I grow vegetables to feed us, make natural ingredient creams, lotion and shampoo, cook all meals from scratch and detest E numbers. I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand

I received the following newsletter from  Fibromyalgia Symptoms today and thought some of you might be interested in the info it contains. You can subscribe to this email from their site. I find this to be the best, most informed and up to date site on Fibromyalgia. It has acres of information for sufferers and Doctors.

I am particularly interest in the info on pH levels. I never knew the testing would be so easy and something we can do at home.

May 12 Is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

People across the world are organizing, talking and publicizing. The goal is to create awareness of Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND). These diseases include Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

May is the month to get the word out. Public awareness is crucial as FM is still misunderstood by many. In 1992, May 12 was chosen to be Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Why May 12? This was the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who suffered from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

We CARE

This Year, the theme is CARE, an acronym for Contribute, Advocate, Research and Educate. People interested in participating can organize events such as a community walk, a picnic, or arrange a mall or farmer’s market tabletop event. You can also set up an informational table at your local library, gym, grocery store or health fair. If you are interested in advocating, contact The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. You will receive a free kit that includes posters, brochures, receipt books for donations and more.

Add Yourself to the Map

This is another way of making your presence known. Add yourself to the global map. When you plot your geographical location, you help build a picture of the global FM community.

Fibro and Food

We have looked at fibro and diet in the last few newsletters. And as we mentioned before, there is a decisive link between diet and inflammation. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain sterols that help stimulate our immune system and aid in reducing inflammation.

FM sufferers are finding that eating a mostly raw vegetarian diet is helpful in reducing their fibro symptoms. Read about this interesting study with its incredibly positive results. And guess what happened to those who returned to their original, less healthy diets? Their pain came back!

Yes, eating fresh vegetables reduces pain. This diet will not cure you, but the symptoms of your fibro flair will be less intense.

The pH Factor

The measure of acidity or alkalinity in our bodies is referred to as pH. It stands for potential hydrogen. The higher the pH, the more alkaline we are; and the lower the pH, the more acidic we are. To be healthy, our bodies need an acidic-alkaline balance. A pH of seven is considered neutral, with a range of 7.30 to 7.45 being ideal. Too much acidity can weaken our immune system, create gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, diabetes, neurological disorders, osteoporosis, premature aging, joint pain, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. When there is acidity in muscles cells, they do not perform well. Our pH levels must be slightly alkaline so our bodies can heal properly.

Is Your pH In Balance?

Acids are excreted in urine and are found in our saliva. You can find out if your body is neutralized with pH strips, which you can buy at your local health food store.

First, measure your urine either early in the morning before you eat or a few hours after dinner. Your urinary pH should be between 6.5 and 7.2. If it is below 6.5, you are acidic. To become more alkaline, you must eat more grenn leafy salads, nuts (especially almonds and chestnuts) and drink lemon water.

Saliva pH measures digestive enzymes that are made by the liver, stomach and pancreas. If the pH of your saliva is above 7.5, it is too high. You may find that you are bloated and have gas or constipation. If the saliva pH is below 6.5, your body may be making too much acid.

Balancing pH

As the old adage goes, ‘You are what you eat.’ If you need to balance your pH, eliminate all wheat and sodas from your diet. Reduce your consumption of sugars, processed foods and meat. Eat more vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds and drink a glass of lemon water a day, making sure to squeeze half of a fresh lemon into your glass.

The Gluten Factor

To help balance our pH, we should be aware of how much wheat we eat. Today, an alarmingly large number of people are sensitive to gluten. In fact, a shocking study found that celiac disease has increased by 400 percent in the last fifty years. Another scary fact is that most people do not even know if they are sensitive to gluten as the symptoms are often masked and are misdiagnosed. (Ninety-nine percent of the people who are sensitive to gluten are unaware of it.)

Gluten is found in barley, spelt, kamut, wheat, rye and some varieties of oats (as well as triticale, which is a mix of wheat and rye). It can also be hidden in salad dressings, soup mixes and sauces. As mentioned above, gluten contributes to high acidity in your diet. But did you know that eating gluten can cause disease? The New England Journal of Medicine published a review paper listing 55 diseases that are caused by gluten. Among others, these include arthritis, lupus and almost all autoimmune diseases.

In fact, gluten sensitivity is now referred to as an autoimmune disease. It can be the cause behind other diseases. It results in inflammation and affects our brain, digestive tract and joints. It is worthwhile to find out if you are sensitive to gluten. You can ask your doctor to arrange for a saiva test or blood test. Or, try to cut gluten out of your diet for a month and see how you feel. You just may have more energy and clarity.

 

Spring is finally here. This new season offers exciting, healthful opportunities; we can embrace warm air and sunshine, exercise outdoors and will soon be enjoying a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy spring! If you would like to suggest topics for future newsletters, please be in touch.

 

Daylight saving time has finished and autumn is here. Autumn never slid in sideways gently, giving us time to  acclimatise to the changing temperatures,  it hit us full on with a cold change that put snow on them tha’ hills.

Because I am not very well at the moment, the vegetable garden is not being attended as it should ((hence no pictures sorry) but I am getting help to pick things as they are ready. My late crop of yellow dwarf beans is finally coming in slowly and I am hoping we will get more sun and no frosts for a few more weeks so I can get some in the deep freeze. I am not sure the dwarf purple beans will develop, but the purple flowers and purple stems and veins are very beautiful.

My heirloom tomatoes are also still coming on and being brought into the windowsill as soon as any colour appears.  I love the black tomatoes -‘ Black from Tula’ and ‘Cherokee purple’. These have superb taste and there have been some weird shapes. The ‘Black Cherry’ is also divine and it was a very prolific fruiter. I find the acid free ‘Roma’ in both red and orange a lot better than I thought they would be. I have a friend who has already put in an order for more plants for spring. But the Amish paste variety are certainly not the best for eating raw, but excellent in sauce.   The mid sized cherry ‘Riesentraube’ with its little point on the base, is another favourite. Alas the white tomatoes  and yellow cherries did not make it over our very hot dry summer. They were planted too close to the trees on the boundary and every drop of water put on was slurped up by the greedy trees.

I gave away many plants of the 14 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes I grew and have had wonderful success stories come back. I have also had tales of triffids taking over the patio or garden. I DID give instructions, telling people to give them room to spread or keep the laterals pruned out to prevent this, but no one seemed to listen or read (men of course he he).

The last of the pickling cucumbers were picked today and when I feel a bit better I will cut and salt them and make more of my Cucumber Pickles. I still have zucchini ripening as well as cauliflowers so will be making more Mustard Pickle  too.

Pumpkins have also been disappointing this year as were the raspberries.  Again, for the same reason as the tomatoes, the boundary trees.

I brought some hessian sacks from Country Trading Co. for my potato storage. I will leave my late crop in the ground as long as I can before lifting and storing them for winter use.  I got the smaller sized bags as the felt they would be easier to (wo)man handle into the basement for winter.

When I am feeling better I want to plant Broad Beans (Fava beans) to grow over winter for an early spring crop. I have winter vege plants needing to go in too, but they will wait now the white butterflies have been kept off them. Oh they have had a feast in the last 2 weeks without my vigilance, my cabbages are full of holes. The caterpillars are being picked off by hand and the chooks are loving them.

The strawberries would have done a lot better in a raised bed rather than the pallet base I planted them in. They produced phenomenal root systems but the roots got too hot under the panels and fried. Strawberries will definitely go in a proper raised bed, along with my asparagus as they are both crops that can be left to themselves for several years.

I have been enjoying blueberries from my two potted trees. I will need to repot them into bigger pots as they have done so well. I brought some variegated cranberry plants and they are still in pots but fruiting nicely and are so sweet to eat. They will go in the very damp garden along the path between the house and fence. The garden slopes and is far too wet for my roses which will be moved in winter to a dryer space. Only cyclamen (I planted last winter) and weeds seem to grow there. I suspect the spring bulbs I planted there may have rotted out. Even though we had a very dry summer, that garden remained very damp.

Carrots, kohl rabi, salsify and parsnips are growing happily, although the parsnips never recovered several visits and donations from the neighbours cats (caught in the act and seen off the property with the water pistol kept for the purpose). I have ordinary orange carrots and also heirloom red and Belgian white carrots. This is the first time I have grown salsify and kohl rabi, but they seem to be doing ok.

As this is the first full growing season I have spent in this house, I now know where to grow things next season – where the sun and shadows lie all year around. I will definitely be making more raised gardens along the south side fence.  A greenhouse for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chilies is essential. Losing my cheapo greenhouse in the strong nor’wester wind so early in the season, meant the plants got stunted waiting to be planted in the new greenhouse than never happened. I had to just plant them or lose them in the end. I have been promised a new greenhouse by the end of July!!. It has to be up by then so I know where I can plant the raspberries and pumpkins.

 

I have a bag of mustard and also ‘chicken greens to plant on the old ground level vegetable garden. ‘The chook run will be moved to the non productive area near the boundary trees and will wrap around the greenhouse on two sides.  The mustard and chicken greens will be winter feed for  my 3 girls and I will graze them slowly over the area. I will also plant more greens in large seed trays so I can give them growing greens in the tray then remove it and let it come away again and recycle. That’s the plan anyway.

Guess I just have to get better so I can start doing some of this before winter arrives. We will see if it happens!!

I haven’t been around for the last couple of weeks because I am not well.

I have been having major Postural Hypotension……i.e. my blood pressure drops drastically when I stand up. It shouldn’t drop as much as it has been.. (systolic drop of 30-40) Everything would go black, I would lose my balance, feel nauseous, dizzy and hear my pulse race  and was even more clumsy than usual. So I am confined to barracks and having to rest it out.

Because this postural drop is not good for the body and my blood tests gave no real indication of what’s going on, we have had to resort to drastic measures. But because of my medical background, I am allowed to do this at home. I have had to go off my blood pressure medications, been confined to home and rest and no driving.  Last week I stopped the ‘widdle pills’ and went thru a few days feeling awful. I have had no energy or concentration and am bored, bored,  bored.

Yesterday I stopped the Metoprolol BP meds and today I feel very heavy, headachy and blah and spin out very easily. But I will get there. Next week when I am clear of BP meds, my doctor is going to start more tests to see what is going on. This is not something that can be put down to Fibromyalgia. My fibro pain is a little higher today but I am not bothered, used to that, plus the barometric pressure is high. The funny thing is my resting BP is really good thru all this (except for the drops). I am not to bend over or I lose my balance…. learnt that the hard way!!

Still, I will survive this and be glad when I can get back to (my) normal. I am missing being able to go swimming and exercising…. never thought I would say that!! No doubt all will come right and soon.

Oh One thing my blood tests did show, and I was not surprised, is that I am pre diabetic. But at the moment getting this postural drop sorted is the most important issue.

Will keep you posted.

Farm, Foodie & Fitness

One of the most popular excuses for not making better health a priority is that eating healthy is expensive. That simply is not true, a healthy lifestyle does not require a huge investment, just a shift in priorities. A fast food burger that costs a dollar really weighs much more heavily on the family budget when you consider the health implications of a poor diet. In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are my favorite tips to help you fit healthy eating into your budget.

Waste Less

Getting food to the family dinner table, eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That equals out to more than 20 pounds of food per person every month

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I am to be a grandma in September – my first grandchild and I am so excited.

I found the beautiful, white 4 ply wool baby shawl my mother had knitted for me when I had babies and want to pass it on to my children. It is still in excellent condition, but it has gone yellow with age.  I know there are ways to get rid of this yellowing, but I don’t know where to start. The yellowing is uniformly all over.

Can anyone please help me with a safe, as natural as possible solution? I would love to hear from you.

I have become increasingly perturbed by the long lists of (E) numbers and strange named ingredients being put in our food.

I was brought up on a farm in the ’60’s, in the days when we ate fresh food, or those home preserved or frozen. I am now trying to go back to that mind-set and am cooking from scratch. If I do buy something tinned I read the labels thoroughly and as well as being very choosy where a product comes from, I read ingredient list. What does half of it mean? Why do they need to put so many ‘additives’ into our food??

I have already used butter v margarine/spreads in another post, but this time I am talking about Mustard pickles… it’s my bottling season here in NZ.

Having run out of homemade pickles, I have been buying the odd jar of this. I have made two batches of my home made mustard pickles and realised they are the same colour as the purchased jar. Here is a picture comparing the two of them.

Purchased jar of mustard pickles on the left, my home made on the right.

Purchased jar of mustard pickles on the left, my home made on the right.

There is no colour difference at all.

This prompted me to do a comparison of ingredients.

Listed on the brought jar the ingredients are-

water, vegetables (32%) (onions, cauliflower), firming agent (509), acidity regulator (260), preservative (223), gherkins, firming agent (509), acidity regulator (260),  preservative 228))), sugar, thickener (1442), colour (102) spices, garlic powder, salt, acidity regulator (260). Allergen advice, contains: sulphites

You will note that some ingredients are listed twice.

What are all these numbers?

E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union (the “E” prefix stands for “Europe”).

E- numbers is a chemical compound that is added to protect against decay or decomposition to inhibit spoilage. Not all E-numbers are bad for you. However, most E- numbers are prepared/produced synthetically as these are often less expensive than the natural product.

It is extremely wise to avoid eating food with harmful food additives, preservatives. Many of these food additives were once of natural origin and were not harmful.

Classification by numeric range.
1. E100s are generally colours.
2. E200 to E282 are mainly preservatives and acids.
3. E300 to E341 are mainly antioxidants and acid regulators.
4. E400s include emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners, anti-caking agents, release agents and bulking agents.
5. E500-E599 – Mineral salts & Anti-caking agents, some modified
6. E600-E699 – Chemical flavour enhancers
7. E900-E1520 and by name – Miscellaneous all chemical by manufacture.

I have looked up the numbers occurring in the brought Mustard Pickle.

E 102 – Tartrazine. Synthetic dye used as food colourant. Also known as Yellow 5. Derived from petroleum production. Tartrazine appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes, particularly among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance. A 1994 study at the University of Melbourne suggested that children previously identified as hyperactive may exhibit an increase in irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbance after ingesting tartrazine

E 223 – Sodium metabisulphite – Derived from coal tar; all sulphur drugs are toxic and restricted in use (in USA, FDA prohibits their use on raw fruits and vegetables), produced by combustion of sulphur or gypsum; known to provoke asthma attacks and difficult to metabolise for those with impaired kidney function, also destroys vitamin B1; typical products are beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, potato products. Commonly used as a sanitization and cleaning agent in home brewing and winemaking to sanitize equipment. It is used as a cleaning agent for potable water reverse osmosis membranes in desalination systems. It is also used to remove chloramine from drinking water after treatment

E228 – Potassium hydrogen sulphite – Same as process and concerns as 223.

E260- Acetic Acid – Main component of vinegar, synthetically produced from wood fibres; used in pickles, chutneys, and sauces

E509 – Calcium chloride – derived from Brine

E1442- Hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate-  made from modified maize and tapioca.

Where is this leading to?

Lets now look at what goes into MY mustard pickle

Fresh vegetables – cauliflower, zucchini, beans, cucumber, onion garlic), salt, malt vinegar*, flour, sugar, mustard powder, mustard seed, turmeric, curry powder.

Malt vinegar, also called Alegar, is made by malting barley, causing the starch in the grain to turn to maltose. Then an ale is brewed from the maltose and allowed to turn into vinegar, which is then aged. It is typically light-brown in color. 

Now go back and look a the list of ingredients in the brought pickle and compare them with mine.

  • Apart from the vinegar the veges are cooked in, my pickle does not need preservatives, added colour or acid regulators and flour is used to thicken it.
  • Given the chance this pickle will last for years. Never does in my house though, it gets eaten to fast.
  • Mine has no colour additives, yet when you compare the two jars above,  mine is exactly the same colour from normal cooking ingredients.

Want the recipe for my Mustard Pickle? Check out this link for my Homemade Mustard Pickle

I am having a really good harvest of zucchini this year and have been looking for ways to use them all up.

I have just learnt from Joan, my very good friend in Canada, that she grates it and freezes it for use in her chocolate zucchini loaf and soups and stews. I have never tried freezing it as I heard it collapsed, as it would so if frozen whole. But I am poised with grater in hand, watching for the next flush of zucchini.

Last week, I made up a huge batch of mustard pickle. Alas I didn’t take enough photos, but once I remembered, I did get a few. I use what ever veges I have on hand and too excess. It’s pretty simple to do. I used zucchini, cauliflower, peppers, onion and beans.

Homemade Mustard Pickle

Day 1)

Make up a brine as follows.

Dissolve 1 cup of salt in 2.2l (4 pts) hot water.

Cut a total of 12 cups of vegetables. we like ours cut fairly fine, but some people like it chunky.

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I used 4 cups sliced zucchini, 3 cups cauliflower, 2 cup pepper, 1 cup beans, 1 cup onion. Put veges into a large bowl or pot and add the brine and leave to soak for 12-24 hours.

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Day 2)

Drain the brine mixture out and rinse the vegetables well and put into a large pot. P1010545

 

Measure out 2.2l (2 quarts) vinegar. (i used malt)

Reserve 1 1/2 cups for flour mix below and put remainder into the vege mix and bring to a slow boil.

Mix

1 cup flour

4 Tbsp mustard powder or powder seed mix

1 1/2 Tbsp tumeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

with the reserved vinegar and mix together to a smooth paste.

Once the veges are boiling, carefully stir in the flour mix and stir until it begins to boil again.

Remove from the heat and carefully fill clean, hot, sterile jars to 6mm from the top. Wipe around the rim with a clean damp cloth and seal with lids. Set aside to cool and they will pop to show they have sealed. This filled 16 recycled jars ranging from 250 to 680 ml jars, and all sealed.

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Once cooled, wash the jars, dry and label including date.

Because the jars are hot and vinegar is used in the cooking,and the veges are cooked slightly, there is no need to do any further canning process. I try to keep the pickle a year before it is used, but a minimum of 23 months is recommended. It really does get better with age. I never made any last year due to moving house and I have hated buying preservative filled pickles.

The trick now will be to let them mature before sampling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Autumn here in New Zealand and I am harvesting my garden produce for storage. The last week has been mostly sunless and I am worried that my late veges may not ripen.

My tomatoes had to be grown outside after a very, very strong nor’wester tore my greenhouse off its frame and did irreparable damage. I manage to save most of my plants but many were too young to survive without cover. The ones planted outside are finally starting to ripen, although I might need to make a lot of green tomato preserves if we get an early frost.

My Cucumber/gherkins have been slow maturing, but when I get a half-dozen or so, I am bottling them. Instead of doing this lot whole, I decided to slice them and add peppers and onions and pickle them.

Here is how I did them. 050

 

Homemade Cucumber Pickles 

6 small pickling cucumbers or gherkins ( 500 gms)

1 1/2 Tbsp kosher or un-iodised salt

1 onion

1 large pepper

1 cup white sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar – well packed

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds*

1/2 tsp celery seeds*

1/8 tsp turmeric powder*

3 clean sterilized hot jars and lids (I keep mine in a warm oven or hot water in the sink).

* Best place to buy these is Bin Inn.

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Thinly slice the lengthwise (I did lengthwise)  using a sharp knife or mandolin. Transfer into a largish bowl and layer with salt and mix by hand. Put a cover over the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs.

Slice onion and pepper thinly, cover and put aside.

Rinse the cucumbers well, under running water and drain well. Tip onto a clean cloth or layers of paper towels and pat to dry. Add onion and pepper

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Mix the sugars, vinegar’s, seeds and turmeric in a pot and bring to the boil.

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Carefully spoon the vegetables into the boiling vinegar mix and bring back to the boil and cook for 2 mins.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the veges out of the vinegar into a bowl and leave vinegar’s to simmer.

Using tongs, carefully fill the jars with veges. I tried to get a good mix of each in each jar.

Carefully pour the hot vinegar mix into a jug and pour into the jars. Using a knife or spoon handle release any trapped air then fill jar until it is overflowing the top. Screw on the hot lid and tighten. Repeat for other jars. Wipe down jars and leave to cool.

050

This method does not need to go thru a canning process, because of the vinegar and the cooking I give the veges in the vinegar mix means they are boiling  hot when put into the jars. They retain their crispness and crunch this way, but are safe to keep. I wash the jars when they have cooled and popped and label them and pop them in a cupboard and try to resist the temptation to open a jar too soon. These are best left a few month to mature – if you can, but they can be used immediately if you can not wait.

It is a simple process and easy to do in small amounts. The next batch I make might have some dwarf beans or runner beans in it too. I just use what veges I have on hand but make sure the cucumbers are the predominant ingredient. It’s a shame my yellow beetroot won’t be ready for a few months because I reckon it would be good cooked and sliced thinly and added to this as well.

I serve the pickle with cold meats, or in sandwiches with cheese.  Yum, no Mari, you must not open a jar yet. Sigh.

I mentioned in the post on Butter versus Margarine that I make my own whipped butter. This week has been a busy one but I finally got time to make up 2 x 500 gm pure butter into my whipped butter. It is simple to do but an electric mixer makes it much easier. If you have a food processor with a strong beating blade – not chopping  blade, it might work too. I use my trusty old Kenwood with the balloon whisk beater as seen below.

The butter needs to be soft at room temperature. Don’t put it in the microwave to soften as this will cause it to separate if it actually melts,

Make sure the butter you buy is REAL butter i.e. just cream and salt listed on the ingredients. Butter with water in it is often made from reconstituted milk powder, hence the presence of water. Here in NZ, Tararua and Alpine are both full cream butter available in local shops. I think there is another one too but am not sure of the brand name off hand.

P1010542

Ingredients

500 gm (1 lb) butter (softened naturally at room temperature)

150 gms cold water

Put the softened butter into the mixer bowl and set machine going on a high speed. Stop after a few minutes to push the butter down from the sides. Continue beating until the butter is creamy and pale and keep the sides pushed down

Gradually dribble the water in while the beater is mixing. Doing this fast will cause the mix to split so please take your time. A drop or two at a time is the best rate. Stop occasionally to push it down again.

Once the water is all in, continue beating for a few minutes more then stop. Put it in a sealed container and keep it in a cool cupboard. I filled the one kg  table spread from just one 500gm butter pat.

This is what it should look like when its done.

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I keep mine in a cupboard and it keeps fine. During mid summer I put it in smaller containers, keep one out in a cupboard and keep the rest in the fridge.

P1010549

I actually do 2 x 500 gm at a time and its about 4-6 weeks worth of whipped butter. As well as filling the old table spread 1 kg container I filled the clip lid container too. I did not weigh the butter but I reckon I have close to 2 litres volume of butter.

How does the price compare to other table spreads or margarine. 

Firstly I would like to add that it takes less whipped butter to cover a slice of toast than it does using an oil based margarine/table spread.

I buy butter when it is on special and keep it till it is needed. I was lucky last week and brought the Tararua butter for $3.29 a 500 gm block, which I have to admit was an amazing price. (I brought 4 then went back for more a few days later). So this meant 500 gm of  whipped butter cost $1.65 NZ. Works for me.

Table spreads – margarine’s sell from $1.99 for 500 gm of the cheapest mix, to about $7 NZ for the supposedly ‘healthy’ ones.

Now my Whipped Butter has 3 ingredients – Cream, salt and the water I added to whip it.

Table spread has the following ingredients – Vegetable oils (contains a minimum or 42% canola oil), water, salt, emulsifiers (471, 322 {from soy}, preservative (202), flavour (?????), colour (160a), acidity regulator (270) . This also has the warning in big bold letters Contains: Soy. 

Oh and it has to be kept refrigerated.

So — Which would you prefer?

3 healthy natural ingredients and about 10 mins work to make easy spread butter, or 9 ingredients including oils, emulsifiers, E numbers, flavour (no idea what this is) and preservatives?? You choose. I have!!

Those of you with Fibromyalgia will know what I mean when I say I am having a fibro flare. Have been achy all week and brain fogged. I see it was the full moon a few days ago, so I suspect that has something to do with it as it always seems to effect me this way.

I woke this morning feeling like I had been hit by a bus. After having a shower I felt a little bit better but feel wooden and heavy and oh so very, very tired. I even feel a bit nauseous.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately and am often awake till 3am, then struggle to get up in the morning and feel very ‘brain fogged’ for the day. My sleeping pills don’t work any more plus am having such dreadful hot flushes that waken me at night and drive me nuts during the day. They are not just flashes, but last 10-20 mins and if I am doing something slightly energetic, they can last 30-45 mins. I positively ooze. It’s not pleasant for me and even worse when I am out or shopping. Blood tests show I am post menopausal and don’t have any disease or illness, so it is just put down to good old fibro. I can cope with the pain, tiredness, brain fog and clumsiness, but the sweating is the pits.

OK so what can I do about it? Basically grin and bear it. There is no medication that helps the pain. But I can help myself to help myself. How?? Read on.

  • Diet…. Yeah I know, you have heard it before. But I have improved since I started eating everything fresh and no preservatives or chemical numbers. My pantry has one tin of baked beans, one tin of spaghetti, and a few tins of fish. That’s it! My fridge has a block of cheese, yoghurt and bacon but hat’s the limit of my stored pre packaged food. I grow all my own vegetables, buy fresh fruit in season and bottle or freeze it, and make all meat dishes from scratch, using spices or herbs. I have also cut down my bread consumption and only eat two slices of Burgen SoyLin bread a day… usually with half an avocado, cucumber and tomato for my breakfast. I steer clear of further gluten where I can or else be prepared to suffer the consequences.
  • Exercise. Ok, I have to put action where my mouth is here as I have never been a sporty person. Even as a child I did anything I could to avoid PE or sports… I could never understand why no one else was all sore and achy like I was. I go swim walking and aqua exercising 3-4 times a week. This has helped my knees considerably and I love it. Might be different in winter tho but I want to keep at it.
  • Sleep. We all know lack of sleep leads to stress which leads to more pain. But sleeping is easier said than done too. Ideally I would love to be asleep by 10am and awaken ready to bound out of bed, into the shower and face the day at 7am. Alas my bounding days are over as that bus is usually waiting to hit me. So getting up in the morning is a slower event than it used to be. I am lucky to be asleep by midnight and if left undisturbed, I could sleep for 12 hours. I no longer use the tv in my room at night, preferring to read for a short time then try to sleep. But between the hot flushes and restless legs its pretty much a hit and miss process.
  • Coffee. I am trying to cut down on the number of cups of instant coffee I have per day. I don’t drink it after 3pm and go onto a herbal tea after that time. My water bottle is never far away either.
  • Vitamins. With out Vitamin B executive stress formula I don’t function. It really does help. Because I am getting restless legs and lower spasms I take Magnesium. I am going back on to them at night as they are said to help with sleep as well. Worth a try.

These things have worked for or are helping me. OK they may not work for every one but they are for me to some degree. The exercise one is something I resisted, but it is essential. I would like to be able to walk miles but I find the aqua exercise works much better for me.

What about you? Have you found something that really helps you? Do u have a question to ask? I’d love to hear from you.