In a nutshell, here ‘tis!
Anything that worsens your symptoms, can cause a flare.Here’s a quick list of what may bother you and play a role in a symptoms flare:
1) Foods that don’t “feed” you (processed foods, fake foods, foods to which you have an allergy or intolerance)
2) Physical trauma (no matter how major or minor)
3) Unhealthy thoughts (what’s spinning around in your mind?)
4) Relationship difficulties (drama, worry, anxiety, etc.)
5) Lack of fitness/muscle tone (the body needs daily movement!)
6) External toxin exposure (pesticides from the lawn, laundry soaps, scented candles, perfumes, etc.)
7) Internal toxin exposure (dentistry, pharmaceuticals, immunisations, chemical dyes/food additives, etc.)
8) Infections (have you had a cold or flu lately?)
9) And, of course, an over-arching theme of stress…no explanation required.
I know, I for one, can tick more than one of these boxes. I also know there is room for improvement. Here is a quick review of how I get on so far.
1. Foods that don’t “feed” you.
Well, I am a huge advocate of whole foods. I cook from scratch with organic fresh ingredients. I try to work by the eat well plate rule. A little of everything and not too much of one. I am not much of a fan of processed prepacked foods and don't tend to cook it even for the family. We all eat together and we eat at the table. That is the rule.
2) Physical trauma.
I am one of the most clumsy people I know. If there is a wire I will trip over it. If there is a step I will fall down it or trip up it. If there is a ledge I will bump it. My son suffers with dyspraxia and when having him assessed I was told it is very likely he got it from me. I do try to take more car4e but clumsy is clumsy and not much can change that. However, I am also becoming more accident prone because of my weight. I find my knees and ankles don't like to hold my weight and give way. I am also not very good at judging spaces now I am wider. I guess I put on the weight so quickly I never got used to being wider. This is being remedied. Slowly but surely it is coming off.
3) Unhealthy thoughts.
I assume by this they don't mean in the Catholic sense. I'm not giving that up for the world. I am however, prone to letting "the little things" bother me. I am learning to let them go. Life is too short!
4) Relationship difficulties.
I have a beautiful relationship with my wonderful supportive partner. He is sent from heaven. He understand me and cares for me. He supports me and is always by my side. I am very lucky! I have a wonderful relationship with both of my children. They are good kids with a strong level of empathy, manners, and caring. They are also typical young preteens and we do have the occasional drama but we never go to bed on an argument and when it comes down to it. They are lovely. Again, I am lucky!
I do have a stressful tie to the Ex husband. This in time will be broken but it does cause me anxiety.
5) Lack of fitness/muscle tone
Here is my biggest problem. Due to weight and a poor sleep patter this has become a problem. I am very unfit and have poor muscle tone. This can and will be remedied in time but it is making exercise a chore and the weight isn't helping. I plan to start swimming next week. This has always been one of my favoured types of exercise and one of the most efficient, I have found. When the fitness level has risen slightly then I plan to return to yoga.
6) External toxin exposure.
I can't do much more about this one. I don't tend to suffer too much from environmental toxins but I do live in a rural community. I like perfume but don't seem to suffer with my choices. I like a light spray and a light scent. I do find strong perfumes in built up areas (we have all experienced the over scented middle aged woman at the shop counter) is guaranteed to give me headache. I also can't stand artificial room scents and candles. They make me feel sick. There is no way they would come into my home. I have plenty of essential oils if needed.
7) Internal toxin exposure
Back to the organic, whole food cooking. I have that covered. I also avoid anything with sweetener, particularly aspartame in it. (you would be amazed by how many children's medicines and vitamin tablets contain this chemical). Green peppers are a no go as technically they are not ripe so contain a high level of solanine. All Solanums contain this and this is the alkaloid that causes nightshade to be poisonous. I should reduce the amount of the solanum found in tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, peppers, paprika, gogi berries. The rule of thumb is that the greener they are the higher level of solanine.
However, I'm not quite ready to give up tomatoes and potatoes just yet. I shall reduce them though.
As for synthetic medication. Well, we all know the answer to that. If I hadn't started by cutting these out we wouldn't be here reading this blog.
We all get coughs and colds. However, I am sure any fibro sufferer will tell you how a simple sniffle can seem like the flu. I can't and won't live in a germ free bubble. Avoiding anyone with the slightest sniff.
9) And, of course, an over-arching theme of stress.
This one is my kryptonite. I was once told by a GP to "avoid all stressful situations". Oh, how I laughed. I was, at the time, a single mother of two youngsters. Fighting a messy divorce, sick parents, no income (I was on the sick with no sick pay), a house that was falling apart around my ears, debts up to my eyeballs....
Sure, I'll just avoid that stress!
Things are so much better now. Stress still catches me unaware though. I need to let the little things go, worry less about what people think of me, finalise this blasted divorce and improve my health. all things I can take care of myself.
All in all, there is nothing as liberating as taking control of a situation. I feel I have come a long way in doing just that. With the power of positive thinking and the support of dear family and friends I can only get better!