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Fibromyalgia Food Mood Diary

March 11, 2009

Interesting things are happening since going gluten free. I have become more aware of how food makes me feel, and how it is supposed to make me feel (In addition to the improvement in my Fibromyalgia symptoms).

 

In the past a lot of my meals would begin either low carb or gluten free, not because I was consciously avoiding carbs or gluten, but because that is what I wanted to eat. For instance, scrambled-eggs-with-onion-spinach-and-sausageone of my favorite breakfasts to cook is scrambled eggs with ham, swiss & fresh spinach wilted in. My husband and I love this for breakfast. And after eating it we would both feel satisfied and energized, but without that “oh my gosh I ate too much” feeling. But here is where things are different now. In the past I might have eaten my eggs, been satisfied – but not full – so I would end my meal with a piece of buttered toast. It was like I did not recognize being full without feeling FULL. Does that make sense? For years my mind has been conditioned to associate the heaviness of feeling full with having eaten a complete meal. Since going gluten free I seldom get that heavy full feeling and I am satisfied for hours after eating. All of a sudden I am becoming aware of how much extra I was eating to satisfy my mental hunger. My body can clearly subsist on much less than I was providing it.

 

We talked a lot last week at my support group roundtable about the social and emotional component to eating. I associate food with a lot of different things. Mashed potatoes are my go to comfort food when I am emotional. I ate a lot of mashed potatoes spaghetti-meatballswhen recovering from my accident, which goes a long way in explaining my 17lb weight gain. Homemade spaghetti and meatballs is the one dish that is sure to bring my entire family together, and there better be a big pot because we come hungry and eat a lot! And thank goodness there are no Original Tommy’s Burgers where I live, because every time I see one I want to pull over and order a plate of chili cheese fries, because that is what I would eat with my friends at 2 AM after we had spent the evening drinking and dancing. All of these “bad for me” foods make me feel good when I think about the memories I associate to them.

 

At our meeting one of my members suggested I start a Food Mood Diary. For years she has been charting what she eats with how she feels, and she has been able to clearly identify patterns between her Fibromyalgia symptoms and the food she consumes. For instance, she expects and prepares herself for a flare-up at the first of the year based on the rich foods she eats from Thanksgiving to Christmas. When she said this, a lot of us nodded our heads, remembering how awful we feel around the holidays and first of the year. But even on a smaller day-to-day scale she is able to determine what foods attribute to which feelings and symptoms. It makes sense. And now that I am becoming more aware of what I am eating and how I am feeling, I think it would be a good time for me to begin a diary of my own.

 

As I mentioned before, I do not believe that everyone with Fibromyalgia is also gluten intolerant, but I do believe that what we eat and drink plays a large role in the severity and frequency of our symptoms. It is common sense that eating vegetables makes us feel better than eating fried foods, but often the emotional or social component of eating outweighs the common sense component. Maybe by charting mood with food, it will be easier to make that connection and begin to make the healthy food choice. You can be sure I will be sharing with you all of my successes and failures and I am interested in hearing any of your own.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2009 3:36 pm

    thats great you have a support group!

    • March 11, 2009 4:14 pm

      Thanks Denise. I started my group back in November and it is one of my greatest achievements. I get much more out of it than I am putting into it. Do you have FM? If so I hope you have a good support system. I do share a lot of what goes on in my group here on my blog in the hopes that it can help.

      I checked out your Etsy shop. I love your concept of “earth friendly” weddings. Well done! I wish you much success. FH

  2. March 11, 2009 4:21 pm

    Hi!

    Haven’t done a mood diary but certainly have huge effects from food. Corn…even the smallest amount of cornstarch in baking powder…causes me to swell up but I have also noticed that afterward I will struggle with feelings of depression. Wheat and yeast also have cause foghead, and aching all over. Yeast can increase my pain level in a few minutes and intense fibrofog all on its’ own even in rice bread. Milk…in any form and minute quantities will cause aching in my muscles and a lack of energy and low feelings…nearly all antibiotics, thyroid medication and many other pills use lactose as a filler…just had a terrible reaction in October. There are other things but not as severe…hope that gives some help!

    Kathy

    • March 11, 2009 5:41 pm

      Kathy if you can relate your feelings to what you eat that thoroughly without a diary, I don’t think you need one! You are obviously very in tune with your body. It is wonderful that you have been able to pinpoint things so precisely, but I imagine you were motivated by the awful effect those foods have on you.

      I had never considered yeast, but I think I need to pay attention to how it makes me feel. I assumed if bread was gluten free that would be enough, but thinking about it now, the rice based products I have eaten may be affecting me as well. Thanks for pointing that out. You have been very helpful! FH

      • March 12, 2009 12:54 am

        Hi, I’ve recently become aware of the effects of yeast on my health. Candida is, in many people’s opinion, the culprit in CFS/FMS. The die-off causes all sorts of problems including bloating, muscle aches and pains, headache, and is a major contributor to fatigue.

        I know I’ve been miles better since I’ve eliminated dairy products and bread from my diet. I take a probiotic as well to help my gut heal. I’m thinking about chucking gluten altogether, but one step at a time.

        Just discovered your blog. I’m following!

  3. March 12, 2009 9:59 am

    Welcome Jozephine! Thanks for following.

    So I am thinking I need to do some research on Candida. It is certainly something I have heard referenced before but never really paid much attention to (there are so many theories out there). This is all really beneficial & timely information now that I am paying such close attention to how what I eat relates to how I feel.

    I actually just picked up some probiotics last night. Do you know how long before I start feeling the benefits?

    I agree with you, one step at a time! I always say to take baby step to avoid those painful leaps.

  4. March 26, 2009 10:26 am

    Hi!

    I am absolutely lovin’ your blog! Great writing! Great PASSION!

    A few years back after being diagnosed with FM, I removed all the “white stuff” from my diet ~ white four, white rice, white sugar, etc. To be honest with you, it was more an attempt to lose some weight then out of a belief that I could really live without the painful symptoms associated with FM/CF. However, I quickly realised that there was a direct relationship between what I ate and how I felt. (They told me that when I was diagnosed LOL, but it took a while to get it, ya now what I mean:)

    I don’t know about you, but I HATE that I can not control every aspect of my life! Totally HATE that something like FM can come in a wreak havoc in every part of me. And when I realised that DIET (which is something I CAN control) could make a difference in how I feel…well I was on that! It was really hard at first! And I am still not perfect at it.

    I took baby steps…and still am taking baby steps. It has become, over the years, a “lifestyle” rather than a diet for me.

    I’ll be honest with you! I topple over into a piece of…ok a couple of pieces….ooookaaay, maybe sometimes – every now and then – it is the whole damn chocolate on chocolate – made with all the wrong ingredients – simply bad for me CAKE!! And darn it if it doesn’t taste delicious for a moment or two. But then the sharp decline into FIBRO-HELL begins! And after I feel like crud for just a few days, I have no choice but to get back up – wash the chocolate out of the corners of my mouth and get back to what I KNOW makes me feel better. Sometimes I feel almost immediate relief..but most of the time it takes days and even weeks to get back to feel the FIBRO-GOOD that I know is possible.

    You see I just know too much today. I know that eating holistic healthy, even ORGANIC foods and EXERCISE make a huge difference for me…it’s not a CURE…but it is a heck of a lot better than living in a black hole wracked with pain and feeling sorry for myself. So I can’t hide there. I gotta get back up.

    Thanks for great info on Gluten-Free. It’s my next step – baby step.

    • March 26, 2009 11:40 am

      Thanks Kimberly for your funny and friendly comment! You made me laugh out loud. Mmmm, chocolate cake. I could actually see the chocolate in the corners of your mouth!

      Thanks for sharing your story. A “white free” diet makes a lot of sense. There are many approaches, but most of them share a least a few “must avoid” foods – like sugar & flour.

      I think you will find that many of us with FM have control issues – that is we like to always have it! I have had the same issues and I see it over and over with members of my support group. FM strips us of control. I had never considered that by changing to a gluten free diet I was actually regaining some control in my life, but you are absolutely right!

      I am a huge advocate of baby steps. I think it is the best approach to use when beginning any change. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I took on too much and failed. Failure is not an option when it comes to regaining our health, so baby steps it is!

  5. gigi permalink
    April 6, 2011 9:02 am

    Wow! I am the newest of newbies on FM. It started with a whiplash in 97 and I hit the steering wheel. I’ve had issues with my chest hurting and with FM every since. It took me over a year to feel better from the car accident but some symptoms reared up there ugly head over and over. I have TMJ which became worse after the accident. I had no idea that I had Costochondritis. The pain from this makes you feel that you are having a heart attack…which i did go to the hospital for. It also makes you feel like you can’t breathe and makes you tired. The spasms in my chest muscles and cartilage get so inflamed that it is so hard to deal with. I have been doing a lot of research on this and found a link that said that it can be associated with FMS and that took me to this link about living gluten free. Last saturday we went to breakfast with our company that was staying with us and on the way home I was so extremely tired and had to go to sleep to feel better. I thank you all for your stories as sometimes us woman think that we have to go it alone. Its unfortunate that we all have this…..and I wish you all God speed. Thanks again for the stories of your life….I’m listening and I hope this helps all of the pain that I’ve been experiencing. Have a blessed day!

    • April 6, 2011 10:30 am

      Hi Gigi. I am sitting here grateful for the ease of my breath after reading your story. What trauma you went through! Are you considering eliminating gluten from your diet? If so, I wish you the best of luck. It requires planning and effort, but the rewards are many. It will not cure FM, but it can help reduce some of the compounding symptoms. Thank you so much for you kind words and encouragement. It does help to know that you are out there. My best to you!

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  1. Gluten Intolerance: The Culprit Behind Many Chronic Illnesses « Fibromyalgia Haven

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