Fibromyalgia Nutritional Consultation
At the Colorado Fibromyalgia Center, nutritional guidance is part of our treatment plan designed to reduce Fibromyalgia symptoms in our patients. All nutritional plans are goal-based, whether you are looking to increase energy, lose weight, reduce inflammation, or reduce fatigue – we are here to help you come up with a plan to reach your goals.
One of the first things that we take into consideration when working with our nutritionist is the patient’s unique situation in regard to food. Everybody individual is different when it comes to their ability to obtain and cook food.
Depending on the individual’s situation, they will have different access to food. Telling someone that they have to follow a rigid cookie-cutter diet does not help patients in any way. We find that the most successful approach for patients with a recommended nutritionist is to find out about the individual’s current situation in terms of cooking, food buying, and financials, from there they can work with the individual to get them pointed in the right direction.
In some cases, patients are already eating extremely anti-inflammatory quality food sources, other patients are not – and may not be in charge of their access to foods. Some patients do not like to cook, while others enjoy cooking, but it triggers their pain symptoms. The pain symptoms that are triggered by cooking often create a love-hate relationship around food and food preparation, which is a factor that your nutritionist takes into account when coming up with a realistic plan to help our patients reach their goals.
In general, your nutritionist will try and shift you towards a plant-forward diet as their base. A plant-forward diet does not mean that someone has to be a “vegetarian” or “vegan”, there is latitude within the rest of the diet depending on what makes the individual happy and what they can accomplish. Nobody can be successful with a diet if they are not enjoying the food that they are eating, which is why working closely with a nutritionist to find out what will work for them is key.
Creating A Nutritional Plan
The early stages of nutritional planning will start after working with our nutritional expert to evaluate your current situation in terms of cooking, food buying, and financials, a strong nutritional foundation is built. This involves the importance placed on the transition into functional eating being one that the patient feels comfortable and excited about, rather than causing additional stress.
Creating realistic diet goals will ensure a healthy eating atmosphere, and since stress is a trigger for pain and altered bodily function in terms of metabolizing food/supplements in people with Fibromyalgia (and those without Fibromyalgia too!) – we do not want to create a stressful diet.
If a patient is eating better but they are more anxious, depressed, stressed out, or feel that they are isolated from their support system/family or more financially strained – we have to ask if the benefits of a healthier diet are really worth the costs that come with it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
It is highly dependent on the individual, for example, people who have GERD will have certain triggers, and people who have a hiatal hernia should avoid acidic foods. We have some patients whose bodies cannot tolerate vegetables, other patients who have dental problems where they literally can’t eat certain things because of their dental issues, and others who have major pain in their head and jaw when eating. Trans fats and hyper-processed foods, nightshades, salicylates, caffeine, sugar, anti-meat – it is about finding out what people enjoy eating and coming up with a healthy shift.
If you search on Google or go to the local bookstore, you will find tons of materials on different diets that will tell you to cut out specific foods. Many patients with fibromyalgia use “food diaries” as a tactic to help stay on track with a diet, but it all depends on the individual. Some people have been very successful following restrictive diets because it is simple for them to say I can have this, or I can not have that. In other cases, the individual may have a very difficult time following a strict diet, so we have to work with each person to find out methods that they are comfortable with and can realistically follow.
The big thing is – what are you replacing it with? If you are taking something out of your diet what are you going to replace it with, and will that replacement be advantageous for your health or not. For example, if someone is going vegan and eating processed vegan foods, it may not be the healthiest choice. Although you are not eating animal products, switching from one category of processed foods to another is not always a healthy transition.
You have to think about what you are doing to your body, especially for doing this long term and what sort of strainer or putting it on your body in order to achieve your goal.
For most people, the only thing that would prevent them from digesting gluten would be celiac disease. There are also people who have gluten sensitivities, which means when they eat gluten there having some sort of negative impact such as inflammatory response or other sensitivities like having digestive symptoms or the body not being able to absorb things as well as it should.
Most people posses the ability to eat some degree of gluten, dairy, and sugar in their diet but if their body is inflamed if they have dysbiosis or an imbalance of intestinal gut bacteria it adds insult to injury. Depending on someone’s current diet and their current situation in terms of who in the household is cooking and buying food ,what type of you now financial situation are they in.
It is challenging but there are many people that already have food allergies and sensitivities that result in eating a pretty restrictive before they are a patient. Sometimes i gluten free products for example – there are not always healthier. In regard to gluten, as long as they do not have a major sensitivity such as intolerance or celiac I would rather have them eat real gluten less frequently, than having gluten free process processed hyper-polarized starches and things like that are going to spike their blood sugar on a less frequent basis and have real gluten instead.
Every patient that we treat for fibromyalgia symptoms will have different dietary needs and goals, resulting in a unique approach that fits the individual’s lifestyle.
Types of food that we generally want fibromyalgia patients to avoid are:
- Refined Sugar
- Trans Fats
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Certain Pre-Packaged Meals
If you would like to learn more details about these specific food products and how they relate to Fibromyalgia / chronic pain, please check out our dietary guidelines information.