Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Your Skin Issues May Be More Than Fibro Related

Wheat-Free.org explains that a wheat allergy may be to blame for some pesky symptoms like arthritis, skin rashes (including eczema), tiredness, irritable bowel (IBS), muscle aches and pains.  Sound like some of your Fibro symptoms?  I know they sound like mine.

Now, I'm not saying that all of my problems will go away if I become a vegan or go gluten and wheat-free, but it may help.  The only true way for me to find out if I have a wheat allergy is to go to a professional.  My doctor can perform a skin prick or blood test to see if wheat may be the culprit to my on-going four year battle with hand eczema.

Eczema and other skin rashes can be a symptom of Fibromyalgia.  I was born with eczema around my eyes.  I didn't have many issues when I was young, and the small flares I did have were easily managed with a little prescription skin cream.

When I reached my twenties my skin disorder took a turn for the worst.  I would get a flare around my eyes at least once a month.  The doctors I saw at the time dismissed the flare as stress induced, prescribed a moisturizer, and sent me on my way. 

This regimen worked throughout my twenties and for a good portion of my early thirties.  It wasn't until I became pregnant with my second child that I had more severe problems.  The itch became out of control.  There were days that I wanted to rip off my skin in hopes of getting relief.  I had rashes in my scalp, crooks of my arms, lower legs, feet, breast plate, and hands.  I would cry when I took a shower because I knew I'd come out irritated.

My doctor assumed I had a rash due to my pregnancy.  I assumed it was an eczema break out and we both dismissed it as normal.  Most of the rash went away once Olivia was born but my hands and breast plate were still itchy.  At this point I tried a series of skin lotions and bathed in oatmeal.  This helped for a very short time and then the rash came back with a vengeance. 

Finally, after reading a book called Eczema-Free for Life, I tried sports bras and stopped wearing makeup.  I wore gloves every time I washed the dishes or performed other household duties like dusting, tried raising the humidity levels in the house, added flowering plants to my indoor garden, and wore moisturizing gloves at night.  This helped but it didn't completely rid my rash from my hands.  In fact, the rash has remained on my hands for four years.  My fingers have swollen so much from the itching that it now impossible to wear rings, a favorite jewelry of mine.

I went to yet another doctor about this because my eyes again became severe.  I explained to him that I was born with eczema and have Fibromyalgia.  He in turn explained that Fibromyalgia didn't exist and that my rash was due an allergy.  I should discontinue the use of a brand of skin cream I was using and be put on prednisone to clear up my swollen eyes and hands.  He figured Benedryl would work to maintain a flare-free breakout. Well, needless to say, I discontinued the use of something, but it wasn't the skin cream, it was his service. 

My fight still continues with my Fibromyalgia and my skin problems and I think I will now see if wheat is the reason for my irritation.  Some Fibro sufferers actually benefit from going wheat and gluten-free because their symptoms completely disappear.  Adrienne Dellwo explains this in her article Can a Gluten-Free Diet Eliminate Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.

I, like her, advocate going on an elimination diet to see if food sensitivities are to blame for symptom flares.  Wheat was not something I looked into eliminating on my first rounds of food culprits.  I looked at processed and refined flours first.  It is possible that I missed wheat and gluten because not all foods were processed with wheat during the time I started my elimination diet. 

It has only been recent (within the past five or so years) that you find EVERYTHING known to man containing wheat since it's a cheap bulking agent.  Trader Joe, an organic and environmentally conscience food store, has a list of gluten-free products that one can purchase.  It's a great spring board for ideas on going wheat and gluten-free.  The list can be found here http://www.traderjoes.com/pdf/lists/list-no-gluten.pdf 

Wheat, surprisingly, is now ranked as one of the top eight food allergies among sufferers.  Peanuts, shell fish, milk, tree nuts, fish, soy and eggs are the other seven major food allergies of today.  I often wonder why these sensitivities are happening and I can't help but think it has something to do with over exposure.  There are just too many food manufacturers using the same processes and ingredients for our food and it's becoming very irritating (pardon the pun) that these manufacturers are more concerned with profit rather than producing a quality product.

I'm not saying that these food giants should not be able to make money so they in turn can keep a roof over their head-- don't misunderstand, I'm just saying that as a giant, they need to learn some responsibility and start finding ways to allow variety in their customer's diet.  Not every consumer has hours on end to stroll the food isles and read War and Peace food labels.  Nor do they have the time to research product credential labels, or even figuring out which company is actually producing said food product.  Consumers are getting savvy, but this whole buyer beware motto needs to die so people don't have to second, third, and quadruple guess everything.  Latin is a dead language so shouldn't that phrase die along with it?

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fruits for Health: Recipes for Cough Syrup, Teas, Face Masks and More - Natural Health - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Looking for homemade alternatives for your health and beauty? Here are a few wonderful recipes made from common fruit.

Fruits for Health: Recipes for Cough Syrup, Teas, Face Masks and More - Natural Health - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

When Penny Pinching is NOT a Good Idea

In today's day and age where gas prices are high along with every other necessity, one tends to look for any way to pinch pennies.  Some ways, like growing your own victory garden, scaling back on your cell phone bill, or buying generic products, are good.  But there is one particular way of pinching pennies that is very bad for a Fibro sufferer.

Coupon clipping is NOT a way to pinch pennies for people with Fibromyalgia because the coupons that come out in your local paper are usually for items that are filled with chemicals and preservatives that can cause a flare.  I'm sure some of you will argue with me and state that I should try and surf the web for some great deals, but this gal is not convinced since I had to spend several minutes searching for food sites only to find one match for a quality food which was flour.

Another argument I usually hear is, well if I had money I'd buy the good stuff but it's just too expensive.  Again, this just isn't true, besides, would you rather spend your money on quality food or medical bills?  I can guarantee that you will take more trips to the doctor's office and the local pharmacy for flares if you buy processed foods than you would if you were eating healthier alternatives.  I'm living proof of that!

Trader Joe's is a quality grocery food store that has incredibly reasonable prices on food.  They are only in 9 states, however, you can still take a trip to your local grocery and find some good deals on organic foods.  Going to a Farmer's Market, your local dairy farmers, or your local orchards are also other ways to get quality food at a reasonable price.

The top five tips for penny pinching on organic or quality food are:

  1. Buy the store generic brands.  They are just as good and usually a third less expensive than their commercialized organic sister products.  Most major grocery retail chains have put out their own organic brands, this includes Trader Joe's.
  2. Look for local farm specials.  Sometimes if a fruit or vegetable is in season, you can get a good price on it.  Eggplant is a good example.  Around here, two local farms sell an abundance of this veggie to local stores and I can get it for as low as $1.00 a pound!
  3. Local orchards and farms also have great deals for in season fruits and vegetables.  I live in a rural town and have access to many farmer's stands, but you can even reap the benefits of local farmers in the city by watching your newspapers.  Most will post a local farmer's market day.  We had one every other week in the city I lived in.  It was fun because the stands stretched for several blocks on Main Street so we got our exercise in while shopping for good foods.
  4. Quality meats may look pricey compared to their bulk-buy counterparts, but take a second look.  How many bones and fat are in that bulk pack?  How many colorants are there to make that salmon look "pretty"?  Are there hormones that might make yours go out of wack?  Most quality meats may only measure out to a pound or two, but when you think portions, most of the time that pound will feed a family of four.  Proteins should not be consumed in massive amounts, in fact, proportionately, it should be the smallest thing on your plate because your whole grains and fruits and vegetables are supposed to take up the majority of that plate.
  5. When you really need to pinch, buy frozen.  The frozen food section is one I usually avoid-- even in quality food stores because prepared foods are always more expensive.  But I make an exception when it comes to frozen fruits and veggies.  An out of season berry may be highly priced if it's fresh, but the frozen counterparts are always at a good price.  This is also true for green beans and spinach.

Hope these tips help you out the next time you shop!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fibro and Relationships

Okay readers, you might want the kids to step away from the computer as you read this entry because I'll be talking about sex again.  It's not often that I post twice in one day, but I just had to this time because this article got me thinking.

http://www.fmcfsme.com/art_yoursexdrivewithfibromyalgiacfs.php

Everything in the article is wonderful.  It has great tips for people dealing with this beast that can be a pain in the neck when it comes to sex.  I've been advocating having a healthy sexual relationship with your partner ever since I was diagnosed too.  There's just one thing that keeps bugging me and that's the fact that some people look at their medications as a reason not to have sex.

Yep, it's a sad state.  There are a ton of people walking around in this world putting up with medications that have lousy side effects because they feel trapped.  These medications may help with the physical pain, but they certainly can't be doing much for the emotional neglect and pain that one feels when they have no desire to be intimate with the one they love.

I know exactly how these people feel because I was there too.  I felt completely trapped.  I thought there was no way out for me or my husband.  But that changed once I started to open up and communicate to him and my doctor.

Opening up the discussion about sex with your doctor can be tough.  It can be embarrassing and can reek havoc on your self-esteem.  But it's still a topic you should delve into with your doctor since they also want you to be as healthy as you can be.  This video from Health.com proves that sex is a healthy desire to have at any age and it's also an issue that many providers can help you with.



Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Journal Writing

Journal writing is a wonderful practice.  It is a wonderful stress reliever and it also can help track your flares and symptoms.  This is something I've been advocating since I was first diagnosed.  It really helped me become as flare-free as possible and I know it can help any of the newly diagnosed, as well as some veteran sufferers.

Today in my Goggle alerts I came across this article that is putting a spin on journal writing.  It's now on the internet!  I guess I can truly forget about the ancient pen and paper now LOL!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/WebBased-Program-Eases-prnews-636552200.html?x=0&.v=1

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Angela Segal Glazer, Ph,D on Importance and Needs

I don't get a chance to vegetate very often.  My dog, cats, fish, kids, hubby, and grandmother don't leave me much wiggle room.  Some days I tend to call it an early night and crash before I've even had a chance to relax.  Every mom out there goes through this, I know.  You work through breakfast and lunch and then wonder why you are so hungry.  It's utterly crazy what we put our body through and really should be no wonder why it threw up and gave us Fibromyalgia!

Mothers seem to be the most ignored and neglected people on earth.  Let's face it-- people take our talents, energy, and time for granted.  And most of us tend to just sit there and take it.  Why?  Because we aren't very good at expressing our importance or our needs.

I came across a gal by the name of Angela Segal Glazer, Ph.D who created Whole Soul, a site about living raw and real.  She believes we all should be true to ourselves.  You can find her Facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/Wholesoulinspiration?sk=wall

One of her mantras is I can assert my importance and needs in a healthy way.  I truly believe this is a beautiful statement to live by.  I'm not one to assert any of my importance or needs.  I tend to say nothing at all.  I know this isn't a good concept because I'm not a nothing, I'm truly something.  Every fibromite should take this mantra to heart and learn to assert your needs because we are all truly somethings!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

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