Building your body’s ability to absorb nutrients to fight CFS/ME

By on July 7, 2011 in Books, Nutrition with 6 Comments

Is the food and supplementation your taking actually being absorbed by your body?  I found I needed to sort out my digestive system first before any of the food or supplementation could really make a difference.  Many people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), also suffer digestive problems which can affect the whole energy system of the body.

In the early days of my discovery I was in a pretty bad habit of eating sugary foods like icecream and chocolate, or toast to fill the hunger and/or emotional needs.  Not great for the liver or the digestive system!

Being exhausted just made it seem too hard to get organised and make a decent meal for myself.  But even when I did put the effort in it wasn’t actually making any difference because my digestive system had gone on strike!.  Overtime I’ve worked out how to get my digestive system functioning well and now the nutrients I feed it are actually being utilised and giving me much better results.  A much better incentive for the hard yards shopping and cooking!

How I knew my digestive system wasn’t working

Well actually it was my natropath who made me aware of it first.  But I also found a lot of interesting information in the book called Gut Reaction by Gudrun Jonsson.

Signs that my digestion wasn’t great were constant bloating after food,  burping and flatulance (and I just thought that was a character trait!) and acid reflux.

Kick starting my digestion

I used some herbs for digestion (Ethical Nutrients Digestion Plus) and Gentian, a bitter tasting herb that stimulates digestive juices.  These helped to kick start the digestion system and then I focused on loading up my system with good nutrition.

I allow myself a calm space with time to relax and eat each meal.  Chewing a lot has now become a jaw exercise for me.  LOL.  I have realised that I wasn’t chewing my food near enough to the required amount….I believe its somewhere around 50 times before swallowing to build up digestion juices.  I’m still aspiring to that goal.


I changed my diet to incorporate a lot of alkalising foods like fruit and vegetables and minimised acidic substances such as flour, sugar and stress.  Yes stress is actually strongly acidic, along with alcohol, sugar, coffee and smoking.


The other approach I take is continually detoxing my system of chemicals and metals.  I brush my skin each day with a dry skin brush, drink a lot of lemon water, eat garlic, stopped smoking and being around smoke, stopped alcohol and coffee, reduced flour and sugar and eat organic where possible.  I also was taking a product called Bioeffective for 3 months which is a product to assist with detoxification.

Keep fighting the battle

A lot I know, but it is an up and down process.  I tend to read a lot about things, get a lot of lists and written info to refer to and then put masses of changes in place for a week or so, then regress, then get back on the horse, then regress, then get back on the horse, then regress, then try something else, then regress….and so on and so on and I believe that over time I naturally lean a little more towards my newly developing habits.  And definitely over time I’ve found them to help so I know when I feel a little worst to kick back into full swing.

So how about the good food?

Whats really worked for me has been:

  • Regular Protein – with every meal and snack, so generally 5-6 meals a day.  I use protein bars, protein shakes that I make up myself, eggs, tinned fish, lentils, lean meat, chicken and salmon to meet my protein needs;
  • 80% Alkaline and 20% Acidic food balance – I just use rough estimates and make sure each meal has more fruit and vegies than protein and grains and I try to steer away from too much sugar and flour.
  • As much organic food as possible; and
  • As much locally grown food as much as possible, below is a piccie of my garden.

I’ll keep you posted on more stuff on getting organised with great food  and getting your own garden going with minimal effort…..sign up for my weekly updates so you don’t miss out!

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Clazy Frienz of Green Girl says:

    GG… Missing that garden, loving the post CFXX

    • Green Girl Mel says:

      And the garden misses you! Any community gardens close by to visit? Might have to hang over the fence and check out your neighbours…..:)

  2. sean says:

    hey mel

    great to get up to speed the 80/20 diet – ta matey

  3. Rob says:

    Do you drink water (& lemon?) with your food? There is quite a debate over drinking water and eating at the same time. I’ve found that if I stay clear of water around mealtimes, and especially with the meal itself, it forces me to eat more slowly because I just can’t produce enough saliva to gulp down my food. It makes me take time to appreciate my meal. I’ve only just started this so I don’t know about the longer term health effects but I’m hoping it will help to sort out my gut. I’ve been drinking water and eating at the same time for years, well before CFS.


    • Hi Rob, yes I’m under the impression it is best not to drink much during your meal, especially not to wash stuff down as chewing is really important and I certainly don’t do near enough of that, so have to be pretty conscious about it. I found it pretty easy to get on top of my gut problems once I started on digestion supplements and moved to a more alkalizing diet. I know when I am getting a bit acid now as the symptoms come back, so I get back into things again. My naturopath really helped heaps with this. Good luck with it! Let me know how you go, particularly what really works for you.

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