Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Nutrition 2018 – Weeks 2-5

Dearest Readers,

Thank you for all of your kind messages and comments over the past month. My absence on here has not been intentional, rather a necessity to just get through what is left of the winter. This time last year blogging came easy as I was off work having recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and it was all I could to do distract my body and mind.

A year on and I am working full time, in a job that requires a lot of brain power for a fibromyalgia warrior who suffers dreadfully with fog at times and by the time I get home in the evenings I’m pooped. Which doesn’t leave much energy or time for blogging.

But there is something about February that has woken me up a little. Although winter isn’t quite over, and the migrating pain of the fibromyalgia still bothers me terribly, there is a little light at the end of the winter tunnel. The mornings are (very) slowly becoming lighter, making getting up just that little bit easier. The thought of the warm sun on my skin inspires me to work hard to feel good in the spring (although it was chuffing cold today). And March is oh so close… so close.

On the nutrition front I am looking forward to more seasonal fruits and smoothies, and growing our own organic produce in our allotment. Not long now until the ground will be soft enough to dig. Well not me digging, but my husband! Then we can get planting all of the things we love and enjoy our produce in the summer.

January saw me eating significantly less meat and moving ever closer towards a mostly plant based diet (because lets face it, junk food is nice some of the time). I only ate 2 portions of chicken and one of beef throughout January and for that I am super pleased. I didn’t miss it anywhere near as much as I thought I did, and on the beef day I think I must have needed some iron in my diet or something because the urge to eat it overwhelmed me. But compared to where I was this time last year I am pleased with my progress on the meat front. For me I work much better if I do a little at a time, I don’t have the strongest willpower in the world and so baby steps are better than no steps. The aim is to be vegan by the end of the year but saying goodbye to eggs and honey is freaking me out a little at the moment so I’m not quite ready yet!

Sugar remains my nemesis after doing so well before Christmas and then, well, it WAS Christmas and I completely fell off the wagon. Having cut right down on meat in January my plan is to cut right down on sugar again in February. Ive gone back over my old posts and enjoyed recapping with this post as to how I managed to cut it down last time and how good I felt.

Aaaaaaaanyway, I suppose a nutrition post wouldn’t be complete without sharing my recent food adventures, in the. hope of inspiring others to think about how what goes in effects what your body gives you in return, and so here we go!

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I really do love pecans on my gluten and dairy free porridge in the mornings!
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Gluten and dairy free sweet potato rosti with avocado and eggs
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All the fruit and veg!!!
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Homemade gluten and dairy free egg fried rice, super delish!
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Felt extravagant having this porridge but it was all plant based and super healthy. Made with coconut milk and gluten free oats, and topped with homemade blueberry compote, cherries, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
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More of that lovely blueberry compote with dairy free coconut yoghurt and topped with gluten free granola.
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That vegan chickpea curry again!
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Keeping it simple with gluten and dairy free porridge topped with banana and pumpkin seeds.

And thats me! Hoping that the new energy found in February so far lasts and that I can post much more over the coming weeks. But for now thank you so much for all of your support as always. I hope that you have been able to draw even just a little inspiration from my cooking adventures to make a positive change to your diet to help you feel good! I also just want to remind people that as I am usually tired in the evenings all the meals I cook are super quick and easy to make, but with a bit of love can be made to look super pretty, and we all love pretty food!

If you would like any advice or have any questions about how you can change your diet to benefit your chronic illness then please do get in touch. You can find me over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where I not only share my foodie adventures but also my daily life living with the F word.

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Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Nutrition 2018 – Week 1

Good evening!

I can’t quite believe a week has passed since my last blog post and we are already 8 days into 2018! Crazy!

2018 has gotten off to a good start. My New Year Fibromyalgia flare up has settled and I’m now back to normal levels of symptoms, my nutrition plan is back on track and I’m feeling good. Hoping to hold on to the new year feeling for as long as possible!

The major change for me since new year has been the exclusion of meat from my diet. I’ve been considering it for quite some time now, and I’ve started off with just aiming to get through January, but I’m feeling so good I may just keep it out altogether (mostly). I’m not vegan (although I have had more vegan days than not and strongly considering it) as I’m still eating eggs, fish and honey, but they are the only animal products I am now eating.

So why the change? Well, I just wanted to see how it would make me feel, as I know from monitoring my fibromyalgia symptoms that I generally feel better on meat free days. My digestion is usually better and my energy levels higher, and these two areas can be particularly bothersome to me.

On top of that I’m beginning to have some real issues with the animal industry, and the way animals are treated for our own cheap personal gain. But that’s a story for another day and forum.

I imagined it would be difficult to cut out meat, as I’m not a massive carb eater and so wondered where on earth I would get my energy from, but honestly it hasn’t been all that hard. I’ve explored new recipes, gotten my zest back for cooking, and actually vegan and meat free recipes are quick and cheap to cook. So lots of wins!

I’ve found my favourite free from cookbooks as well as Vegan Life magazine particularly helpful in meal planning, and have enjoyed the variety of vegetables I am getting in every day, far exceeding my 5 a day for sure! I’ll try and reference back any recipes I’ve used below!

The only downside…. I’m hungry ๐Ÿ˜‚ but let’s face it, we could all do with being a little hungry after the festive season, and it does make me enjoy my food much much more!

Anyway, without further ado, here’s this weeks highlights! Details at the bottom of the post!

Poached egg with avocado on gluten free toast

Top to bottom

And that’s it!

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to talk about how adapting your diet to managing your fibromyalgia symptoms can help you! I can be found over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Toodle pip!

Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Diet – My new way of sharing

Happy new week to you all!

I’ve been wracking my brains after lasts weeks Fibromyalgia and Diet post to think of a new way of sharing the food that I eat to make it as useful as possible. It’s taken me until yesterday to work this out but I am going to try keeping a photo food dairy to share with you once per week. The aim of this diary is to share not only what I eat but whether I prepared the food myself or brought it, to share the brands I love and where I eat my food (bear with me on that last point it will make sense). My  hope it that I will be able to demonstrate that whether you are out home, at work, on a day trip or commuting, where there is a will there is a way. You can change your diet to benefit your fibromyalgia. I am also hoping it will help everyone to see that I do eat all three of my meals and not just breakfast (which I seem to snap the most pictures of).

Now, as I only thought of this yesterday, I only have yesterdays diary to share with you today, but next week will be a full week. I also need to stress that as it is a food diary, snapping where I eat my food as well as what I eat, not all of the pictures will be Instagram worthy, but they will be real…..

So without further ado, here is yesterdays food diary!

Sunday – BREAKFAST – Cocoa Porridge with berries and nut butter LUNCH – Red Thai Chicken and Veg Soup and Sea Salt Potato Crisps from Pret A Manger DINNER – Chicken Roast Dinner

I hope I’m heading in the right direction by sharing the practicalities of eating well with fibromyalgia…… I’m also thinking of putting recipes to a vote, so people can choose each week which recipe I should share on the blog the following week ๐Ÿ™‚ Would my readers like that? Let me know in the comments section below.

For now, toodle pip and happy eating!

You can find me over on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, where I share articles that I have found helpful, things that make me happy, and of course, food, food, food.

Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and diet – My top ten tips!

I’ve come to realise that these last few fibromyalgia and diet posts I’ve just warbled on about me and my food loves! I hope that you are finding it helpful, particularly if you are thinking about going gluten or dairy free, and also hoping that it shows that gluten and dairy free doesn’t mean boring or the end of good food!

So this week is a little bit more of the food Ive eaten recently, but also wanted to give some tips that I have picked up along the last 8 months or so since I have made the changes to help manage my diet, particularly from the gluten and dairy aspect. So hereโ€™s my top ten tips!

  • Make a food plan for the week and try to stick to it.
  • Cook as much in advance on a good day as you can, that way if you have a bad day you have something to fall back on.
  • Have plenty of fruit in the fridge to snack on for your desperate times!
  • Don’t alway be drawn towards the food that is labelled as gluten or dairy free, check out the labels on some regular foods too and you might be surprised and you’ll save money.
  • Cook things from scratch where you can so you know exactly what has gone into your food.
  • Get some good cook books! My particular favourites are 26 Grains, River Cottage Light and Easy and The free from cookbook from the Intolerant Gourmet. I have the Leon Cookbooks and Deliciously Ella on my wish list.
  • Try to alter some regular recipes and replace some ingredients with those suitable to your diet, for example replacing butter with coconut oil. Sometimes it may be a disaster but other times it will be a triumph.
  • Visit a decent health food shop for inspiration. While they can be expensive, I often go just to get ideas and then make food out of ingredients from my local supermarket which is much cheaper.
  • When eating out, check out the restaurant menu online if you can so you aren’t under pressure to work things out when you are there.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask what the chef can do for you if there isn’t much on the menu that fits your needs, most places are very accommodating.

I’m really keen to know what your top tips are, and also what you would like to see on the blog from a diet point of view. I’m planning on carrying on with the anti inflammatory series and whizzing up some more easy recipes for you, but what else would you like to see? Do you like to see what I’ve been chowing down on, or is that getting boring now? Please let me know in the comments section below!

Now for the food porn. Admittedly I’ve not snapped much food this week so this is more from the past month or so….

Honey, Lemon and Blueberry cupcakes from the intolerant gourmet cookbook. Refined sugar free!
Honey, Lemon and Blueberry cupcakes from the intolerant gourmet cookbook. Refined sugar free!
Smoothie
Raspberry and banana smoothie made with coconut milk
Gluten and Dairy free Yorkshire pudding
Gluten and Dairy Free Yorkshire pudding and featured as Recipe of the Week on the blog. Click here for the recipe.
Coconut Porridge
Gluten and Dairy Free Coconut Porridge with almonds, nut butter and banana.
Thats all for this weeks food dairy, see you next week! Don’t forget to come and say hello over of social media on Facebook, Twitter Pinterest or Instagram!

Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Diet – Going strong

Dearest readers,

Once again I am begging for forgiveness for the neglect I have bestowed upon the blog. Working full-time, kids in clubs every evening, keeping up the good diet habits to keep the fibromyalgia symptoms at bay….. it can all sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

So from last weekend I’ve been trying something a little different. I’m now working Monday-Friday 10-6 which means I am able to control my symptoms a little better (even though I am still screwed by the time I get home from work), and I now have weekends to get myself sorted a reset ready for a new week.

So last weekend I tried a new way of doing things which made the week a whole lot easier. I spent one day devoted to the kids and the family, going out for the day and making the most of our time together. The other day I spent cooking and meal planning for the rest of the week. This meant I didn’t once have to buy lunch, I didn’t have to cook when I got home and was already tired and as a result I have eaten so much better. I went meat free Monday-Friday, and moving towards being meat free pretty much all of the time soon.

This weekend I have repeated the process, spending Saturday with the family and enjoying the local festival and Sunday cooking, relaxing and just being free to enjoy my time at home. The only difference is that I am throwing in my blog planning and writing into the mix, writing and scheduling my posts for the rest of the week. I’m too tired to do this when I get home so the cooking day seemed like the perfect day to blog too. In fact, as I write this post I am halfway through a massive pot of quorn bolognese (you can find my bolognese recipe here and just substitute the beef for quorn).

As for the diet, its going well. Although I have to confess to giving in to a little gluten and dairy at the weekend ๐Ÿ˜ฆ which I WILL NOT be repeating!

The low sugar bit is good, I’m just having a little at the weekend in a bar of dark chocolate and maybe a can of two of San Pellegrino a week, and I’m not craving it anywhere near as often as I once did. Best step I’ve made in years. Even lost a little weight, which is always a bonus when you have a good covering ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, I’ve obviously eaten A LOT since my last post, so here are just a few of my anti-inflammatory, gluten and dairy free highlights from the past month. Remember, it can sometimes be scary and feel impossible to make a change, but if I can do it anyone can! Going gluten and dairy free has been a massive change for me this year but it is now just second nature and I don’t even really have to think too hard about it now. Hoping these pictures inspire some to make a change for the better and help people to realise that you can still eat delicious food even if you are gluten and dairy free. Enjoy!

 

Coconut porridge with strawberries and Pip N Nut peanut butter

Homemade granola with fruit and Coconut Collaborative yoghurt

Three of my favourite things, salmon, eggs, and avocado, just on a plate together!

Vegan, double chocolate cookies, homemade of course!

Soya hot chocolate from Cuppacino in Clapham Junction Station.

Mushroom and spinach omelette, yum!

Homemade Granola with Coconut Collaborative yoghurt and the freshest, yummiest cherries.

Maybe a bit heavy of the breakfast sharing now, this time Lizzie’s Granola with fresh fruit and coconut yoghurt

More coconut porridge, this time with fresh fruit and pecans

Homemade stir fried tofu with brown rice and pak choi

There’s the salmon and eggs again!

The last takewaway a had a few weeks ago from Naturally Chinese, the best gluten and dairy free takeaway menu ever!

Simple but very tasty, green beans in a tomato sauce served with brown rice. You can find my recipe under the recipes heading on the side of the page!

Sometimes I have to praise the lord for Pret, really saved my skin over the summer with the long commutes. This is their coconut porridge with red quinoa, toasted seeds, and jam.

Homemae blueberry and honey cake, refined sugar free!

Of course had to end with my favourite thing, porridge! this time with raspberries, pecans and honey!
That’s not even the half of it! Will share some more next week!

 

I wanted to thank everyone who have ben reading my blog still, despite the lack of recent posts. Your following and readership absolutely means the world to me and please don’t interpret my lack of posts as me not caring. I do! Just working out how to fit this all in. Oh how I wish this paid, then I could do it all the time!

Anyway, for now, doodle pip! See you soon and please feel free to come and say hello over on social media, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Diet – 1 week off the sugar

1 week in, and a lot less sugar eaten!

Now, I feel like I need to explain something. When I say sugar free, what I really mean is refined sugar free, and as explained in my last post, there may be the odd occasion where I still have refined sugar, just because I deserve it. This is also a path towards being refined sugar free, and will take time to break the habit. Naturally occurring sugars on the other hand, they’re ok, in moderation, and some occur in foods are helpful in my journey, such as honey and fruit.

So how did I get on this past week? Well I think I did quite well. I only had refined sugar on two occasions, once in a San Pellegrino drink with a meal, and on Saturday my family brought me a small packet of jelly peaches (my favourite), and well, it would have been rude not to eat them!

Some things that have helped in cutting down so dramatically

  • Eating fresh food
  • Cooking from scratch
  • Eating some damn delicious seasonal food
  • Keeping hydrated has helped keep the pop cravings at bay
  • My porridges in the morning have been a welcome sweet treat

So yes, I’ve had two little bits of refined sugar, but considering I was having a little here and there most days I think thats a major improvement! So Im giving myself a little pat on the back (and not eating sweets) to congratulate myself.

However, its all very well cutting out the sugar, which alone will have many health benefits, but have I actually felt these benefits yet and has it been worth it? Well, I’m pleased to report I haven’t had as many post lunch slumps, I’m much less bloated, and I’ve worked through the headaches. I’ve still had some evenings of muscle weakness, fibromyalgia fog is still rife and I’m still super tired by the end of the day, but on the whole I feel much much better in the daytime hours, which are the most important hours right? I never thought it would be the answer to all of my problems, but all the little pieces of the puzzle link up to improve my symptoms. Totally worth it in my eyes!

It wouldn’t be Monday if I didn’t share with you some of my recent foodie adventures!

Good old coconut porridge with strawberries, flaked almonds, chia seeds, accidental poppy seeds and honey.
Coconut porridge with banana, raspberries, strawberries pecans and mint. Try mint if you have berries on you porridge, it all goes so well together.
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Superfood salad from Gails Bakery
More coconut porridge with strawberries, banana, pecans and mint.
Homemade blackberry and maple compote, inspired by 26 Grains.
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In a quest to stop buying salad at work I made my very own sushi salad bowl inspired by this months Good Food Magazine.
Chocolate porridge made with coconut milk, topped with blackberry maple compote and peanut butter. Inspired by 26 Grains.

That it for this weeks food adventures, all taken on the long road to thriving with Fibromyalgia. Stay tuned for more fibromyalgia and food related posts coming up this week.

To follow my journey and for up to date news and research on all thing fibromyalgia, please follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Toodle pip!

 

Naturopathic Nutrition

Fibromyalgia and Diet – alighting the sugar train.

No fancy blog post today. Just my latest challenge. I’ll keep it short and sweet!

Diet can be one the hardest things to maintain in any health regime. We are constantly surrounded by adverts, restaurants, smells, and invites to dinner. And with so much deliciousness around us it can feel nigh on impossible to resist.

I like to think that I’ve taken on the gluten and dairy free challenge quite well. Yes, I have the occasional blip, maybe once a month, for one meal, but thats not bad. Yes, I think on the whole I deserve a big shiny gold medal for my non complaining efforts. Thank you.

I do have one food nemesis though that is proving harder to conquer since I was told to cut it out at my last nutrition assessment. SUGAR.

I love sugar. I love the taste, the variety and the high. I don’t like the slump, exacerbated fibromyalgia fatigue and fog though. I’ve fooled myself into thinking that as I have cut out caffeine, sweeteners, artificial additives, gluten, dairy and alcohol that its ok to have sugar, everyone has to have something right? WRONG. I really do need to cut out the sugar. We all know sugar is bad for us in large quantities, and I’m not that bad, but cutting it out almost completely, argh. The thought of that makes me sad.

The problem I have now that I am competing daily with a chronic illness, is that this is no longer a choice but a necessity. OK, the amount of sugar I have won’t kill me, but I know for a fact that sugar makes my fibromyalgia symptoms a whole lot more difficult to deal with. By giving in to my urges I am making myself feel worse and then kicking myself when I didn’t have the willpower to say no. JUST SAY NO SARAH!

So I’m compromising. I’m cutting out sugar a bit at a time over the next two weeks, so I don’t get a banging 3 day headache, and I’m cutting myself some slack, sometimes.

Like any good diet change, I’m starting tomorrow. Too many jelly beans today.

So here’s the rules. If its been a looooooong day at work, I’ve eaten well, done my exercise and hydrated myself enough with water, I will allow myself a can of pop made with natural products. At the weekends, if I want to bake for the family. I’ll allow myself a slice of cake. If we go for a meal, I’ll allow myself a pudding. This way I can still satisfy my sweet tooth, but without quite as much guilt, and I know that the next sugar rush is never too far away (I mean, I love baking and given the chance I will, and there is a long day at work at least once a week!). The main rule is not to have ‘just a little bit’ every day, a little bit can be hard to stop at.

I’m going to attempt to share with you all my tricks for beating the cravings, most of which I will learn along the way. For now, just wish me luck. I’m going to need it!

If you have any tips for me PLEEEEEASE leave them below! Or if you would like to join me in my journey then give me a wave over on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. I promise I don’t bite (unless you are a jelly baby of course).