What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes a broad spectrum of symptoms.
- Memory issues, including brain fog
- Sleep problems, including poor sleep quality and restless legs
- Stiff joints, especially on waking
- Lower abdominal cramping,
- 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
- Drugs; pharmaceutical and recreational
- Neurotransmitter deficiencies
- 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.
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.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia;
- Address previous virus issues.
- 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/
- 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/
- Improve digestive function, particularly if there’s bloating and excess wind.
- Improve gut bacteria with a practitioner only brand probiotic.
- Repairing gut lining.
- Support liver function as well as adrenal function and work on stress reduction techniques.
- 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.
- Address lifestyle changes such as; exercise, massage (including Lymphatic drainage as well as Remedial, depending on the individual), acupuncture.
- 1 cup oats, rolled or cracked – NOT the quick cooking kind, but the ‘old fashioned’ whole oats (organic is best)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 Tblespns plain whole milk yogurt, whey, kefir or buttermilk
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tblespns ground nuts & seeds such as; Brazil, almonds, walnuts, pepita’s, sunflower seeds & flax seeds.(Don’t use these if diverticulitis is an issue)
- Adding psyllium husks, chia seeds and slippery elm will increase the fibre content. (Don’t use chia seeds if diverticulitis is an issue)
- Coconut sugar, rapadura sugar, raw honey or real maple syrup (not maple flavouring) to sweeten.
- Touch of butter, ghee, cream or milk, optional, but especially good for the kids
- Other nice optional additions include; grated apple, chopped dried fruit such as; sulphur-free apricots, figs, sultanas or cranberries.
Mix the oats with warm water and whey or yogurt, cover and leave out (preferably not in the fridge unless the nights are hot) for at least 7 hours or overnight. In the morning, bring an additional cup of water to a boil with the sea salt. Add the soaked oats, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for several minutes. Remove from heat, stir in optional flax seeds and other fibre and let stand for a few minutes. Serve with the ghee, butter or cream and sugar, honey or real maple syrup.
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Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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- 1 head cauliflower, riced
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella or a hard Goat’s or Sheep’s milk cheese
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or grated Goat’s or Sheep’s milk cheese)
- Preheat oven to 220C
- Chop the cauliflower florets into chunks and steam them in a steamer or on the stove until slightly soft for 15 minutes. Grate or process in a blender to resemble rice. Alternatively, grate cauliflower or process cauliflower and cook as cauliflower rice. See recipe here; https://equilibriumnaturalhealth.com/2017/04/04/cauliflower-rice-paleo-g-f-low-carb/
- One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower.
To Make the Bread:
- Place baking paper over a baking tray or pizza stone
- Wring out as much water from the cauliflower rice as possible
- In a medium bowl, stir together the cauliflower, Parmesan, Mozzarella (or Goats or Sheep’s milk cheese) and egg. Add basil, parsley, oregano, crushed garlic and salt & pepper and mix together to combine.
- Transfer to the baking tray or pizza stone, and using your hands, pat out into a large rectangle
- Bake at 220C for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned golden.
Remove from oven.
- Slice and serve!
- 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
- Place all ingredients in a large crockpot or slow cooker and set the heat to high.
- Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to low.
- 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.
- Turn off the cooker and allow the stock to cool slightly.
- 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)
- 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.
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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
- Heat the oil and sauté the onions, garlic, chilli and mushrooms together until soft.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and strain.
- Combine broth with sautéed mushroom mixture, coriander, spinach, kale, lemon juice, sea salt, tamari, miso and spirulina.
- Allow the heat of your broth to wilt the coriander, parsley, spinach and kale.
- Ladle into bowls or mugs and enjoy the spicy aroma of this fabulous gut-healing broth.
Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 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
- 1-2 fish heads, gills removed
- 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.
- 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.
- Simmer gently 45-60 minutes.
- Strain broth from carcasses and veggies.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze, whatever you won’t use in that time, and use within 3 months
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.
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- 2 cups/150g whole rolled oats
- 1¾ cups/420ml milk of choice
- ¼ cup/60ml water
- 1 apple, cored and grated with the peel
- 1½ cups/375g plain yoghurt
- A dash of cinnamon (optional)
- Toppings: your favourite fresh and/or dried fruit, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.
- Our favourites: blueberries, strawberries, raisins and crushed nuts and seeds
Combine oats, milk and water and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
In the morning add the grated apple, yoghurt, and cinnamon, if desired, and mix well.
Top with your favourite fruits and nuts.
Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Chia Seeds are so packed full of nutrients such as; Protein, Fibre, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and loads of Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids.
These Chia Puddings are so easy to make, they’re gluten free, dairy and processed sugar free.
Such a great idea to have it ready the night before so you have a gut healing, energy giving breakfast ready for you in the morning. Try adding whole rolled oats for helping to fed your gut bacteria.
Best to use organic seeds and oats.
For Basic Vanilla Pudding:
1/4 Cup Organic White Chia Seeds (you can use less it depends what consistency you want)
1 Cup of milk of your choice; Almond, Rice, Coconut, Oat
Dash Vanilla Essence
1tbs Maple Syrup or honey
For Fruit Flavoured Pudding:
Add – any fruits you like!
1 Cup of your preferred chopped fruit such as; kiwi, melon, berries, banana or a combination
& more to decorate
For Choc Chia Pudding:
Add 1tbs raw Cacao or to taste
& a little more Maple syrup or honey
For Vanilla Pudding
Mix Chia, Milk, Maple syrup or honey & vanilla essence together in a mixing bowl-mix well
Pour into Glasses or Jars, cover + refrigerate for 4+ hours.
If you want to have a Chia Bowl for breakky, just leave covered in a bowl over night
For Fruit Pudding
Follow Vanilla method, but blend together with your fruit
For Choc Pudding
Mix all together and taste test for your preferred strength of chocolatey goodness