Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eat more protein; paleo burger recipe

Enjoy a good slup from a furry friend. You never know when life will hand you another challenge.
Trigger Point Performance cylinder, exercise band and ice pack help relieve pain
How do I deal with fibro pain without using drugs? Some of the things I use on a regular basis are pictured in the photo above. My ice packs are my closest "friends." I also use exercise bands to help strengthen and stretch, especially my upper body. To loosen up tight areas, sometimes I roll on the "torture" cyclinder (Trigger Point Performance Cylinder).

These things came in handy recently when the same furry friend who nuzzled me and slupped me as shown in photo above also did a number on me. He rammed into me going at top speed in pursuit of another furry pal. The result was an injured leg for me from which I am now recovering.

Kinesiotape, Thera Cane, Biofreeze, neck pad and TML tool
 Pictured above are some of my other favorites for regular pain as well extra pains caused by huskies. I use my heated neck pad every day as well as Thera Cane for neck, shoulder pain. Biofreeze is another favorite for pain relief. Kinesiotape comes in handy for taping up areas that are hurting and need extra support. The TML tool helps loosen up fibrotic areas.
Paleo  turkey burger helps ramp up your daily protein


"Health is like a battle against yourself---the tendency is to become more dependent and weaker as you age, but in fact, it is just the opposite. If you are able to walk up stairs, then do it. Appreciate your health."...Arigatou Gozaimashita, centenarian.


It's hard to accept but those of us with fibromyalgia are kind of prematurely aged when it comes to absorbing nutrients properly and a slowing down of metabolism. Older individuals often experience poor absorption of vitamins and minerals from their food. We can learn a few lessons from centenarians who have learned how to age well with no loss of energy or muscle mass. 

 Centenarians from countries throughout the world (Italy, Japan, Singapore and U.S.) who enjoyed vitality do one thing in common. They spread out protein intake throughout the day. They were not necessarily on the paleo diet but they ate mainly protein (including fish) and lots of fresh vegetables.  

They ate three meals a day on a regular schedule and included 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. A diet plan with a high amount of high quality protein per meal is recommended to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Unfortunately, most Americans don't eat this way.  For example, a typical American breakfast of milk and cereal or pancakes and juice contains only 5-10 grams of protein.

It may seem challenging to consume that much protein but "most CFS/FMS patients find they do best with a high protein, low-carbohydrate diet," according to From Fatigued to Fantastic author, Jacob Teitelbaum. 

How can you incorporate more protein into your diet? Here are some high protein foods to guide you:

Greek Yogurt, 1 cup, 23 grams of protein
1 large egg, 6 grams
milk, 1 cup, 8 grams
steak, 23 grams, 3 oz.
ground beef, 18 grams, 3 oz.
chicken breast, 24 grams, 3 oz.
turkey breast, 24 grams, 3 oz.
tuna steak, 25 grams, 3 oz.
salmon steak, 23 grams, 3 oz.

 You also can try a paleo turkey burger.

Here's what you need:

1 ground turkey patty (3 oz.) 
shredded zucchini (1 cup)
other shredded veggies such as bok choy, carrot, radish, etc.
olive oil
1 cup mixed greens
1 oz. cheddar cheese
optional: egg
olive oil
sea salt, black pepper
paleo bun (see here for recipe and directions: )

Here's what you do:

Cook up your turkey patty in a skillet in a drizzle of olive oil. Season as desired. (Tip: prepare the whole package and freeze extras for other meals.) Remove the turkey burgers from the skillet. Add a little more olive oil to the same pan. Saute your veggies seasoned with salt and pepper. Prepare your paleo bun according to directions given here:
Fry or poach an egg to add to your burger.

Total protein count: approximately 30-35 grams

To assemble, plate up your burger on the bun, topped with sauted veggies, a bit of cheese and egg, if desired. Serve with mixed greens and a cultured dill pickle on the side. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Do seasonal allergies trigger flares? Plus easy frappuccino recipe

Can a change of season with its accompanying seasonal allergies trigger a flare up of your digestive and fibro symptoms? I say a definitive "yes." Every year in May and again in late August to early September, I experience a predictable flare up. Perhaps, you experience the same unpleasant phenomenom. I have searched for answers as to why this occurs but more importantly, how to prevent these flares.  (Please participate in my informal poll on the left-hand side of this page to find out how many experience seasonal flares.)

 Can A Change Of Season Cause a Flare?

People with all kinds of autoimmune diseases, ranging from ulcerative colitis to Graves' Thyroid Disease, have noticed they have a flare when the weather changes in the fall or spring. There is a theory that links these seasonal flare-ups to seasonal allergies.

Allergies are your immune system's response to an allergen. Throw in your autoimmune disease and your immune system goes haywire. Your body may start mistaking things you were okay with before as invaders. The result is the flare up of your symptoms.

I have had flare ups, especially of stomach symptoms, for years in the spring and fall. The fall flare up is the one from hell. I cannot take regular allergy meds so I try to do what I can to minimize these flares---keeping stress low, sticking with my regular routine, eating a clean diet, getting lots of rest. Even so, it is what it is.

What types of things do you do to minimize your flares?

Making toast the rustic way while backpacking

Here's why we may experience flares?

First of all, studies show that most people with all kinds of autoimmune disorders have allergies. So, there is definitely an allergy connection. Many also have bowel, digestive disorders.

When allergies are at their worst (e.g. during spring and fall), our mast cells get activated. They in turn release all kinds of stuff, including leukotrienes. These leukotrienes attract a type of white blood cells called eosinophils.

These special white blood cells are ready to do battle with an invading allergen but in the process they release four chemicals that are toxic to the body. In studies of individuals with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease), these toxic substances are found in their stools in greater amounts than they are in people without IBD.

Not everyone with autoimmune disorders reports a spring, fall connection to flare ups but there are plenty of us who do.  Studies have also shown that elevated IgE and eosinophil levels directly correlate with the severity of symptoms and the occurrence of relapses in patients with Graves' disease, an autoimmune hyperthyroid disease.

Easy-to-make frappuccino
 I am still dealing with my fall flare up as I am most allergic to sagebrush which is producing pollen like crazy in my area. What am I experiencing? My stomach is super sensitive; my eyes, nose and throat are irritated 24/7; and my pain is worse.
As I mentioned before, I am digging in my heels and sticking to my regular routine. I am especially monitoring what I eat,so I guess I won't be eating one of these delicious frappuccinos for awhile.
Here's what you need to make one:

1 cup yogurt or milk beverage of your choice (I used full-fat, lactose-free yogurt)
1 1/2 T. cocoa
smidge of vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup cold coffee

Here's what you do:

Blend the above ingredients in your blender. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze. When ready to eat, remove the frozen cubes and blend again in your blender. Add a bit of additional cold coffee or milk beverage, if desired, to hasten the blending process.

Enjoy with a dollop of yogurt on top drizzled with chocolate sauce. I make my chocolate sauce by blending 1/4 cup melted coconut oil with 2 T. cocoa powder and stevia, to taste. Use a bit for a drizzle and save the rest to make homemade chocolate chips by hardening the mixture in the fridge.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Journaling helps keep you positive; plus pumpkin pie breakfast

Sometimes the ever-present symptoms of fibromyalgia can nag away at your spirit. Pretty soon you can become just a shell of a person if you let it happen. I admit this was happening to me this summer.

Beautiful sunset actually represent out-of-control wildfire
Yes, the photo above shows a beautiful sunset but it represents an out-of-control wildfire that was burning just a short distance from where I live. The wildfire, along with others in the Northwest, created smoky, unhealthy conditions in my area. Having trouble breathing, along with my on-going symptoms, was just enough to put me over the edge in dealing with fibromyalgia.

Getting up to the mountains---a good memory of summer
It seemed as if no matter how hard I tried, my symptoms kept getting worse and worse. I started sinking into a deeper and deeper hole of "what's the point." Normally, I turn to nature and getting outdoors to boost my spirits but everything was burning up in my world.
Summer is leaving us
I have kept a daily symptom and food log for years in hopes of solving my health issues. I realized most of what I have jotted down in a way has been negative. You know---things like my stomach hurts again or I ate too many hard-to-digest foods. Yes, these notes helped explain my symptoms but I didn't feel better.

I decided to simply add a note about something positive that happened, a bright spot so to speak.

Here are some of my bright spots:
  • The tomatoes in my garden are flourishing.
  • A deer allowed us to camp in her spot in the mountains. She stayed nearby.
  • My fur pups, Misha and Nika, are learning to be calmer walking buddies.
  • Today provided a touch of autumn, a welcome change after a scorching summer. 
  • The air quality has returned to green. I can see the sky. I can breathe again.

Pumpkin pie in a bowl for breakfast
Along with the positive anecdotes each day, I still keep track of a number of things that seem to keep me pointed in the right direction.

My checklist:
  1. Did I chew my food into a paste before swallowing?
  2. Did I stick with low fermentation, low starch foods but not too much food?
  3. Did I manage my stress and take a mini-meditation break?
  4. Did I eat a few servings of cultured foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt?
  5. Did I drink enough water, limit my caffeine?
  6. Did I salt my food enough?
  7. How do I rate my digestion?
  8. How do I rate my day?

Yes, summer is leaving us but I feel better each day when I read my "bright spots." And, you know, it's time for pumpkin. Why not have pumpkin pie in a bowl for breakfast?

Here's what you need for 1 serving:
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg as desired
stevia, to taste
lactose-free yogurt of your choice
2 T. carrot slivers, crisped
Optional: toasted seeds or nuts, if tolerated
Here's what you do:
Mix the pumpkin puree with desired spices and sweetener. Warm in a small saucepan. Crisp the carrot slivers in the oven or in a skillet. To serve, ladle yogurt into a bowl. Top with warm pumpkin puree, carrots and other toppings.

Article contributed to:

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