Saturday, October 20, 2012

The On Going Gluten Battle and IBS

I was pretty lucky when it came to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  It had never been a huge issue for me before or after my Fibromyalgia diagnoses.  I was always a relatively steady weight and I didn't have a lot of problems with constipation as far as pain was concerned.

But lately it's been a different story.  Now before I go into my story, I must say that I was never what I considered a healthy weight during my late teens and twenties.  I weighed at best 110 pounds.  My height is 5'4 and 3/4" so I wasn't severely underweight but I did push that at 20 when I weighed in at 92 pounds.  I had reasons for that weight loss and I'll delve into that era of my life one day, but this isn't the day.

My weight, at now, 120 pounds, was never really a huge issue before but it was shifting to my belly, hips, thighs, and fingers.  I wasn't completely alarmed at first because I figured my age (39) and stress might have something to do with it.  The weight shift (and I must stress that it was a shift and NOT gain) started to make things uncomfortable for me when it became hard to wear button-flied pants or jeans.  I was okay with sweat pants or the roomy grandma pants, but skinny jeans were out of the question. 

I tried to ignore the bloat and I was good at dismissing the painful gas and constant constipation because I thought it would just go away.  Two weeks went by and I wasn't experiencing any relief.  My pants were getting harder and harder to fit into and I nearly cried the day I was supposed to go out to my soon-to-be sister in-law's bachelorette party because I couldn't find anything that fit until I finally broke down and took a trip to the mall to buy a new pair of pants.

After I had recovered from the shopping ordeal I had decided to do a little research into my mysterious bloat.  I looked at the symptoms of IBS and they seem to fit the bill when it comes to my floating weigh bloat and painful stomach cramps but we shall see if a doctor feels as I do.

Having said that, you all know that a naturalistic diet has always been big with me, but I was shocked to see wheat on the good list for IBS.  I know many Fibromyalgia sufferers find it hard to consume wheat.  Eczema sufferers also find it hard too.  And many IBS sufferers tend to either have or develop Fibromyalgia.  Eczema or other common skin disorders have been present in Fibro patients but I don't believe it is as common as IBS since 30-70 percent of Fibro patients suffer from IBS.

Wheat is tough on Fibro because it's pretty much processed.  Some of it is Genetically Modified, some of it is bleached and refined (processed), and some of it is just not what grandma used to grow.  Now, I'm not saying that wheat is incredibly bad-- quite the contrary-- it's not.  Wheat has it's place.  BUT it is incredibly overused in today's American foods.  You find it in soups, salad dressings, breads, pastas, and in some cases, meat dishes.  It's almost nearly impossible to completely avoid it unless you are an incredibly diligent label reader or you go completely vegan.

Wheat and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love to eat pasta, bread, and everything else that's wheat, but my body hates it. My body is nice enough to show me from time to time exactly how much it hates it.  My eczema had been so bad lately that I found it hard to completely open my right hand due to the rash, redness, bleeding, swelling, irritation, and pain from my eczema.  It was horrible.  I knew the worst thing I could do was scratch, but I honestly couldn't help it.  The itch drove me so insane that there were days when I wondered if cutting off my arm would give me the relief I so desperately was seeking.

Even though I had crazy thoughts, I still tried to be positive and found some help with books on the subject.  They helped me to know that a humidifer was good in the winter. Indoor greenery and flowering plants were nice to have along with gloves for dish washing.  And skin cream was a must.  But no matter how diligent I was in all of these things, the itch just wouldn't stop until my neighbor suggested I try to abstain from wheat. 

I tried this and my skin cleared up.  I was happy but staying off of wheat was hard.  I liked it too much so I found myself cheating-- A LOT.  Feeling hungry from my lack of wheat didn't help matters either.  So I quickly found myself going back to my favorite wheat pastas and breads.  My skin problems came back and so did my irritation with my complete lack of will power.  I tried to settle and adjust to my itch problem but IBS started knocking at my door and that landed me right back to square one.

While researching IBS I found two sites that stated certain whole grains like wheat might be hard for IBS sufferers to digest.  Having read that I decided to go back to my wheat-free diet.  I've been doing okay mostly but I've had a few slip ups here and there, especially the past two days while getting ready for my brother's wedding.  My uncle has been in town and I cheated and ate clam chowder.  I was shopping for my dress and wound up eating eggplant parm in Italian sandwich bread and I also drank a beer.  My slip ups have not caused me a lot of IBS pain, in fact, my bloat is almost completely gone at this point, but I have been itchy. 

I'm not sure what I'll do from this point on with my love affair of wheat, but I know one thing... I'm going to try and find a way to feel fabulous-- no matter what!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gardasil and a Mother's Struggle

This blog entry is going to sound a little off topic to some of you, but if you've read anything from me before, you know that I'm a naturalist to the core.  I was approached by my oldest's doctor yesterday about Garasil and here's my take on it...

After reading about Gardasil, the Human Papillomavirus vaccine in 2006 and 2007, I felt the pit of my stomach drop.  The alarming reports of experiencing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after the having the shot were overwhelming.  I just couldn't grasp that they were linking Gardasil to an onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in some cases.  The affects were so severe in some cases that they caused fatality.  My oldest was about seven when all of this information came out and I started to worry and dread the day that the doctor would pressure me into having my daughter take the vaccine.

Since 2006, many side effects have been documented after taking Gardasil.  Some cases of serious nerve disorders like Guillain-Barre Syndrome have been reported along with weight and hair loss, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, and Seizures.  A report from Patientsville.com lists 64 printed pages of reports from side effects by individuals.  WebMD discusses a link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the Gardasil Vaccine also.  Although, I must point out that there is a more recent study done by the drug company Merck, themselves that states there is no real link between nerve disorders and Gardasil.

Having said all of this, you all know how I feel about studies, I don't trust them. They can be bias which proves nothing.  Or they are done with a small group of people which also proves nothing. Merck has an agenda, they want people to get this vaccine so they can make money.  Period.  They can't make money if there's a lot of bad press about their product.  A wonderfully written study with 190000 participants would look good to anyone.  It has the right amount of participants.  A two year study is promising too.  It means people are really looking at long term effects.  But really, this study doesn't add up when you find that only 44,000  were looked at for long term effects.  And really-- no one can ignore a 64 page report listing a HUGE amount of side effects.  This isn't good and it seems to make the Merck's test look more than just a little flawed.

Bottom-line-- I don't want my children getting this vaccine.  I think it will do more harm than good.  I'm at a lucky point right now though, this vaccine is, as far as I can see, not required by the schools here.  I hope that it never is because I'd never want to ask a mother to play vaccine roulette with their children. 

For me though, if this winds up ever being a requirement, I'm going to practice my Constitutional rights and pull my children out of school to teach them myself.  I find it awful that we as a society have no say in schools when it comes to the health and well-being of our children.  They have forced us to have the children medicated in some cases (don't get me started on Ritalin), vaccinated, and eating to their liking for decades and it just has to stop. 

What ever happened to eating at home?  I remember being able to walk home for lunch.  I had a healthy meal and then I went back in time for recess.  These practices were thrown by the wayside and forgotten.  I think it's about time that they are remembered and resurfaced!  Manufactured foods and vaccines from greedy corporations are proven to not be good for us.  Mom always did know best.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley




Sunday, October 7, 2012

GlutenTox Announces At-Home Gluten Detectors

GlutenTox Announces At-Home Gluten Detectors

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fibromyalgia, Conceiving, and Miscarriage

Though some may disagree with me, I do not believe that conceiving a baby is any different for someone with Fibromyalgia.  Granted, healthy woman will not have to wean themselves off of medications that may either make it hard to conceive or be harmful to a growing fetus like some sufferers, but none the less, conception is basically the same for us all.

People with Fibromyalgia are also challenged with pain and sex may be difficult on some days.  This shouldn't discourage you from trying to have a baby.  Knowing your most fertile days may help you plan out your intimate moments better.  There are many ways to determine your most fertile days.  You can try the math yourself, use an ovulation calculator on some reputable sites on the internet, or you could also purchase some products on the market geared towards telling you your most fertile days.

All of these work well, but I personally like the calculators.  One to try is from the The Baby Center.  All you have to do is plug in the date of your last period and the calculator will do the rest of the math for you for the next several months.  Now, of course, you'll have to remember the last date of your period in order to do this so it's best to try and get into the habit of marking it off on a calendar so you can remind yourself.  I must admit that that was something I most certainly had to get back into the habit of doing because I became very lax and forgetful.  I'm also getting older and I don't think about my cycle as much as I used to because I can pretty much tell when I'm going to get it at this point.  

Once you have conceived, it is important to eat a well balanced diet, take prenatal vitamins, and pace yourself.  Don't over exert your body with excessive exercise.  And making sure you do not have problems like Celiac Disease or Thyroid issues will help to reduce the risks of miscarriage.  A good reference site is Miscarriage Support Auckland Inc.  However, it is always best to consult your physician before you try to conceive so he or she can tend to your specific needs.

There is a common misconception about Fibromyalgia and miscarriage that I often find on the internet.  Some people think that having Fibromyalgia may lead to miscarriage but there are no factual studies on this, hence, there is no link between Fibromyalgia and miscarriage. 

It is very possible that despite having Fibromyalgia, many woman have experienced miscarriage due to stress, health issues like gluten intolerance, and hormone imbalances.  There also may have been a problem with the fertilized egg.  50-70% of first term miscarriages are believed to be from  chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg. 

Miscarriage can happen in about 10-20% of known pregnancies.  This number could be much higher if one takes into consideration the unknown pregnancies.  Most woman who experience miscarriage will within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy so it is possible to have your period on time and not know that you had been carrying a fertilized egg. 

The good news, however, is that there are many, many people with Fibromyalgia that are mothers, including myself.  I have two very healthy daughters.  Both were planned and I had healthy full-term pregnancies.    

Stay Fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Warm Heart with Great Natural Therapy

It isn't every day that I recommend a product here on Fibro and Fabulous.  It's not that I don't like products, quite the contrary, I enjoy gadgets just as much as everyone else, but I don't normally talk about them unless I'm inspired.

I recently was introduced to a gal by the name of Yvonne Fricker.  She is the owner of a small business called Warmables and her story is incredibly inspiring to me.  She takes all natural to a whole new level with her company and even though it is commonplace for her to do so given her upbringing in Switzerland, her concept goes far beyond the ordinary.

I've had the pleasure of trying out a product of hers that helps to relieve the pain of Fibromyalgia with natural heat.  My pain can get pretty bad around my neck due to long hours at the computer and it was hard to find relief without taking a hot shower.  I used to use a lot of pain rubs but I'm not a huge fan of the recent bad press.  A heating pad was also out of the question because I could never get one to stay put.

Yvonne suggested her neck pack that's filled with cherry pits and I just love it warm, room temperature, and cold.  It really works in relieving my pain symptoms and is gentle and light enough not to put too much pressure on my flared regions.  The kids and grandma like it too.

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Fricker, Warmables



Recently I was able to catch up with Yvonne after another one of her successful craft shows and I interviewed her about her company.  Below is the interview in its entirety:

F & F: I see that you had started out with an idea that your child should have a hot and healthy meal at school.  I can relate to this, as well as many other mothers because school lunches are not great and neither are some of the cold to-go options.  Peanut allergies are also highly prevalent in schools today so a healthy peanut butter and jelly sandwich is mostly a thing of the past.  It's hard to cook well-balanced for your children when they aren't home a good majority of the day.  How did this idea you had spark into a health- conscious business?

Yvonne: As you mentioned, healthy and tasty meals in school are not easy to come by. By the time our son was 6, he started getting tired of PB&J sandwiches. My husband and I cook just about everything from scratch. The lunch offered in my son’s school simply was not an option for us. 

I am a professional seamstress by trade and one day I stood in a store looking at oven mitts. It came to me that if heat can be kept out, it can be kept in. I purchased the oven mitt, cut it down to a rectangle and added a Velcro closure. The first version of our lunch kit was born. 

But it did not keep food warm for very long. After one year of sewing dozens of samples we had a pouch which kept food warm for about 3 hours. It was great but still not long enough for Isaiah to bring to school. That is when I remembered using cherry pit packs as a kid in Switzerland. We used them instead of hot bottles to stay warm with at night. So I added a little bag filled with the pits to the kit and food stayed warm for up to 6 hours.

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Fricker, Warmables



How did we decide to start the business? Other parents made that decision for us. As Isaiah took all these warming pouches to school they got noticed. Soon we were asked to make extra ones and that was when Julian and I decided to turn our idea into a small business. The Warmables lunch kit has been sold throughout the USA and internationally for the past 4 years. Up to this day not one has been returned to us.

F & F: Hot meals are a great idea for kids, but you took Warmables further and expanded into heat therapy for pain sufferers.  What made you decide to expand your business into helping chronic pain sufferers?

Yvonne: When Warmables started off we only had that one item on our website. It was hard to get noticed with such a tiny site. I travel to a lot of arts and craft fairs to offer my hand painted silk accessories. Walking the fairs pointed out to me that more people started to become interested in natural healing. I mentioned before that I used the pit packs when I was a child in Switzerland.  

Living a healthy lifestyle is the norm in Switzerland. Natural healing is preferred when possible and it was just a logical thing to expand our product line and offer tools supporting a more natural lifestyle. So many people suffer from Fibro and RA and other chronic illnesses. Many use heat treatment to ease the pain. Our packs can offer relief from that pain naturally. They can be heated or frozen over and over again. And they can be washed.


F & F: Your products are not only homeopathic in nature; they also are beneficial to the environment.  Many people today are "green conscious" for various reasons.  Some want to preserve our environment to keep it around for their children and grandchildren.  Others want to be self-sufficient and find a way to live off of their land.  What made you decide "to go green" with your company?

Yvonne: I grew up in a house with 7 recycle bins in Switzerland. We recycled glass (sorted by color), aluminum, cardboard and paper, plastic, electronics and we collected veggie leftovers to compost. My hometown and the Swiss, in general, have been big on not wasting all along. I don’t feel that we went green. I feel that we are sharing our knowledge of how to waste less.

F & F: Your line is getting wonderful reviews in the medical and alternative health fields.  Many physical and massage therapists like and recommend your product.  Are there any new product lines we will be seeing in the near future from your company?

Yvonne: Yes. We have just added 3 new Hot’n Cold packs to our website. They are specifically designed to help people with Fibro and RA. We kept getting requests for larger pit packs to cover the entire leg or torso for a very deep, thorough heat treatment to ease that nagging pain. We now have the Bodice Healer, a Leg Wrap and we also added an RA glove to warm up hands crippled by the pain of RA. Our next product will be a boot and a larger version of our Neck Hugger. 


Photo courtesy of Yvonne Fricker, Warmables

 


F & F: This has been a delightful interview!  I'm so happy when I come across individuals that are passionate about helping people!  It's very refreshing to see today!  Is there anything else you'd like to add about your company?  And please, do let us know where we can find out more about your product!  What is the web address for Warmables?


Yvonne:
We can be found at www.warmables.com. and on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Warmables/499922836689012. We always welcome comments and new product ideas. My husband and I do not have Fibro or RA. We listen to people like you, Kimberley, and we try to learn what helps and how we can improve our products.

We just came back from our first trade show which was very successful. Our Hot’n Cold packs are available in about 25 stores in NJ, PA, MD and NY. Hospital gift shops, gardening centers, massage therapists, chiropractors and individual families are now offering and using our pit packs. The packs lend themselves splendidly for the treatment of aches and pains as well as aromatherapy when combined with essential oils. They can be used to clear congested sinuses and help to putting cranky babies to sleep. And last but not least, they can help cooling down fevers or warm up cold beds. As I mentioned before, the packs can be tossed into the wash along with your jeans and t-shirts.
I would also like to mention that we purchase all our materials in the USA. Our cherry pits come from Michigan. They are leftovers from making pie fillings, jams, preserves and so on. The pits would be garbage if not used for items like hot packs. We use cotton fabrics only to make our cases. Most fabrics are purchased in NJ and NY. All sewing is done by us in Jersey City as we strongly believe in supporting our own economy.

Kimberley, I want to thank you very much for giving us the opportunity for this interview. I sincerely hope that our Hot’n Cold packs will help you personally and many others burdened with illness, pain or just in need of some warming or cooling comfort. We'd also like to offer your readers a special now and one in the near future.  Right now we'd like to offer your readers free shipping on Warmables Small Neck Hugger.  Thank you!

F & F: You are very welcome!  It's been such a pleasure talking with you!  And the free shipping sounds AWESOME!







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