So as I wrote in my last blog I happily blazed through week 1 eating almost a totally vegan diet, with the exception of dairy milk and yoghurt, because unfortunately the local store only had the soy option which I discovered I am intolerant to.
Week 2 started and I wavered throughout this week as my eldest, who had been helping me prepare the food, left me to return home. As she left me my hubby came over along with my second born to keep me company. Throughout this week I wavered horribly and consumed beautifully ripe soft Camembert, delicious garlicky pates and my body weight in smarties! Interestingly as the week wore on my pains started to increase and both ME and Diverticulitis symptoms started flaring. By the end of week 2 I was a physical wreck with intense fatigue and excruciating pain. I felt as if my veins were filled with liquid fire, sparking and burning a trail through my insides, igniting flames within my muscles and joints as it travelled through my body ~ causing them to become tender and tight, my ankles puffed up and filled with fluid and my Achilles’ tendons also tightened horribly. Moving became a thing to dread, pain killers and anti spasmodics were downed and I honestly felt as if I was going to combust due to the intense fire within which made me want to just curl up in a ball and cease to exist rather than endure the horrific unrelenting pain and debilitating fatigue. After dietary analysis it seemed blatantly obvious that during week 1 we saw improvement of symptoms, nothing magical but definite reduction of pain. Then as week 2 progressed symptoms slowly returned. My cognitive function also started to decline, issues with word finding and memory occurring more than usual and by the weekend I was sofa bound and close to tears with every movement. My plans to go out with friends, a rare treat, inevitably had to be cancelled. So I lay miserable on the sofa, cuddling the dogs and watching random movies whilst dozing on and off.
Sick of feeling so rotten and fully convinced that there is a direct correlation between food consumed and physical/mental negative symptoms, I decided to commit to a vegan eating plan. I am also fully aware that there is currently no cure for either ME or Diverticulitis BUT perhaps certain foods are the cause of triggers which exacerbate symptoms and increase fatigue. PERHAPS by cutting out these foods ~ dairy and animal products, I could reduce the severity of my symptoms especially the pain, fatigue and cognitive function and with it increase my quality of life.
Week 3 saw the purchase of my fabulous NutriBullet Pro ~ it’s fookin’ amazing, I can’t express how much I love this kitchen gadget!
It has transformed my life ~ seriously! Having ME means that energy is a very precious and limited resource. Cooking takes a large chunk of my daily energy which means I need to then plan how I use the rest of it throughout the day. If I have a shower then I need to rest before continuing on with say shopping which will then just about do me for the day. Socialising is a rarity and requires rest before and after but even then if a “crash” occurs then all plans are off. By having this gadget and being able to throw ingredients from the fridge, freezer and cupboard into the beaker, blitz & drink, I am conserving vital energy. Plus as the food is blitzed it takes less energy to eat and digest (and yes, if you were wondering, if you have ME some days just merely chewing is tiring). So I am inadvertently following the raw til 4 plan as I have a berry & oat smoothie for breakfast and then a green/veggie smoothie for lunch. Dinner is veg or salad with either potatoes pasta or rice with possibly something from the Linda McCartney range.
Also, my search for a milk substitute is over ~ I have found I enjoy and tolerate Oatly milk, it curdles a little when in my coffee but eldest daughter gave me the tip of adding a little cold water and using just off the boil water ~ hey presto yummy coffee!
I did try the Barista version as loads of folk had recommend it, however, for me, it was just overtly creamy ~ tasted like I had full fat cream instead of milk in my coffee. Although too creamy for coffee (according to my tastebuds) I bet it’s great in a mocha or hot chocolate. The range though also has a chocolate drink version ~ which satisfies the big kid in me, I can still dunk biscuits into my chocolate milk. I further discovered during these transition days that I don’t like, deep breath and please forgive me fella vegans, kale and sweet potatoes, tried a few times but no, just no! AND no to vegan cheese, a monstrosity and insult to my tastebuds and “fake” cold meat slices which taste like how I imagine cat food would taste.
I have decided to dig out my symptom diary and dust off the cobwebs to document any changes over the next few months. It will be interesting to see if I can gain some control over my fluctuating symptoms and even perhaps shed some weight too. Only time will tell, but I am hopeful this dietary and lifestyle change will improve my cognitive function and help me gain some control back over my body. I just have to remember to check labels and ingredients while I learn what can and can’t be eaten from products off supermarket shelves, just following the simple rule below…
I am hopeful I can avoid further diverticular flares too ~ who knows how my health will go but I have, for now, a real hope for change and the determination to follow through on committing to the vegan mindset.
Til next time, big loves to y’all