Processed food, poor food choices and fibro

I never expected foods to affect fibro as much as it does for me. We all know that fibro is all about how our nervous systems work. I like to think of it as a very sensitive short circuiting computer system. Our nervous system has its tentacles in everything in our bodies, whether it be physically or psychologically, read here for more in-depth details.

You already know that if you go on an alcohol and takeaway binge that you will feel tired and sluggish for a few days. With fibro it’s the same, only foods and drinks you never thought would affect you, will.

Diets don’t work with fibro either you must remove all potential food groups and stick to a basic diet of certain meats, all fish, green vegetables and seeds and berries plus no caffeine for 3 weeks. This is the purest basic paleo (caveman) diet there is.

You can only eat the pink foods above but as much as you want to for 3 weeks. For the first 3 days you feel absolutely dreadful as your body craves all the other stuff you have been eating and drinking. I had a bad migraine and had to take 2 days off work!! But then I felt fantastic!!

After 3 weeks you can try adding one food in a day for 2 meals; breakfast and lunch; if you feel well continue to eat it, if you gain weight the day after (water retention) don’t eat it again. If you feel ill; increased muscles pain or fatigue don’t eat it. If you only get a mild symptom that goes quickly then it’s an occasional food!!

These foods are what I started introducing first…….

The ones I crossed out I don’t eat anyway. The above foods have a high risk of you having a reaction.

I felt absolutely amazing on the diagnostic diet and lost 29 pounds in weight. But any food that causes a flare up, the reaction is so severe now it’s puts me in bed in agony, but it’s short lived as I don’t eat it again.

Foods I cannot eat without getting ill are:-

  • Anything containing large amounts of sugar
  • White rice or white pasta
  • Alcohol
  • White bread
  • Any processed foods
  • Eggs
  • Chicken unless it’s organic
  • Anything containing ‘E’ numbers
  • Anything containing gum
  • Anything containing MSG
  • High sugar fruit such as mango
  • No processed sauces, tins or jars

Foods I can eat rarely but never more than 2 days in a row:-

  • Anything containing potatoes
  • Indian takeaway
  • Brown bread
  • Brown rice or pasta
  • Nightshade foods
  • Crisps
  • Dark chocolate (above 85%)
  • Any diary
  • Plain vanilla ice cream

I can however eat any meat but not too much red, any fish, any vegetables and fruit that is not high in sugar. I can eat organic snacks such as fruit bars etc….. organic tins, jars and sauces.

I know some of you may think that you don’t have the energy to cook fresh all the time, but you have to get creative and overcook so you can save meals to warm up other nights, use a big slow cooker and let it cook itself. Or failing that get someone else to cook, my husband does all the cooking and when he’s away he over cooks foods and saves them into containers so I can warm them up to save my energy.

Symptoms that have reduced or in some instances disappeared:-

  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Monthly pains
  • Moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia

Etc

If I eat something my body does not like some of the symptoms above get so severe and come on within an hour of eating it, is very severe but lasts a shorter time.

What I did not realise is that due to me eating foods and drinking alcohol constantly this is why I always felt ill, could only sleep 0-3 hours a night and could not stop having bad flare ups, they were increasing and becoming more severe.

This is why diets or just cutting out one or two foods don’t work, you have to give yourself 3 weeks on the bland diet to clear out your system and remove all toxins. Then take another month to add one food in a day, not several at once. It’s not easy but I have had a better result from changing my diet than any pill I’ve tried and believe me I have tried them all.

Why don’t you try it? What’s stopping you? If you don’t do something different you’ll never change your symptoms or the severity of your fibro. You need to find what works for you and stick with it.

Am I a saint? No bloody way I drank gin this weekend, first time in 4 months and ate 2 takeaways but food I know I can eat such as lamb and fish. Yes I feel fatigued and have muscle pain but it will go……..

Why does this work? Because we absorb food into our immune system, glands and nervous system through our intestinal wall it’s that simple. Bad food makes you feel shit! Good food reduces symptoms.. …. read here for more info and try it out.

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Success at improving fibromyalgia symptoms

It has taken me a couple of years of blood, sweat and tears to find out what affects my fibromyalgia. We all have similar symptoms and similar causes of flare ups, but we are all different and a symptom you may have I may not and vice versa.

Flare ups are caused by a number of factors:-

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Illness
  • Surgery
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Doing too much
  • Doing too little

I have introduced a few things to my life that have made a positive difference:-

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Massage
  • Gentle exercise
  • Positive thinking and affirmations
  • Pacing my activities
  • Hot tub/hot baths
  • A healthier organic diet using 90/10 ratio; 10% being not healthy and organic 😂
  • A strict bedtime routine
  • Stretching

I made big changes to my diet which has made a huge difference and affected the following symptoms by either reducing or eradicating them completely:-

  • Removing tingling and numbness
  • Reduction and almost an elimination of anxiety
  • Reduction in insomnia
  • Elimination of diarrhoea and nausea
  • Improved by ability to cope with stressful situations
  • Reduced my negative moods
  • Reduced my fatigue
  • Loss of 25 pounds in weight

In order to find out what food affected me I had to go onto what is called a diagnostic diet for 2 weeks. I basically lived on hunter and gatherer foods and drinks. No caffeine, alcohol, processed food etc and the only meat and fish I could eat is what you’d be able to kill when we were cavemen and women, certain vegetables (green and cauliflower, I added this in as I love it) and berries, kiwi and seeds. The foods I could eat are highlighted in pink on this picture.

then I extended this for another week and could eat as much a liked!!

I got migraines, headaches, cravings and felt awful, the consultant explained it was down to withdrawals. After the 5th day I started to feel much better, in fact I felt great, had more energy and started to sleep more than my usual 3 hours a night!

After 3 weeks I slowly, 1 day at a time, started to introduce one food item a day, I ate it for breakfast along with the diagnostic foods too, then again at lunchtime and kept a diary of any reactions plus any overnight weight gain. If I had a reaction it was very severe and usually was a headache, numbness, tingling, fatigue, diarrhoea, muscle pain or weakness, or a combination of the above. I’d also put weight on overnight which is not actual fat but my body reacting to the food; water retention. I then waited till the flare up passed and continued to reintroduce food one at a time. The list of foods I tried after the initial diagnostic diet are in the picture below. All apart from the ones I crossed out as I had already stopped eating these some years ago.

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ome foods I can eat rarely as these do not cause a major flare up of symptoms but minor ones, are the following:-

  • Diary
  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Low sugar items
  • Caffeine

Foods I cannot eat as they dramatically affect my symptoms the I had reduced or eradicated are the following:-

  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Any processed foods
  • Anything containing E numbers, MSG or anything artificial
  • Eggs (due to the conditions their parents are raised according to my consultant. Poor living conditions, fed a poor diet and given hormones)
  • Chicken (same reason as above)

I don’t eat a lot of red meat but love turkey nom nom. I also don’t eat many ‘other’ white foods like pasta or rice, opting for the occasional wholewheat option or substitutes, occasionally eating white potatoes and switching to non MSG organic gravy. We make all our own sauces now not ones that are pre-made unless free from additives and chemicals.

I can however eat crisps with no additives yummy and very dark chocolate 🤗.

Milk upsets my stomach but I can get away with a little bit so I use a substitute, oat milk is lovely and I can use coconut and almond but not soy due to hormone issues (cysts and Endometriosis). I can drink coffee as long as it’s not Jarred and it’s freshly brewed ☕️.

Alcohol makes me very ill apart from the odd gin but I quit last December as I really cannot see the point, whether this lasts all year who knows 😂. I cannot eat mango or bananas as they cause a mini flare as they contain too many natural sugars.

The worst reactions I get are from MSG and sugar. The fatigue and muscle pain are very extreme.

My consultant explained to me that once you go 3 weeks on a very bland diagnostic diet it’s like a reset to the system, so any foods you reintroduce create a much more severe reaction that I wouldn’t have spotted on my previous diet.

Am I an angel 😇 nope. I do still fall off the wagon but at least I can pinpoint why and this keeps me positive.

The other things I changed was my bedtime routine. I wear uv glasses as move away from the tv at least half an hour before bed to help calm my nervous system, increase my natural melatonin (blue light reduction) and reduce overstimulation of my brain. I meditate for 10-20 minutes before bed using my headspace app and headphones. I have about 5 different subjects on the go at once 👌🙏. This new activity has helped improve my mental health and negative thinking and helped me remove unhelpful thoughts 💭, I just tend to laugh at myself now. I do however allow myself the occasional cry 😭. As I find it helps clear my head and move on from whatever is bothering me at the time, there are no positives in bottling up negative feelings.

Immobility has worsened my morning stiffness and muscle aches and increased my fatigue so much I struggle to walk more than 20 metres or use the stairs in my house! You need to find the right gentle exercise and persevere. I used to be super fit and have muscles pre fibromyalgia, it took me years to accept that I can never train like that anymore. But it doesn’t matter as health has to come first. I find doing gentle interval training on my power plate works wonders for me. Yes I hurt a few days after, but I am going to hurt anyway 😂 might as well be hurting from doing something than doing nothing. Find out what works for you; walking, swimming, yoga, stretching, Pilates, biking, whatever, just don’t make the same mistake I have and stop moving. It’s better to ache from moving than hurting from not!!!!!!!!!

I started slow, just a few mins once a week and now I’m up to 5 mins 3 times a week and I will continue to increase this gradually. Everyone has to exercise to stay healthy, you will hurt so just slow it down.

Learning self hypnosis and NLP techniques is also important too, use positive language, behaviours and thoughts. I used to moan constantly but all it did was make myself feel worse. Now I focus on the positives, even on really bad days like today, I’ve been up all night with back pain but at least I’m still breathing and I have a 90 minute massage today and half day off work yay. Yes I’ll be struggling to walk tomorrow as the massage is painful the day after but it’s great for my stiff tired muscles and exercises them.

I know it’s hard and I know how you feel, you want to give up, but what is the alternative? Life is too precious so grab it by both hands, by the neck if you have to 😂 and start making some changes to how you live; keep a food log, try the diagnostic diet and eat healthier, use a pacing diary so you know how much you can manage before fatigue kicks in (takes me about 48 hours to kick in) get moving, train you mind like you would your body. If you don’t change your life you will never feel any different!

Take care and ask any questions as I am completely open and honest, no one knows how you feel but someone with fibromyalgia. You can improve your symptoms even if it’s not your primary condition like me. If I can do it so can you 👍💖

Diagnostic diet part 2 and Fibromyalgia 

As promised, I would send you an honest update on how my diagnostic diet is going.  I started before I spoke to the consultant and completely ditched all processed food, so nothing came out of a packet.  I lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks and felt so much better; less fatigue and reduced muscle pain.  

I went into the diagnostic diet for 2 weeks to cut down my diet to a very basic bland hunter gatherer type.  This basically removes all potential foods that could cause a reaction with my nervous system.


You only eat the highlighted foods for the first 2 weeks.  You track your symptoms and at first you feel worse; giving up coffee gave me a migraine.  I lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks!!  

After the first 2 weeks my daily headaches disappeared, my fatigue was reduced, my muscle pain went away and the nerve sensation issues I had like tingling, itching, pain upon touching disappeared.  

I was just coming out of a flare up when I started the diagnostic diet and my sleep was terrible; 7 hours over 3 nights.  I asked for 5 days worth of sleeping tablets and usually they take my sleep from 3/4 hours to 4/5 but this time they worked great.

It took about a week to get over stopping the sleeping tablets (this is why I don’t like to take them)! Now I’m sleeping much better, deeper and longer 5/6.5 hours. 👍

Switching to fresh food only I lost a total of 1 stone and 7lbs in a month and never went hungry.

My moods are better, less extreme and my menstrual cycle was less severe.  I haven’t had digestive issues either.

The next phase of my diet is to slowly start bringing in the rest foods not highlighted on the photo above, one by one and track symptoms.

So far I’ve been able to eat asparagus, grapes, veal, tuna steak and tomatoes.  

I’m still not able to exercise until I’ve finished the next month as this could skew the symptom tracker.

I can’t wait to restart proper exercising as I’m so weak, getting out of breath walking up hill or up or down steps.  I couldn’t even keep up with my 67 year old dad!

It’s not easy as you have to have willpower and you have to track everything; symptoms and weight, which will start to increase if my nervous system reacts to it.

I have a comprehensive stool analysis kit to do and send off but I need to wait till I get paid as it’s £160 for the analysis; 3 collections and I have strict guidelines to follow including mixing with liquids, dealing and posting lol.  I have a list of other tests to do too that I have to pay for as the NHS has refused, simple blood tests.

I am willing to do anything to feel better and the Airedale Allergy Clinic here have done more for me than the NHS have in over 3 years.  The NHS don’t have the funding or support to investigate or locate cures for conditions like Fibromyalgia.  The US are way out front in this area as it’s about making money and a cure or even medications or treatments would rake in millions.  GPs are trained to give us meds and there aren’t any specialists only pain or arthritic specialists available in the UK, we are sent to these for more band aid treatments for our symptoms.  What we need is locating and dealing with the root cause!! 


Feel free to ask me any questions!  Or join my page here for more insights and research sharing.  

Learnt to love Fibromyalgia 

I feel like I’ve lost 3 years of my life to being ill; gave up my job and chosen career path, stopped my hobbies, quit lifting weights, lots of friends lost, nights out cancelled, holidays abroad cancelled, hypnotherapy business closed.

It is easy to read that and get depressed but what’s the point, seriously what’s the point?  I can’t change anything in the past, I can only shape the present.  I’m not even worrying about the future either, I really don’t care that much as I know the plans I make in the present will shape my future, anything I cannot control I’m not even thinking about.

Whilst my husband was in bed New Years Eve with flu I made a pact with my body, no more will I bow down to fibromyalgia, I will learn to love this condition and I will do the things I want to do (within reason) and whilst I was thinking this I realised that there has been some positives in the last 3 years that I would never have been through if I hadn’t have developed this condition; learning to say no to others, putting myself first, letting go off toxic people, moving into a better local job and no more travelling 3/4 days a week.   Practising mindfulness meditation and yoga.  Ditching all my regular medications, eating healthier, quitting regular alcohol drinking, reconnecting with lost friends.  Learning holistic therapies to use on myself.  Recruiting a masseuse for fortnightly treatments.  Finding my super fibromyalgia supplements from USA that have made me feel better than I’ve felt for years!


Our minds always focus on the negatives in a bad situation but if you look hard enough there’s always a positive.  

This year is going to be amazing and I’m going to keep it healthy and make sure I give back my love to my family and friends the support I’ve needed over the past 3 1/2 years since my back operation.

It’s took a year of changes to every aspect of my life to get me here but I have proved that I can learn to love Fibromyalgia ❤️

Post Christmas Fibro Flare

I really don’t feel as bad as I expected to feel.  Obviously I’m not feeling like I could cope with a full day of ‘doing stuff’ either!!

Yes I am chronically exhausted and need to rest, my sleep is not great and my head doesn’t feel like it belongs to me.  I can’t control my body temperature and my IBS is terrible.  But I still don’t feel as ill as I thought I would.

I mean let’s be honest Christmas can be a nightmare for those of us with a chronic condition.  Overeating ‘bad’ food, drinking alcohol, having to go out and travel and spend days at a time at social events which all impact negatively on our nervous systems.  I mean the worse people get over Christmas is a hangover and maybe a couple of pounds of extra weight whereas someone with fibromyalgia we can end up with the mother of all flare ups, not being able to get dressed, go out or even cook for ourselves.  The intense nerve pain, digestive issues, depression, skin itching, insomnia, stiffness, headaches etc etc, the list goes on and can be so debilitating it can ensure we housebound for days, sometimes weeks.

It’s important to reflect on this; there is a reason why we feel like this:-

  • We have no paced our activities and just dived in head first, not wanting to let people down.
  • We have drank alcohol which is a very bad idea with this condition
  • We have not ate healthily (a Christmas dinner or 3 is not all healthy!)
  • We stayed up later and get up later which ruins our sleep routine
  • We have watched much more tv and used our phones more which has disrupted our production of the sleep chemical melatonin
  • We have travelled much more than normal which exhausts our bodies
  • Social occasions tire us out too!

It’s important to acknowledge why we are having a flare and then get back on our plan.  By now you should have worked out what that is right?

Ditch the non healthy food and treats, stop drinking booze, rest, go to bed and get up at your planned times, pop on those uv glasses once it gets dark and don’t forget your vitamins, 2-3 litres of water a day, meditate and exercise daily, you will soon recover and feel more like you.

I think the reason I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would and the flare is not as bad as I’ve had in the past is that my head is in a good place and I know this won’t last .  I’m enjoying the opportunity to rest, watch some films and eat healthy nutritious food whilst smiling about the best Christmas I’ve had since getting seriously ill 4 years ago.

Happy new year everyone