When we are going through a lot of pain, especially when it’s flaring up, eating well can feel like just another a new problem added to your life. Those hours, days, or weeks when moving is a struggle, opening up a can or ordering a pizza can feel like it’s your only option, but it’s the not, and, it’s the worst option. We are already dealing with constant pain, trying to keep up with chores, work, kids, friends, family, and exercise, meditation, the list keeps going. Eating can get pushed way down the ladder in our daily habit of trying to live well. This is the opposite of what we “should” have prioritized. Living with a chronic condition makes our bodies fuels very important. Healthy eating is a piece of our living well skill set we don’t often discuss; today, it is being highlighted in my blog.
When I first began living with Fibromyalgia, I often had dinner that was ordered from local restaurants. My husband was too exhausted after working to cook a meal for me and our daughter, so, we ordered a lot of Thai, Vietnamese, and Mexican food during the first few years. At least we ate and not to badly, but too great either. It took me several years to get back into a routine of mostly organic meat and greens made fresh at home. It took me even longer to figure out how to keep up with mealtime and what style of eating suited me best. My style and planning isn’t going to work for all the Peers out there, but maybe it will help with starting their own style.
The first eating well style I tried was making double portions for dinners, leaving me with at least the meat pre-cooked for the next day’s dinner; throw together a salad or blanched broccoli with a piece of bread and there is a healthy meal completed in 10 minutes. I will still often cook this double meat option, however, I use to try doubling or tripling all the pieces by creating a Tupperware salad or double portion rice, etc. That method just wasted a lot of food! I also tried doing the “entire meal preparation on weekends” and freezing it for eating during the week. That was completely exhausting and I had to rely on not having a flare up of pain on the weekends. That was definitely out of touch of with reality for me (denial). The one and only large meal prepping that works well for me is occasional crock potting.
Fast forward seventeen years and I have found my healthy eating plan. Organic as much as money allows is very important to me. Simple meals. For dinner a small piece of chicken breast, mixed rice or other carb (no more than half a cup), and a large serving of steamed veggies or fruit(s). More importantly, I graze. I eat a small item every three hours. A good example of this is the following; a breakfast bar, a fruit, almond milk, non-fat yogurt smoothie with protein powder, a piece of bread with a small amount of cheese and then dinner. No desert. I also learned that I have to cook by 6pm or my energy is depleted. Reheating a healthy meal is better than not having one to eat. Grazing keeps my body fueled with healthy proteins, low glucose options, low fat, and my bodies sugar levels stay stable. It’s simple and mostly easy, I just reach into the pantry or refrigerator for my “meal”.
The other part of eating when living with chronic pain that is not discussed in most blogs, is how medications tend to do to our digestive system and bathroom habits. This is a subject that we don’t want to discuss and too often is not brought up by our doctors. Many of the medications have constipating effects. I make sure to drink a lot of different fluids that contain antioxidants (do a Google search on “benefits of antioxidants”). Another great side benefit of antioxidants is that they help with inflammation, so I do recommend this addition to any Peers diet! I also take an over the counter softener daily; regular bathroom habits are not the same for everyone, but having a habit, that is necessary for our health. This may be to much information for some who read my blog, but I would rather share health than be another silent voice about any aspect of living well, healthy and positive.
Be well, positive, and seize your moments!