Managing Fibromyalgia Requires Paying Attention to Diet

Managing Fibromyalgia Requires Paying Attention to Diet

Through the Fog

What we eat or don’t eat can impact our fibromyalgia for good or for ill. It often seems as if once we figure out what we should or shouldn’t eat, our body throws us a curve ball and we’re back at square one. There may be a period of time that you can eat foods containing gluten, and then your body rebels so you switch to gluten-free. Although everyone should eat well, diet is especially important when your body is fighting illness.

I would STRONGLY suggest that you don’t eat any foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). When I purchase any type of grain product, I always check for “certified non-GMO” on the label. For that reason, I also do my best to buy local or organic produce.

I recently switched to a vegetarian diet, but when I ate meat I would be sure it was grass-fed. My fish was only wild caught, not farmed, and my chickens were farm-raised and free-range. Be sure there are no antibiotics or hormones used in any meat that you consume.

I’ve recently adopted a low FODMAP diet to help with my IBS. I still keep it vegetarian. You can find books and groups online if that’s something you want to check out. It’s only meant to last two- to six-weeks to get your symptoms under control, and then you start adding back one high FODMAP food at a time and see if it triggers your symptoms.

Eat plenty of veggies, especially green leafy ones such as kale, baby spinach, romain lettuce, to name just a few. If you’re able, eat organic. If not, get a good organic produce spray to clean them before you store them. Lettuce will last longer if you put paper towel on the bottom of your bowl or other storage container and put your lettuce on top. Cover with a tight lid. It will stay crispy. You can also make salads in mason jars. They will stay fresh all week. Green leafy veggies are also wonderful in a smoothie. It’s all the nutrition without the green taste.

Fruits also should be organic unless it has a thicker skin, such as oranges, bananas, kiwi. Berries especially should be organic. When they’re in season you could buy locally grown. Otherwise, buy frozen and use them in smoothies or muffins.

I love making healthy muffins or little quiches in muffin tins. You can freeze them, and just take one out the night before for breakfast the next day. I am truly all about easy and healthy.

Always be aware of what you’re putting in your body. You really are what you eat. Give your body what it needs to be as healthy as it can be. For those of us with fibromyalgia, it’s especially important.

I’d love to hear your healthy-eating ideas.

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

38 comments

  1. Em says:

    Diet is so important and others w/o fibro do not understand. I am not invited to social things because others do not understand. I do not criticize how others eat. When I do not eat as they do they take it personally and don’t want me around because of the way I eat!!! They say they feel guilty because there is very little or nothing I can eat. They see me as finicky or seeing myself superior in some way. I have eaten in the past to please family or others and the pain for doing so was far too great. I also have severe TMJ and chewing is pretty much out. Okay, my diet is boring. This seems to be the attitude. I even had someone ask if I saw myself as a “guru” on a mountain…that hurt and was cruel.
    I have given up trying to explain and stay a way from anything concerning food. I still enjoy cooking and baking. I enjoy being a secret elf this time of the year.
    I believe you understand. Thank you. (I truly do not miss all of the foods that most eat).

    • Robin Dix says:

      Em, regarding your TMJ…I have that too. I had my dentist make me a mouth guard because I also grind my teeth at night, and it has made a world of difference. It can be super frustrating when others criticize choices we make for our health. Hugs! ????

  2. Grace from Australia says:

    I also find that the boundaries constantly change. Lately I have vertigo when I eat creamy stuff. Like, I know that dairy is bad for me and causes sinusitis but this bad vertigo attack happened after I had banana based smoothies made with oat milk! Only added cinnamon, crushed nuts and a little block of frozen grapefruit. I sometimes feel like giving up eating all together. Btw, I bake my own cakes and replace wheat with brown rice and some other non-gluten flour. Just add baking powder to make it self-raising. 🙂

    • Robin Dix says:

      Grace, I agree about boundaries, and everything else really, about fibro constantly changing. I’m so sorry about your vertigo, it’s no fun. I get it every few weeks or so, for over 28 years now. It can be very frustrating figuring out what triggers symptoms. I’ve felt like giving up eating too at times, you’re not alone in any of this. ????

      • Grace from Australia says:

        Robin, that must be terrible to have Vertigo every few weeks. I really feel for you. I have looked up information and think that mine could be Meniere’s Disease because of the triad of Vertigo – Tinnitus and Hearing Loss. That’s why the exercises to get rid of the particles in the ear don’t work as this is different. There are some good Utube videos.

        • Robin Dix says:

          Grace I had the maneuver done at my ENT doc and it lasted 6 months. That’s the longest I’ve gone. I also have some hearing loss, but that could be from getting older lol

    • Karen Gray says:

      I have had a constantly runny nose for years and a sinus infection for over a year which nothing would cure. By chance i bumped into an acquaintance who also has FMS who had a dramatic improvement of similar symptoms when she switched from cow’s milk products to goats/sheep or soya.

      I love cheese, so decided to try goats milk products- which worked so quickly I could scarcely believe it and thought it must be a fluke. But no! It has worked miraculously. I can actually breathe through my nose, which is not running anymore and the infection is receding. Thank you to all goats!

      • Denise Bault says:

        Wow! I just recently noticed that I seem to keep getting sinus infections. Two rounds of antibiotics really haven’t done a thing. Also noticed that my sinuses seem to be trying to “clear” themselves and I have pain on the right side, which is parallel to the bottom of my nose. Does this happen to others as well? First I’ve read of it. Any suggestions on what is going on and what to do about it? I had surgery about 10 years ago on my nose and throat that was supposed to help with the sleep apnea. (They took out part of my uvula, the thing that hangs in the back of your throat. Also found out I had a deviated septum. At least it helped my breathing with that!) I’ll check into switching to milk and cheese from goats. I went to lactose free milk already. Are they available at local stores or do you have to go to a health food store to get them? Ahhhh…Fibromyalgia…the gift that just keeps on giving! UGH………..!

        • Maureen Roland says:

          Hi, Denise. I’ve also suffered from sinusitus and frequent sinus infections AND had surgery (medial maxillary anstrostomy – to create a window in the sinuses.) The biggest problem was that they would dry out and then infection would follow. Two things helped tremendously. Natural Over-the- Counter nose drops made of eucalyptus oil called, “Ponaris” and a humidifier (used with filtered water). I still occasionally have flares, but rarely develops into a sinus infection. Before trying this my Otolaryngologist tried everything both prescription and OTC, but nothing worked. Her husband suggested Ponaris because it helped him when skiing (!). You will need to ask your pharmacist to order it or obtain it on line. Hope this helps! (BTW, Re: your other post, I too got rid of the mouth guard because I chewed it to death!)

          • Denise Bault says:

            Thanks for your reply Maureen! I’m confused. Is Ponaris over the counter or do you have to have the pharmacist get it? Also, I have an atomizer in my bedroom and have essential oils to put in it. Haven’t tried the eucalyptus, but will today! Thanks for the suggestion and let me know on Ponaris, ok? I’m in the US. Is it something you can get at CVS or Walgreen’s? Again, thanks!

        • Em says:

          I use unsweetened almond or coconut milk. I do like goat cheese on sprout bread-esp. the Cinnamon Swirl for a treat. I have gone gluten free which has been a wise choice for this fibro fan of the gift that just keeps on giving…thank you for a chuckle. SS hit me upside the head w/ a blast from the past…how can I be the widow of an ex-husband in 1995 who died 3 years ago? Sure messed up my benefits and set the fibro and temper raging. It is all about the bucks, ’bout the bucks not the ethics-sang to the tune of “It Is all About The Bass”.
          Thanks and now back to the rice bag (comfort that does not need to be walked) and a cup of Burdock Tea. Not recommended for all due to interaction w/ meds.

  3. Denise Bault says:

    I mentioned the FODMAP diet in an earlier posting. It makes a huge difference, especially with those of us suffering from IBS and GERD! I’ve gone through so many mouth guards for TMJ disorder and bruxism. Stopped using them when I woke up in the middle of the night, chewing on it, getting ready to try and swallow the stupid thing! Back then it was kinda hard to wear a mouth guard and use a CPAP machine at the same time. Stopped using both. They will help some people, however.

  4. Robin W. says:

    I was diagnosed with FM 8 years ago. I’m 53 and applied for disability to day after working full time .In the past years the flares have gone up to 2-3 a week with no warning, and costochondritis when the air conditioner vent blows my way or I eat Nitrates, MSG or calcium carbonate in food or meds, and no wine due to sulfites. Its getting harder to go up stairs these days or to get a good nights sleep. The fibro fog is prevalent, as well as a burning sensation all over the surface of my skin. Has anyone out there had the burning skin feeling? or going into chest wall pain from a cool breeze? When I have the foggy brain, at this point I am afraid to drive a car and have trouble remembering many things including peoples names. The worst is the chronic joint pain and peripheral edema in the last year.I worked in healthcare and have three grown kids in their twenties. I feel a lot of grief even applying for disability, but I live alone, my family really is not around and does not understand, and I have got to cover my bases with this. I have had many recent moments of crying and defeat, but I don’t know what else to do at this point. Any comments would be so appreciated! Have a peaceful holiday.

    • Denise Bault says:

      Robin, I finally had to apply for disability and after a VERY, VERY,long fight, got approved 2 years ago. (It took me over 3 years to finally get approved.) I hope you have a good attorney who knows about fibro. What you MUST do is have good medical records! When you fill out the SSA paper work, make sure you explain who you WERE, what this illness has done to your life, how it effects your ability to work, and who you ARE now! Don’t hold back and don’t be embarrassed about filing. If you’re like me, you paid plenty into the system. One more note: PLAN ON IT TAKING AT LEAST A COUPLE OF YEARS TO GET APPROVED! Generally they want to see that you haven’t been able to work for at least a year. (May vary from state to state.) Even your attorney will not be able to tell you those things. Good luck and God Bless! (Next time we can talk about how much fun it is to live on a fixed income…NOT!)

  5. Robin W. says:

    Denise, Thank you so much for responding. Why is it that in general people can’t understand how bad this is. I was going to go get all my Medicaid done today, and I am fearful of driving in the Christmas traffic with the brain fog and neuropathy and my whole left hip hurts bad. I just wish the support overall ‘out there in the functioning world could see this more like an illness that is, well, crippling… I am having so much anxiety, i’m going to try to call and see if there are other options then a long drive on busy roads when I can’t think straight.Sometimes I wonder if there is more then one diagnosis. I can’t even get my thoughts strung together today. Does prayer or meditation help? I need to try to stay positive. If I felt better I would try to help others with this very difficult condition. I hope you are fairing better than me this holiday season!! Gentle hugs. -Robin

    • Em says:

      Well Robin, my diet is healthy. I was just notified that I will be receiving half of my former now deceased husband’s income which took me $50 over the limit allowed by medicaid and now will only receive medicare as of January 1 leaving me responsible for 20% which is not possible for me and still keep my rent/ utilities paid and know about how to try and get a secondary and SS is no help. Talk about being blind-sided. Neither one of us remarried so I am considered his widow. I did not know this was even possible!!!! Anxiety-more like absolute terror and pain so bad right now I would that God would call me home. An abusive man who died and I am sorry he did because 2 of his grandchildren have no grandfather although he even abused his own children-he is dead and still emotionally abusing me w/ the aid of the federal government.
      I did get Christmas shopping done for the 4 grand children ages 2 thru 9. Celebrating Christmas w/ my 3 adult children and 4 grand children on the 26th. Merry Christmas from SS-they are only doing their job. We live in a throw a way world.
      Will get the gifts wrapped and will go w/ a happy face and pray I do not break completely down. I am not my children’s responsibility. They don’t know what has happened and will not be blamed again for ruining Christmas last year.
      Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
      Surely this is a dreadful nightmare-I would that it were.
      Thanks for listening. I have to stop crying. We all know what stress does to we fibro folks. Job had it much worse-I am not Job. God did not do this. This is man’s law. How could have I not known this?? Feeling very stupid now. Must stop typing before I short out computer w/ tears and can’t feel the keys-there will be no sleep tonight.
      Walk out into the cold and perhaps just freeze to death-being overly dramatic. I don’t know how to get a secondary or if I can even get one. now how do I keep up w/ a healthy diet. I want to work!!!
      Have internet until January 15, 2017-sure I can do something altho not much time.
      Medicaid ends January 1. Still have roof over head and much to be thankful for and will trust I can get some info about secondary and can afford one. Rent went up again in October.
      Okay, enough murmuring and complaining. I can celebrate Christmas w/ my family. Have not seen my daughter and her fiance for 3 years.
      Just went brain dead. Thankful I found all of you. We are 1 in many ways.

      • Denise Bault says:

        Em, I too was over the limit for Medicaid. You can go online RIGHT NOW to Medicare.gov and look at medicare advantage plans that can cost you NOTHING. It will pick up that additional 20%. Yes, you may have copays for items like doc visits and prescriptions, but I’ll bet there are plans that cost you nothing monthly for the supplemental insurance. You can actually compare Medicare advantage plans, one next to another, to see which is best for you and the medications you are currently taking. It can take a while to go through the plans, but you can save your work if you get tired or overwhelmed by it all. Also, if you need help navigating the site, you can also call your local SHINE office. (google SHINE) That’s what I did when I first went on underaged Medicare. It can be very confusing and they were quite helpful! They should be available quickly now that open enrollment is closed. (Your new circumstance will allow you to still make the changes necessary to cover yourself.) The good news is: THERE IS HELP AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO IT ALONE! A Medicare Advantage Plan will help you fill in the big hole you just found yourself in. Good luck!

        • Em says:

          All of that searching is far too overwhelming. Stress has me by the throat. Will try when the tingling stops and the fog lifts. So very tired.

    • Denise Bault says:

      Robin, I’m so sorry for your struggles. When I am overwhelmed like you are, I STOP! And I do mean STOP. I stop worrying about what’s going to happen, what NEEDED to get done today (it will still be there tomorrow…) and I climb into my bed and watch a favorite program or play with my cat or take a nap. Prayer and meditation always help me. It may not seem like it at the time, but it truly does. By yesterday afternoon I was so overwhelmed like you that I finally had to tell myself to STOP! There’s no sense driving when you have fibro fog, or doing anything else for that matter. You have to take care of yourself…no one else will. As I have said before, “this too shall pass and tomorrow is another day.” Our society is one of instantaneous action. Let’s face it. We can’t compete with that, nor do I want to anymore. So, when I feel overwhelmed, I just STOP and take care of myself. The world will go on and tomorrow you may feel better, less overwhelmed and be able to tackle what didn’t get done today. If you don’t stop and take care of yourself, you’re just going to make yourself and your illness worse. IT’S OKAY TO STOP. Pause, reflect, do something you enjoy, instead of something you HAVE to do. Then you can recharge and get back at it another day. Good luck, God Bless and Merry Christmas! Remember, we are all here for you!

  6. Grace from Australia says:

    In Australia we have Fess – a salt water nose spray. It also comes in a version with some eucalyptus oil. It really helps to maintain sinus health. Can be used daily.

  7. Anne Austin says:

    I would love to go organic, GMO free and try the Fodmap diet but financially for me this is hard. Why is eating healthy always so expensive!

    • Denise Bault says:

      Anne, the FODMAP diet isn’t expensive at all. It is simply one of eliminating certain foods and eating others. For example, I am NOT supposed to eat pork, broccoli, watermelon, cherries, etc., but I can eat beef, eggs, chicken, fish, blueberries, grapes, carrots, celery etc. So, it is simply a “diet” – which really isn’t a correct name for it – where you don’t eat certain things, but eat others. It has really helped me with the IBS and GERD that comes along with my fibromyalgia and was recommended by my gastroenterologist. Any one who buys groceries can do it! I carry my list of “eats and don’t eats” with me when meal planning and going to the grocery store.

    • Em says:

      Not only is it expensive it is also hard to find. I do my best and now things have spiraled downward-must be a new type of population control-typed w/ tongue in cheek.

  8. Grace from Australia says:

    Despite having a really good diet I have currently day 7 now) impacted faecal matter and cannot shift it with anything. Have done 7 Movicol sachets in one day; Magnesium, laxative with stool softener (all of these together after talking to the Dr.)Am right now waiting for the outcome of taking a sachet of Picolax (prep for colonoscopy stuff). How does this happen when I have a good and healthy diet? And yes, I take fruit and fibre. And yes, I know that only water soluble fibre works for me – others block me up so no Spirulina etc. FM always finds something new to muck up your life. But…I’m saying ‘Aleppo’ and just move on.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Grace, I had a lot of issues until I cut out some good like wheat , sugar, dairy, and corn. I go like clockwork now. Sometimes we have to tweak our diet. It can be totally frustrating for sure trying to sort it all out

    • Denise Bault says:

      Grace, I have the same problem. My gastroenterologist has had me try a multitude of things. Unfortunately, what works for one, may not work for another. I’ve gone the route of all the expensive meds, but am now taking Miralax in the morning and a very inexpensive prescription for constipation called Lactulose later in the day. My doc said I would need to “play around” with it as everyone is different and woman’s gastroentestinal system is completely different from a man’s. Most pharmaceutical companies unfortunately are just NOW understanding that and trying to develop the correct meds for women! Good luck and may you have a “moving” day! 🙂

  9. Grace from Australia says:

    Thanks for your comments guys! I also agree that we need to ‘play around’ because the doctors really have no idea. Btw, I also saw a great blog this week about the connection between Hypothyroidism & Constipation. I will show link below. It caught my attention as I have several thyroid nodules including some big ones and nothing is done about it. Normal tests don’t show up as anything being wrong but I still wonder why those things grow? http://hypothyroidmom.com/constipation-the-embarrassing-hypothyroidism-symptom-that-may-save-lives

    • Robin W. says:

      Hi Grace, I don’t know that much about the Thyroid nodules, but I sure am having a hard time knowing what foods are triggering for flares. Lately it seems I am having one continuous flare (one of those weeks…or months, and I can not pin point what is starting the flare. Its so persistent, I think the flares might point to the need to eliminate white flour or sugar. It just seems like it will be a large step. Unfortunately, my Doctor put me on Lyrica w/Cymbalta already, and I feel like its making me gain weight and/or crave carbs. I have heard that figs, prune juice and miralax are supposed to help with constipation and drinking as much water as you can stand. I sure hope you feel better soon! -Robin W.

      • Em says:

        Sorry to hear about the flare-ups. Water is something I cannot emphasize enough!! People tell me they drink coffee, tea, pop and juices because they don’t like water. Also doing a way w/ sugar and gluten did help me. It is a challenge!! I no longer miss these things. anything w/ refined sugar now tastes bitter. I have heard others that are sugar free say the same thing-and no artificial sweeteners!!!!
        As far as constipation I now use liquid magnesium citrate because it gets into my system quicker. The older we get the more we need. I know some who are older than myself and have suggested this to them and to start out slow as too much is a laxative-you can find it w/ the laxatives. they have found it does help and even helps w/ good old Arthur.
        So when it comes to water-BOTTOMS UP.
        Dismounting H2O soapbox. CHEERS!!

        • Robin W. says:

          Thank you Em. I’m glad you mentioned about the water as I forget sometimes. I will definitely drink it more and reduce coffee; maybe switch to green tea slowly. If I can get off it I can stop using Splenda and try honey as a sweetener. Trial and error, right? Thanks again! -Robin

        • Grace from Australia says:

          I agree that water is important and I drink a lot (filtered with reverse-osmosis system). I drink 2 cups of black coffee a day without sugar and no other drinks. I know all the tricks of the trade re constipation and I have found magnesium the ‘miracle’ cure. However, what is going on right now is not normal constipation. Everything was blocked except for some watery stuff and after finally cleaning out with Picolax I was one day ‘normal’ and then it started up again. Just to let you know: yesterday I took 4 magnesium capsules (350 mg each); 2 x movicol; 3 colnyx laxatives with stool softener and the result was just a little cramp. Today 5 magnesium, my normal ground flaxseed mix; some dates and nectarines and then again 4 magnesium. Result: a bit of watery stuff. Something is blocking movement. I have the feeling the bowel muscles have completely stopped working. It is stuck at the upper level. Just a bit desperate as I have also terrible backache on the right middle side. Oh and…the normal FM stuff. :-)Strength to all others who go through hard times. Glad to have a group like this where we can share and encourage each other.

          • Em says:

            Did you know you can decaffeinate your own tea by steeping at room temperature? Green tea is a healthy choice and organic w/ no GMO’s is best. Having been off sugar for so long green tea tastes sweet to me-and please do not squezze the bag as this results in the really nasty bitterness.
            Yes, it is trial and error. What works for one likely will not work for another or perhaps it will. I am sure I already mentioned I have lost friends/family members because of the way I choose to eat. I do not care how others eat why am I excluded because of the way I eat. Dadgum lonely life, but still better than severe pain and even diet is not always the answer.
            Dismounting soapbox again.
            Sorry I have no way of sharing some of my artwork w/ you.
            Doing what I want now as fibro put an end to being a professional and in a distorted type of way I am thankful.

          • Em says:

            Hi again Robin. I went to your site and sent a friend request under the name Jasper Miller-gets complicated as to why I am under an alias. No, I am not a convict or any such…please accept friend request.

            This site has been most helpful and I appreciate all you do for others. I would that I could do so.

            Em

  10. Grace from Australia says:

    Thanks for the hint about the teabags. Will tell hubby who uses green tea. I also prepare iced tea for him and luckily never got into the habit of squeezing teabags. However, I am not really into teas (occasionally a herbal tea) so I’ll stick with my 2 cups of coffee a day and my beloved water! :-)Robin I am interested in your FB group too. Is it only by invitation?

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