Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Diet for Patients with Chronic Pain

1 Corinthians 10:31     

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

This is how we begin our day, with a nutritious ViSalus Shake.  A shake for breakfast can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels, help curb hunger and get protein rich nutrition in a shake that can't be beat.  No other shake compares in quality of proteins, blend of proteins, comprehensive nutrition, key nutrients (fiber, prebiotics and more) and taste!  The high protein in the shake is exactly what someone with chronic pain needs!

Patients with chronic pain need a high-protein-intake diet, with avoidance of carbohydrate-induced episodes of hypoglycemia and weight gain.

Chronic pain is a pervasive issue and fibromyalgia is a very common form. It is a chronic condition whose symptoms include muscle and tissue pain, fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances.
Recent data suggests that central sensitization, in which neurons in your spinal cord become sensitized by inflammation or cell damage, may be involved in the way fibromyalgia sufferers process pain.

Certain chemicals in the foods you eat may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten this sensitivity.

Although there have been only a handful of studies on diet and fibromyalgia, the following eating rules can’t hurt, and may help, when dealing with chronic pain.

Limit Sugar as Much as Possible. Increased insulin levels will typically dramatically worsen pain. So you will want to limit all sugars and this would typically include fresh fruit juices. Whole fresh fruit is the preferred method for consuming fruit products.

If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you will also want to limit grains as much as possible as they are metabolized very similarly to sugars. This would also include organic unprocessed grains. Wheat and gluten grains are the top ones to avoid.

Eat fresh foods. Eating a diet of fresh foods, devoid of preservatives and additives, may ease symptoms triggered by coexisting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It’s also a good idea to buy organic food when possible, as it’s best to avoid pesticides and chemicals. However, fresh is best. So if you have to choose between local, fresh, non-organic and organic but wilting – go with fresh, and clean properly.

Avoid caffeine. Fibromyalgia is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood, and it is often linked with inadequate sleep and fatigue. The temptation is to artificially and temporarily eliminate feelings of fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but this approach does more harm than good in the long run. Though caffeine provides an initial boost of energy, it is no substitute for sleep, and is likely to keep you awake.

Try avoiding nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people.

Be Careful with Your Fats. Animal based omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA have been touted as a heart-healthy food, and they may help with pain, as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. At the same time, you want to eliminate all trans fat and fried foods, as these will promote inflammation.

Use yeast sparingly. Consuming yeast may also contribute to the growth of yeast fungus, which can contribute to pain.

Avoid pasteurized dairy. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble digesting milk and dairy products. However, many find that raw dairy products, especially from grass fed organic sources, are well tolerated.

Cut down on carbs. About 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal functioning, which affects metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia.

Avoid aspartame. The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.

Avoid additives. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) often cause trouble for pain patients. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that may stimulate pain receptors; glutamate levels in spinal fluid have been shown to correlate with pain levels in fibromyalgia patients.

Stay away from junk food. Limit or eliminate fast food, candy, and vending-machine products. In addition to contributing to weight gain and the development of unhealthy eating habits, these diet-wreckers may also irritate your muscles, disrupt your sleep, and compromise your immune system.

The following is taken from an article that I recently came across.  I felt it was worth sharing with you, and my hope is that you will pass this information along to someone that you know would benefit from reading it.

If you have fibromyalgia, then you already know how frustrating it is to manage, and how confusing it is to sort through all the conflicting nutritional advice about how to eat.

The fact is, there's little scientific evidence to support any single eating plan that will work for all fibromyalgia sufferers.

You’ve probably read:
    • Eat more whole grains. Then, avoid grains altogether.
    • Eat fruit of all kinds. Then, some fruit increases pain.
    • Eat fresh, organic tomatoes. Followed by, tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables will make you feel worse.

Confused yet about how to stock your refrigerator?

The problem is that fibromyalgia is a complex array of symptoms involving widespread pain and fatigue and has multiple causative factors. No one treatment is effective for everyone.
Kent Holtorf, MD, the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group Center for Endocrine, Neurological and Infection Related Illness in Torrance, California states:

We’re at the point now where we know diet plays a role in this disease—it’s just not the same diet for everybody. And not everybody is helped in the same way.”[i]

Fibromyalgia requires an approach that is as diverse as the disease.
So, if you have fibromyalgia, you aren’t that different from everyone else in terms of your nutritional needs. Your diet must be tailored to your own genetic composition.

So, where do you start?

Nutritional Typing a Crucial Step for Fibromyalgia
The best starting point is determining what nutritional type you are, so that you will know how your body reacts to food. I have condensed my nutrition plan into an easy to follow eating plan that progresses in three stages, from beginner to advanced.
Nutritional Typing is not a diet. It is a way to determine which of three basic groups you fit into: Protein Type, Carb Type, or Mixed Type.
I have found that eating this way seems to help decrease or eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms. However, it is also clear that eating in accordance with your nutritional type alone is not the complete answer to symptom relief.
My Dietary Ten Commandments
Although there is no “one-size-fits-all” diet, there are dietary guidelines that I consider absolute—fibromyalgia or otherwise.
1. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, in particular, has been known to trigger fibromyalgia-type symptoms, and if you have the disease already, it will only make it worse. Artificial sweeteners could be responsible for part or even all of your symptoms. (You can read more about this in my book Sweet Deception.)
2. Eat a varied diet of fresh, organic, whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Whole fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties[ii]. The more colorful your produce, the better! Go for those deep oranges, reds, purples and greens.
3. Eat as many raw foods (“living foods”) as possible for their enzymes and biophotons. I try to eat at least 80 percent of my food raw. Cooking food to above 118 degrees F destroys enzymes and reduces nutrient uptake.
5. Avoid all additives, preservatives, and processed foods.
6. Avoid sugar and caffeine, including sodas, fruit juices and energy drinks.
7. Eliminate or strictly limit alcohol consumption.
8. Make sure you are eating enough long-chain animal based omega 3 fatty acids from fish or krill oils. Omega 3s decrease inflammation, joint pain, swelling and stiffness and are natural pain reducers, in addition to providing many other health benefits.
9. Coconut and coconut oil have been found to be beneficial to people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and hypothyroidism.
10. Eat slowly and fully chew and enjoy your food!
Detecting Food Sensitivities
If you are already following these dietary guidelines and want to delve deeper into what foods might be increasing your symptoms, then the next step is refining your dietary plan, within your nutritional type category.
There is some evidence that people with fibromyalgia experience fewer symptoms if they eliminate one or more foods that are the most common triggers for food allergies or food sensitivities.
Sensitization refers to a gradual change in how your immune system reacts to a particular substance, often resulting in an allergy.
In “central sensitization,” your entire central nervous system becomes sensitized to a substance, and this happens to be one of the proposed mechanisms for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, in terms of how your body amplifies pain signals[iii].
Fibromyalgia sufferers are particularly vulnerable to becoming centrally sensitized to certain foods, causing an immune reaction that exacerbates their symptoms.
The most common things in your diet that will cause a problem are corn, wheat, soy, dairy, citrus and sugar. The top three worst offenders are pasteurized milk, soy and gluten (wheat and other grains).
In one study of 17 fibromyalgia patients, nearly half experienced a “significant reduction in pain” after eliminating corn, wheat, dairy, citrus and sugar.
Other Important Factors to Remember
Here is a checklist of the most significant ones you might need to address:
    • Exercise is known to ease the pain of fibromyalgia and is an extremely important aspect of your daily routine. In one study by Harvard researchers, after exercising for 20 weeks, women with fibromyalgia reported improved muscle strength and endurance, and lessening of their symptoms including pain, stiffness, fatigue and depression.
    • In my experience, nearly all fibromyalgia sufferers have some form of underlying stress or emotional component that contributes to their condition.
All it takes to feel better is a little willingness to make a few lifestyle changes, and perhaps explore some alternatives to what you’ve been doing.

You can’t ever predict which little change is going to be the heavy hitter—so you might have to go through a little trial and error. But when you do find it, a little tweak can be a game changer!

I made some lifestyle changes, and in the process I have lost 28 pounds and a cane/walker.  I have gained some cute shoes on my feet, energy, and I got my life back!!

You can make a lifestyle change also.  All you have to do is join me on my 90 day Challenge.  Click on the link below to get started.


 Turkey Paninis with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 1 whole-wheat baguette, cut crosswise in fourths
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil), patted dry and halved
  • 2 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 1-oz slices reduced-sodium fresh deli turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups arugula leaves


  1. Split open baguette sections and layer each bottom half with 6 pieces tomato, 1/2 oz cheese, 1 1/2 slices turkey and top half of bread. Toast sandwich on a countertop grill or panini press on medium heat, lid down, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. If using stove top method, toast about 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned.
  2. As soon as paninis are done toasting, open each and add 1/3 cup arugula. Slice each panini on the diagonal and serve immediately.

Nutritional Bonus:

One turkey panini provides over 100% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin K, a micro nutrient essential for blood clotting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Revitalizing Your Life Through Food

1 Corinthians 3:16-17         
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

As many of you know, I have battled with health issues for many years.  Learning to that you are going to have to live with chronic pain is never easy. This can especially be true when that diagnosis is chronic nerve pain, a form that is notoriously difficult to treat.

I have been forced to re-evaluate my life and make some very serious changes, beginning with my eating habits and finishing it off with a fitness regime.  In the beginning I wondered how I was going to be able to exercise, when most days I could not even get off of the couch. I had not been able to put shoes on my feet for almost 3 years and going to the gym or taking a walk around the block seemed so unrealistic to me.  I began doing research on my condition and decided that I was not going to be "held hostage" by this disease.  I realized that the only way to free myself from this bondage was to overpower my illness and take it by storm!  And so I did!!

Don’t think that having chronic pain has to limit what you are able to do. Regular exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to reduce the effects of chronic pain, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle can give you more energy, help you sleep better and maintain your strength and endurance.

I would like to share with you what I have learned and how I have slowly began to regain control of my life.  It all began with a text message inviting me to a Challenge Party.  Having no idea what it was or what I was in for, I decided to take a chance and go.  That was the beginning of a life transformation for me.

You see, I had a desire to transform my life, and improve my health and along the way I am able to increase our prosperity.  I not only had a dream of being able to walk, unassisted, but, I wanted to be free of the mounting debt that this illness has put upon us. 

In the last 90 days I have begun to get in shape, I have lost 28 pounds, I go to the gym, and I have shoes on my feet!  Attending that Challenge Party and learning about ViSalus has helped me to achieve life-changing results.  Now I am able to take these results and share them with you.

I am embarking upon my second 90 day Challenge and I am inviting all of you to join me on this journey.  The Challenge is built upon nutrition that helps your body to burn fat, support lean muscle, boost metabolism and control hunger.  With five different Challenge Kits to choose from, achieving success is as simple as selecting a kit.

Everyday I have a wonderful tasting shake for breakfast and one for lunch.  I make sure to eat a healthy snack in between these meals and one between lunch and dinner.  Then my husband and I sit down to a well balanced meal for dinner.  It is these recipes that I would like to share with you.

Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto


  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.

Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Dill Sauce

Draped over tender beef, carrots and potatoes, a creamy dill sauce adds rich flavor to a family favorite.

Pot Roast:

2    tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1    teaspoon Salt
1/4  teaspoon white pepper
1    boneless Beef Pot Roast
      (about 2 lbs), trimmed of fat
1    cup Progresso Beef flavored broth
      (from a 32 oz. carton)
1    tablespoon Dijon Mustard
4    cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2  teaspoon dried dill weed
1     large onion, cut into twelve wedges
1     16-ounce ready to eat, baby cut
4     medium Yukon gold potatoes
       (about 1 1/4 pounds), unpeeled,
       cut into 1" cubes
1/2   teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

Dill Sauce:

2    tablespoons all purpose flout
2    tablespoons water
1    teaspoon dried dill weed
1    cup fat free sour cream


On sheet of waxed paper or in shallow bowl, mix 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Place beef on flour mixture; turn to coat evenly.

 Spray 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef to skillet; cook about 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Place in cooker.

In small bowl, mix broth, mustard, garlic and dill weed. Pour over beef in cooker. Place onion, carrots and potatoes on top of beef. Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 9 to 10 hours.

Remove beef and vegetables from cooker; place on large serving platter and cover to keep warm. In small bowl, beat all sauce ingredients except sour cream with wire whisk until smooth.

Strain any fat from liquid in cooker. Pour liquid into 1-quart saucepan; heat to boiling over high heat. Stir flour mixture into hot liquid; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.

Cut beef into 8 serving pieces. Serve sauce with beef and vegetables.