Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sun therapy for fibro; plus a hearty dose of mood-boosting stir-fry veggies

A sunny spaghetti squash filled with lots of greens
I love the sun but I haven't seen it much this winter because of where I live---a valley with frequent winter inversions. When the inversions arrive, my fibro pain increases. The past two days, however, the inversion has lifted a bit which has allowed sun breaks. I walked outside with my dogs and just soaked in the sun as much as possible through a down-filled parka, ski hat and winter gloves. I got so warm just from the sun beating down on me that I experienced significant pain relief. In addition, the sun is rising earlier and setting later which also increases my light exposure. Oh, and I think a winter vacation to a sun-filled island would be most beneficial!
Research suggests that sun therapy actually could be beneficial for fibro sufferers.
 Sun Therapy for Fibro, Fibromyalgia Network: Auto Immune, Fibromyalgia Help, Cfs Fibro Migraines, Article, Fibromylagia Self Healing, Fuck Fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia Network, Fibromyalgie Atch

Light therapy and/or sun therapy are being studied as a possible treatment for reducing fibromyalgia pain. Light therapy in the form of sunlamps or natural sunlight has been shown to have a positive effect on some types of neuropathic (nerve) pain.

Exposure to ultraviolet rays triggers production of vitamin D, which plays a role in reducing inflammation and pain. Many fibromyalgia sufferers do not get enough vitamin D. I take a supplement daily. Combine that with sunlight and I get way less pain. The theory is that increasing natural Vitamin D production by exposure to sunlight could improve fibromyalgia symptoms in fibromyalgia patients.

Like so much with fibromyalgia research, there are often conflicting results. Some studies have shown positive results for light therapy and fibromyalgia pain relief, while other studies have been inconclusive.

My idea is go out and test it yourself. Keep your blinds open when it's sunny outside; get outside in the sun as much as possible; turn on lights inside if that seems to help; get a light box.The recommended time for sun exposure for adequate vitamin D is approximately 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, two or three times per week. For additional time spent in the sun, protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing. Always talk to your doctor about any new treatment you are attempting for fibromyalgia, including sun therapy.

Once I get to that island, I will be enjoying the relaxing life, just like my husky,Misha, pictured above.
Spaghetti squash, split, seeded and roasting for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

In the meantime, how about grabbing yourself a spaghetti squash (they kind of look like the sun) and preparing yourself a mood-boosting main dish, filled with lots of colorful veggies?

Pictured above: stir-fry veggies cooking in a skillet
Here's what you need for one serving:

1 small zucchini, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 bok choy stalk, cut on the diagonal
1 radish, cut into slices
1 Swiss Chard stalk, cut on the diagonal
handful of spinach or arrugula
1 cup pre-cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
1-2 T. olive oil
1 T. coconut oil
salt to taste
1/2 medium spaghetti squash (reserve the other 1/2 for another meal)
additional mixed greens for plating up your meal

Spaghetti squash hashbrowns, cooking in coconut oil

Here's what you do:

Stir fry the veggies with chicken in oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Put away 1/2 of the spaghetti squash for another meal. Cut the other half into two pieces. Leave 1/4 intact and scoop out the flesh of the other. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet. Toss in the scooped-out spaghetti squash and fry like hashbrowns.

To plate up your sunny meal, place salad greens on a plate. Next the intact spaghetti squash. Fill with your stir-fry veggies and top with the spaghetti squash hashbrowns as pictured below.

A sunny spaghetti squash filled with lots of greens

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