Blog Classic: Nov. 30, 2008
One of the many aspects of fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) is food sensitivities. This time of year, with all the traditional holiday foods, poses a real challenge for those of us who pay consequences for eating the wrong things.
Food sensitivities can cause digestive or intestinal problems, inflammation, fatigue, immune system abnormalities, headaches, depression, muscle pain, coordination problems and cognitive issues. Hmmm ... where have I heard that constellation of symptoms before? Ah yes - FMS, ME/CFS and other conditions linked to central sensitization.
As with so many other things, food sensitivities can make our symptoms worse. For some, it's a little worse. When I eat a lot of sugar, for instance, I get some inflammation and water retention that make my muscles ache more. For others, food sensitivities can be debilitating (think irritable bowel syndrome and Celiac disease.)
The first step toward managing your food sensitivities is to identify them, through symptom journaling and/or an elimination diet. After that, it's all about avoidance, and that's especially difficult during the holidays. A few simple tricks can help you resist temptation:
- When you're going to a party or event, don't arrive hungry! If you're only nibbling on a few things, you're less likely to over-indulge in the things that don't suit you.
- Plan to take a day or two to recover from holiday parties. (This is a good idea even if you don't have food sensitivities!)
- Make sure friends and family know about your food issues and work with them on alternatives.
- Find alternative recipes for your favorite things so you can safely indulge.
What are your food sensitivities? How do you deal with them this time of year? Have you learned some lessons the hard way? Leave your comments below!
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