.
When you feel the need to work on 'resetting" your metabolism, you might consider a 21-30 day metabolic reset like the one I detail here. Modifications can be made if needed, and always consult your attending doctor if other relevant conditions are present.
Try not to think in terms of perfection, but more in the long term, and what we can learn from challenging ourselves, our bodies, and our minds to doing something different if what we are doing is not working. Please read the FOUR notes included in this plan.
NOTE 1: (2) whole fruit servings are allowed per day. I like to use apples (green especially), grapefruit, oranges, or any other lower glycemic fruit. Avoid bananas and no fruit juice or dried fruit. These 2 whole fruits can be spaced out during the day as it works for you. Just be careful of combining animal proteins with fruits.
For breakfast :
See above breakfast options using only:
- protein (3-5 oz) OR the Plantfusion protein powder.
- 1-2 raw fat servings (avocado, olive, or coconut oil)
- non starchy vegetable (optional) 1 cup
(add one of your whole fruits here if you like, especially if doing a blender drink)
- protein (3-5 oz)
- 1-2 raw fats
- salad greens or 2 cups vegetables, raw, cooked or combination.
-no starch, especially at this meal for this 21-30 days. This is the best time of day for your raw healthy fats to work for you. Combining starch at lunch will prevent that. Your bile flow and liver will thank you. You will better utilize your raw fats for your brain and joints. Don't worry, you get some starch at dinner.
- protein, reduce your protein to about half of your lunch meal.
- 1 raw fat or healthy oil
- 1-2 starch options.(red potato and winter squash are good options)
- 2 cups non starchy vegetables, mixed cooked/raw.
Avoids for the reset include:
*ALL dairy except clarified butter (ghee)
*chocolate (cocoa powder and raw added after 21 days)
*grains, wheat, rice, and corn.
*sugars and artificial sweeteners.
-NOTE 2: use your own discretion where you need to. I believe in my plan, and yet you know your own individual tendencies. You may include (1) protein or fat snack during the day such as one serving raw nuts, olives, or (1) cup of almond or cashew milk.
Is coffee allowed on my reset plan? That is up to you. As long as you are not doctoring it too much and adhering to your own caffeine tolerance, I do allow it and suggest organic decaf gano as I have listed at bottom of the adrenal stress article page, but do what you like there.
-NOTE 3: I suggest using glutamine powder during the reset to help with cravings, better sleep, and muscle regeneration. 2-4 grams per day, powder is best. That said, if you are using the Plantfusion protein (1/2 to 1 serving) in the mornings, you will not need additional glutamine.
-NOTE 4: If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS-C OR IBS-D, consider the suggestions in my irritable bowel syndrome article to help you calm those symptoms. Stress control is also essential with IBS.
<3 Lisa Curley, CT. PT.