Microbiome

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.

 

 


 

Master Elixir Recipe

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iphone-5-up-to-1-4-15-017

Ingredients;

Equal parts;
  • turmeric root
  • chopped garlic
  • diced onion
  • chopped hot chillies (wear gloves and be prepared to have your sinuses cleared!)
  • grated or sliced ginger
  • grated horseradish
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped apple
  • diced celery
  • orange and lemon pieces

Optional;

  • mustard seeds
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • juniper berries
  • Himalayan salt

Apple Cider Vinegar (make sure it’s organic with the “Mother”)

health-elixir

Instructions;

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the vinegar.
  2. Fill 2/3 of a large jar with the mixture. Make sure the jar seals well.
  3. Pour in the apple cider vinegar on top of the mixture until it fills up to the top.
  4. Close tightly.
  5. Shake well.
  6. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks. Shake well as often as possible, at least once a day.
  7. After 14 days, strain it through a muslin cloth, into a bowl, to pour into a jar.
  8. Squeeze well to make sure all the juice comes out.

This elixir will be VERY HOT, so start with small amounts, maybe use it as a salad dressing first and then build up the amount as your taste buds get used to it. It’s best not to dilute it with water.

kombucha

This elixir may help with;

  • stimulating the immune system
  • feeding beneficial gut bacteria as a pre-biotic
  • killing harmful gut bacteria and yeasts (including candida)
  • stimulating metabolism
  • weight loss by increasing satiety (a feeling of fullness) and reducing appetite
  • reducing blood triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure
  • regulating blood sugar levels
  • alkalising the system by regulating the pH level
  • preventing and reducing indigestion and reflux
  • detoxification of the liver
  • cleansing lymph nodes of toxic waste
  • soothing and healing mucous membranes such as throat, gut lining, urinary tract
  • inhibiting and reducing muscle cramps
  • reducing post exercise muscle fatigue

As this is a fermented drink, it may cause issues for those suffering from high levels of histamines. Come and see me to reduce histamine levels naturally.

Porridge using soaked oats

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Jar of oats

Ingredients:

 

  • 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

OPtional Extra’s;

  • 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.

healthy breakfast ingredients

Preparation:

 

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.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cauliflower Cheesey Bread; GAPS & Paleo friendly

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cauliflower cheesey bread

    • 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)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 220C
  2. 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/
  3. One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower.

To Make the Bread:

  1. Place baking paper over a baking tray or pizza stone
  2. Wring out as much water from the cauliflower rice as possible
  3. 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.
  4. Transfer to the baking tray or pizza stone, and using your hands, pat out into a large rectangle
  5. Bake at 220C  for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned golden.
    Remove from oven.
  6. Slice and serve!

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.