How the ketogenic diet reduced my ME/CFS symptoms

I often get asked what this ketogenic diet has done for me. What benefits have I had? Why should somebody give up those delicious carbs and starchy foods? Are the benefits really worth the sacrifice?

In this post I’ll explain my journey so far. In short, in my opinion, the answer is yes – it’s definitely worth it! Let me tell you why…

Tough Decisions: To Keto or not to Keto?

Tough Decisions

In February I started a ketogenic diet in order to help manage the symptoms of ME/CFS. This decision was based on Dr. Sarah Myhill’s recommendations in her latest book “Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalitis”.

Switching to keto is a huge commitment, you cannot do it half way. It is a very strict way of life and won’t work if you’re not committed to putting in the effort. You are essentially teaching your body to use fat for fuel instead of carbs and sugar. It’s quite restrictive and cheating isn’t an option as it can get you out of the ketogenic state.

Below I’ll outline my keto journey this far and then get to the problem at hand: whether or not I personally should continue on this journey and why I am struggling with it after 2 months.

Your advice and recommendations would be so appreciated!

Keto Rash: Relieve The Itch

I have been on the paleo-ketogenic diet for exactly 8 weeks now. As many of you know, I am using this diet as a way to help manage the symptoms of my severe ME/CFS (read more about my CFS here). Things are going well and I have seen some improvements in a few areas already.

People who switch to the low carb, high fat way of life often see great results in weight management and general health, so I am pleased that I also saw such improvements despite my chronic condition. I have less general pain, the heaviness that made moving very difficult and painful has lifted quite a bit, I feel lighter with more mental clarity, I don’t suffer from the munchies anymore, and when I brush my teeth, I no longer get heart palpitations and breathlessness!

This past week has been rather frustrating, though, I started itching all over my body!
I had been itching previously too, but put it down to the fact that I wasn’t showering very frequently due to my CFS.

With the paleo-ketogenic diet I have actually improved my condition slightly and have been able to shower every 3-4 days rather than only once a week. This is when I realised that the itching wasn’t related to the showers. I’d itch more in the evenings, even on days I’d already had a shower. Very strange!

Reflections After Two Years in Bed

As the new month starts, I am filled with joy and anticipation. I love new beginnings, and for me, every new month is a new beginning. So is each new week, really. I enjoy celebrating the ordinary! In this post I want to share some very personal reflections as I look back at the road I’ve travelled and celebrate this new beginning.

Yesterday marked 2 years since I have been able to do any form of exercise that wasn’t just a short walk. My last workout was actually a bike ride. It was Easter break and I was visiting my family in Italy.

My First 40 Days of Paleo-Ketogenic Food

I’m happy to report that there have been some welcome improvements after a month on this LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) diet! As discussed in a previous post, I started this journey into a Paleo-ketogenic lifestyle in February 2017 in an attempt to help improve my current condition. I have quite severe ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which has left me bedridden about 98% of the time.

Things were looking quite bleak a few weeks ago, I was getting progressively worse, and then out of the blue on day 33, I felt like somebody had flipped a switch and I suddenly could participate in life again!

How To Cope When You’re Low on Energy

Having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or any other chronic illness for that matter, can be extremely draining and leave you without much energy to do even the most basic things. How do you cope when you only have enough energy to do one or two things each day?

There are a number of things I started doing (or avoiding) once I realised that I was constantly reaching beyond my limits and actually causing my flare-ups, I will share them here.

Transitioning to a Paleo-ketogenic Diet

As some of you might know, I have recently started reading Dr. Sarah Myhill’s book, Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalitis. It’s a huge book, with over 400 pages, and includes so much detail about how the body works and what she believes is happening to sufferers of ME/CFS. I’m so excited about this!

Don’t Do Your Best, Do Less

This might seem like a strange motto for the new year, but before you decide I’ve lost the plot, let me explain: I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS. It’s main characteristic is Post Exertional Malaise (PEM). Feeling really ill, weak and exhausted after any physical, emotional or mental exertion.

This means brushing my teeth, getting excited about a visitor coming or writing this post is exhausting and will have consequences in the form of a variety of symptoms.

International Day of People with Disabilities

December 3 is International Day of People with Disabilities. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness and make some noise all over the internet (and in real life) if you can manage it.

The message I want to get across this year, is that not every disability is visible.

Since joining the world of the chronically ill, I have found that many spoonies (people with chronic illness) prefer to not share their condition with friends and family. They live a kind of double life. Putting on a show of normality, working hard to hide their disability or illness. Often becoming lonely, isolated and resentful toward those who have forced them to live that way.