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chronic fatigue syndrome diet fibromyalgia diet
Health, Lifestyle,

A new lifestyle to address my chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive guide

This is a long post on a topic that is particularly important for me: the chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia. I am not a physician, and this post is by no means med­ical advice. If you have any health condition, I strongly suggest you talk to your doctor. Please read the disclaimer at the end of this post.

I have presented the diet I will use from May 1st, to address my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, this post presents a much more holistic set of tools and lifestyle, which I recently tested and adopted, and takes this subject to a whole new level. This includes a complete description of the diet as well as techniques to reduce muscle fatigue and pain. Keep in mind that what works for some doesn’t necessarily work for all. One thing I learned with CFS is that we have to get to know what works with us. I felt that I needed to aggregate all that information in one article and I sincerely hopefully that this helps someone.


The symptoms I will try to counteract with the lifestyle I present in this post are:

  • Fatigue: this is something that I’ve had for the past 4 years. It does not prevent me from working at the computer, but it surely prevents me from exercising sometimes and increases the chances of low mood. I also wake up tired, which really sucks.
  • Exhaustion: this is a terrible symptom (essentially a very intense fatigue) which prevents me from doing anything. Fortunately, it happened very seldom in the last 2 years. Typically lasts from 1/2 days to 1 week.
  • Neck pain and stiffness: this is an acute, strong pain in the neck, which is really painful and annoying but does not prevent me from much. I’d rather have this one for the rest of my life and not have anything else. When I wake up my neck is very tense and if I move my head my neck cracks all over, and hurts. I feel that this is moderately connected to the fatigue.
  • Dizziness/vertigo: this is by far my worse symptom, but I am lucky that I only have on-and-off crises. Most crises last for 2 weeks, but I’ve been experiencing intense, extremely debilitating dizziness for more than 3 months now (although I had no crises for the previous 18 months). Sometimes dizziness comes with motion sickness, which is really debilitating. Very seldom, I experience nausea as well. I feel that my dizziness is connected to stress and anxiety, which worsen my neck pain and stiffness, which in turn increase the probability of experiencing dizziness.
  • Depression / low mood: In my case, this is not due to CFS – it is because some symptoms are really debilitating and I can’t do much. Plus, I never know when they ago away, and I feel that they will never go away. It is exactly that that kills me. I get anxious when symptoms don’t go away, which probably makes them worse.
  • Feeling toxic: Hard to explain, but I feel that my body is very toxic on the inside.
  • Loss of interest and enjoyment: Having no energy or not feeling well can be truly devastating. The only things that still turn me on are huge projects, like turning From Cents To Retirement into a reference blog in the context of Early Retirement.

Diet – a Paleo diet variant as a fibromyalgia diet and a chronic fatigue syndrome diet

I have previously explained the Paleo diet variant that I have followed in the past, which greatly helped me with many of my symptoms. This section is a much more extensive version of that post.

Some sources report that diet can play an important role in improving my CFS. This section goes over the diet that worked the best for me, up until today.

The Paleo Diet as a diet to beat CFS

My understanding of the Paleo Diet is that you remove all processed foods, refined vegetable oils, cereal grains, dairy, and legumes. In contrast, you can eat grass-fed meat, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthy oils, such as olive oil. You can check out the entire lists here, the Paleo Diet website. I personally use legumes and cereal grains very occasionally, but stick to the paleo diet for the most part.

Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia and The Paleo Diet

I personally use a variation of the Paleo Diet, simply because I was so used to cereals that I could never get really used to the Paleo Diet. I actually saw this diet for the first time on a fibromyalgia diet book. In particular, the variations include:

  • Rice (although Quinoa was preferred);
  • Low GI fruit at the beginning of every meal;
  • Green, fresh salads at every meal;
  • All meat cooked at very low temperature – rare or at most medium rare;
  • Very little white meat – at least 90% beef;
  • Plenty of Sauerkraut;
  • Water as the only drink (at least half a gallon), except for 1 espresso (at most one) a day and homemade teas.

This can be a diet that is close to a ketogenic diet because most carbs are removed. Here are some pics of a regular day on this diet:

breakfast rare eggs

Breakfast: eggs (only slightly cooked)

lunch rare meat

Lunch: rice, steak cooked rare and lots of fresh salad.

steak rare

Steak: when I say rare, it is rare.

Afternoon snack fresh salad smoked salmon

Afternoon snack: fresh salad, and smoked salmon.

salmon sweet potato brocolli

Dinner: salmon, sweet potatoes and veggies.

Specific foods

The first specific food that plays a crucial role in my diet is sauerkraut. If you don’t know the benefits of sauerkraut, they include 1) the ability to increase your digestive health, stimulate the immune system, and eliminate inflammation, to name a few. It also provides good amounts of iron, which is essential for energy production. As a fermented food, sauerkraut comes with tons of good bacteria, similar to those found in yogurt and kefir. I found from personal experience that sauerkraut enhances my digestive system considerably and reduces the abdominal pain that I occasionally experienced.

Sugar is completely prohibited in the diet I follow. I don’t like sugary foods, so for me, it is not a big problem. The only thing that I love which contains some sugar is dark (high cacao) chocolate. Sadly, I can only eat a very small piece at night, after dinner. That is it.

Coffee is another thing that I must consume with a lot of moderation. Sadly, as a good Portuguese and Italian, I LOVE espresso, and it certainly is one of my biggest pleasures throughout the day. With this diet, I am reduced to one espresso a day (which I usually drink at breakfast or after lunch).

Dairy is completely removed from the diet. I don’t drink milk for about 4 years now, but I occasionally do eat one yogurt or another. With this diet, I will be removing every food that contains milk. I will replace this with almond or rice milk.


This section goes over the various supplements I have successfully tried before and I will be integrating into my diet from May 1st on. The supplements include:

  • Breakfast: L-Tyrozine+Krill Oil+Vitamin D, Digestive Enzymes and Ginseng (I take this one: Ginseng from Now Foods).
  • Lunch: 5-HTP Plus, Digestive Enzymes, and Ginseng.
  • Dinner: 5-HTP Plus, Magnesium, Passiflora, and Ginseng.

I have also done cycles of the following supplements:

  • Antifungal supplements (at breakfast and dinner)
  • Probiotics (at breakfast – after the antifungal cycle)
  • Ginger and Ginkgo Biloba.
  • liver supporting supplement.

Home remedies

Although not exactly a remedy, one thing that has been particularly effective for me, in fighting dizziness/vertigo, are heating pads. I typically apply these on my neck (both on the back of the neck and on the sides). I started to use heating pads because of muscle stiffness in my neck, but it has helped dramatically with dizziness. Whether there is a direct connection between my stiff neck and being dizzy I don’t know (although it could make sense).

Another great tool against dizziness is ginger and mint tea. I usually use a greater to prepare the ginger tea (it has to be really strong to be effective) and I usually drop a few organic mint leaves there. This list of home remedies against dizziness also recommends 1) deep breathing, 2) lemon and 3) Indian Gooseberry, among others. I will try to incorporate these and see whether they work for me.

Pressure Points (Acupressure)

Acupressure (see a definition on Wikipedia) is an alternative medicine technique with the same principles of acupuncture. The underlying idea is that energy flows through “meridians” in the body and it can be affected by specific points in the body. In particular, acupuncture points clearing blockages in these meridians. The pressure can be applied by hand, with your elbow or some specific devices.

My favorite thing about acupressure is that not only it doesn’t cost any money (because you can do it yourself), as it also produces results right away.

I do acupressure on a daily basis, between 1 and 3 times a day. I usually do the following routine: TE3, LI4, P6 (inner gate) and EX (third eye) – each of which for 5 seconds. On top of that, I press and massage the GB20 after my neck massage, every day before doing to bed. If you are not familiar with the points I mentioned, I recommend watching this youtube video by “The Chen Dynasty”:

and this amazing list of pressure points useful for dizziness and vertigo (as I said before, I use P6 and G20 and TW17 a lot).


I typically have no problems falling asleep. For many CFS sufferers, this is not the case. However, even though I get asleep pretty fast, the problem for me is that my sleep is often not refreshing. I remember the good old days when I felt tired, went to sleep and woke up magically refreshed again. It is not like that anymore. I often wake up exhausted and feel that my body slept but didn’t rest.

What works for me

I have found that what works for me is 1) to sleep about 7h30m-8h, 2) go to bed between 11 pm and 11.30 pm and 3) stick to the same sleeping schedule. If bedtime changes a lot, I run into a problem. The same way, if I go to bed after midnight, I feel my body doesn’t seem to rest as much.

On top of that, I think that meditating 5 minutes every day before going to sleep and applying acupressure works well. I also found out that massaging my neck is absolutely crucial for dizziness, so I will to that for 10 minutes before and after mediation. The best massages for me are lying down on my bed, with my head on a thick pillow and use my hands to massage my neck. As my head is on the pillow, there is space between my neck and the mattress, where I put my hands to massage the neck.

A good alternative is to sit on my bed, with my back straight, and apply this message:

At the end of it, I also apply acupressure as I massage the LV3 point. I prefer to apply a massage every day, for 5 minutes, than one every week for 2 hours.

Important disclaimer: The statements in this post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This blog and this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.


economy 10 years
Lifestyle, Planning,

A few things that will be big in the economy 10 years from now

Becoming a blogger allowed me to open my horizons at many levels. Last month I rebranded my blog, with a new logo and a theme. I also ordered a promo video for the blog on Fiverr. It got me thinking… My blog became a (very small) business and I find myself outsourcing a few things to cheap freelancers all over the world. I talked to many online entrepreneurs this month, and they all told me the same: online businesses can be great and their potential is definitely augmented by freelance online marketplace platforms, such as Fiverr and Upwork.

I feel that if we had to hire somebody full time (or a regular freelancer, for that matter), the vast majority of us would refrain from starting a (online) business. The setup costs would simply be too high. Online businesses enable us to get access to very cheap labor, without having to compromise quality. Do you want to hire an expert for a one-off job without having permanent costs? Fiverr-alike platforms enable you to do just that. On top of that, you can find pretty much every type of service offered on this kind of platforms.

More and more people value flexibility in their jobs. 20 years ago, no company would allow you to start “until 10am” and work from home “a few times a month”. Companies have learned that people want flexibility, and offer them just that. On top of that, it’s now known to increase productivity (and working time and productivity are two very different things…). At the same time, more and more people decided to start their own businesses. As for Fiverr-alike platforms, the majority of people work there to make some extra bucks at the end of the month, but you also find many people making a living off of it.

There are many advantages to this type of platforms. First, they enable you to get in touch with people from all over the world (meaning every kind of market). In some markets, $100 is enough money to live on the entire month. No wonder they only charge $5 for 3 hours of their skills. Second, they allow you to outsource without having to hire. Yes, regular freelancers did that before Fiverr came about, but they were certainly in your market and you didn’t have the full spectrum of skills that Fiverr offers.


I honestly think that we’ll quickly migrate to an environment where the main workforce of businesses is outsourced online. Both having a business and trading your time for dollars is becoming more and more deprecated. I think we’ll witness a stellar growth of these platforms (in terms of customers and providers) in the next years. Personally, I see myself as a big client of these platforms as I grow my online businesses.

I should also say that after blogging I realized that the only institutions I will ever work for are universities. I will not consider working for a company ever again because I now understand the game. The main point is that companies pay you a fraction of what you generate every month. You’re happy with your salary, the benefits and what not. They don’t want to lose you, so they will increase your salary every now and then just to keep you motivated – most increases are actually ridiculous, BTW.

At the same time, because of your pay, the bank will lend you money so you can buy a home and turn your dreams into reality. You’re officially in the rat race. You need that paycheck at the end of the month, you’ve got a mortgage to pay. And kids to feed. You’re stuck. They make more money with you, so they increase your salary once again, by a tiny amount. It motivates you for that year. And this goes on and on and on like a hamster on a wheel. If we stop to think about it, we’ll realize that this strategy will prevent most of us from setting ourselves free. People get themselves more and more into the rat race as their salary increases. Companies will adjust the salary with fine detail: they want people to think they are getting rich, but they can’t let that happen – otherwise they leave.

Machine learning

A final note on machine learning, because it will be very big, in my opinion. Some visionaries do now believe that art degrees will be more valuable in 10 years from now on. I think this says a lot about it. In particular, I believe that many algorithms will have a lot of machine learning and AI components. My particular opinion is that online algorithms are rapidly moving that way.

At the same time, I think that mass tech gadgets will continue to steadily evolve over the next years. In particular, I believe that there will be a huge progress on smartphones and drones.

Virtual – real world interaction

We can’t deny it. Social media has really become the thing of the past 10 years. It has been happening so fast that it is actually difficult to realize how big social media got. Pinterest has launched about 7 years ago. As of February 2017, it had 150 million active users. Not many companies get so big so fast, with… about 800 employees. Also launched about 7 years ago, Instagram has now 600 million monthly visitors. It is happening, whether we realize it or now. I happen to think that there will be a lot of room for growth in the interaction with social media – we have way too many people using it to not capitalize on that.

At the same time, I think that mass tech gadgets will continue to steadily evolve over the next years. In particular, I believe that there will be a huge progress on smartphones and drones and the economy will revolve around mass tech and its usage in the real world. It will also increase mobility. I am not only talking about Uber and Uber-alike companies that will come about but mobility from every angle. Apps will definitely be the body of mobility of many things we thought were only possible to do or experience in one particular location.

Again, virtually everyone uses smartphones now and everyone has experienced some of their potentials. The money is where people are at. I have no doubt that smartphones will become way more sophisticated and have way more impact in our lives.

Sustainable transportation

As a Tesla lover and believer, I can’t really avoid this one. I believe that electric cars will take over in the next years. Actually, they won’t take over because they are eco-friendly or anything of that sort, if you ask me. I think Tesla is a magical company which is going to make electric cars more beautiful (this is already done, really 🙂 ), faster, safer and cheaper (well, most of this is already true). The model 3 will probably be the game changer and I do believe that Tesla will achieve all this with the profit made on the model 3. OK, but ain’t most of this already happening?

Yes, but what if I told you that I believe that the car technology we have right now will soon migrate to airplanes? Have you thought about the actual reason why Elon Musk – the greatest – has invested in electric cars (Tesla), rockets (Space X) and Solar panels (Solar city) all at the same time? Synergies…

What do you think will become big in the next 10 years? Let me know!

salary vs hourly
Lifestyle, Planning,

Salary vs hourly: benefits, pros and cons, and taxes

Since I started working, I was always salaried (or had a grant). Now that I decided to completely change my life (and if you’re in that transition period, check out this awesome book), this old question popped up and I found myself thinking about it. As I said before, I was offered a part-time research position (in the form of a grant), which I took. This is the most unscientific graph of history, which shows that I will devote as much time to this blog as I do to my new job:

salary vs hourly : moving to a new job and time allocated to the blog


As I define the number of hours I work every week, it is somewhat comparable to being an hourly employee. I decided to address this “Salary vs hourly” question in a broader context, using my own situation as a reference. Let us first go through the pros and cons associated with this question.

Salary Pros

I have been a salaried employee my entire professional life, so I know this position very well.

  • There are usually way more benefits in salaried positions, such as unemployment benefits, sick leaves and what not. On top of that, as you develop a relationship with your employer, you are also allowed to take some time off, work from home and leave earlier. In Germany, it is common that most employees leave earlier on Fridays too. In Portugal, working from home is becoming more and more of a trend.
  • Vacation and bonuses. While in Europe it has been more and more common to structure each employee’s salary such that bonuses are included, in the US most employees who receive bonuses are those working in sales or are managers. In most cases, bonuses programs are based on the performance of each employee, which means that higher productivity may translate into a higher salary in this case.
  • Stability. I know that most salary positions among my friends tend to be way longer than hourly positions. This is one of the most important questions of the salary vs hourly debate, in my opinion.

Salary Cons

  • For most positions, the hourly rate you end up getting earning may not be that attractive. Especially if you end up working more than the default 160 monthly hours. In my own case, I ended up doing that and I actually figured that I worked upwards to 220 hours, which meant that my salary came out at $10 per hour.
  • The flexibility that you have sometimes is compensated by not really knowing when you are done for the day. Usually, your tasks are part of monthly or yearly goals, so if deadlines come about, you may end up leaving way later. I feel that this is way more common in Portugal and Canada than Germany, where people tend to follow more standard working schedules.

Hourly Pros

Some of my previous co-workers were hourly workers, and I’ve got to talk to them often about this topic, and so I think that I know what are the main pros and cons of this position. At the same time, I must say that this is way more common in the US and Canada than in Europe (both Portugal and Germany).

  • Set hours. Maybe you’re like me and like to define your entire schedule for the day. It helps greatly to have set hours.
  • Overtime paid really well. You may end up earning 2.5x your hourly rate. If you are requested a lot, and you are willing to work your but off, it may be a great way to save some big bucks.
  • Increased earnings potential. If you work by the hour, chances are that you can work more time and optimize your working schedule. I actually think of hourly as you being your own boss and renting your time out. You can choose the companies that pay you well.

Hourly Cons

  • Thorough, stressful documentation of your working time. If you spend 5 minutes more at lunch time or leaving a few minutes after 5pm, it won’t go unnoticed. If you are looking for a not-so-stressful position, this salary vs hourly debate should become much simpler because of this.
  • Lack of career progression. While this is not a universal true, it is usually the salaried employees that get the most important positions.
  • Lack of status and creditworthiness before a bank. At least in the environments I know, banks tend to lend you money more easily if you have a salary.

If you are given the option to decide between salary vs hourly, consider the pros and cons for both positions. You’re the best person to decide what fits you the better. Either way, chase your dreams.

Other sources on this subject:

Lifestyle, Planning,

2017 – a (special) gap year

My dear dudes,

As I told you in a previous post, I will be taking a year off, starting either from January 1st, April 1st or November 1st, 2017. Most likely, it will be from January 1st onwards. Before I am hit by a lot of you guys, I will be doing this because (1) I am putting my health before everything else, (2) I know that my portfolio will not decrease during the year and (3) I am willing to shift my retirement by one year.

Taken from

Taken from