Low Immunity

Fibromyalgia – it’s not all in your mind!

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Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes a broad spectrum of symptoms.

These include;

  • Pain,
  • Fatigue,
  • Headaches,
  • Memory issues, including brain fog
  • Sleep problems, including poor sleep quality and restless legs
  • Stiff joints, especially on waking
  • Lower abdominal cramping,
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Numb or tingling extremities
  • Heightened sensitivity to noises, bright lights and temperature changes

What causes Fibromyalgia?

Even though there is no definitive cause of Fibro, there are a number of potential possibilities such as;

  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Chemical sensitivities or allergies
  • Viruses including; Epstein-Barr, Ross River, influenza, hepatitis B & C, Herpes, Lyme
  • Hormonal imbalances (such as hypothyroidism)
  • Poor digestion
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Spinal misalignments
  • Stress; physical or emotional
  • PTSD
  • Drugs; pharmaceutical and recreational
  • Neurotransmitter deficiencies
  • Genetics

Risk Factors;

  • Being female (80 – 90 % of sufferers are women!)
  • Family history
  • Genetic defects including MTHFR
  • Rheumatoid conditions such as; R.A and Lupus
  • Excess blood vessels and extra nerve fibres known as Arteriole-Venule (AV) Shunts in the hands, legs and feet. AV shunts regulate body temperature and blood flow. In sufferers of fibro, there are not only up to 2-8 times more nerve fibres but the AV shunts are up to 4 times larger. This may be why fibro sufferers feel worse in the cold.

Diagnosis;

There is no definitive test for Fibromyalgia, but 100% of sufferers have pain at multiple sites (see diagram). Other specific symptoms for diagnosis include; 87% have general fatigue, 76% suffer from stiffness, 72% have sleep disorders, 62% feel they hurt everywhere, 60% feel anxiety and stress and 52% feel swelling in tissues.

Fibromyalgia tender points

How to Treat Fibromyalgia;

  1. Address previous virus issues.
  2. Remove any foods that may be causing sensitivities. If these are unknown, I recommend a hair analysis test by Naturopathic Services which tests for 500 foods and household items. For more information check out this article; https://equilibriumnaturalhealth.com/2016/11/23/nightshades-food-sensitivities-pain-autoimmune-disease-ibs-and-leaky-gut/
  3. Avoid foods that cause inflammation, check out this list; https://equilibriumnaturalhealth.com/2015/06/17/inflammation-and-how-foods-and-drinks-can-exacerbate-it-or-improve-it/
  4. Improve digestive function, particularly if there’s bloating and excess wind.
  5. Improve gut bacteria with a practitioner only brand probiotic.
  6. Repairing gut lining.
  7. Support liver function as well as adrenal function and work on stress reduction techniques.
  8. Natural supplements that may help to reduce the severity of the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia. These will be assessed on an individual basis, but may include;  Acetyl L-carnitine, magnesium, EFA’s, vitamin D, anti-inflammatories, herbs for pain and inflammatin and to address any virus infection.
  9. Address lifestyle changes such as; exercise, massage (including Lymphatic drainage as well as Remedial, depending on the individual),  acupuncture.

 

 


 

Onion, Garlic and Honey Cough Syrup

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Ingredients;

Onion and Garlic

  • 1 onion, diced into pieces or sliced into slices
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Raw, unfiltered honey, or a combination of raw honey and Manuka honey, (enough to cover the onions and garlic)

Method;

  1. In a jar or pot (if heating, see below), place your onions and crushed garlic cloves.
  2. Pour in the honey until the onions and garlic are covered.
  3. Either leave to steep for a few hours (or overnight) or
  4. Place the pot over a very low heat (don’t heat too much or you will lose all the healing properties of the honey)
  5. Cook for 30-60 minutes.  When the onions and garlic soften, and the honey becomes more liquefied, you know that your syrup is ready.

Honey

You can either leave the onion and garlic pieces in the syrup or simply strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer.  Store it in a jar in your fridge and use it freely.

Beetroot Dip Paleo and GAPS friendly

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Beetroot

Beetroot Dip

  • 2 medium to large beetroots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  •  1 small onion
  • cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder* (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • (1/2 hot chilli, halved long ways)
  • Foil

 

(* If you don’t have garam masala, you can replace it with 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon & 1/8 teaspoon paprika)

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place a piece of foil (long enough to wrap your ingredients in, so probably a bit longer than a roasting dish) on the table ready for your beetroot.
  3. Cut the stems off and scrub the beets carefully to remove dirt and most of the skin. Cut beetroot into chunks and place on the piece of foil.
  4. Peel onion and garlic, cut into chunks and place on the beetroot. (If you want your dip to have a bit of heat to it, cut a hot chilli in half long ways and add in.)
  5. Season with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and squeeze on a bit of lemon juice.
  6. Wrap the foil carefully into a long parcel, place parcel in a roasting dish and roast until done (roughly 90 mins, check with a fork).
  7. When the beetroot is roasted soft, blend the ingredients until smooth. (I used a wand mixer, but blender would work just as well.)
  8. Add in olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garam masala, paprika and blend together.
  9. Season with salt & pepper and adjust spices until right.
  10. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold!

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bone Broth GAPS and Paleo friendly

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Meat stew

BONE BROTH

Ingredients

  • 2 kg of bones – (beef and lamb knuckle bones or marrow bones, chicken necks, whole or carcass from a roast. You can have different bones together or separate, depending on the flavour of stock you’re after)
  • 8 litres of filtered water
  • 1 x whole bulb of garlic; cloves, separated, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (organic, unfiltered)
  • 2 x carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 x celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 x onions, halved and peeled
  • 1 x can whole, peeled or diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 2 x bay leaves
  • 1 x bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ bunch fresh or dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large crockpot or slow cooker and set the heat to high.
  2. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to low.
  3. Allow the stock to cook for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24-48 hours or more, (depending on the size of the bones, chicken will need less, lamb and beef can cook for longer). The longer the bones brew the better! Remember to keep topping up the water you as you don’t want it to boil dry.
  4. Turn off the cooker and allow the stock to cool slightly.
  5. Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and throw away all the debris (I often keep the chunks of meat if they’re easily removed, and add them into a soup)
  6. Place the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) or pour into freezer-safe containers for later use. I also freeze some in ice-cube trays so that I can add a couple of cubes to cooking as needed.

When the broth is fully cooled, look for a gelatinous consistency. That means your broth is gelatin-rich!  Sometimes the gelatin breaks down if the cooking is longer or hotter and your broth won’t appear gelatinous, but it is still full of gelatin and other wonderful minerals. I don’t skim off any of the fat, I heat my broth and drink it warm.  If you like, you can skim off any fat that has risen to the top and solidified – this is lard – don’t throw it away use it in your savoury cooking in place of cooking oil. It has been proven not to form cancer causing aldehydes when heated, whereas vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola and to a degree, olive oils do.

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Vegetarian and Vegan “Bone Broth”

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Veggie stock

Ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or regular if shiitake unavailable)
½ chilli, sliced (use more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tablespoon coconut or rice bran oil                                                                                                          1 Tblespn of dried wakame reconstituted in a bowl of water
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
5cm piece of ginger, peeled                                                                                                                           5cm piece of turmeric root                                                                                                                             1 bay leaf
2 1/2 litres water
1/2 cup loosely packed coriander leaves                                                                                                 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup spinach and/or kale
1 tspn sea salt
juice of ½ a lemon
Tamari to taste
1 Tblespn of organic light miso paste
1 tspn spirulina

 

  1. Heat the oil and sauté the onions, garlic, chilli and mushrooms together until soft.
  2. Drain the water off the wakame and combine with carrots, celery, ginger, turmeric and water in a pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and strain.
  4. Combine broth with sautéed mushroom mixture, coriander, spinach, kale, lemon juice, sea salt, tamari, miso and spirulina.
  5. Allow the heat of your broth to wilt the coriander, parsley, spinach and kale.
  6. Ladle into bowls or mugs and enjoy the spicy aroma of this fabulous gut-healing broth.

 

Fish Bone Broth

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Fish bones

Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-2 non-oily fish carcasses from cod, sole, haddock, hake, etc.
  • 1 Tbs. ghee or butter (use coconut oil for dairy free option)
  • Vegetables: 1 onion or leek, 1-2 carrots, 1-2 celery stalks diced finely
  • 1 cup dry white wine, optional
  • Herbs, optional – 3-4 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves, ½ -1 tsp. peppercorns
  • Cold, filtered water, to cover
For extra gelatin (optional)
  • 1-2 fish heads, gills removed
Instructions
  1. Simmer veggies in Ghee, butter or oil over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. Place fish carcasses, fish heads (if using), herbs and peppercorns over veggies, cover and simmer 5-10 more minutes. This will stimulate the fish to release their flavours before adding the water.
  2. Add wine (if using) and water to cover the carcasses and bring to a simmer and skim scum that forms on the surface. The scum won’t hurt you! It’s just some impurities that get released. This happens in all types of bone broths.
  3. Simmer gently 45-60 minutes.
  4. Strain broth from carcasses and veggies.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze, whatever you won’t use in that time, and use within 3 months

 

Notes:

Non-oily fish is necessary because the fish oils in fatty fish such as salmon become rancid in cooking.

The cartilage in fish bones breaks down to gelatin very quickly, so it’s best to cook broth on the stove top.

Make sure you use the carcasses from non-oily whitefish such as cod, sole, snapper, haddock and hake. Any non-oily fish works fine. Avoid oily fish like salmon, tuna, herring and swordfish (though their flesh works great in chowders and other fish-based soups).

Also, if possible, try to get some fish heads in addition to the carcasses. Generally speaking, you probably won’t get much gelatin from just fish carcasses.

Finally, as opposed to other types of bone broths, be sure to dice the veggies finely. This allows them to release their flavours more efficiently with the shorter cooking time.

Image courtesy of olovedog at FreeDigitalPhotos.net