The effects of hidden food additives on Fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia stole several years of my life. In 2002, I came down with what I thought was the flu – but it just wouldn’t go away, and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Nothing they did for me seemed to help. After more than 15 different prescription medications, countless appointments with various specialists and more than a handful of diagnostic procedures; I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. For years, I lived in pure misery, suffering from a debilitating “invisible” illness for which doctors told me there was no treatment, no cure and no known cause.

Fortunately, in 2007, I stumbled upon some information that changed my life forever. I learned that there are ingredients in processed foods (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors/sweeteners) that are making people sick, tired and overweight. Immediately upon reading this information, my husband and I inspected the ingredients label on everything we were eating; and we came to the harsh realization that what we had been putting into our bodies wasn’t really even food. Every ingredient label in our kitchen was filled with mysterious words and chemical names!

Without hesitation, we completely purged our kitchen of processed foods and mysterious chemical ingredients – we threw food away, gave food away, and even sold some of it at our garage sale! We said good-bye forever to things like Lean Cuisine meals, Slim Fast bars, soda, chewing gum, ice cream and fast food. We began making all of our food at home…from scratch. We scrutinized the ingredients label on everything we purchased from that point on; and if it contained even one word that we didn’t fully recognize as having come from nature, we didn’t put it in our grocery cart. We also began to seek out local farmers and purchase as much food as we could directly from them – we wanted to fill our bodies with foods from the earth, not chemicals from a lab.

Within just a few months of these dietary changes, I realized that I was no longer in any pain and my fatigue and all of my other symptoms had completely dissipated, as well. No longer were my arms so weak that I could barely drive. No longer was I too fatigued to get out of bed. No longer was I in so much pain that I couldn’t bear to accept a hug from my loved ones. Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time I had suffered an episode of the abdominal cramping, insomnia, chest pains or racing heart beat that had plagued me for the last 5 years, either. In fact, it seemed that I felt better and had more energy than most people I knew (and 5 years later this is still the case for both of us – as long as we eat a completely additive-free diet)! So I kept reading every book I could get my hands on, and I still haven’t stopped educating myself about avoiding food additives and preparing natural, wholesome foods. The more I have learned about food additives, the more shocked and disgusted I’ve become. And when I read about the array of health problems (headaches/migraines, Fibromyalgia, digestive problems, cancer, chronic pain and fatigue, anxiety, depression, etc.) that are associated with these chemicals, it made me very angry!

One of the food additives that upset me the most is Monosodium Glutamate (“MSG”). Perhaps you are aware of the health effects associated with the MSG that is commonly used in Chinese food. However, many consumers are not aware that this very same MSG is added to all sorts of foods at restaurants and grocery stores, as well. Soups, potato chips, frozen dinners…and even foods that you would assume are just one ingredient (e.g., peanuts or sour cream) often contain MSG. MSG is a highly- processed food additive that is added to foods as a flavor enhancer. By over-stimulating our taste buds, MSG tricks our brains into thinking that a food item tastes good.

Unfortunately, according to experts like neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., MSG also over-stimulates and disrupts our nervous systems which causes and exacerbates an array of health conditions (Fibromyalgia, headaches/migraines, vision problems, digestive distress, heart attacks, hyperactivity, obesity, infertility, etc.). For this reason, Dr. Blaylock refers to MSG (and artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame) as an “excitotoxin.” Physiological responses to these excitotoxins are not allergic reactions – MSG and Aspartame are toxins, so everyone is sensitive to their effects to some degree.

Of course, it is best for all consumers to limit ingestion of MSG. Unfortunately, labeling laws have made this task difficult. By hiding MSG on ingredients labels under innocent-sounding names, such as “natural flavor” or “yeast extract,” food companies can legally add this toxin to food while preventing consumers from realizing it’s in there. With the many dozens of hidden names for MSG on food labels, avoiding this toxin can be challenging. One way to limit your exposure to MSG is to prepare all of your foods at home…from scratch. Even then, you must be certain to check the ingredients label of every item you use in your recipes because hidden MSG is often lurking in places you’d never suspect, such as some brands of canned tomato paste and canned tuna!

Of course, food additives are not the only factor to consider when treating Fibromyalgia. There are a variety of natural approaches that provide relief for those who are suffering. I am not a doctor, and I am certainly not advising anyone to abort their current treatment plan. However, “we are what we eat,” so I do encourage everyone to scrutinize their diets and to eat as many additive-free foods as possible. I am thankful everyday that I have found a solution that has worked for me and so many others.

Research about the effects of food additives on Fibromyalgia has been limited, but promising results were published many years ago in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. I hope to see more studies conducted in the future. Until then, I will continue educating consumers about the health-depleting effects of food additives, sharing my personal return-to-health story, and teaching people how to shop for and prepare natural, additive-free foods.

I know that these changes seem overwhelming and there are a million “reasons” why you “can’t” make these changes. Believe me, I felt the same way! Just five years ago, I was eating fast food, candy, diet pop and frozen dinners. I had no idea how to cook, and I was also battling a chronic illness and suffering from extreme fatigue, weakness and pain. So, if I can make these changes, anyone can!! It’s just a decision that each of us must make to take an active role in maximizing our own health and wellness and to make conscious decisions about what we put into our bodies. I truly hope that you will consider the information that I have presented here and start doing your own research to begin making changes in your own life.

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Weight Loss the Easy Way = REAL FOOD Nutrition!

It’s difficult for me to believe, but just 5 short years ago, my kitchen was fully-stocked with commercial “diet” products. My freezer and cabinets were filled with “low calorie” frozen meals….weight loss and protein bars…and, yes, even….(gasp!) diet pop and sugar-free gum! Like so many Americans, that is what I thought I needed to do anytime I wanted to drop a few pounds. Of course, now I cannot imagine ingesting any of those products! Not only are they comprised of mysterious chemical ingredients, but they also taste… horrible! (Of course, at the time I convinced myself that I liked them – – because I wanted to lose weight! Yikes!) Luckily, I now realize that these weight loss gimmicks and products are SO not necessary, and they actually deplete our health in the long run. So I just stick with eating an additive-free diet, instead! 

In her guest post below, wellness coach Jedha D. shares with us how she lost weight without any “specially-formulated” shakes or other “diet products” – by just eating real, unprocessed foods! She was even kind enough to include one of her favorite, figure-friendly recipes below! Check it out!

So what about you? Have you lost weight and kept it off by eating a real foods diet? What tips can you share with others who would like to do the same? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below….

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Weight Loss the Easy Way = REAL FOOD Nutrition! (by Jedha D.)

When it comes to weight loss, it really seems to baffle so many people. We chase the diet fads and the bright shiny objects that claim to help us lose weight fast. We get drawn into the advertising campaigns, the ‘so called’ truthful claims, and the airbrushed images that portray perfectly beautiful bodies.

Weight loss is easy! I know because, after years of yo-yo dieting, I discovered real food and lost the 33 pounds that I had gained. I learned about the types of foods that cause weight gain and health deterioration, and I got them out of my life for good!

Since then I have never looked back, I can sustain my weight easily and I am more healthy and vibrant than I have ever been. I’m here to share the real truth about weight loss so you can stop chasing all the shiny objects coming your way and buckle down to getting some real and long-lasting results!

Real Food Nutrition

When it comes to weight loss, it’s ALL about real food nutrition!

That’s right! 80-90% of your results are going to come from what goes in your mouth! The other 10-20% can be boosted through exercise. So if you’ve been running wild on those cardio machines at the gym and not getting anywhere, then maybe you’ve just realized why.

Yes, it’s ALL about the food. And despite what many people think, you do not have to starve yourself to lose weight either. You simply have to eat the right foods, real foods!

So the simple equation to real weight loss results is to get your nutrition right, eating the right foods that promote weight loss and improved health. That’s it!

Okay, right now you may be thinking…I’ve heard all this before. But just wait a minute. Has anyone told you what those right foods are? Has anyone told you that a calorie does not just equal a calorie?

Not all calories are created equal. Junk foods, sugar, and even grain-filled foods are all empty calories that do not promote weight loss. They are the type of things you need to cut out in order to lose weight effectively. Additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and excess chemicals all have to be cut out of the equation for best results.

So what foods promote weight loss? Believe it or not, it is proteins and fats! Chicken, eggs, beef, pork, and turkey are all good protein sources. Avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut cream, and a few nuts are all good fats that promote weight loss. Of course, you still need a big variety of vegetables and a bit of fruit. So to lose weight easily you combine a source of protein with a variety of vegetables and a bit of healthy fat at every meal.

It’s not rocket science; it’s actually that simple and works every time! That doesn’t mean your diet is boring. Far from it because there is actually loads of variety and hundreds of tasty dishes you can make. Essentially you eat real food that is tasty, satiating, and super good for you. That’s the whole idea, right?

It’s not all about just losing those pounds; the focus should be on getting healthy so you feel great as well. One thing is for sure; you must get your nutrition sorted out. Clean up your diet, and you will lose weight without fail so you can finally stop chasing all those bright shiny objects and sustain a healthy weight and a vibrant life forever!

Here’s a delicious real food recipe that is good for you and your waistline (click picture to enlarge)! 🙂

Nut Crusted Lamb Cutlets & Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 lamb cutlets
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • Coconut oil or olive oil for cooking

Garden Salad

  • 2 cups lettuce – shredded
  • 1 cucumber – halved and sliced
  • 1 tomato – halved and sliced
  • 1 carrot – grated
  • 1/2 red bell pepper – diced
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Olive oil

Cooking Method

1. Trim the cutlets of any really big chunks of fat around the edges of the cutlet
2. Pat the cutlets flat between your hands and set aside
3. Place the flour on a plate and the egg in a bowl
4. Place the almond meal on a separate plate. Put the ingredients in line in this order:  flour, egg and then the almond meal.
5. Take the cutlets one at a time, and first coat them lightly in flour. Second, coat them in egg; and lastly coat them very well with almond meal, pushing the cutlets well into the nutty mix to coat them thoroughly. Then set aside on another plate.
6. Repeat the process for all the cutlets.
7. Place a thin film of oil in the pan so it completely covers the bottom of the pan. Then heat the pan until the oil is hot and ready for shallow frying.
8. Place the lamb cutlets in the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. You may have to reduce the heat on the second side to allow them to cook through at a slower rate.
9. Watch them carefully because you don’t want to overcook them. When you think they are done and the crumbs are nicely browned, turn the heat off and let them sit in the pan covered for 5-10 minutes. This resting period will complete the cooking and they will be ready to serve.
10. While they are resting, mix the salad together in a bowl and divide onto 2 plates. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil.
11. Serve your cutlets with the salad, and you have a delicious and tasty meal. Yum!

As you can see, this meal contains a good protein source in the lamb, some fats in the olive oil, and a little carbohydrate in the salad, making it a well-balanced meal.

These are the kind of delicious meals you can eat every day, and you certainly never feel deprived. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy!

Author Bio

Jedha D. is a weight loss and wellness coach who is passionate about helping people get off the merry-go-round and change their life from the inside out. She helps people achieve better weight loss results and a lifestyle they love, with real food and positive mindset changes. She is the author of a paleo breakfast cookbook and 30-day meal plans, and she writes an active real food health blog over at Paleo Weight Loss Coach.

Are Food Additives Causing YOUR Health Problems? “My Journey from Fibromyalgia to Food”

(Below is the video footage from my “Eating Outside the Box” presentation offered through the Wellness Program at Mutual of Omaha insurance company on 9-13-12.)

Are you or your loved ones experiencing health problems that are keeping you from living life to its fullest (insomnia, digestive distress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, headaches, chronic pain, weight problems, etc.)? Could there be ingredients in your food that are making you sick or exacerbating your symptoms? Find out how I completely eliminated my debilitating chronic illness, despite doctors telling me that I would suffer with “Fibromyalgia” for the rest of my life. Learn about harmful additives that are hidden on food labels, and start reducing YOUR reliance on processed foods…

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Food Additives Affect Children’s Health & Behavior

Have you ever wondered whether our children’s diet is affecting their health…or maybe even the way they feel or behave? Do you assume that certain children can “handle” food additives just fine just because they aren’t overweight or diagnosed with a behavior disorder or medical condition?

I encourage you to view the 5-minute video overview below that details the improvements experienced by children at one elementary school when their parents and school administrators worked together for 2 full weeks to eliminate food additives (colorings, flavorings, flavor enhancers, preservatives, etc.) from their diets.

Would it surprise you to know that some of the benefits reported by the children and their parents and school staff included: increased attention skills, decreased impulsiveness & behavior problems, less difficultly falling asleep at night, decreased bed wetting, fewer headaches & skin rashes, and improved mood and anger control (leading to improved relationships with peers and family members)? Even children who appeared initially to have “nothing wrong with them” were better behaved during the 2-week trial diet.

Please view the following video; and if you would like assistance with reducing the amount of food additives in your child’s diet, check out our “Eating Additive-Free Natural Cookbook & Grocery Shopping Guide” we have created to help ease your transition!