If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, you likely have a variety of symptoms that can include wide spread pain, muscle soreness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, digestive problems and more. You may be seeking a variety of treatments and strategies to help alleviate these problems. As diet can play a big part in controlling your symptoms, you may be wondering if you should give up gluten as part of your fibromyalgia diet.
Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, and there is no known cause for it. Experts are often baffled by this mysterious syndrome that seems to have a strong genetic and gender component. There is no definitive test for this illness, but rather a serious of tests to eliminate other conditions. But if you are one of the millions of people in this country that suffer from fibromyalgia, you know that it is a very real problem with very real effects on your life.
Because there is no known cure, fibromyalgia treatment consists of piecing together a variety of strategies that address each individual’s symptoms. These may include prescription medication, exercise, relaxation techniques and diet. Many people have sensitivity to gluten which can lead to digestive discomfort and other reactions. Your physician or dietician may advise you to try a gluten free diet to determine if this is the best course of action for you.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. It is very common in foods consumed in a western diet. Gluten can typically be found in anything that contains these grains, for example breads, cereals, pasta, pizza dough and more. Any food that contains wheat flour contains gluten. If you are allergic or sensitive to gluten, a gluten free diet can help alleviate many problems such as itchy skin, digestive problems, headaches and more. Even if you are not fully allergic, cutting out grains for a time can give your body a break from digesting this tough protein. Typically, a gluten free diet is a very low carbohydrate diet, so you may find that if nothing else, you lose weight during this time.
How to switch to a gluten free diet
Because of the prevalence of wheat in western food, switching to a gluten free diet may seem a daunting task, but consider the potential benefits. If you rely heavily on foods such as bread, pasta and cereal, you may think that going gluten free is impossible. Start by substituting alternative foods such as oats, rice and other grains like quinoa. You will need to read packaging carefully as wheat may be known by names such as durum or semolina.
Make a list of foods that you love already that are gluten free and concentrate on adding more of these to your diet. Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by adding more salads and steamed veggies to your menu. Purchase meats such as grass fed beef or vegetarian fed chicken and eggs for the best results.
A great source of fresh produce is your local farmers market, where you can get seasonal fruits and vegetables that are often organic or chemical free. Buying in-season produce is often much cheaper as well.
A visit to your local health food store will reveal a whole host of gluten free alternatives and substitute products. Pasta made from rice, bread made with tapioca and potato starch flour and cereals that use oats can help you make the transition. Because this diet has greatly increased in popularity over the past few years, the staff will likely have good advice and recommendations to help you.
Make a commitment
One great strategy when making a major dietary change of any type is to enlist the help of friends and family. Rather than thinking about all the things you can’t eat, come up with ideas for foods that you can. Ask your kids, spouse and friends to support you in trying new recipes and foods. Make it a fun challenge.
The benefits that you can receive from becoming gluten free as part of your diet can help greatly to alleviate some the fibromyalgia symptoms that you are experiencing as part of your condition. While this approach may not work for all people, isn’t worth the time and effort to try it to see what benefits you can receive?