How I Reversed Fibromyalgia {7 Shifts I Made in my Diet}

This memory recently came up in my facebook newsfeed because it was a few years ago this week, that I had the amazing opportunity to be on the Dr. Oz Show. It was so much fun! I received an email from Dr. Fuhrman asking for success stories from women who have achieved weight loss or healed from an illness by eating as a nutritarian

Several years prior to this appearance, I was studying and learning everything I could about how to heal naturally and reverse fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I was fed-up with the side effects of prescription drugs and I knew there had to be another way! 

As I described in my story about discovering I had fibromyalgia, the pain I endured for many years was excruciating. I searched relentlessly to find natural ways to reduce fibromyalgia pain.  Healing from fibromyalgia has not been quick or easy. I have gone through many trials and errors on my quest to live a pain-free life with optimal health and happiness.

Technically, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. While this "may be" true, I have certainly discovered solutions that have helped me reverse all of my symptoms including: 

  • reduced pain
  • the ability to manage stress in healthy ways
  • increased energy and vitality
  •  sound sleep every night
  •  a healthy, happy life without the need for prescription drugs

I chose a holistic approach to treating fibromyalgia by bringing balance to my mind, body, spirit and emotions. I started by making changes to my diet. Then, I focused on reducing stress and calming my mind so I was better equipped to handle the challenges that come with FMS.

Everyone's path to healing is different. What worked for me, may not work for you but I do believe these tips can help improve and transform your life! 

 Being aware and educating yourself about nutrition are important, but not sufficient! If information were enough, we would all be fit and healthy, wouldn't we? That's why it was important for me to have a  balanced approach that addressed the root causes of poor habits that lead to my illness. 

Some of these poor habits included:

  • eating highly processed foods 
  • consuming too much meat, dairy, soda and refined flours and sugar
  • chronic overthinking and worrying, which lead to negative stress (a complete lack of faith)
  • disconnected with Spirit and the Divine
  • seeking success and focused material things (not appreciating what I already had)
  • always focused on the future and advancing my career (not living in the present)
  • holding on to anger and unforgiveness 
  • being kind to others (BUT not to myself)

I share a lot of information on this blog about the other items on this list, including how Reiki and the 5 principles transformed my life. But today, I wanted to share the top 7 tips I learned about changing my diet to improve my symptoms.

You are what you eat! You have heard this said a thousand times. But have you really thought about it? Do the food choices you make every day reflect the type of person you want to be, the life you want to live and the body you want to have? Everything you eat affects you because everything is Energy. Every piece of food you choose to put in your mouth has an energetic vibration. When you are eating well, your body, mind, and spirit are nourished. 

When I became a Reiki master teacher and started teaching about the Reiki principles in my classes, I realized that I wasn't "walking my talk". I was teaching about the importance of treating others with kindness, yet I wasn't always being kind to the one person that mattered most....MYSELF! 

I decided to show myself more love and kindness with the foods I ate. I decided to take better care of my physical vessel. This is the ultimate form of self-love. These are the 7 shifts I made that radically improved my health and well-being.

7 Tips for Being Kind to Your Body 

  1. Eat more veggies. Cruciferous vegetables like (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, arugula, brussels sprouts, cabbage, radish, and watercress) boost the immune system and have amazing antioxidant benefits. Be careful not to overcook them, which depletes all of the vital nutrients and enzymes. Instead, eat them raw, lightly steamed, or sauteed in coconut oil. Try to eat a salad with lunch and dinner every day.
  2. Reduce consumption of animal protein. It is now widely recognized that a high consumption of animal protein has been linked to greater health risks, including cancer. It is advised to limit animal products to 2-3 servings per week (or completely eliminate them if you are considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle like I did). Consider adding more plant protein to your diet such as leafy greens, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, tempeh and whole grains, like quinoa. 
  3. Eat organic whenever possible. Organic crops have greater vitamin and mineral content. Period. Organic foods are more nutritious and do not contain nasty pesticides that are used in conventional farming. Pesticides are extremely detrimental to our health and are linked to many diseases and birth defects. If you cannot afford, or do not have access to, a variety of organic foods, try to include as many as possible in your diet, especially those on the dirty dozen list! When eating conventional, wash your fruits and veggies thoroughly with a spray or simply use vinegar and water.
  4. Drink more water. Our bodies are made up of about 70% water, though most of us do not consume of enough of it. Water helps flush toxins and waste out of our bodies. Water is essential for a healthy body and mind. Adding fresh squeezed lemon to your water improves digestion and detoxification and also supports weight loss.
  5. Reduce or eliminate dairy. Most of us grew up believing that we needed to consume dairy for the calcium to have have strong bones. It has always been considered a staple in most American diets. The fact is that human bodies are just NOT designed to break down a lot of dairy products. The main protein in dairy is casein, which is very difficult for our bodies to digest and has also been linked to the growth of cancer cells. Dairy is also acid-forming (not alkalizing) and creates mucus build up in the body.  Give almond, coconut, hemp or soy milk a try. Personally, I have always hated the taste of milk and rarely consumed it, but I now use almond, soy or coconut milk in all of my recipes, including smoothies. It's delicious! The hardest part for me was giving up cheese. Goat cheese is a much better alternative than cheese from cow's milk. There are also many seed and nut-based cheeses that are delicious and melt just like cheese from cow's milk. I make a cashew-based cheese sauce that is delicious!
  6. Use healthy sugar substitutes. By now, I hope most of you have eliminated white sugar from your diet. If not, what are you waiting for? Unfortunately, replacing it with some of the popular alternatives is not any better for you! Aspartame that's in NutraSweet and Equal, etc. is a chemical sweetener with many negative side effects.  Some recent research studies report a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer and suggest that they may actually cause people to overeat.  Raw organic honey, organic maple syrup, molasses, dried fruit like dates and figs, brown rice syrup, agave, xylitol and stevia are just a few natural sweeteners that are healthier options. Of course, you should still use all sweeteners in moderation.
  7. Drink green smoothies and/or juices. The easiest thing you could do to start feeling better and looking better right away, is to add a green smoothie to your morning routine. I try to drink a green smoothie nearly every day. I find that it's easier to make a smoothie than attempt to juice every day. Although there are many wonderful health benefits of juicing, smoothies you have no messy pulp left behind to clean up and you get all the wonderfully nutritious fiber from the fruits and veggies. They are super easy to make. They also keep you full longer and can replace your breakfast. You could alternate between juicing and blending smoothies, or juice on the weekends when you have more time.       
My favorite tropical green smoothie!

My favorite tropical green smoothie!

I could elaborate a lot more on the benefits of a plant-based diet and the amazing impact it has had on my life, but for today I'd like to leave you with these 7 shifts that you can make right away for improved health and well-being. 

Which of these 7 shifts is the most challenging for you? Please tell me in the comments below!