If I don’t have any energy left, how do I start the healing?

I have questions like this all the time from people with RA or Chronic Pain:

" I don't have the energy to basically get up to do it (healing) every single day because my body is so inflamed and sore, I have a lack of appetite and energy to fix myself something to eat".

You are right the full Healing Protocol is hard follow, here are some ideas to start:

1. Start with one step at a time.

When we talk about your diet start with removing processed foods one at a time, and start to make changes with one meal a week at first, then twice a week, after that every other day, etc. 

If starting with breakfast instead of eating a highly processed sweet cereal, boil a couple of eggs (not much energy requires here).  Next time break a couple of eggs in a pan and add some broccoli (or kale) add some salt and the close lid.  No further assistance is required.

When you learn how to avoid all processed foods, then start to remove trigger foods like gluten, dairy, etc.

2.  To make it easier on your digestive:

Blend your food.  Load the blender for a smoothie the night before so all you have to do is add liquid in the morning (almond, coconut milk, water).  If you can’t eat some foods because of your body reactions then start with one vegetable and one small fruit at a time: lettuce (most of the people can eat it), blueberries (any berries in season) and nut/seed butter. 

Always remember to add healthy fat (nut/seed butter), protein (nut/seed butter) and fiber (lettuce and blueberries) with each meal.  If you don’t add fat and protein, then you soon will be hungry all over again. 

When I was sick and could barely get up out of bed, I ate a lot of soups that were simply cooked in a slower cooker.  Just put in all pre-cut frozen vegetables, protein (fish, chicken, pork, beef), water, dry herbs and salt in a slow cooker and I would eat that sometimes 3 times a day.  Also a blended soup works very well.

3. There are chopping assist devices that are not terribly expensive and that can reduce the effort.  The instant pot reduces cooking time and one does not have to stir.  I use the slower cooker a great deal of the time. Getting a good sharp knife is very important to reduce effort too.

4. On your good days, chop.  Some people freeze chopped vegetables. Or buy pre-chopped vegetables fresh or frozen.  For example, while it’s super easy to make cauliflower rice at home, many supermarkets sell fresh or frozen riced cauliflower.  There is no need to thaw it first, use it straight from the freezer.

5.  Bone broth (if don’t have sensitivity to it) is a gut-healing and a precursor to the healing of everything else, so if you can it would be the first and most important step to adding it on a regular basis.   Plus, with a slower cooker it is not laborious, and bones are generally cheap! Also Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods in US have compliant bone broth.

6. Canned fish like sardines or salmon are great and easy and a cheap choice of protein but remember there should be no additives.  Just salt and olive oil and smoke sardines can be very delicious.

7. Here is what one chronic pain survivor wrote:  

“… When I started the healing process I was anorexic and terribly sick with fatigue, so I could not stand up very long at a time—which makes cooking a major challenge.  I cut up vegetables sitting down, often when watching TV or listening to radio/music.  It often took 2 days.  These I stored in the refrigerator until I cut up all the veggies. Then the next day, I cooked (soup or oven roasted vegetables or whatever). The next day I cleaned up.  Most recipes did not take much watching/stirring effort.  Put the chicken in oven, go lie down. Or put chicken pieces in a large pot to boil, occasionally return to stir …” 

8.  Meal delivery service.  I understand it can’t be for everybody.  But some of them have a reasonable price or maybe consider not using it every day but a couple times a week.  

9. When I work with people (particularly who have struggled with fatigue), I ask them to take a test to see if they can digest proteins.  Most of the time when people can’t digest proteins, they have a difficult time digesting fats and carbs as well.  Because the energy comes from the foods you eat and if you have a difficult time digesting food then your body won’t be able to convert the food to energy. 

So, in order to digest foods (to feed your body), the food should be well cooked meals (like animal proteins and vegetables and remember grains are very hard to digest, for example bread).  Plus, you must have enough stomach acid to be able to break down the food again to feed your body.  To produce enough acid in a stomach you can take apple cider vinegar before meals as it will help with that.

10. You may also need to be screened for depression.  In that case look for a good mental health professional.

11. And lastly be sure you have good sleep hygiene, as getting enough sleep is a priority.

Remember it takes time to get sick and it takes time to be well.   Set some goals that you can achieve and move in that direction slow but steady.

Let’s brain storm some ideas and see how we can help each other.  What is your approach to this?