When I first started the protocol, I was unaware that what I really needed to do was to follow a special diet as well. I had followed many diets over my lifetime unaware of how badly sugar and starches overlapped my symptoms of fibromyalgia. Although many of my symptoms started improving when I started the guaifenesin, I still was not functioning as well as I could had I started this diet from the very beginning. Sure, I would feel pretty good, at first, but then I would fluctuate from well to worse. It wasn’t until it was made clear to me the importance of the hypoglycemic diet that I started working on avoiding those high sugar foods and starches, and then consistently started feeling better again. In my case, I do have to follow the diet strictly, otherwise, I will feel symptoms of illness, such as a headache, dizziness or drowsines...then I would have disturbed sleep that night. This proves to be a challenge, not only to give up many treats that I love, but to remember the details of the diet.
I have made up a list of helpful tips that I learned through the process, either from Dr. St. Amand's website, various other sites and then my personal experience. These ideas have helped me to stay on track. I hope that you find this helpful as well. You will want to keep a thorough journal, notice how you feel emotionally and physically, and work through each day to the best of your ability. If you get off track, just begin again. I plan to have some webinars that you can jump onto. Look for upcoming events. Most cravings can be resolved by eating cheese, which has fat and sodium, and can be very filling. When this doesn’t work out for you, you may try these ideas:
1) Find a high fat treat that you can enjoy and still maintain the diet. Favorites are: cheese, bacon, hard boiled eggs, salami and other dried meats (look for added sugar), decaf coffee with cream, whole grain toast and butter, tuna and sugarless mayonnaise (perhaps homemade), nuts and nut butter (almond or tahini are great, but in small amounts like a teaspoonful, add unsweetened coconut chips or flour, unsweetened carob powder, and make nutbutter balls!)
2) Download a copy of the diet to have on your smartphone so that you always have it available to refer to. Go to http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/hypoglycemia.html to find a copy to download.
3) Eat regularly and often, many small meals and snacks in the day, about every 2-3 hours. This way you are sure to keep your blood sugar from going too high or too low, and your brain functioning at its best. You will be able to extend those times later.
4) Drink plenty of water. Sometimes we confuse hunger with thirst, and after drinking about 8oz of water, your hunger may subside. Wait about 5 minutes, then if you still feel hungry, grab a low-carb high-protein snack.
5) Check online for meals to prepare that are high protein. Keep the list of foods that we can eat handy. I will be posting some of my favorite finds that I hope will make your life a little easier.
6) Create and pack quick convenience snacks that are always ready on the go, such as baggies of cut veggies, small containers with cottage cheese and fresh fruit, leftover meatballs or meat loaf, canned tuna and salmon, cut cheese cubes and salami slices, hard boiled eggs, you get the picture. This will help alleviate the pressure and frustration you may feel if you waited too long to eat, just open up the fridge, and voila, there’s a quick snack ready and available for you to enjoy.
7) If you are really in love with potatoes, then finding a good substitute that doesn’t make you feel like you are missing out on something can really help. Baked kale chips made with oil, salt and pepper, mashed cooked cauliflower with feta cheese, butter and salt and pepper, cooked and mashed Jerusalem artichokes with all of your favorite add-ons, and have you ever tried dried seaweed???? Yum! :)
8) Instantly feel good! Sprinkle Bragg Nutritional Yeast on Everything! This yellowy, buttery powder adds B-vitamins, zinc and selenium, a sure-fire way to get rid of the blues and blahs.
9) Pasta lovers, fret no more! Use cooked veggies for your sauces. You have heard of spaghetti squash, but you can also use greens like broccoli or spinach, smother them with your favorite homemade cheese sauce made with milk and butter (no flour or starches) or fancy marinara sauces with meats and spices.
10) Restaurants can be really challenging! Most will accommodate any need you may have. Be prepared to give them the list of forbidden ingredients on a small sheet of paper. They can check, list in hand. You don’t just have to eat salads anymore, but you can substitute veggies for pastas and potatoes, ask for grilled meats with no sugary glazes, and order sandwiches or burgers with sourdough bread (not the sugar-added Hawaiian sourdough though) or have it wrapped in lettuce. Take that food list with you wherever you go! My friend Deanne's favorite Asian grill is HuHots, they have all ingredients separated for you to choose from for them to grill, and specify which sauces have sugar for you to avoid, and all happen to be gluten free!
11) Always plan ahead if you are meeting friends out for meals. Take the time to know the menu of the place you will meet, and don’t be shy to bring your diet friendly healthy snacks with you wherever you go. Having a stock of to-go snacks in your purse or backpack will be helpful during those moments you run out of time to stop somewhere to eat, too.
12) Take a brisk walk and do deep breathing exercises. I thought I would add something non-food related. It is actually a fact that exercise staves off the false hunger pangs and boosts energy. In the case of fibromyalgia, we certainly do not want to overdo it, however, even a small amount of aerobic exercise, can build your ATP production. Getting out into fresh air and sunshine are also great pick-me-ups that cannot be substituted. Get outside and enjoy the day!
As always, if you need any support or help in following the protocol and the hypoglycemic diet, please contact me and I will do my best to help you out! Look for and sign up for my upcoming webinars. Email me in the mean time.