So many people eat free-from foods, or aim to follow free-from diets, for many different reasons - but whatever their reasons it is now much easier to eat in and out if you are avoiding a certain ingredient.
I have had quite a journey with free-from food and will be chairing an open group discussion on Fibromyalgia on the day of Frestival 2019.
Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is described as a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
But as well as that symptom, people diagnosed with fibromyalgia may also have:
- increased sensitivity to pain
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- muscle stiffness
- difficulty sleeping
- problems with mental processes (known as "fibro-fog") – such as problems with memory and concentration
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating
It can be difficult to get a fibromyalgia diagnosis, and when you do...there is not much that the doctors can do about it.
My doctor advised me that as I had already found ways to control each of my symptoms as best I could, that I was doing all that I could do.
And that’s why I live a partly free-from diet.
I am gluten-free because it helps my IBS symptoms - so this means I can choose to have gluten if I wish, but I have a much more comfortable, pain-free life without it. Over the years I have discovered that I can actually handle a small amount of gluten in my diet so I count myself very lucky in that respect.
Having to be completely free-from something is very difficult - especially for children - and I really feel for the people and families that face this reality day to day.
I also try to be free-from processed food. This is because if I am making my own food it generally involves far more fruit and vegetables and good stuff than if I eat processed food - and I need all the help I can get to feel healthy and give me the get up and go I need for the day.
Difficulty sleeping, fatigue, muscle stiffness - none of these things make me want to jump out of bed and get going, which is a bit of a catch 22 because I find exercise helps hugely with my Fibro symptoms….if only I can get the energy to do it!
So I try to use good, healthy, home-made food to help me feel healthy and energised and give me the spur on I need to do some exercise, which then improves my symptoms and gives me the spur-on I need to make the lovely dishes for the dinner table that will in turn spur me on to exercise again!
I will be looking to learn more about free-from cooking at Frestival to bring some new ideas to my dinner table, but I also want to learn about other people and their free-from experiences, as well as learning (along with my family) about being plastic-free and helping the environment.
And if you have Fibromyalgia and want to come along to an open discussion I will see you there :-)
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