Food for Thought: Thinking Beyond Medication for Fibromyalgia

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 Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in joints, muscles, and other soft tissues. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are medications and therapies available to ease pain. One simple way to combat the fatigue and muscle strain is to introduce new foods into the diet, or to avoid foods that upset the system. 

 
Those suffering from fibromyalgia may also have depression, fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome. All of these conditions can be controlled with medication and diet choices.
 
Start smart
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason, and starting off the day with a full meal can provide all the energy needed to power through the day. Combat fatigue by starting off with a healthy, well-rounded breakfast first thing in the morning.
 
Veg out
Struggling with pain and exhaustion can make it difficult to cook healthy meals at home, so consider buying pre-cut vegetables and healthy prepared foods from health food stores. Fruits and veggies are packed with important antioxidants, like vitamins A, C, and E, which fight free radicals to keep the body normalized.
 
Keep it real
Common food additives like MSG and aspartame can act as excitotoxin molecules, a chemical group that has the ability to activate neurons that increase sensitivity to pain. 
 
Supplement your diet
Omega 3 fatty acids are a supplement that is easy to introduce into your daily routine. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and can reduce back and neuropathic pain. 
 
With all this in mind, here’s a healthy recipe to fight fatigue and kick-start your day.
 
Steel Cut Oats with Banana, Raisins and Almonds via mjskitchen.com
Yields:  Two 1 cup servings
Prep time:  5 minutes with an overnight rest or 45 minute rest
Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes
Ingredients
½ cup steel cut oats
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups water
~ ½ cup almond milk, milk, soy milk, or coconut milk
¼ cup raisins
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. brown sugar or honey
2 dashes of cardamom
1 dash of cinnamon
A touch of nutmeg
1 banana, mashed or chopped
¼ cup chopped almonds
Instructions
The night before (or morning of) bring the water and salt to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the oats. Bring back to a boil stirring, remove from the heat and cover. Let sit overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
When ready, reheat the oats with ½ cup milk over medium heat.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Add the extract, brown sugar, raisins, and spices.
Cook, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes. It the oats start to thicken too much, add a little more milk.
Add the banana and nuts.  Cook for another 2 minutes.
Taste for texture, sweetness and saltiness. Adjust to your tastes.*
Divide the oatmeal between two bowls.
Top with a few more nuts if desired.
 
Before beginning any significant change to your diet or health plan, be sure to speak with a licensed physician to find a treatment plan right for you. For more information about pain treatment and pain doctors in the Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Olympia and Edmonds area, contact the Washington Center for Pain Management.