After two years of suffering constant pain; insomnia, and fatigue, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My doctor told me that drugs, diet and exercise would be my only troops in the battle to overcome this life-long disease.
I soon discovered that diet played an important roll in my pain management. The prior year I had also been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. After extensive research, I found that the traditional IBS diet was also very similar to the diet recommended for fibromyalgia suffers.
My first step, and perhaps the toughest, was cutting dairy out of my life. It wasn’t easy, since I grew up on milk and cookies, a big cool glass of milk with supper, you get the idea. What was I going to eat in the morning if I couldn’t have milk and cereal? What was I going to drink with my cookies (turns out I needed cut a lot of sugar out of my diet anyway)? I soon was drinking more water and iced tea and lemonade. I then tried soy milk. I was reluctant at first, remembering that people who grew up on milk said it was funny tasting. But, I got the vanilla and tried it. Not bad really, but not the same as milk. I then got up the courage and tried the chocolate and that wasn’t bad either. So, after a few weeks, I had an alternative to dairy.
Then I had to cut out sugars and caffeine. This was especially difficult since I do enjoy my white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Wow, a lot of dairy, caffeine and sugar in that one! My IBS research showed that even decaf coffee was not good for your system, so now I was left with hot chocolate and hot tea. I found a few hot teas that I like and I don’t sweeten my tea hardly at all- one small teaspoon is all I need. I try to stay away from hot chocolate since chocolate has caffeine in it.
The next thing I needed to do was beef up my vitamin intake. I began a regimen each morning of a daily women’s formula multi-vitamin and a calcium-vitamin D combination. I also drink a shake each morning made with soy milk and a powder enhanced with vitamins. Since starting this regimen, I have not had a cold, though several people in my office have had them.
Water is my best friend. I drink a minimum of two 32 ounce bottles of water each day. Water gives you energy without the fall out in the afternoon when your morning coffee high runs out. Water also keeps you hydrated and aids in washing toxins out of your body. Water can aid in metabolism and research shows that weight plays a significant roll in the management of fibromyalgia pain.
I also started eating a lot more organic foods, especially vegetables and meats. Sometimes these can be a little pricey, but believe me, the health benefits far outweigh the cost. Some studies of fibromyalgia have shown that the chemicals and preservatives in foods can irritate your symptoms, as well as severely aggravate any IBS symptoms you may have.
All in all, cutting out these things will not only make your fibromyalgia manageable, but will make you healthier in general. Add this with a consistent, low-impact exercise routine and you will start to manage your pain and start to feel normal again and sleep better. Now, I can’t guarantee that you won’t have those bad days, but at least they will be few and far between and much easier to get through.