As chronic suffers, I think we can all agree that we are continuously and tirelessly searching for an answer to cure what ails us. Unfortunately for so many of us, a medical cure is yet to be found. So techniques of management and improving our quality of life, more our ability to live a life, becomes somewhat of an obsession. Like I’ve discussed before, it’s an individual journey, no one size fits all, so the experimentation is an absolute necessity.
I guess you could say that this journey began with my first dietary research, which led me to sugar-free. But I feel more recently, that my work on my Microbiome has directly influenced my current fight against Fibro! So I thought it’s a good place to start…
A bit about your Microbiome;
The microbiome is defined as the collective genomes of the microbes (composed of bacteria, bacteriophage, fungi, protozoa and viruses) that live inside and on the human body. We have about 10 times as many microbial cells as human cells.
There is a huge amount of research on this. The findings are suggesting that an unbalanced Microbiome can be a cause for a whole host of issues, they’ve even linked it to the onset of Parkinson’s. If it floats your boat, click the link below to read more on this:
Realistically, this isn’t hard to grasp; we are what we eat right? So naturally, what we are fueling ourselves with, will directly impact the functionality of our many and complex systems. So simple. How can we expect health and wellness when we aren’t supporting such a huge community within us. I know from my research and time sugar-free, that the amount of additives, preservatives, random animal products in unexpected foods, the never ending names for refined sugars and their scary health implications themselves, that even the best of us, when we really start to dig into what we are putting into our bodies, would be horrified. I know I was. Ever looked at that innocent Jar of pesto in your cupboard, read through and understood the ingredients? A simple pesto made from basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan. Made in a jiffy in your own kitchen…not so innocent when you check a supermarket label. It took me a shocking amount of time and energy to find one that doesn’t contain nasty potentially Fibro exacerbating if not causing, added sugars! You can do this now, check your cupboard for the most basic of things…you’re definitely getting more than what you paid for! Scary thoughts, but I digress once again…
So, this knowledge led me to a company called Synergy. I’m not going to harp on about that, but just to say, they have an excellent Microbiome program designed to support, balance and detox your gut community. It has worked wonders for so many, with chronic illness or not! (If you want further information on this, just drop me a comment!)
During my “reset” period, working on my Microbiome, I had some of the best days I’ve had in years!! Unfortunately, it didn’t last. This is not to say that I think it didn’t work, it did. But as we all know when you’re doing any kind of “detox”, we are all vulnerable to fall ill, or just generally feel down right awful! Which ultimately, I did. And it lingered. I became desperate to rekindle those good days I’d had, so the research began.
I knew from the onset that I had to drastically look at how I was fueling my body. What nutritional support I was giving and how that could be impacting my struggles. I knew that there were pharmaceutical factors for my fall on this regime, that detoxing was bound to be harsh considering the amount of analgesics I’d been popping for the last couple of years. Despite the fact I was already medication free, I knew that my system needed “cleaning” and in doing so I would open a proverbial can of worms! From my research earlier, I knew that it was possible to support and balance your Microbiome with diet. Eliminating processed foods and refined sugars, eating a variety of fruit and vegetables with an emphasis on leafy greens; introducing an array of fermented foods, probiotic’s and avoiding things like antacids, which in honesty, I’m a bugger with!!
Although diet is your number one, there are environmental factors which can affect your Microbiome; stress, sleep patterns and exercise all play a role. Knowing this, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the lack of support my pre-fibro lifestyle was giving my system. In honesty, in many ways it was a damn right assault on my very being. Chronic stress, sleep deprivation, long working hours, skipped meals, mug shots counting as meals and an endless supply of black tar-like coffee to drag me through yet another frustrating life hating day/week/month. Intermittently fuelled with wine therapy… to break up the monotony and spare my sanity for an evening! Familiar? If anything, a part of me is thankful I’m no worse off than I am, I mean Jesus, what was I thinking?! If you abuse someone, you wouldn’t expect all sweetness and giggles, hugs and rainbows would you?
I wrote on an earlier post “Fibromyalgia is a Jigsaw Puzzle” about trying a treatment for one symptom, feeling like it doesn’t work and moving on to the next thing, but that timing and more importantly, the order you address these issues can be as crucial as the the treatment/experiment itself. So with this in mind I spent time thinking about how I could trace back an issue to it’s simplest form. For me, when my fatigue is through the floor, everything is worse, my pain, my fog and obviously my mood. So I decided making a difference to my sleeping patterns was at the top of my list. I appreciate that sleep in itself is not directly influencing my level of fatigue, we all know it’s a different kind of tired, one we wouldn’t wish on anyone. But, I couldn’t remember the last time I had woken up feeling remotely rested, let alone actually slept through for more than a couple of hours at a time. So I figured, it is as good a place to start as any!
The plan from here, to research (yet again LOL) and implement practices to feed and support my Microbiome, with an initial focus on improving my sleeping patterns. For me, what happened with my next step was nothing short of amazing!
From inviting pictures on Instagram, to exciting blogs, I discovered the world of juicing. WOW was I hooked. From night one, I slept. Not only did I wake up without the memory of tossing and turning and being generally frustrated and painful, I was actually awake. No hours of fog and zombie like cloud which I was so familiar with, which could last easily into the afternoon. I actually felt rested. There are no words to describe how amazing that morning, and subsequent mornings have been for me!! I want to talk about this more, but it gets me off topic, so be assured my next post is on my juicing journey and forging these new habits! You can also follow me on Instagram @crispy1984 to see what I’m making, have a laugh at my gorgeous Pugs and their antics and hopefully, be inspired as I’ve been by others!
What I’ve talked about here is all very basic, from the Microbiome to obvious nutritional weapons against the array of symptoms we suffer. The note I want to leave you with, the point of this post if you will; never underestimate the power of the simplest of things, the small changes and alternatives that can have a massive impact on the struggles with Chronic illness. Believe that the world we live in, offers relief in abundance, that natural complementary therapies can actually tip the scales in your favour! Keep your mind open to the possibility of healing, at least to a degree, one symptom at a time!