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Posts Tagged ‘fibromyalgia’

Meet me at the impasse

November 2, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been pins and needles around here waiting for our darling Meghan to arrive safely in Texas.  Yesterday she made it and we are all relieved.  Of course, now I am free to miss her a LOT.

I’m amazed by this phenomenon of healing that we’ll call the “That’s Great Now What?” principle.   Even though I’ve been sick as a dog the better part of the last four years and since the Diet Experiment I’ve resolved about 80% of my pain, I find myself longing for more.  I want to feel even better…I want to eat even more.

In order to help myself through this impasse, I’ve started to jot down what all I eat during the day so I can get a better handle on what sets me off.  And trying some new things.  Almond cheese, cheddar flavor which was marginal.  Rice Dream ice-cream-ish dessert.  It was NOT good but only because it was chocolate chai flavor and I don’t like chai.  I’m not sure what my thinking was in buying it but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  It was on sale, that much I remember, and there were not any other flavors.  Hmmm….

I’m not craving a lot so that’s good.  But I’m worn out lately and kinda tired of cooking.  Plus,  it’s time to go grocery shopping and do some meal planning.  Not in that order I hope.

Oh by the way, my doctor emailed me today to say that all my food allergy tests were negative.  That’s certainly par for the course.  All my medical tests come back normal.  She offered to send me to an allergist but I don’t think I’ll go.  It might not be an allergy I have to these many foods.  It’s certainly not the typical allergic reaction with antibodies in my blood.  I can’t say that I understand it…the more I eat certain foods, the more I feel like I have fibromyalgia.  Is that a sensitivity?  Or am I just weird??

Whatever it is, it’s working a lot better to NOT eat these foods that seem to make me hurt; corn and tomatoes for sure, dairy, gluten and soy to a lesser extent.  I’m trying to eliminate or minimize these things the best I can.  And all I really have to do is learn to cook things from scratch.  Delicious things.  It can be done because there are hundreds of people blogging about doing this out there in internet-land.

I’m grateful for each one of them.

Changes…

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

I’d put something totally cool and pertinent in here if I was a little more awake.  So feel free to pause and think of a clever pun or quote.

There…

Wanted to get down a couple of thoughts before the day starts going by too fast.  I really need to update my page called, “What I can eat” because I’m pretty sure I’m off that list.  And probably make a boring page called Food Diary just for me to keep track.  These are the tasks for this week.

Yesterday I felt hungry all day.  Which is frustrating because I ate…but just that ongoing craving for something that I can’t decipher.  Could there be a withdrawal period for corn?  Or for gluten?  God knows I’m still getting corned enough through hair products, packaging, hand sanitizer, etc.  Plus I’m still in denial that my health has anything to do with corn.

Which is a weird thing.  Intellectually I can put 2 and 2 together and come up with corn sensitivity.  I eat corn, I wake up with a bad case of fibromyalgia. But it bumps up against the part of my brain that says, “but I’ve eaten corn products all my life, how could I become sensitive to it?”  See the disconnect?

Plus I feel myself becoming one of those people…you know, the kind of person who is seething with the impassioned speech, “How Our American Diet is Poisoning All of Us”.

Sigh…except I really believe it.

Another factor in all this food stuff lately is that my only daughter, precious Meghan (who is a grown woman by the way) is getting ready to move back to Texas on Wednesday.  Therefore I feel sad.  Therefore I crave old school comfort food which I cannot have.  Therefore I am pissed.

Okay, on to lighter news.  Yesterday I tried to eat simply with GF oatmeal for breakfast, cold cauliflower and chicken for lunch (tasted awful), and sweet potato fries and carrots for dinner.  Also not good.  You can see I’m having trouble making the effort.  I was hungry when I went to bed and thought it would be good just to BE that.  Go ahead and be a little hungry…and a little crave-y, and lose some of this fear around it.  I seem to have survived the night intact.  🙂

My plan for today is to stay simple, eat protein, try to take care of at least one problem that I’ve been procrastinating about ($$), and work in my studio to get something completed.

I’ll let you know how I did.

A little bit of everything

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I was reading Elana’s Pantry and came across this post.  Another woman battling fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue who is seeking improvement via her diet.  It’s crazy, isn’t it?  How many of us are out here suffering, losing our hopes and dreams, and living in daily pain?  Who knows if our fibro, etc, caused our food intolerances or our food intolerances caused disease?  I have no idea.  But I’ve felt the difference in my body enough to know they are connected somehow.

It’s amazing how many people I’m reading about who are managing their fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, epstein-barr, lyme disease, ms and lupus through dietary changes.  It just blows me away.  Why aren’t more people talking about this?  Am I just listening in the wrong places?

I think about the heightened suicide rate in people with fibromyalgia.  Or the women with fibro that went to Dr. Kevorkian to die because they had no hope.  And I was getting there…I was getting to the place of “what’s the point?”  If living means pain and only being able to do the things I love about 5% of the time then how long do I really want to go on?

Well, help came in the form of someone else with fibromyalgia who told me that I had to change my diet.  It took me over a year to screw up the guts to try it.  That’s crazy, isn’t it?  I just never thought it would work for ME.

Even though I currently have shingles and have a long way to go on this road of tuning into my body, I feel better than I have in years.  It’s crazy…and wonderful, too.

Okay, a little food.  The other day I made something I’m gonna call:

Sticky Almonds

  • 1 to 2 cups almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • agave syrup
  • sea salt
  • optional spices…I used cinnamon and a little chili powder.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix the olive oil, the agave and the spices in a small mixing bowl.  Dump in the almonds and stir to coat them.  Spread them out in a single layer on parchment on a baking sheet.  This is when I sprinkled sea salt over them.  Stick them in the hot oven for about 12 minutes…but watch them because you don’t want to burn them.  Just get them warm and fragrant and utterly delicious.

Let them cool and then try not to eat them all at once.  Ha!

This morning I made myself gluten-free oatmeal with raisins, dried cranberries, a little almond milk and mashed up Sticky Almonds.

It was a little taste of heaven.  Thank you.

Restorative sleep??!!

October 14, 2009 3 comments

This is still utterly amazing to me.  I went to bed last night after feeling crappy all day…migraine, low energy, some body aches.  My sleep was deep and restful and I woke up feeling good…even though it is raining outside! This blows me away.  For the past 4+ years a bad day was always part of a larger flare up.  Like three bad days in a row, three bad weeks in a row, and last winter, three bad months in a row.

I really needed those chocolate chip cookies 🙂

This whole experience has got me thinking about the nature of fibromyalgia.  There are so many related and overlapping conditions; chronic fatigue, Crohn’s, IBS, MS, lupus just to name a few.  I’ve been tested for neurological and immune system dysfunction with all my tests coming back normal.  In spite of that I’ve grown to believe FM is probably a neurological condition having to do with neurotransmitter regulation.  I know my neurotransmitters are screwed up from having PTSD and chronic depression (long story for another time).

But why would this diet make such a difference?  I’m eating more nutritionally for sure so that has to help my body work more efficiently.  What if FM is a problem of neurotransmitters AND immune system dysfunction?  I know this; the more pain I’ve been in, the more I crave carbs and sweets, the more I eat them, the more pain I’m in.

Or, what if the hypersensitivity that is a hallmark of fibromyalgia extends to the immune system in this way; foods that might previously given me some trouble now become big problems because my immune system is hypersensitive?  By eating a carefully controlled diet I can remove a lot of the food reactions and thereby reduce the overall effect of FM on my body.  Hmmmm…interesting.

I’m reading a new book called Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger.  He researched the processed food industry by studying the ingredients in a Twinkie.  It’s fascinating and also kinda gross.  And it makes me wonder what all we are doing to ourselves with our American diets.

I feel a cause coming on.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep on tweaking my diet and trying to learn more about processed foods, whole foods, organic foods…and cookies.

Something got me yesterday

October 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Not really bad.  But enough to make it into my dreams.  Since I’ve been diagnosed with FM I’ve had nighttime bears clawing me, lions biting me and a host of weird situations reflecting my sleeping pain.  Last night, my dream hips would not work; everywhere I needed to go (urgently) was like walking through thigh high slush.  Fortunately I discovered a way to get around by sliding backwards on my rear dragging my useless legs along.  That part wasn’t too bad as each slide got longer and smoother until it felt like I was flying along…backward.

Anyway…

What got me yesterday?  I had no obviously big deviations from the diet.  In fact, it was my brother’s birthday breakfast and I entered a restaurant for the first time since starting the Diet Experiment.  I studied my options and came up with the idea of eating before I went and just having tea once I got there.  That worked.

But then Jacob and I got in the van to go home and it wouldn’t start.  Argh… Kevin was home and on his way in a matter of minutes.  Leaving Jake and I sitting in a cold car staring at his leftover box.  I knew there was bacon inside…I could smell it.  So I ate it. (I asked politely first…but Jacob is pretty easy.)

We got home and I felt no ill effects from the single bacon strip.  Okay. So far so good, I hoped.

Dinner planning was for a celebration.  Kevin got notice of not one but TWO parts he’s been cast in!  We decided on steaks.  Beef steaks all around and I skipped the potatoes.  Had a green salad with some new dressing.  It was a vinaigrette with basalmic vinegar and it was organic and the ingredients didn’t list anything really bad.  Except “organic sugar” and “organic spices”.  Kinda vague.

So what was it that got me?  Dietary?  Corn in the bacon processing or maybe the nitrites? Something in that dressing…that tasted so sweet?  Or was it mechanical since I’m working on painting three full sized papers; they are on my dining room table (my studio is too messy) and it’s just the wrong height.  I have to bend over just slightly and reach as I paint.

Well…there’s nothing to do today but stretch it out, stay aware and watch my food.  It’s still only about a 5 or 6 out of 10 but I’m greedy these days.  I’ve had so many great days with pain hanging around a 3 that I don’t like going back at all!  So we’ll see how it goes today.

A really good day

October 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday, I had Princess Ramsey over from 11:30 to 8:30.  That’s a long time of babysitting plus to make things harder, she got sick during the day.  Poor baby got so unhappy that she went to hide on the dog’s bed under my computer desk and fell asleep!

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that my energy level outlasted her.  I ate simply and cleanly with a protein shake for breakfast, leftover chicken soup for lunch and a crock pot roast with roasted veggies for dinner.  Snacks were fruit.  Easy, right?  Plus before she got here I did some dishes, picked up a little and took a shower.

It was crazy.

When I was in the shower I lost my balance and fell over.  Yeah, I’m so graceful.  I rammed my back against the facet head.  Ouch.  I immediately panicked because these small falls have caused flare ups that last for days.  But guess what?  No big problems.  It’s sore just where I hurt it but no “pain echo” and no flare.  I just cannot believe the difference.

Some days I want to go on a speaking tour or write a book or something because I wonder how many other people are out there with fibromyalgia that could be helped by eating differently.  It’s changing my life.  Not just back to where I was BF (Before Fibro) but better than I remember feeling for a long time.

I’ve decided to try and focus on the big four; gluten, soy, corn and dairy.  I know I can get away with eggs in small amounts…same with cheese but I’m still trying to avoid these for the most part.  Soy and corn are the hardest because they sneak in the weirdest places.  Like corn in my table salt (dextrose).  And soy in the tuna fish.  But compared to what I’ve been putting into my body for a long time, the idea is “progress, not perfection”.

And compared to how I’ve been living for the past 4-5 years, just avoiding some foods and focusing on others is pretty dang easy.

Hallelujah, can I get an Amen!

Big win.

October 3, 2009 2 comments

Brownies! And not a moment too soon.

Went big shopping yesterday and got a bunch of different flours to try and make my own baking mix.  Or at least mess around with baking gluten, corn and soy free.  Before I tell you about the brownies, though, I’ve got to talk about shopping.

For the last 4+ years I’ve had months on end when driving the car was too much.  I was in pain, on medication, brain fogged beyond stupid.  And driving was painful, taxing and dangerous.  Fast forward to yesterday when I took the van and went shopping; not one store but two!  Had well thought out lists in my pocket for each store (shocking) and knew how to get from one place to another.  (Since I’ve lived in Spokane my entire life, it was pretty confusing after I was diagnosed when I started having trouble figuring out how to go somewhere and/or getting all turned around and lost.  Spokane is not Metropolis.)

Anyway…

I zipped through my shopping and arrived home to find Kevin fast asleep in a nap.  So I brought in all the groceries.  If you’ve never had fibromyalgia or some equally baffling syndrome-ish disease you probably can’t feel the import of that phrase.  It was eight trips back and forth from the car to the kitchen.  Oh yeah, I counted!!  I was triumphant.

PLUS, you’ll never guess.  It was a rainy day!  I mean, come on…really?  I felt like I finished the Fibromite Iron Man.

To reward myself for just being so damn cool, I made another attempt at brownies.  I started with a recipe from Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair.  I tweaked it for my own taste and ingredients.  I think I’ve changed it enough to reprint it here without violating Ms Blair’s copyright privileges.  If she sues me, I’ll let you know.

Nummy Nutty Brownies

  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate.  I used plain baker’s chocolate which may or may not have been gluten free.  I was desperate.
  • 7 T butter or marg.  I used Smart Balance which is soyish but vegan.
  • 1 c organic brown sugar.  I didn’t pack it down in the cup because even though I love brownies I don’t like them sickly sweet.
  • 2 eggs, beaten.  Sorry all my vegan readers.
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c ground almonds (mmmmm…)
  • 2 T brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 t sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 11 x 7 inch pan.  (NB: I don’t think my pan was the right size so watch your cooking time.)  After I buttered the pan, I dusted it with dutch cocoa instead of flour.  I don’t know if it makes a difference but it made me feel all fancy!

Melt the chocolate (I used the microwave) and then the butter/marg.  Stir that all smooth and pretty.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients gently and lovingly.

Pour the batter into your pan and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes or until done.  I read somewhere that with gluten-free brownies it’s better to err on the side of underdone and chewy rather than way done and crumbly.

Cool, cut and enjoy!

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