Taking control using food… six months on

In March this year I decided to look beyond medicine to help me fight my chronic illnesses, and embark on a health food journey to heal my body using diet. See how my journey started here – Taking control using food and where I was at after a month of clean eating – Taking control using food one month on. I began eating an anti-inflammatory diet designed to reduce pain caused by inflammation and aid the healing process. I started eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, cut down on sugar, and cut out sweeteners, processed foods and gluten. My goals for the experiment were to increase my vitamin intake, to decrease fatigue, to improve sleep, to increase my fibre intake, and to give my body more energy. So far I have seen some small improvements in some areas such as reduced nausea and constipation caused by medications, my vitamin and mineral intake has increased dramatically and I finally feel like I have some control over something – what goes into my body! But I still have a long way to go!

So where am I at now? 

My symptoms have continued to intensify and I have become increasingly unwell since it all started in January of this year. I am housebound now and spend an awful lot of time in bed. I have seen numerous different specialists and doctors and had lots of tests done to try and get some answers to my mystery new symptoms. And after many gruelling months of not knowing what was wrong and if I’d ever find out, I was finally given a diagnosis of Postural Orthostatoc Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) a few weeks ago; see how I was diagnosed<!–more–
here. Since becoming more unwell, I have worried at lot that I will never feel well enough to enjoy going out again, let alone work. I have felt very hopeless at times. When you get to that low point, you look for any answer you can, and are willing to try absolutely anything that might make you feel better. I did a lot more research into diet and healing with food and came across the brilliant Deliciously Ella who is now in remission from POTS due to eating a plant based diet and Natasha Lipman who also has POTS and eating a plant based diet has seen dramatic improvements in her health. I felt so inspired by these women I had to follow in their footsteps and change my diet further to help me heal through food. I now eat a gluten-free, dairy-free (as of a few weeks ago), caffeine free, anti-inflammatory, high nutrient, low refined sugar diet. I’m not going to say its been easy, I mean I was a cheese addict before all of this started, but I am determined to stick with it and I have found new food loves in almond butter and quinoa! Eating this way is far from boring, it’s all about glorious desserts, delicious dips, beautiful salads, and aromatic veggie curries bursting with flavour, all made with nature’s most natural ingredients.

I enjoy smoothies, smoothie bowls or oats for breakfast, using superfood powders such as maca, acai and baobab to increase my nutrient intake. I get my superfoods from Naturya or Organic Burst.

Acai smoothie bowl

Acai smoothie bowl

For lunch, a quinoa salad, homemade hummus with oatcakes, gluten free toast topped avocado, lime & chilli flakes, or a hearty bean salad.

Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

Dinner could be a veggie curry, cauliflower base pizza, tumeric omelet, black bean burgers or buckwheat pasta with pea pesto.

Squash & lentil Malaysian curry

Squash & lentil Malaysian curry

I have a real sweet tooth so treats and snacks often include a spoonful or nutbutter, energy bliss balls, black bean brownies, fresh fruit, banana bread or some simple vegan chocolate. All low or refined sugar free, gluten free and dairy free of course :)

Dairy-free, gluten-free banana bread

Dairy-free, gluten-free banana bread

I’ve also been drinking about 3-4 litres of water a day. Sometimes fruit infused water or coconut water to mix it up a little. And I am currently trying to increase my salt intake as a high salt diet is good for POTS patients.

Those are just some examples of some of the things I’ve made on my health journey so far. Most of them are really simply and easy to make which is essential for people with chronic illnesses. However, at the moment I do still have a lot of help from my Mum and boyfriend Paddy with preparing meals (which I am so greatful for!). I don’t have huge expectations but I really hope that by eating this way I will see some greater improvements like those of Ella and Natasha. I know progress will be slow but I just have to be patient and carry on experimenting to find what works for my body. Focussing on my diet has allowed me to feel as though I am taking control of my illnesses which feels great mentally and I am really enjoying trying new and exciting recipes!

If you’re interested in seeing how this all works on a day-to-day basis, you can follow me on Instagram at @spooniesophia , and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me!

4 Comments

  1. lennae87 August 6, 2014 / 4:44 am

    Yay for you! I’m trying to eat as great as I possibly can like yourself by, avoiding sugar, dairy, gluten and all those things that could be harming my health. However the past couple of months I lost a bit of inspiration after having stomach issues after eating foods that should of been fine. I was chatting to my Nathuropath about it all as I was getting so frustrated about it and she said you can do the rule out foods, then eat them for 3 days in a row to see if they are causing you problems. I didn’t see the point as my symptoms had been all over the show, I was over it! It seems to be a thing that happens to me every few months I put it down to the ME/CFS. She said there was another option of doing a blood test and they test it somehow against certain foods to see if I’m reacting to them. I went ahead with that option it may of cost a bit but I thought it was well worth while, hopefully I’ll know something soon. Your doing so well with your eating keep up the great work!

    Lennae xxx

    • spooniesophia August 6, 2014 / 4:10 pm

      Thank you Lennae for taking the time to write this comment :) sorry to hear about your stomach issues, think they are really common in lots of chronic illnesses so yes it’s probably your ME/CFS. I think we develop allergies somehow. I really want to have that allergy blood test done. I’d be interested to see what comes back from yours and whether you think it was worth doing. I hope they get to the bottom of it soon. Lots of spoonie love xxx

  2. juliavanderwyk August 8, 2014 / 1:15 am

    Hi, I too have CFS and I did the allergy elimination diet Lennae speaks of. The results were that my body responds best with a non-dairy, sugar free and gluten free diet. Sugar especially exacerbates my CFS symptoms. Dairy causes immediate congestion and exacerbates exercise induced asthma and avoiding gluten makes my body feel lighter and less gloppy. My inner sugar-addict will be happy to learn of your no-sugar desserts!

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