Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fibromyalgia and Holiday Festivities

I really hate the word diet.  It's constricting and has the negative connotation that you'll have to avoid all of your favorite foods at your Aunt Lucy's because she tends to cook everything from a box.  The holidays used to scare me. And for a good amount of years after being diagnosed, I tended to take on the burden of hosting the festivities simply because I didn't want to feel silly or starved at a family function.

Food sensitivities aren't fun.  In fact, they can down right suck for the sufferer.  They make you feel isolated and guilty because you feel people may have to go out of their way to cook something suitable for you to eat.

There are a few things, however, that you can do to make the holidays a little more bright and merry for everyone involved-- including yourself.  First, offer to bring at least one dish so you know it's something safe to eat.  Some Fibro sufferers can handle a few chemicals or preservatives if they eat them in very small portions so having a stress-free dish always helps.

Second, avoid any of the normal foods that might trigger a flare.  Dairy and wheat are two big flare factors for many sufferers, where as oven prepared meats like turkey, are not.  Filling up on veggies and meats may be your best bet in avoiding the day after flare.

Third, if you plan to drink alcohol, keep hydrated with plenty of water.  Alcohol doesn't have to be completely avoided if you typically don't flare from it.  However, the holidays should not be the time to try something new.  Stick with an old standby like an ale if you are not gluten sensitive or a white wine.  White wines have less silicates and tend not to cause migraines like reds can.  But be careful.  Some whites may cause headaches depending on the wine brand.  If you haven't had the brand before it could spell trouble.

If you are a tried and true reds fan they don't have to be avoided all together-- stick to a brand of wine you know and like if you have your heart set.  However, certain red wines can cause adverse reactions in people. The studies on this are not completely clear, though.  In one study, some people got adverse reactions to wines from South America that have low tannat, while others were perfectly fine.  Merlot and Cabernet have lower tannat, and therefore, they wanted to see in Brazil if these wines cause less migranes.

I'm not as fortunate as some of the study goers.  I know I can develop a serious reaction to certain brands of Merlot, Cabernet, or even white wines.  I even have, on one occasion, become violently ill after one glass. At other times I've woken up with a severe migraine.  Blends work better for me personally.  I tend to gravitate towards a White Muscato, Zinfandel, Chiraz, Melbec, or a Sweet Red like Moscato because I don't get headaches or painful flares from them. 

Another thing to keep in mind during the holiday season is your intake of baked goods.  Processed sugar sometimes is not a Fibromites friend.  Stick to deserts that are on your personal good list.  Refrain or consume very little of the ones you are not sure of.

Lastly, have fun.  Stress triggers flares.  Don't worry about the food or anything else.  Enjoy your family and friends and have a great as flare-free as possible holiday season!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley


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