Graded Exercise Therapy (GET): What You Need to Know

Pro Health recently published this article , summarizing a new study on Graded Exercise Therapy (GET). They warn that patients treated with GET, a widely used therapy for ME/CFS and FM patients, could be more harmful than helpful. While I am glad to … Continue reading

Gluten Free Diet for Chronic Fatigue

I’ve been eating on and off gluten free for about 2 years. It wasn’t when I stopped eating gluten that I noticed the biggest difference, but when I reintroduced gluten after not eating it for several months. When I woke … Continue reading

How to get Through the Hard Days

Sometimes the fatigue or the pain slithers through your body unexpectedly. Through my practice in mindfulness, I have become better at knowing when a crash is about to happen, and often this allows me to take action (or inaction) to stop it. Yet I still feel some anxiety when I think back to the unpredictable nature that used to be characteristic of my symptoms. What can you do when you find yourself slipping into a dark place, or unexpectedly wake up to find yourself there? I have developed a few mechanisms that work well for me, it might be worthwhile to give some a try the next time you feel yourself glued to your bed:

  1. Yoga in Bed: I love to do yoga, but sometimes the thought of stumbling out of bed to get onto a thin mat and support myself is daunting. Thus I have developed my very own routine of doing yoga in bed. Poses range from child’s pose (where I drag myself onto my stomach, lean back on my heels, and rest my head on the bed), lying crows pose (lying on your back, and pulling one leg towards you while the ankle of the other rests just below your knee), and savasana or corpse pose (exactly as it sounds- blissful!). This both helps me meditate, and stops me from getting stiff and sore if I feel the need to stay in bed for a day.

    Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/82795201@N00/120772906/">BrittneyBush</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

    Do not try this in bed

  2. Cook a Fresh Meal: The thought of getting up to cook, when you feel like you’ve been beaten by a series of bludgers the day before may seem like an overwhelming task, but if you can enlist some help chopping and cleaning (or, in my best practice, just leaving the kitchen a mess when you are done) the effects of a hearty meal can be wonderful. Being exposed to the fresh spices, herbs, and ingredients stimulates all of your senses- helping you feel invigorated. Also, you can’t forget that your body is sick and needs nourishment, order-in or a microwave meal is not going to help you heal.
  3. Pamper Yourself: Treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or even a haircut. These treatments will help you to fully relax for an hour or so. I know it sounds superficial, but boosting your appearance often helps to boost your mood as well, making it easier to feel a little more energetic.

    Photo Credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Compfight cc

    Photo Credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Compfight cc

  4. Do Something Creative: This is a tricky one, being creative can be draining of energy, and if you are deep in a brain fog, it may feel impossible to do anything that requires the slightest bit of mental prowess. However, doing something creative can actually help you through a brain fog. It doesn’t matter much what it is- I personally like to write, or take photographs, but it doesn’t even need to be something that is ‘artsy’. Trying out a new recipe (or creating one of your own), thinking of a new idea for your business, or thinking of a creative solution to a problem you’ve been having, all fall into this category.
  5. Rest: This does not mean lying in bed thinking about all the things you wish you would rather be doing instead. It means treating yourself how you would treat someone you love if they were sick. It means taking the time to really, deeply rest. You can achieve deep rest through meditation, or sleep, or lying quietly with no stimulation. My vice is reading, if I am in bed and awake I always want to have a book on hand. But we need to close our laptops, put away our books, turn off the TV and focus on letting our bodies get the rest that they need.

    Photo Credit: ~fb~ via Compfight cc

    Photo Credit: ~fb~ via Compfight cc

Have you tried any of these? What are your ways for coping with bad days?

How to Trick Your Dinner Guests into Eating Gluten Free

I hate dinner parties. This may come as a shock to some of you, because I do love eating, and I do like socializing (when I am not hermitting), but I have so many weird dietary restrictions that I usually end up getting a lot of weird looks and coming home hungry, or giving in and eating all the foods only to return home feeling sick and bloated for the next 24-48 hours. As part of my 30 days of mindfulness, I have promised to eat mindfully, and that includes respecting my dietary restrictions (and, well, not starving myself). But what better way to enjoy food than with friends? So, being my daring self, I decided to host my own dinner party, with the goal to prepare everything gluten free, dairy free, and nut free! Turns out it wasn’t actually so hard…

With the last days of summer hanging tantalizingly over our heads, I considered barbecue as the best way to go. It had its pros: Barbecue foods are easy to find gluten and dairy free, and anyone can appreciate a motto of ‘more meat and less bread’ when it comes to barbecuing. But there were also cons: What about the buns? Cheeseburgers? It would be tough, and some compromises would have to be made, but I could almost taste the delicious glory of a gluten free dinner party.

I quickly made the decision that cheese could not be completely left out.  I admit, I have a weakness, but one slice of cheese never killed a digestive system! The buns were a different story. Dare I buy dry and questionable gluten free bread for the whole party, or do we go bun free? Deciding the $12 frozen loaf of gluten free bread was not a realistic option, it was clear we were all to go bun free. I know, I know, I could have just bought some bread for my guests and not ate it myself, but then I would have to deal with their pitying stares and questions, and this was MY dinner party so we could all eat our burgers with a knife and fork.

I made a homemade spicy mustard dressing for a fresh Greek salad, and put the homemade burgers and gluten free sausages on the grill. As the guests happily chatted away over some Mojitos, I faced my next challenge: desert.  There would be no cream puffs or cakes here, I needed something simple to complement the barbecue, but also gluten and dairy free. Luckily, the blogosphere came to my rescue with these amazing chocolate peanut butter ball deserts. I used dark chocolate with no milk in it, and otherwise followed the directions on here! (Warning: make sure to put the peanut butter balls in the freezer, not just the fridge, or else they will not hold enough chocolate).

Finally, the eating began. I nervously began cutting my burger with a fork and knife, but after the guests realized there was no bread, they just laughed it off and enjoyed! (Everyone agreed the cheese was essential, though).  The peanut butter balls were a hit; no one would’ve guessed it was gluten and dairy free, especially because everyone was already a little tipsy off wine and cocktails by then!  It was a very enjoyable evening with food and friends, and perhaps, most importantly, everything was super easy to prepare and easy to delegate to my boyfriend to clean up!

In conclusion, my guests didn’t seem to mind eating gluten and dairy free, because although those words usually scream ‘no fun’ to foodies, thanks to the wealth of options and delicious recipes on the internet, we have to suffer no longer! I’ve even shared the peanut butter ball recipe with my friends so next time I attend a dinner party; I don’t have to worry about not getting desert.