What can I eat?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Ambivist and We Band of Others Behind The Scene Photo Shoot and Band Practice

So I’ve been wanting to write about both We Band of Others and Ambivist for some time… Then something exciting happened and I got invited to a local recording studio where the Ambivist guys played and modelled We Band of Others clothing. It was a great day!

 

We Band of Others

We Band of Others is an independent clothing brand that is based in Glasgow. They get inspiration for their designs from music. They have “..created this brand for the “Oddballs of Society”, for anyone who feels like they don’t fit in or feel cast out from society for not following the norms and daring to be different.” They strive to empower people to be themselves, embrace their differences, believe in themselves and reach for their dreams.

I cannot stress enough how important something like this is! People are ‘cast out’ of society for the slightest difference all the time. Bullying occurs in schools as people’s differences are pointed out. Labels are often given to people for being different – geek, freak, weirdo and there are loads more. In a world full of peer pressure and ‘following’ people, somehow standing out has became a bad thing. Empowering people, saying it is ok to be yourself, saying that you matter – these are all important values. Monday is ‘Motivation Monday.’ Who doesn’t need a bit of motivation, especially on a Monday? On top of that, they are reminding people that they are not alone and have created a wee community. Scrolling through their instagram feed you come across many pictures of people showing off their purchases, saying why it’s important to them, saying “yes I am an Oddball of Society, and I am proud to be one!” In fact, if you scroll through their instagram you come across the picture above of me doing just that!

When I went onto the We Band of Others’ website I fell in love with their tee shirts, and I could not decide which one to buy, so I purchased two. I wear these tees a lot! They are soft and so comfortable. I mean, a comfy tee with an inspiring or empowering message, can you go wrong wearing that? I think not! Also, you get free badges and stickers with every order! How fun is that? Plus, they’re free. Everybody loves a wee freebie! Details on how to check out this amazing brand are below! You never know, you could make a purchase and take your own selfie standing proud to be an Oddball of Society and be featured on their site.

Website: https://www.webandofothers.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/webandofothers/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/webandofothers/

Ambivist

Ambivist are a progressive rock band from the Ayrshire in Scotland. The band consists of four band members – Sean (guitarist/vocalist), Michael (drums), Paul (bass) and Ross (guitarist).

I managed to get myself to a gig one night that I knew Ambivist were playing despite being in a lot of pain, and boy was I glad I managed to catch them! Unfortunately I was not able to stay the whole gig that night but I saw the whole Ambivist set. They were brilliant! The four guys sync to produce the most wonderful sound. Sean, has a great voice. It has a really nice tone, which is quite deep and has a touch of that fantastic quality that I like to call a ‘gravelly voice’. On top of that he produces sounds that are smooth, and can evoke emotions. I felt their performance! The music, the lyrics, their performance just spoke to me. It made me feel, a lot. It made a girl who had been crying about the amount of pain she was in and was finding moving at all very difficult forget the pain for a short while and just feel the power of the music. That kind of experience is priceless.

I have included the social media details of this amazing band below so that you can check them out!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ambivist/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ambivistband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ambivistband

 

The Photo Shoot and Band Practice

So as I said at the start, something very exciting happened, I was invited to shadow the team at We Band of Others and attended a band practice of Ambivist, turn photography shoot. The whole experience was great!

We Band of Others attended a gig in their local area that Ambivist were performing at. We Band of Others enjoyed the band and their performance and took to their Instagram account and shared a picture of the band performing. This started a dialogue between the musicians and the clothing brand.

Speaking to the photographer, I found out that the vision behind the shoot was to have the band model the tees, including their new summer merchandise which included a snap back hat, while the guys performed/practice. The photographer explained that she felt that if she asked the band members to pose with their instruments then the pictures would develop looking forced. The very essence of We Band of Others is for people to embrace their differences and their quirks and believe in themselves and just to be yourself. The idea was that if the band were just doing their thing, doing what they love, just being themselves then the pictures would look natural.

We all met at a local recording studio and I got to meet all the band members. After some chat everybody went to set up. The photographer set up her camera and the band set up the equipment, plugging everything in and doing sound checks. I also got a pedal board explained to me. I am not going to even pretend I know what each setting did but Sean explained some of the pedals to us. Listening to him talk and do wee demonstrations to show what he meant was fascinating. I have always loved music. I have even performed music, many times when I was younger. I have never before had an insight to a pedal board and what each pedal did. This has given me a new appreciation for musicians. They get up on that stage, in front of however many people, they have those burning lights on them, they might even have effects such as dry ice about, they have lots of wires surrounding them and still manage to perform. Even while having songs needing certain switches set to on or off. It is just astounding.

Another insight I got to see was the photographer setting up her camera. Again, like the pedal board I am not going to even attempt knowing anything that she was doing. My photography skills go as far as turning the camera on, trying to get my body to hold still, press the capture button and hope for the best. Never have I changed brightness levels and focuses and all sorts of different settings. It was interesting to see and it is a skill that I wish I possessed, however it is not my forte.

I was made to feel very welcome in that room, I felt like I was just one of the gang. The band and the clothing brand team gave me permission to take photos too, which was exciting. It was so cool seeing the band all wearing We Band of Others tees and have buttons and stickers on their guitars, guitar straps and even on the drummer’s cymbal!

The band asked the photographer what she would like them to do, she told them that they could play and she would take pictures through it. This was such a funny moment, that will stick with me for a long time. The photographer said “play whatever you want” and the Ross started playing Mary Had A Little Lamb. After that everything went really smoothly. The band did their job and the photographer did hers. What was really great, was you could tell that each person in that room loved doing what they were doing. The band were having a “jam session” and rehearsed songs, parts of songs or just had a bit of fun. This was a great experience, it was an intimate insight to a rehearsal. I ended up treating it a bit like a private performance though.The photographer snapped all of this. She had sent me a few photos as a sneak peaks and they look great. I have no doubt that the rest of the pictures will look just as great. Some pictures are now live and featured on the We Band of Others website.

In all of the goodness, of course I had my struggles. I was meeting people I didn’t really know which is something that causes my anxiety to rise. The flashing of the camera and the loudness of the playing through the amps and microphones, and the drum set did send me into a sort of sensory overload daze for a bit. Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and anxiety can be triggered or made worse by situations and the environment that you are in. That being said, I really enjoyed the experience and for some amount of time, I was able to stay in control of my body. I was able to feel the buzz of being honoured in being present at a band practice and wee photo shoot. I have so much admiration and respect for everybody who was in that room and they were all super talented individuals.

 

All photos included were taken by myself and as I said, it’s not my forte, I just love taking pictures. This sure was an awesome experience and I would like to thank We Band of Others, and the guys of Ambivist for inviting me to come along!