When looking at managing fibromyalgia (as opposed to curing it, which is a faraway, faraway daydream), there is a basic formula to follow:
I’ve talked a lot about exercise and am still a little confounded by it. I’ve looked at medications, and the ones that are most often mentioned are ones I can’t take; in addition, there is strong evidence that they are barely effective even as a palliative for fibromyalgia. I’ve avoided diet. I’d still like to avoid diet, but I can’t if I want this to be a complete exploration of fibromyalgia. My problems with food are multitude:
- I hate to cook. And I’m very bad at it, although I’m trying to appreciate the “art” of cooking more lately.
- There are a multitude of foods I’m sensitive to, but not allergic to. In short, I get reactions from immediate tummy aches to eventual arthritis-type symptoms from different foods.
- The longer term reactions are very difficult to manage.
- The shorter term reactions are very difficult to guess.
- My diet becomes very limited, and after awhile food just doesn’t interest me.
Peanuts and raw onions are a definite no-no and easy to avoid first because they are easy to see and not ingest, second because tummy aches/cramps are instant. Sugar gives a long term reaction with arthritis-like symptoms. Sugar is very difficult to avoid first because it is not always apparent, second because it’s an addictive substance. I don’t care if that sounds silly, it’s true. The body craves sugar; the taste buds crave sugar; the mind obsesses over sugar. Chocolate is the worst and a gateway drug. Caffeine is disastrous.
I find the best way to manage diet is to 1) make it easy; 2) make it repetitive; 3) no sugar, no caffeine, no peanuts, no raw onions. Breads will give me a bit of a rash after eating it regularly over a couple weeks, so I avoid bread. I think it’s the yeast rather than the wheat, however, because I don’t seem to react to tortillas or pasta. There’s no distinction between cane sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, or just natural fruits.
Obviously supplementing my diet is important, so I take vitamins C and D and a B complex, fish oil, and a calcium supplement. I don’t take a multivitamin supplement because they usually include vitamin K, which I overreact to and is a clotting risk.
That’s all well and good, but in absolute honesty, it’s not reality. It’s easy to have a bit of sugar now and then because the reaction isn’t immediate. I like bananas and pasta. I eat too many carbohydrates, which turn into sugar in the system. I love ice cream, especially year round. I find eating at work very difficult, so I tend to have a breakfast, but only snack at lunch and have a large meal after work. Not good – I should be ingesting calories and nutrients throughout the day instead of letting my blood sugar raise and lower.
So, here’s the deal. I’m going to face my food disorder. First I’ll do a little research to see what is recommended in terms of fibromyalgia, then I’ll create a diet (it has to be sustainable, so not too restrictive), and then I’ll give it a go and look at symptoms to see what relief there is. Since I know myself well enough to say, yep I’ll be cheating or not giving it a fair chance, I’ll start yet another Captain’s log where I’ll post my daily diet for all the world to see. How incredibly embarrassing. I’ll only commit to honesty and will let you know when I start the log.