In recent years, fibromyalgia nutrition has included the paleo (grain free) approach to eating and has become increasingly popular. This way of eating has become a good alternative for those who may want or need to avoid gluten and other non gluten grains. We do however need to be cautious about adopting food plans that are either too extreme or difficult to maintain.
How Much Is Too Much Fibromyalgia Nutrition?
As with any diet plan, extreme measures can create health issues just by mere imbalance.
Remember the low fat craze of the 80’s? Well, it wouldn’t have been nearly as detrimental if people were not unknowingly replacing the fats with sugar laden foods that created a new and greater epidemic of blood sugar issues and syndrome X conditions. Low fat is not so bad if the fats that are being utilized are raw in nature and adapted to each individual’s caloric needs.
The idea is that less can be more, especially when dealing with fibromyalgia nutrition, other chronic illnesses, and the natural progression of aging at the same time.
How do we burn more fat?
Why has the Paleo (more protein, less carbs) way of eating become so popular over the last two decades?
Mainly because people find that when they reduce sugar and simply carbohydrates, not only do they feel better, but the body becomes more efficient at fat burning.
When sugar is eaten on a regular basis, this makes it much more difficult for the body to burn fat for fuel. If the body is constantly “working on” the sugar, it cannot get to burning fat.
If we can create “treat days”, not cheat days, that allows us to avoid feelings of deprivation. Think of it in a good way, it is not cheating, is simply keeping the sanity. Because the truth is that we have to sometimes change it up anyway, while using consistency most of the time. This also helps with metabolism.
Is your internal furnace (thyroid)
If you feel that you cannot lose weight, no matter what you do, it could be low thyroid. This is more common today, and yet conventional testing does not often find it. If your furnace is running even one degree below normal at say 97, then you are not going to properly burn through your calories.
The other issue with low thyroid or hashimotos (auto immune thyroid) is that it just makes you feel bad. From joint pain to muscle aches to feeling cold all the time.
Read more here regarding the natural ways I like to focus on endocrine health, which means supporting both adrenals and thyroid. Thyroid Health and Fibromyalgia.
Intermittent Fasting For Regeneration
That is the premise behind alternate day fasting and/ or calorie restriction. Research has found that the old myth of needing to take in a high amount of calories to burn calories is not so much the case.
For instance, the amount of calories, fat and protein necessary for a healthy female may be different than for an adult female with a chronic illness. Therefore when aiding an adult female with weight loss or healthy eating patterns, we focus on the “less is more” concept and focus on ingesting more nutrient dense foods.
With extra food intake comes the requirement of energy needed to digest that food, energy that must be taken from the body’s needs to regenerate and heal. Therefore, with fibromyalgia nutrition and any chronic illness, we must put our energies where they will best serve us.
Working as a colon therapist for many years, I often see the benefit of increasing nutrition through high nutrient dense foods and rotating foods while incorporating a scheduled plan of eating.
Read more here if you like on ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Intermittent Fasting can be done in a variety of ways but the most important aspect is adhering to the eating and fasting windows. If you happen to be a night eater, then simply following my option 1 fasting schedule from 8pm to 8am can be very helpful.
Then, if you can, calorie restriction will be done 1-2 days per week. So I would choose 1 day or 2 days if you like, where you are able to get in more “rest time” and less digestion, to optimize energy of healing. Try eating about half your normal calorie intake on those 1-2 days per week.
Remember, any hours of fasting are meant to bring that energy to healing rather than always being tied up in digestion.
Although we still need healthy fats for our entire body, GI tract and healthy brain function, the amount and type of fat is still the issue.
Liver and gallbladder disease have become an epidemic these days. And, too many people living without a gallbladder get scared into thinking that fats are bad. However, raw fats are essential for the brain and entire body. So in the case of gallbladder removal, try to get at least 70-80% of your fats in the raw state. This might include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, soaked and sprouted nuts, avocados, seeds and clarified butter.
If your doctor is not familiar with the connection between chronic pain and liver bile duct disease (more common these days) then there will never be a treatment for the ‘root’ cause and wheels will continue to spin as pain and symptoms only increase.
What Is A Safe Amount Of Protein?
Did you know that the average female only needs about 10-12 grams of protein at one time for optimal digestion and assimilation? Yet if we look at the label of one serving of protein powder, the amount of protein is generally about 20-25 grams.
The same goes for meat eaters. At any given meal of animal protein, the amount of protein often exceeds 20 grams.This amount of protein is more appropriate for a healthy male of greater mass and/or a growing body with greater caloric needs.
Protein is needed for every organ and to nourish healthy muscle yet too much is not a good idea and can also contribute to a detrimental alkaline to acid ratio in the body and cells.
The idea is to be sure we are properly utilizing and synthesizing the protein we take in. If conditions like liver, gallbladder, or bile duct disease are present, this can prevent proper utilization of proteins. Therefore, we can take in less if properly utilized.
If you are a blood type O, you will be more likely to thrive on animal protein. If you are a blood type A, you would want to limit your animal protein sources to fish and lower portions of meat if you have a hard time avoiding it. Type A just doesn’t have the natural enzymes needed to digest animal protein.
Shown here are examples of adequate protein servings .. these all have about 10-12 grams of protein. (2 eggs, 1/2 scoop protein powder, or 2 oz. turkey)
So guess what? It’s still good news all around !!
When revising a food plan for the average female, we know that using a half serving of non allergen protein powder is not only optimal but also cost effective at the same time…another key element in ‘living smarter’.
Note: For more information regarding non allergen protein powder, blending suggestions and recipes, refer to thejuicing and blending article.
Limit Paleo After Lunch!
If eating paleo, it is best to utilize animal proteins in the first part of the day. This means at breakfast and lunch only. Dinner should be comprised of lighter foods. It is best to avoid concentrated animal proteins at least 8 hours before retiring at night.
This supports the liver and lymphatic system which is all important when dealing with a chronic illness.
How Much RAW Fat Do We Need?
A good rule for fat intake is generally one fat serving per meal and one additional fat serving as a mid afternoon snack. Some examples:
- * ½ an avocado
* a serving of 12-16 raw sprouted nuts/seeds
* Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews
* 1/4 cup Pumpkin seeds
* 3-4 Brazil nuts
* a Tbsp. of clarified butter, coconut oil, olive oil or any other raw (unheated oils)
Remember that raw fats are easier to digest than heated fats, however with any liver, gallbladder or bile duct congestion, the body’s ability to digest and assimilate fats for energy will be compromised. Yes ..even the naturally saturated fat in oils like coconut oil. In fact, our choice of oils can also benefit our treatment for co-conditions such as Epstein Barr and Mycoplasma infections in the body. Olive oil is the best choice in helping to fight these infections.
Please be aware that although you might hear a lot of benefits from coconut oil these days, it is not right for everyone and every blood type. For instance, if you are a blood type O, you may have a greater need to experiment with rotation of oils to assess that you are metabolizing the oil properly. (see rotation ideas below)
Lipase enzymes may be needed short or long term for better fat digestion, especially if one has bile duct disease or is without a gallbladder. If indigestion still occurs when eating fats, consider taking a safe fiber supplement taken with water (about a half hour) before meals containing fats.
Benefits of popular oils
A few of our favorite healthy oils:
Olive oil – great for heart health, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral in that it is beneficial for those suffering with CFS/ME and the Epstein Barr virus. We use Extra Virgin Olive oil in our liver tonic recipes due to its benefits and easy assimilation by the liver. Here on the Recipes page, we detail using Olive oil more therapeutically.
Avocado oil – a mono-unsaturated fat with higher amounts of Vitamin E, beta-sitosterol, lutein and CoQ10. More detail on avocados and oil here on the main diet page. Diet for Fibromyalgia.
Coconut oil – anti-bacterial, “energy oil”, can be beneficial for thyroid, brain conditions. Be aware of potential allergies to coconut oil, I see more allergies to coconut and coconut oil, and may need to be rotated or limited by some. You can visit our coconut oil pulling method for a mouth rinse.
Coconut Oil Mouth Rinse
Hemp oil – super omega GLA. Some people like to utilize hemp oil for more chronic health conditions like cancer and auto immune conditions. I advise using it in its raw state.
Flaxseed oil – High in Omega- 3, great addition for heart health and hormone balance. Great for brain health and easy to use in blender drinks or on salads. Also share with your dogs, it is good for them too.
Pumpkin seed oil – mono unsaturated fat that is great for the bladder and prostate gland. A great oil to add into blender drinks. I prefer to eat sprouted pumpkin seeds, either sprouted at home or found in health food stores.
Rotating Fats For Better Digestion And Fibromyalgia Nutrition
Why is rotating food and fat so important for digestion ?
Have you ever found yourself eating the same foods every day only to realize that something is no longer working for you? That is where food rotation comes in. There are some foods that can be eaten on a daily basis, more so in the case of fruits and vegetables.
However with concentrated proteins and fats, we are best to rotate these foods every 2-3 days where possible. I have used the Blood Type Diet for many years with clients and myself and I believe that blood type is part of the total equation when adapting a food plan.
There are many benefits to food rotation, including better assimilation and variety and intake of nutrients. This also creates greater variety in our meal plan making it easier to stay motivated ..
As I continue to maintain, there are many food plans out there and many have good points, yet not every food plan works for every person especially when dealing with a chronic illness. That is where we work to really ‘narrow in’ and choose the best concepts to fit our specific fibromyalgia nutrition plan.
Also refer to our main dietary articles, The Best Diet for Fibromyalgia.