The Stone-age diet
The ideal diet for chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease sufferers is essentially a Stone Age diet, which is the diet that man ate for 99% of his evolutionary history before the relatively recent advent of farming 10,000 years ago.
In fact, there is a great deal of archaeological evidence to show that the introduction of the foods associated with farming caused a massive increase in child mortality and a significant stunting of growth in adults which has only recently been recovered.
So although we consider our current diet ‘normal’ it may be that our food choices have a lot to answer for in terms of our current record of mortality and morbidity. With farming came the introduction of the two foods which, between them, are responsible for the lion’s share of food intolerances: wheat (and/or perhaps gluten) and dairy products and this topic is explored in more detail below.
In order to eliminate and help identify food intolerances it is worth eating a modern Stone-age diet for 10 days or so which involves eating fruit (but not citrus), vegetables (excluding potatoes, peppers, aubergines and tomatoes), meat and fish and then reintroducing foods one by one. Rice is usually OK as is rice milk, but cut out alcohol, coffee and tea and see if you feel any better. If you do, then there is just the small matter of working out what foodstuff(s) are causing the problem (see below). You will also need to prepare everything from scratch – ideally using organic ingredients – so that you know what is in your food.
The anti-candida diet
Whilst there are many factors that contribute to the overgrowth of the yeast, Candida albicans, the main causative factor is ultimately toxicity in general and chronic mercury poisoning in particular which both depresses the immune system and actively promote the overgrowth of yeasts. Most attempts to control candidal overgrowth will prove temporary management measures at best until this factor is adequately addressed.
The anti-candida diet can be a little daunting at first and, depending upon how severely affected you are you may not need to do all of it. You will need to stick to it rigidly for at least two weeks. You are trying to deprive Candida albicans of its preferred foods in order to control the overgrowth, so even one or two transgressions defeat the object of the exercise.
After this time you can start to reintroduce some foods cautiously observing symptoms. If you concentrate on the tasty foods you can eat and make with what is permitted instead of focussing on what you cannot eat and drink it makes the exercise much more tolerable. How much you are prepared to – and need to – do will depend in part upon how sick you are.
What you can’t eat
Yeast and fungi and their products. This includes anything fermented such as alcohol, vinegar, soy sauce or yeast extract
Sugar in all its many forms (dried fruit, syrups, etc). Also avoid artificial sweeteners
All refined carbohydrates should be excluded which rules out anything made with flour - especially bread
Avoid processed meat or fish and cured products (if severe)
Exclude all dairy products
Fresh, tinned or dried fruit.
What you can eat
Drink water, herb teas, rice or soya milk
Unlimited amounts of vegetables - raw or cooked
Unrefined carbohydrates such as rice, potato, porridge oats, oat cakes and puffed rice (sugar-free)
Fish (fresh or tinned), poultry, meat, lentils, beans and chick peas
Use olive oil in dressings (along with lemon) and for cooking. Flavour food with garlic and fresh herbs.
You will need to cook whole basic foods simply and not eat pre-prepared foods as you need to know exactly what you are eating. Recipes can come later.
Either a cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomatoes, scrambled eggs or brown rice kedgeree; or oatmeal or rice porridge; homemade muesli (oat and millet flakes, seeds and nuts soaked overnight) and/or rice cakes.
Homemade soup; chicken, fish or meat with vegetables or salad; a homemade rice salad; leftover casserole or a baked potato filled with with prawns, tuna or homemade chilli.
Meat, poultry or fish and vegetables; a vegetable/meat/chickpea stir-fry with rice or brown rice pasta and homemade sauce.
Goals of treatment
By following this diet you are going to achieve several aims. You are going to kill large quantities of Candida albicans, you will also have eliminated several of the foods most likely to cause sensitivities, weaned yourself off caffeine and sugar and started to rehydrate and heal.
However, be warned that as the candida dies off you may experience flu-like symptoms, headaches or a worsening of symptoms, but this only typically lasts for a few days and after which you will start to feel better.
Whilst you may be bored on this diet, you should not go hungry at all. After at least two weeks (it may take two or more months) you can reintroduce foods carefully, one at a time and watching for symptoms.
Start with no more than one piece of fruit a day. Avoid melons and grapes - which are high in yeast and peel the fruit initially.
Try yeast-free bread (soda bread), Ryvita, unleavened rye or barley breads or whole-wheat pasta.
Nuts and seeds, spices, fresh and dried herbs.
Low sugar jam or honey in moderation.
The Stone-age diet and anti-candida (yeast) diets recommended for chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease sufferers as outlined in The Natural Recovery Plan book are detailed.