I’ve been knee deep in the holistic world for a little over 12 years. It started with yoga and quickly progressed into essential oils and meditation. Prior to this I had already dabbled in herbs and understood many to have therapeutic qualities when prepared and used correctly. As someone who practices Wicca, this makes sense to me. As a student of civilization via anthropology and archaeology, it also made sense to me. Before the advent of pharmaceuticals, nature provided us with valuable medications. Everything from headache aids to antiseptic. While I in no way think that pharmaceuticals are bad (aside from outrageous costs) I think that we would be better served employing the use of both in some balance in our lives. I’m all about balance really. The million dollar question becomes, does it work in the treatment of fibromyalgia? Does alternative medicine and holistic approaches work? In a word, yes. There is no cure either way for fibromyalgia and anyone who claims some kind of cure, in my opinion, are over reaching. You can, however, manage symptoms and manage them well. Some symptoms are managed better than others, but I do not know of any method that suppresses all symptoms all the time.
This involves a whole body concept or approach. I’ve always referred to it as the ‘mind.body.spirit’ approach. In treating fibromyialgia this way we need to cover: Nutrition, Intestinal health. Inflammation, Quality of sleep, Mind Spirit, Fitness, Energy supplemental nutrition and body work.
As I am writing this I have decided that although I certainly employ some of these concepts that I certainly have not done so enough. And as someone who advocates alternative medicine I should be doing more to help myself.This being the case I will make these next few weeks about my Chronic-Fibro-Challenge. I hope you will join me as we tackle each of these holistic concepts and even join me in exploring the benefits of each personally. I’d love to have feedback and your ideas of what might work for you because fibromyalgia and the various symptoms are varied between individuals. Though some of us may share similar symptoms, many of us will not experience it in exactly the same way and some may have more than others. Another reason which makes fibromyalgia so difficult to treat.
Nutrition: There are many ways foods you eat can help some symptoms of fibromyalgia. First I am going to cover an overall list of what foods you should eat and which ones you should avoid. Then I will get into specifics of how certain foods can help specific symptoms. I would also recommend a two week trial food diary. Monitor all your food and drink intake and see if there are any worsening symptoms after those food. It is suggested almost 40% of people with fibromyalgia have associated food sensitivities.
Foods to Avoid
• Foods that are high in refined or processed sugars.
• “Fake” sugar like aspartame AKA NutraSweet.
• Sodas regular and diet.
• Foods that are high in fat or fried.
• Foods that are high in MSG or Nitrates.
• For some, foods that contain gluten.
Foods to Include
• Lean meat like chicken, turkey or fish, especially ones high in Omega-3’s.
• Organic fruit and green, leafy veggies.
• Foods high in antioxidants.
• Foods rich with Omega-3 (fish and walnuts) or supplements.
Here are a few ways to fight the Fibro-inflammation:
• Sweet Potatoes
• Kale, broccoli and cabbage
• Berries galore!
• Tumeric, long used to reduce inflammation.
• Greek yogurt
• Raw honey, organic if you can and the honey sticks are the bomb!
Try to stay away from these as much as you can
• Caffeine: a little treat is okay but it can disrupt sleep, wreak havoc on emotions and upset digestion.
• Gluten: I’m including this but I am torn about it. As someone who also struggles with IBS-D but does not have celiac I do not know whether to stay away from or simply curb my intake of gluten or if it will help me. Gluten-free diets can be expensive and it would only be for me, so the jury is still out on this one. I have also been torn between ‘is it celiac or gluten sensitivity’ because the reading I have done is inconclusive. There are many in the medical field who do not believe in ‘sensitivity’ and almost the same amount on the other side who do believe you can be sensitive and yet not have celiac. Still, reading indicates that people with fibromyalgia can be gluten sensitive and experience symptoms like headaches, bloating and diarrhea.
• Dairy: Can also cause stomach irritations, cramps and headaches. I do eat yogurt and cheese but I prefer soy milk.
• Lunch meat: *flails* This is a typical staple in my house. I have considered buying whole turkey and chicken and roasting it just for lunch meat purposes and trying to cut it as thin as possible and freezing it in portions to dole out. And why? Because processed anything is bad, bad, bad for you regardless if you deal with chronic pain, fibromyalgia or not.
Start slowly. There’s no need to stress out with sweeping changes or anything, but modifying your diet or adding new things into your diet you may not be used to should be done slowly and with mindfulness. Remember to consider a food diary. I am considering doing this but not until I get back from our trip because traveling on the road makes it difficult to eat right, let alone trying to write down everything eaten. Next time we’ll talk about Intestinal Health.