I have always been somewhat of a fussy eater. My nana would work around it in sneaky ways. For example, I do not like onions. She would chop onion up so small and thin that I wouldn’t see it in mince or the stew she made. She would tell me that she made mince/stew especially for me, without any onions. As I grew older, I realised what she was doing, but I still ate the food that was “made with no onions”. To this day I can only have onions if they are so finely cut and hidden in my food.
I was always really fussy with meat. I would only eat it cooked in a certain way but did not like it if it was different. Looking back, I must have annoyed anybody who had to prepare food for me. About three years ago, I went to a festival and did not want to eat any of the meat options. I was worried that it would not be cooked properly and I would be ill. The idea of being ill in a tent, in the middle of a field with no toilet facilities other that portaloos (portable toilets) really scared me. It would be a horrible experience. In fact, since then, a friend has told me of an experience at a festival where they got food poisoning from eating pizza at a festival. They can confirm it is a horrible experience! So while I was at the festival I ate a vegetarian diet. This continued to a degree once I got home. I cut out all red meat and poultry. I did not see this as an issue, I didn’t miss the meat and I had been fussy with it anyway. However, I do like tuna and I like mackerel so I decided I would continue to eat fish. I did decide to eat it less often though. There’s a running joke amongst some of my friends that I am technically pescatarian (as I eat fish) but really I am just a bad vegetarian as I only eat tuna and occasionally mackerel.
As you can tell from above my diet is largely plant based. I do still eat tuna and mackerel. I think this is important as they will provide me with omega 3, which is good for the brain and joints. I still do not miss red meat or poultry. My family still continue to eat meat. I was content with my own diet choices.
When my back pain started (which was what started the investigation as to what was ‘wrong’ with me), I started to notice some irregularities with my digestive system. As time has went on, I’m noticing more. The pain and cramping that I get in my stomach, the bloating. I am often full of gas. It hurts. A doctor has told me that it is “just a bit of stress”. To be fair it could be due to stress, it could be down to my medication and the medication changes that are happening through the process of finding what works for me, it could be as a result of my anxiety or fibromyalgia or it could be something totally unrelated.
I have been keeping an eye on things lately, and I’m trying to see if there is any kind of pattern to the problems. This is difficult as I keep forgetting to write down some of the information. I have been thinking about different things – Should I be eating or avoiding certain foods and drinks as I have fibromyalgia? Could I be allergic to, or have an intolerance to, particular foods or drinks? Am I eating all the wrong things for my illness? Is there anything I can do through food and drink that could help my pain, my anxiety, my fatigue?
In my search for answers I have thought of a few things.
- The anti inflammatory diet. There is a lot of information online about certain foods and nutrients that are good for inflammation. The current understanding of fibromyalgia is that it does not cause inflammation to the joints. However, I had recurring blood tests that showed unmarked markers showing inflammation. Now that is not to say that it is my joints that are inflamed, it just means that there is some inflammation present in my body. It worries me sometimes that I don’t know why I have markers indicating inflammation but it could be down to so many reasons. Could eating an anti inflammatory diet help this? I guess it could.
- An elimination diet. An elimination diet takes a long time. It is when you take something out of your diet and later reintroduce it and note any reactions that you and your body has. I like this idea in theory. I do not think it will work for me at this point in time. I feel it will require more willpower and concentration than I can give to it.
- Go to a nutritionist. Another thing that could help is possibly going to a nutritionist. They will have the expertise and knowledge to hopefully make suggestions or a plan for me highlighting important nutrients and vitamins and the best food to eat to get them.
- Get a intolerance/allergy test. This one links to going to a nutritionist, although there are ways to get tested without having to go to a nutritionist. There are home tests that can be purchased and you send it to a lab for testing. I believe it is samples of your hair that you send away to the labs.
- Other testing. This scares me but it is another possibility. There might not be anything, or very little, that can be done differently regarding my diet. I may need to get further testing to get things ruled out or found.
I am going to do some more research into all the options above. I may even come up with more options to look into. I am definitely going to discuss it with my doctor too. Doing research and finding out options is good to do, but it is important to discuss them with doctors and get medical advice first! I do not know why I seem to be having more digestive problems than what I did but it is something I would like to try and help my body with. I have zero answers to any of the questions that I am constantly fretting over. However, I am on a journey. I am on a journey of getting to know my body better. Getting to know my symptoms better. Learning triggers and trigger points. Learning to listen to my body and find when it is OK to push it a wee bit and when to stop and rest. On top of that, learning more about fibromyalgia and anxiety and finding things that help. There are going to be a lot of times I’m sure I am going to be very frustrated when things don’t work but I still need to try. I need to try and find things that will help me have a good quality of life and to have, at least some, control over my symptoms.