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My journey to healing fibromyalgia

My journey to healing fibromyalgia

Today I feel like is the day where I write about things that has helped my fibromyalgia greatly over the years to be non-existent. I do still have some days where it will bother me, but not to the point I was back in 2009.

Let me fill you in on where I came from to lead you where I am now in my health.

I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia back in 2003, I was only 23 years old. All the doctors and specialists I went to said that I was very young to have to deal with something like I had. On top of the fibromyalgia I also had an unspecified spodylitis, meaning my spine was fusing together, a high anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) count, which is your body fighting itself on a daily basis, and endometriosis which was debilitating pain the first day of my cycle. Lots of fatigue, widespread pain, brain fog, and basically my youth taken away in a very short time.

How I functioned was taking pain pills on a daily basis and sometimes half a muscle relaxer and then a pain pill later to be able to make it thru the long days…and the days were LONG! I even was on Methotrexate for the spodylitis, an anti-malaria for who knows what, and Relafen as a daily anti-inflammatory. I was also living in Alaska at the time, so it was always cold, which is not good for fibromyalgia. Lugging around all the cold weather gear, a space heater at my desk 24-7 and constant tea and coffee to try and stay warm.

I also couldn’t stop my life for my condition, so I had to work a full time (high stress) job for a thriving engineering company, and after work I had a lot of functions with the church I was affiliated with Tuesday thru Sunday. I was living off of 4-5 hours of sleep a day, and I felt like I was dying. Plus I don’t think anyone really cared, or believed how much pain I was in daily because I had to hide it so people wouldn’t think I was complaining for attention. Really I just wanted someone to understand…

I tried going to naturopaths, but that was getting expensive with little results. The only doctor I didn’t quit going to was my chiropractor, which was actually the one who helped me start finding answers. (So not all cracks are quacks). I have been very fortunate to find some awesome chiropractors! They kept on me to clean up my diet and made me feel bad for the horrible foods and energy drinks I consumed, which I thank them now.

The only bad thing about chiropractors is, if you don’t drill them for questions, they will just keep you coming back and adjusting you. But that is only a band-aid for a underlying condition.

When I moved from Alaska to Portland, Oregon I felt like I was free from the cold… But that was only the beginning of my healing journey, because it rains A LOT here! I am a walking barometer… the day before it rains, I feel it. So not only internally, but environmentally I had triggers.

I also was starting to realize that everything that I put in my mouth was making me have pain. Like I was digesting knives type of pain. That was when I went gluten free, and within one month the endometriosis pain went from a 20 on the pain scale to a 5! I was amazed! There was one instance the month before where I had a pain attack as I was driving home, which was a 40 minute drive…I really should have either pulled over or gone to the ER. But I made it home and felt like I was dying.

I had to learn how to read labels, how to decode all the chemical language in packaged food, and to learn how to cook all over again. I was a really good cook…before I went gluten free… I subscribed to a lot of gluten free blogs, tried a lot of failed recipes, learned which restaurants I could get around the whole gluten issue.

Then six months later I tried going dairy free because I had horrible acne. I figured there were enough dairy subs out there so I could survive. A lot of my recipes on my blog were actually not bad for being desperate for something tasty to eat. My acne went down a little bit, but now that I had eliminated dairy from my diet I realize I was actually lactose intolerant.

When you eliminate something from your diet and later re-introduce it, the symptoms come back 10 times as strong. At least if it was something your body was fighting.

Then a year later, and I’m still dealing with the pain, my chiropractor mentions to try going off grains because they have been shown to loosen the ligaments and cause the bones to slip out of joint, (a term called ligament laxity). So I give it a shot. I used to eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast, so that sure wasn’t helping me. I did notice the pain getting better, but I didn’t really know what to eat, so I made a lot of bean soups for protein. That was when I realized that legumes were the main trigger for my fibromyalgia flare-ups!

Over the last 12 years I had to learn by trial and error because the medical industry is not interesting in healing you, but masking the symptoms. When I read 10 years ago that people were able to put their fibromyalgia into remission it would bring me to tears, because I never thought that would be me EVER! But today I do not take pharmaceutical medicines. I really can’t find any that don’t have gluten, dairy, or grain products in them. There are some, and I do have them as a backup if I REALLY need something, but that has not happened in a while.

So what did I do besides eliminate foods that triggered pain? I eat organic! The pesticides, herbicides, and GMO foods are HORRIBLE for a compromised immune system! I shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and just about everything that I buy has to be cooked. I don’t own a microwave (they are just as bad and kill the nutrients in your food).

I also take a combo of supplements and essential oils to help maintain my overall health. Three key supplements are Vanadyl Sulfate also known as vanadium, which helps insulin production. With me being hypoglycemic, this was key! Because when I was feeling like I was hungry I found my body hurt the most, but vanadium helped. Not everyone believes they have blood sugar issues, but try vanadium which is a natural source from mushrooms and shellfish, and see how your body feels. It won’t hurt you if you don’t have insulin problems.

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Another supplement which is a trace mineral is Chromium Picolinate, which helps keep blood sugar at normal levels by improving the way your body uses insulin. So think of Vanadium as the car, and Chromium as the driver which takes your food and delivers it to the right places for you to utilize nutrients. It works really well to balance blood sugar spikes if you tend to eat a lot of sugary foods such as fruit, dried fruit, or juices.

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The last key supplement is an amino acid called L-Glutamine. This supplement helps heal a leaky gut, improves brain function, and helps in cell hydration to recover faster from injuries. I take this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (which is key), and wait about an hour before eating breakfast. This should be taken EVERY morning for best results. I get the powdered form and put a teaspoon scoopful in my mouth and wash it down with some water, that way I know I’m getting every last drop. It has no taste, so that’s even better!

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This has become quite lengthy, so I will cut it short here and will write a part two on essential oils I take for different symptoms, and ingredients to look out for to minimize flare ups.

If you have any questions or tips that has helped you in healing fibromyalgia please leave a comment below, I would love to hear about it! I have included links to the three supplement brands I use that are free of bad ingredients and paleo safe. I do not get paid for recommending these products, I am honestly just offering tips that has helped me.

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Posted by on August 15, 2015 in A day in the life of Jeni, Health

 

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Paleo diet to control fibromyalgia and stirfry recipe

Paleo diet to control fibromyalgia and stirfry recipe

Okay I’ve had these recipes stored in my brain and never have written them down before, so you might see a few  new recipes appear on the blog. 

In the last year I have gone strict Paleo and I have found that it has really helped with controlling my fibromyalgia. To sum it up I avoid all dairy (even butter and ghee), all grains including rice and quinoa, no legumes, I even have found that guar gum had been an issue because it is from legumes. So that pretty much eliminated anything coconut milk-based, which was what a disappointment because I LOVE coconut bliss ice cream. I also found there is only ONE almond milk that does NOT contain guar gum in it and that is the Pacific organic vanilla almond milk (believe me I searched All labels to find this one). 

I have found the Paleo diet had really turn everything around for me and I make sure to stick with it, no cheating.  I do recommend it for anybody who has autoimmune pain issues, it is the cleanest diet I have found. Also a side note tip to survive the paleo diet without coconut milk for your coffee, I use Liquid Stevia in the vanilla cream flavor to black coffee and it really makes it taste yummy. 

If you would like to hear more about how I put my fibromyalgia in REMISSION using the paleo diet please comment below. It’s not all 100% diet, I also have supplements I use that help as well. But I would say it’s 95% diet, and 5% exercise and supplements. That is not an exaggeration. Occasionally I will get a flare up, but that is usually when I eat out and the cooks got something wrong. I will also in another post give tips for how to eat out at restaurants, because I have found that my biggest challenge. 

Now on to the recipe! 

  
Paleo chicken sausage stir-fry

This isn’t really like a Chinese stir-fry, but more like a fresh American Thai stir-fry. I think you’ll like this recipe, it always is a staple in my house. I’ve tried it with carrots instead of celery and it’s not the best. So subbing veggies might give it a interesting twist. 

Ingredients: 
1 Tbs avocado oil
3 Aidells chicken apple sausage, chopped (Costco has best price)

1/2 Onion, chopped

1 cup red cabbage, chopped 

3 celery stalks, chopped 

Seasonings:

1/2 tsp Salt, 

1/2 tsp Garlic powder, 

1 Tbs cumin, 

1 tsp dried basil, 

1/4 tsp celery seed, (optional)

1/4 tsp Cajuns choice creole seasoning, (or any creole seasoning you can find, optional) 

1/4 tsp ground ginger.

1/2 tsp (or a few squirts) Worcestershire sauce

The Method:

I start by chopping the cabbage, onion, and celery first and then add it to a frying pan with a little bit of avocado oil. Then turn the heat on to medium heat and then I start chopping up the sausage to add to the mix and I let that cook until it’s almost halfway done, stirring occasionally (look at the cabbage and onions to tell how done they are). 

Then I add in my chopped mushrooms. Add the dry seasonings then stir. Then before it is done I add the worcestershire sauce. Make sure you do not over cool the veggies. The sausage is precooked so it’s ok if it’s not browned. 

Sometimes I add this to a paleo wrap (the coconut meat tortilla) to change it up a bit. (You can find them in the bread/bakery section at Whole Foods or Natural Grocers. 

I hope you try this super easy recipe and let me know how you like it! All spices were guesstimates since I just throw it all in the pan when I cook. 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Food and drink

 

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Avocado Cilantro Hummus

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Avocado Cilantro Hummus

If you love guacamole then you most certainly will absolutely love avocado cilantro hummus, it is simply wonderful!
I happen to have found a very nice food processor for $53 the other day. It’s a Hamilton Beach one at Le Gourmet Chef store and it has made hummus so much easier for me to make. I have tried making hummus in my vita mixer and it gives it a very grainy texture, because it is a thick mixture and tends to get stuck with the style of blade the vita mix has. The food processor gives hummus a very nice creamy almost whipped texture if that’s what you like.
I started out my day by putting my garbanzo beans in the crockpot on delayed timer for 4 hours and then to cook for 4 hours.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Beyond Rice cooker! (I am becoming an electric gadget queen). I used to work for Pampered Chef, so I have a ton of handheld gadgets, but with my aching back, I need to speed up my time in the kitchen!
It is hard to write this post and nosh on this yummy hummus! Thanks to Siri for helping out. 😉
Let’s quit the small talk and get to the chase.

Ingredients for Soaking the Beans:
• 2 cups dry chickpeas (rinsed)
• 7 cups water or water and broth mix (I was out of broth and my beans still tasted pretty good).
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
• salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, eyeball it.

Prep Work:
Add all the above ingredients into your crockpot or Beyond Rice cooker and set for 3 to 4 hours delayed time and 3 to 4 hours cook time. Soaking your beans is important because chick peas/garbanzo beans are a very hard bean and takes its sweet time to be ready. You want to make sure that your beans are not hard when you are done because it will give a very sandy texture to your hummus.
When the beans are done cooking I do not drain them because I use the juice in my hummus for the additional flavor.

Ingredients for Hummus:
• 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (if canned, rinse. If from crockpot method above, don’t rinse).
• 2-3 cloves peeled garlic
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 handful cilantro, rinsed
• 1 large avocado
• 2 Tbs water (I used mine from my crockpot bean juice)
• 3/4 to 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 to 3/4 tsp cumin
• 1/8 or more cayenne (depends on your level of spice).

Magic happens Here:
Add all the hummus ingredients above into the food processor and pulse or blend until everything is mixed together. If you are nervous about the amount of lemon juice or spices, start with a little bit and add more as you go along. Taste test to see if you need any extra ingredients because the original recipe I was going from was very bland.
Do not worry that you put salt in your beans when they were soaking and then you’re putting more salt in your hummus. I really needed to add a lot more salt because I started with 1/4 teaspoon in my hummus mix and added maybe 1/2 tsp to my crockpot.
I did not add cayenne to the hummus that I made because my doctor wants me to say away from it right now. But I’m sure it will taste absolutely fabulous with cayenne in it. 🙂
You will have extra beans left over from what you had soaked. That is awesome for another batch in case you devour this one and do not share with anybody else. Sharing is caring. 😉
I had gotten some kale at the farmers market last week but it was a very hot day and it wilted before it got home. So I was going to make my second batch as a kale basil hummus and I’m excited about that. If it is a success I will add the recipe to another blog post. 😀
As I’m eating this hummus and enjoying it very much, I just thought of a good idea of maybe adding a quarter slice of onion next time and it would give it a nice little kick! (I love onion in about all my savory dishes).
I hope you like this recipe and it encourages you to eat clean this autumn and to avoid junk food!
I just recently have tried fresh veggies with my hummus instead of rice crackers and I am loving it! Now I can enjoy cucumber with the rest of the masses. Yea!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in A day in the life of Jeni, Food and drink

 

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