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everything-free

So Tired All The Time

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I have been completely gluten, lactose and potato free for over six months. I had been trailing these foods prior to the six months but noticed the best change after completely eliminating them from my diet. I am still extremely tired all of the time and this has not gone away, it's been over two years. I sleep at least 10 hours a night on a normal evening, usually going to bed around 8 or 9pm so I can function in my classes the next day and I usually take an hour or two naps every few days in the afternoons. I have had every test my doctor can think of and everything comes back negative so I am hoping it will be some other food that I can eliminate. My immune system is weak and if someone around me has the flu or any virus I usually get it as well. On top of this, I STILL get a lot of bloating, gas, and abdominal pain almost every day, if not every second day. I stopped eating refined sugar as much as possible over a month ago and this seemed to help but I am wondering if anyone has any ideas of something else I could cut from my diet that may help??

I eat a lot of the same foods every day so I thought I'd include the meals I eat most days to see if someone might be able to help. I can't even narrow it down to a certain time of day because my symptoms are all over the place. They have improved tremendously with being gluten, lactose, potato and sugar free but they still aren't gone. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks :)

breakfast:

gluten-free english muffin, natural peanut butter, banana, or

gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread, vegan butter (gluten-free/LF)

lunch:

eggs, gluten-free english muffin, sometimes with peppers and onion in an omelette

snacks: (one or two of these every day)

tomatos, grapes, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, baked tostitos and salsa, gluten-free vegetable crackers with natural peanut butter

supper:

vegetable stir fry (onions, peppers, broccoli, carrots), spices (all individually added, none are pre-mixed), gluten-free pasta, or

plain salmon or chicken

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I have two suggestions with regard to your diet. First, if you're avoiding potatoes, perhaps you have a problem with the nightshade family, which includes peppers....so you might wish to eliminate them. Second, I noticed that your diet seems high in carbs, somewhat low in protein, and extremely low (if not nonexistent) in healthy saturated fats. If you have celiac or any other type of absorption problem, you may have problems absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. Most people seem to believe the hype that healthy saturated fats are to be avoided, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Of all three macronutrients, fat is the most important for good health (including neurological health). If you can't eat organic butter or cheeses, try adding avocadoes, nuts, and olives to your diet. Saturated fats are absolutely crucial in a person's diet. You should strive to eat protein and healthy saturated fats with EVERY meal. Eating just carbs at a meal is not a healthy way to eat.

I hope these suggestions help!

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That definitely does help. I knew I was eating a lot of carbs, I just wasn't really sure what to eat to substitute them that would still fill me up. I can't eat red meat because it upsets my stomach as well and limiting sugar made eating chicken and turkey less appealing since I couldn't have any of the gluten-free sauces. But I will definitely try to eat more avocado's and nuts with meals, as well a limiting the carbs and see if that helps! Thanks :)

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I wasn't even aware that I was eating soy, but after you mentioned it I checked the foods I was eating and in actual fact a lot of them contained soy. I guess it is a common substitute for gluten free foods. It wasn't in the butter (at least not on the label) but it was in a few of the breads. I was planning to buy a bread maker soon anyway so hopefully that will cut out soy as well! Thanks for your help!

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What jumps out at me is the processed foods, bread type items in particular, and nightshades. The comments on proteins and fats are also good points. I'd suggest avoiding nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, etc), all grains (including rice), tapioca, and the other starches which commercially prepared gluten-free breads are made with. Also upping the proteins by adding peas, beans, lentils, or whatever works for you, and, sad as it may be, you may need to avoid peanuts. Try sunflower seed butter instead, as it tastes nearly identically to natural peanut butter. Add those health fats such as coconut oil, which contains a good portion of lauric acid. This fatty acid is more easily burned for energy, and can help support thyroid function.

Some other things to keep in mind include the fact that cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc) may suppress thyroid function, leading to fatigue and susceptibility to colds, flu, and so forth. Soy can also do that. And apparently, tapioca is known to suppress the thyroid as well. You may wish to look up "goitrogens", and see what foods are suggested as containing such substances, though do be aware that there is much confusion and misinformation on the subject, and not every goitrogen list should be believed. Also, though some foods may contain substances which suppress the thyroid, they also contain things which support the thyroid, thus really do not have the negative effect which some believe they do. Additionally, not everyone absorbs these substances to the same degree, so what effects one person may not effect another quite so much.

I'm somewhat confused by your statement about limiting sugars, and thus aren't able to use some sauces, but your food list includes grapes, bananas, and other fruits which of course have sugar in them. Can you give more detail on this?

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When I said limiting sugars, I meant like sauces, salad dressings, candies, baked goods, and things that clearly had sugar in them that I thought I could manage eliminating. Where my diet was so limited already and I knew I needed to keep eating fruits and vegetables as much as possible so as long as they were natural sugars, like grapes and other fruits I thought they would be ok. Should I eliminate these too?

If I am making the bread myself, would it still be considered processed? I am planning to purchase a bread maker in the next few days. And if I am making my own bread, but avoiding grains, what would be a safe ingredient to use?

I will start to eliminate nightshades, soy and peanuts and see if this helps, thanks for the idea of sunflower seed butter as an alternative. I will also look up goitrogens to see if there is anything else I can see that may help! Thank you so much! :)

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When I said limiting sugars, I meant like sauces, salad dressings, candies, baked goods, and things that clearly had sugar in them that I thought I could manage eliminating. Where my diet was so limited already and I knew I needed to keep eating fruits and vegetables as much as possible so as long as they were natural sugars, like grapes and other fruits I thought they would be ok. Should I eliminate these too?

If I am making the bread myself, would it still be considered processed? I am planning to purchase a bread maker in the next few days. And if I am making my own bread, but avoiding grains, what would be a safe ingredient to use?

I will start to eliminate nightshades, soy and peanuts and see if this helps, thanks for the idea of sunflower seed butter as an alternative. I will also look up goitrogens to see if there is anything else I can see that may help! Thank you so much! :)

When I make sauces, condiments, baked goods, etc which would be sweetened, I use pure Stevia extract powder. It is all natural, has no sugars, no carbs, no calories, and is zero on the glycemic index. Stevia also has a high heat tolerance, so it is suitable for cooking and baking.

It may not be necessary to eliminate all natural sugar sources such as fruits, but if you're dealing with a candida or other yeast overgrowth, then it may be necessary. A candida overgrowth can make you extremely tired all the time too. But typically there are accompanying symptoms, though they can vary widely from person to person.

Other conditions can also make it necessary to avoid sugars, and things such as diabetes can obviously be quite serious. Some starches get digested more quickly than others, and as such tend to raise blood sugar more quickly too. Even if you don't have blood sugar issues, some starches may still cause you to feel fatigued. Some types may be more problematic for your digestive system. For instance, bananas are known to be more difficult to digest for many people. I believe this is due to what's known as "resistive starch", which is particularly slow to digest, and may bog down the entire digestive process if it is already somewhat compromised.

Adequate water intake during the day should also not be overlooked. Avoid caffeine, artificial sweeteners, MSG, etc. Plain water is best. And at least 8 glasses a day is the typical recommendation. Coconut water (not coconut milk) is a very good natural "sports drink", as it can help replenish electrolytes, even better than the processed drinks sold for this purpose. However, it does contain naturally occurring sugar, so IF you are dealing with sugar issues, and IF you're electrolytes are already balanced, then you may not benefit from coconut water.

If you make your own breads, I'd recommend using less starchy flours. That way it's not all empty carbs. You can make breads with high protein flours such as legume flours, quinoa, amaranth and teff flours, and a few others which aren't so high in starch as the typical white rice and starch-based breads. However, these do not have the same texture as starchy breads, so it is a matter of preference as to whether you'd appreciate them. Since I grew up on hardier whole grain breads, these are the types I prefer anyway. Some of the breads I make do not include any grain flours at all, so I know it does work.

Once you have all the top allergens and other suspects out of your diet for awhile, the picture will hopefully become clearer as to what the underlying trouble is. Right now, there are several things which appear to be possibilities. So I think you'll need to just take it one step at a time. Perhaps you should hold off on that bread maker for now, but that's up to you.

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Thanks so much for your suggestions, everything you've said has been very informative and I will keep working on the elimination diet and see if any of these help to improve my symptoms! :)

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Real good advice you got. One other thing I suggest is to cut out the nutrition labels off those processed foods items you are eating. Paste or tape them in a food journal and add the date and your symptoms. You might want to look back at that in a few months and check for other common ingredients to eliminate. You can find many lists of the top 8 food allergens on the web. They are a good starting point when thinking about possible food intolerances.

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Sometimes looking for a food intolerance is worse than looking for a needle in a haystack. I don't think there is a food out there that someone isn't allergic/sensitive to.

My personal no-no's besides gluten are sugar (cane and beet, honey, agave, xylitol, dates, raisins), onions, tomatoes and ??????? I'm still searching for that other something.

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