Diet plays a major role in most people’s idea of good health, not just for people recovering from ME/CFS or any other chronic illness. Healthy tastes good and helps us to heal, but it requires more effort. There are times when you simply can’t give it the time. I know this is true because when I was housebound, I couldn’t cook for a long time. I was too sick to get from room to room on days and sometimes just standing up at the fridge was immense. I’d eat tuna out of a can or anything I could find that was healthy enough. I was largely dependent on getting fed by husband for a time, which was so hard to deal with having been so healthy and in control of my food in the past.
Expecting someone who is massively ill to jump up and start cooking can be unrealistic and even stressful. That’s why I have a few blogs on diet and you have to do what you can at each stage of ability. If you are having treatment for cancer or any other type of health trauma you often need to depend on others.
There are things you can do. Sometimes even the carer’s don’t have the time or energy, so it could be a case of sourcing out the healthiest microwave meals and stocking up, or when someone cooks, yourself or other, making giant portions and freezing future dinners. Sometimes you can’t even properly address the diet you want when you are at the initial stages of illness, because this is often mainly just about survival, getting through to the next day etc .When you are trying to do a specific diet, like wheat/gluten free or vegan etc, this can seem like a mountain to climb so my advice is do your best but wait until you have more reserves to be able to do it properly. At the outset my body wanted very different foods from what I was used to. I had been a vegan for five years and then I found myself eating meat.
At my crash stage I also consumed a fair amount of MacDonald’s, which is safe to say, not like me, as my friends would agree. I eat very differently now, and I can see that my body was just craving calories and fats too quickly for me to do much about it. Here is a little list of helpful suggestions:
- Ask carers to make extra portions of healthy meals and freeze individually for you to take out and mic
- Have proteins ready at hand in fridge for lunch. I.e plain cooked chicken, nuts, fish like tuna, mackerel etc
- Eat raw, it’s easy, quick vitamins & minerals – broccolli with stalks, carrots, peppers, cauliflower. Ask for help to have it pre-cut for lunch etc
- Buy a nutribullet / decent food processor for making quick healthy things
- Get seeds, nuts and linseed mixes plus cheap organic veg from Lidel
- Buy nut butters for instant protein snack on toast
- Make or ask for help making hummus, good protein snack for lunch, extra garlic and turmeric helps with immunity
- Order your veg / fruit basket to be home delivered from an online company
- Find mic meals that have wheat/gluten/diary free for reserves M&S and Sainsbury’s are the best for these
- Make or ask for help with large batches of soups/casseroles
- For wheat/gluten free, buy Sainsbury’s “Genius” bread
The photo shows some of my homemade stored foods, veggie chilli bean pot, veggie curry, apple crumble and cacao and coconut energy balls. They are all wheat/gluten and mostly sugar free. I will be adding a separate post for my personal recipes soon!