Diet and Fibromyalgia

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
Diet and Fibromyalgia
3
Fri, 05-10-2013 - 6:35am

I know some people are/were interested in any specific foods that would help them feel better, or foods to avoid, so I searched around trying to find some answers.  As I suspected, there isn't any ONE food or answer, thank you FM for being so annoying!!  I have several food allergies, and have found that avoiding any and everything I'm allergic to has helped me feel a lot better.  (duh, right?)  Of course, it's REALLY hard to figure out what, exactly, was making me feel bad.  I had two, TWO different sets of allergy tests with VERY different results, the second one being the one I am sure was accurate.  I can't say why, exactly, I had such different results, but I have been on a gluten and dairy free diet for about 4 years now, and also don't/can't eat shellfish, pecans, hazlenuts, walnuts, and cruciferous veggies.  This is one article I found that is helpful : 

http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-the-diet-connection

http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-the-diet-connection

This second article gives some advice on foods to help you feel better, but I'm not going to start eating salmon, cause I hate it, and giving up caffiene is never going to happen, thank you very much.  I think a diet that is healthy overall, and includes things you love to eat, is a good start.  Keeping a journal, trying an elimination diet, or getting tested for allergies or celiac are also good ideas.  Get tested for vitamin deficiencies, too.  You could be anemic or very low on vitamin D and not realize it.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2012
Fri, 05-10-2013 - 8:18am

I was going to ask about going gluten-free so thank you for the information. How did you get started on your diets? I am just not sure where to begin. It seems so complicated to try to cut out dairy, etc.

Do you spend a lot on groceries each month? Do you feel your diet is well balanced?

Sorry for the questions, but I am really interested in this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 5:38am

It's pretty difficult to go totally gluten and dairy free, because you have to read EVERY lable everytime and plan your meals carefully.  It's not impossible, though, thanks to so many new items available. I drink almond milk, which my kids and I think is a lot better tasting than soy, eat fake cheese, usually anything that's vegan is fine, since it doesn't have any milk in it, and soy yogurt.  Since all of those are fotified with calcium and don't have a lot naturally, I try to eat some foods that do have calcium, like bok choy, collards, and mustard greens.  

As for going gluten free, that can present a lot more of a challenge.  There is wheat in the strangest places!  Breakfast is the easiest meal, since eggs, bacon, grits, hashbrowns, and fruit are all safe.  Some sausage can have wheat in it, so you have to read lables there.  Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles and several Chex cereals are gluten free, yippy!  I buy gluten free bread and crackers, and flours and cake mixes from Betty Crocker, but other wise, I just eat normally.  Most corn chips, tortilla chips, and Mexican foods are fine, so long as you don't use the spice packets in packaged mexican dinners.  Homemade tacos, fajitias, etc, can be eaten with corn tortillas, or I'll throw the cooked, seasoned meat on spinach or black beans.  There are plenty of decent gluten free noodles out there for pasta dishes, and I eat a lot of rice and potatoes.  You will no doubt find that it's easier and cheaper to cook most meals yourself, which irritates me cause I am not an avid chef to say the least.  

When eating out, Chili's, The Outback Steak House, and several other places have gluten free menus.  Chinese is a total nightmare, since most soy sauces have wheat in them, but Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian are good places to eat, just as about the ingredients.  Drinking is an interesting endever, as well, since whiskey, bourbon, and a lot of other liquors, and beer, too, are made with wheat and/or barley.  There are a couple of decent beers on the market, and tequila, rum, and certain vodkas are safe.  For this, you need to do some internet studying, lol.  

The entire process of changing your diet so much is a little like mourning the death of a friend, as you give up cheese cake, donuts, and grabbing a burger at the drive thru.  Since there are so many more products available and resturaunts providing allergy free choices, it's gotten a little easier over the last year or two, but I still get mad at times, because, darn it, I want some cheese cake!  I get so sick from eating anything with gluten in it, and at times milk, too, that it's just not worth it to me to "cheat."  

The cost is a little higher, no matter how you do it, because a small loaf of gluten free bread is at least $7, whereas you can get a loaf of white bread for $1.50.  I try to limit the amount of "specialty" foods I buy and stick to national brands that have some gluten free choices, like Betty Crocker, Silk, Progresso soups, Peebles and Chex cereals, and so on.  By saving on that stuff, I can afford to buy the more expensive things, like bread and crackers.  

Feel free to ask me any questions, I'll be happy to answer.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2012
Sun, 05-26-2013 - 1:22pm
Diet is the difference in being fairly pain free or not so I do spend a lot on my food. I don't eat GMO'S, diet soda or aspartame, wheat, which I love. I drink a smoothy each day made up of of a protein powder called Vega nutritional shake mixed with a little yogurt, low fat milk and 5 tablespoons of hemp hearts. This is my protein replacement for meat which I gave up. I can't seem to handle meat anymore and forget fast food or chinese food. Anything greasy makes me sick. My pain pill makes me constipated so I need to eat a salad or greens each day along with the hemp hearts to keep things moving or I will not go for days. I add fresh leafy greens like spinach to my salads instead of iceberg and eat fresh organic fruit daily like apples, oranges, pears for the roughage and drink a lot of spring water. Real fresh organic fruit is so much better them canned or processed fruit. Getting things at the heath food store and the organic section of the grocery store costs me about 200 a month and I need to work part time to pay for it. I just do what I must to feel better and fruits and vegies are full of antioxidents which really lower my pain. I even tried eating just fruit for a while but I was not eating balanced and got anemic. I tried veggie capsules instead of real food and they don't work well and cost a fortune. Most women with fibro are low in vitamin D for some reason and that is why I eat organic yogurt unsweetened daily. I also take vitamins but it is still a little low. I have never been able to give blood because of a low hemacrit (iron level) even before fibro and now they don't want my blood anyway! If you have fibro or an auto immune disease you can't give blood or be a bone marrow donor. I recently found this out an thought I would share this fact. Look into adding hemp hearts to your diet because it has every amino acid our body needs and more protein then legumes or meat. Check out (hemphearts.com) for the breakdown. It also keeps you regular. It is not cheap, 16 dollars for a pound but it beats being bloated and constipated. It has a nice nutty flavor and I sprinkle it on oatmeal along with the smoothies. Hope this helps. I have had fibro a long time and unfortunately mine has progressed with time so I have learned a lot by trial and error and also suffering enough after eating certain foods that I just gave them up. I don't eat out much because the food is not organic in most cases and GMO'S and msg really bother me. I don't touch canned corn or canned veggies for that reason.