Diet... lifestyle changes..... where do I begin??? HELP!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by EgyptStarr, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. EgyptStarr

    EgyptStarr New Member

    Hi All...

    Before I begin, let me tell you I have both CFS and Fibro.

    I'm SO depressed right now I could cry. I keep reading so much about probiotics, diet changes, different doctors, all kinds of strange health foods like whey and flax seed......
    It's overwhelming!

    I am currently on state assistance for my medical care (Medicaid), but that is running out in 2 or 3 months, and getting me added to my fiance's insurance from his job will be expensive, and won't cover nearly as much! Right now the assistance I'm getting is FREE, I don't have to pay anything for dr. visits, tests, specialists, etc., and my co-pay for prescriptions is only $1 per scrip. That won't be the case at all on the other insurance, which will be expensive, and will only pay a small portion of dr. visits and prescriptions, etc. How am I going to afford any of it???

    Also, if I wanted to make the lifestyle and/or diet changes I read SO MUCH about on here, in order to improve my quality of life and maybe begin to wean myself off the meds that I will no longer be able to afford, where do I begin???

    I've read about the shake, probiotics, Transfer Factor...... I don't know anything about any of it! Where do I start? I mean, I can't suddenly stop eating all the foods I've eaten all my life and start eating all this weird stuff you gals (and guys) are talking about!

    Whey and flax seed??????

    I'm used to good-ole-fashioned Tex Mex style chili with lots of beef, pork chops, Stove Top stuffing, canned vegetables, spaghetti with meat sauce (extra butter in the meat sauce), 2 glasses of chocolate milk at bedtime........... Practically everything I eat is either store-bought processed junk or CONTAINS store-bought processed junk.

    I'm currently on Wellbutrin to stop smoking (and it helps with anxiety and depression, since it is an antidepressant), Baclofen (muscle relaxer) and 800 mg Ibuprofen for the intense pain in my neck, shoulders, upper back, and head (those meds aren't helping much anymore, by the way..... I'm in CONSTANT pain!), and Provigil for the Chronic Fatigue.

    So........... any ideas out there would be EXTREMELY appreciated!!! Ideas for where to begin with the diet and lifestyle changes, I mean, since I'm sure there's nothing anyone can do about my insurance and/or financial issues! Oh, and ideas have to be CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP, because we are already in a financial HOLE.... more like a CRATER, even!

    Thanks in advance!

    Hugs!
    Starr
  2. Smiffy

    Smiffy Member

    Hi, I have FMS & CFS too. The Guaifenesin protocol is fairly cheap & seems to have helped a lot of people, which is why I'm doing it. You can check it out in the library here. You just need to very strictly follow Dr St Amand's book 'What your doctor may not tell you about fibromyalgia' & take a recommended brand of Guai to reverse cycle your symptoms - it takes about 2 months for every year you've been ill. There's a suggested low carb diet in the book foe those of us who are hypoglycemic.

    Hope you find something to help you.
  3. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    Dear Starr,

    I know you have a lot on your plate, but please don't get overwhelmed.

    When I was first diagnosed,(I have CFIDS and Fibro, too) my Dr. told me one thing:"Your most important thing from now on is to rest". All else revolves around that. So, I would start by cutting down on activities. Maybe settng some time every day when you sit down and do nothing.

    Secondly, Many pharmeceutical companies will give you free meds.. You need to apply with a letter of need and probably one from our Dr., too. They won't give them to you when you're on any program like Medicaid, but they will when your're not.

    Tirdly, I smiled when you described your diet. Well, I'm afraid you will have to change it, but gradually. And you dont have to eat things like whey and flax seed. I can't eat either of them. Why don't you try, first of all, eliminating packaged foods, one by one? Gradually, as you substitute some fresh veggies for the packaged stuff, you can start cutting down on red meat.

    I substituted a little Buffalo meat for beef. It tastes great and as lower in cholersterol, and go from there (Your chili recipe is safe, with the change from beef - and beans are really good for you.).

    A simple, normal, diet is fine, and the foods you love are fine as treats. You can find ways to make the almost same recipies with less fat (or the right kind of fat - like olive oil) and fewer preservatives.

    You might try finding out if you are sensitive to wheat and gluten. If so, you will lose inflamation when you stop eating these things, and there are rice breads and other non-gluten breads around. I save real bread for holidays, and then only at one meal.

    The most important thing is to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of plain water , sipping daily. My Dr. prescribed mountain spring water for me. Then, with some slow dietary changes, and help for your meds, time out to rest and maybe to mditate can really help.

    These are some idas of what has workd for me. I was diagnosed almost 12 years ago and am still here, and sometimes even stronger and better. I occassionally cheat, with no ill effects. The trouble comes when I cheat 2 days in a row! LOL

    Good luck to you. I hope some of my ideas help you and take away some of the frustration you feel.

    Big hugs,
    Terry
    [This Message was Edited on 11/23/2005]
  4. Pianowoman

    Pianowoman New Member

    Hi Starr,
    I hear you about being overwhelmed.I don't think any of us have been able to make a lot of changes really quickly. It takes time. But it also takes a little willpower.

    You have had some good advice already. It seems to me that diet changes done very slowly are a good place to start. It also doesn't cost very much. Try to add more fruits and veggies and gradually decrease the processed foods. Sugar and wheat are often culprits for FM people. Take the time to read and educate yourself; be patient with yourself.

    I hope the wellbutrin is helping. It sounds like you might need to find some better pain relief. If your pain is better controlled, you will likely be able to think more clearly about this stuff and you may have more energy.

    Keep asking questions here. It's OK.
    GOod Luck
    Kathy.
  5. Bet2

    Bet2 New Member

    I think we can all relate to the overwhelming part of this desease. When I first realized (after years of denial) what my problem was I did a bunch of research.

    I bought books about fms and joined this message board which incidentally is a wealth of information. There is a search space on your upper left hand corner if you have questions about anything you can type the word in like "diet", "gluten," "excercise" just anything and pull up tons of info on the expertise of so many of these people.

    And your diet, I can't tolerate whey and I don't eat flaxseed either. What works sometims for one doesn't nessarily work for another. You will have to experiment on what works for you. However, with that said, I agree with the person who told you to get rid of all the processed foods that you eat. All the chemicals in those boxes are not good for us no matter how healthy or sick we are.

    Personally, I have illiminated gluten, wheat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. I know that sounds like alot and I did not notice a difference for months. But I did notice a difference and I did start feeling better. I am also drinking that Xango (if you don't know what is is look it up on google). That has helped me tremendously.

    I still have flares and I still have to be careful but my quality of life has improved dramatically.

    Good luck to you,

    Bet2
  6. EgyptStarr

    EgyptStarr New Member

    I think I'll start by cutting back on Pepsi (which is ALL I drink.... Pepsi-addict here) and start drinking more water. It won't be spring water at first, but we have a tap-water filter that we use, so maybe that will be "good enough" for now. Once I have nearly eliminated Pepsi from my diet and we start saving money that way, maybe I'll start buying spring water.

    I need to start weaning myself off the caffeine anyway, not to mention the sugar. That will be a very SLOOOOOOW process, though. I've tried before, and the headaches I get from the caffeine withdrawals are unbearable! So that's going to be TOUGH! If I can beat that one, though, and manage to quit smoking again..... I can be the first female president! lol

    Adding a few raw foods won't be tough. I like celery (can I dip it in some Ranch dressing or peanut butter though? lol) and it's cheap, I like salad and always manage to afford the stuff for that when I want it. I LOVE naval oranges and don't get those nearly enough! I could start eating cucumbers again.......

    I don't have a clue what Probiotics actually ARE, but I think I know where a health food store is in our town, and they can tell me. I've just seen that word on the posts around here a LOT and figured it must be pretty good if it gets that much mention on this board!

    Thanks, Smiffy for the tip on Guai! I'll try that too, eventually, I'm sure. At this point I'm still taking notes. lol

    To whomever gave me the tip on rest.... I would love to do that, and happily WOULD, if it were possible. But I have a 3-yr-old daughter I take care of full-time, a mother who lives about 40 minutes away that I have to go help once or twice a week with housework because she's practically disabled (and her home is also being remodeled and re-organized right now, so it's been REALLY BAD lately!), and I have to start looking for another job outside the home again because our money situation is so bad.

    We're actually more than $500 overdrawn at the bank, have been driving our two cars with no insurance for a few months now, owe my daughter's former daycare over $600, and a few utilities that are behind are threatening shut-off.


    So I HAVE TO get a job! I was going to apply for disability, but now I just have to work as hard and as much as I can, for as long as I can, and when I crash, so be it, I guess. What choice do I have?

    As you can see, giving up caffeine and smoking, as well as making the dietary and other changes, is going to be even TOUGHER in this high-stress situation! When you look at it this way, it's no wonder I'm in so much pain.... CONSTANTLY! And don't even get me started talking about my son and what we're all going through with that situation...

    Needless to say, I'm having BIG problems right now that are just snowballing, so the depression, the PAIN, the worry over my Medicaid running out.... all of that just exacerbates my feelings of being overwhelmed by all the different suggestions and changes I need to make regarding my diet, etc..........

    I'm sure that by now you can all see just how real and serious my problems, pains, and worries are.

    But thanks again for the help and ideas, and keep 'em coming!

    Hugs!
    Starr
    [This Message was Edited on 11/23/2005]
  7. shelbo

    shelbo New Member

    I think I would start simply. You say you can't give up all these foods you eat but if you're serious you have to and you CAN. I think the best thing you can do is eat a wholefood diet..this means NO junk! Lots of fruit, veg, some good quality protein (ie. fish, chicken, turkey, limited red meat, nuts, dairy if you tolerate it ok), some healthy carbs like wholegrains..this is basically it! It is actually cheaper than junk food. Chances are right now you are eating a lot of sugar in obvious (that choc milk has to go or you have to at least cut down and make sure it hasn't got any artificial sweeteners, flavouring or colourings which can cause us a lot of problems0 and you need to be on red alert for hidden sugars ,natrual sugar or chemical sweeteners and monosodium glutamate which can also be called hydrolised vegetable protein and is very bad news for us. It goes by other names too. YOU BASICALLY NEED TO CUT ALL SUGAR (eat fruits but limit them esp the high sugar ones like bananas...did you know a banana contains fruit sugar equivalent to three teaspoons!) SUGAR IS YOUR ENEMY!!! IT SUPPRESSES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM!!! Limit wheat and dairy too esp if you have IBS symptoms. Anything in a tin or box is basically a processed food and should be avoided...you need fresh, fresh, fresh!


    If you have children this will also benefit them. If they are eating what you are eating right now you are educating their palates to enjoy rubbish. If you can change your kid's diet over gradually too that would be good...you would be re-educating their palates now before it is too late...what they learn to enjoy now will probably determine what they will like as adults and you could sace them from developing a whole myriad of health problems in the future that are attributable to junk food...chiefly diabetes, heart disease, cancers.

    What I am saying is that before you worry about supplements you should first strip down your diet! And stop smoking! If you want to take supplements I would suggest only three things: a good quality probiotic 9Jarrodophilus in the store here is good and others swear by Threelac); fish oils or flax seed/ borage oils and a wholefood supplement like Supergreens...do a search. Also, if you prefer you can take wheatgrass instead of Supergreens...both are excellent..they usually come freeze-dried and you add to water and drink as directed on the tub.

    Water is absolutely essential. I recently read somewhere that chronic dehydration is the root of all illness or at least what allows illness to take root! Every cell in our body needs water. Without water they cannot perform their various functions and guard against viruses, toxins and bacterias. Drink plain water...NO SODAS! Only occasional cups of tea and I wouldn't go near coffee at all! 2.5 litres of water a day is what I drink!

    Later you can add in some Milk Thistle which will clear your poor liver of all those toxins from poor diet and smoking.

    And pace yourself...rest after every activity!

    IF you can change to this diet, drink water, supplement with the supps I mentioned, stop smoking and pace yourself I don't suggest you'll be cured but I bet you'll feel a whole lot better! If you can start this now by the time your plan runs out you may be less dependent on the meds. Also if you can stop smoking the money you save can be put towards necessary meds you can't do without and supplements you have found helpful. Chocolat has posted a message on a supplement that has worked miracles for her...look it up...the supp is called TRAUMEEL, I think and it has helped her muscle pain a lot.

    All this will take a tremendous amount of will power and support from those around you - it all depends on how strongly you feel about improving! I hope this helps and hasn't come across as too much of a lecture! :)

    Love Shelbo
  8. renae1979

    renae1979 New Member

    I've been there! I felt over-medicated with Rx meds and supplements. Nothing was making me feel any better. So, I decided to wean off everything and start over. I have also made improvements in my diet and exercise.

    Let me tell you that these changes don't have to be huge changes that involve tons of protocol or supplements, etc.

    The process is slow. You shouldn't make any huge changes all at once or you won't stick to them and your body won't like it either!! So, slowly wean off your meds (with a doctor's help) and the supplements. This will help you to know which ones actually helped and which ones didn't.

    Then slowly begin to make healthier diet choices. This doesn't mean going overboard with whey, etc. Just get down to a basic healthy diet which covers all of the food groups, avoids tons of processed foods and controls portions.

    From there, try to build in healthier activities into your regular routine.

    All of these things have made me feel better than I EVER did on any meds, supplements or regimens. I now take Topamax for migraines, a multi-vitamin and vitamin c. And Aleve for pain when needed. That's it!! The lifestyle changes have made me healthier, decreased my stress, saved me money, etc. Good luck!!
  9. razorqueen

    razorqueen Member

    I hear your heart, girl! I am a former Pepsi addict. I have been off ALL pop for almost 8 wks! If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!!! The first couple of wks were a bit tough, but after that, I don't even miss it. I drink more water, some ice tea, and a bit of a sparkling water fruit drink sweetened with splenda. I also at the same time started Stormy's shake. I use blueberries.
    For supplements, I am taking a probiotic(Jarro-dophilus), garlic pills that dislove in the small intestines so no smelly breath (Kwai), 1000mcg of B12 that disolves under the tongue by Natural Factors.
    this is where I have started. I still have other changes to make. This is coming from someone who was as overwhelmed as you, but was sick of feeling the way I was. I am slowly seeing results.
    Hopeing this incourages you, and not overwhelms you more.
    Blessings,
    Raz
  10. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I think the number one thing is to focus on quitting smoking. The number two is cut out sugar and artificial sweetners. I think the only way to do away with the cravings is to go cold turkey on the sugar. But first focus on the smoking. Thats the number one thing you can do for yourself. Remember you eat an elephant one bite at a time!

    Take Care and good luck! Lynn
  11. EgyptStarr

    EgyptStarr New Member

    Thank you to everyone who has posted here for me!!! I really appreciate all the advice and at least now I have some more specific ideas on where/how to start! I will definitely be putting as much of this info to use as I possibly can, although not all at once, of course!

    Thanks again!

    Hugs!
    Starr