After 8 months of following a gluten-free, potato-free, low-sugar diet I can report the good news that I now have:
- Stable weight
- No IBS
- Clearer mind
- Better sleep
- More energy
A warm summer and a love of salads have made it very easy for me to stick to my diet plan, even when working away, on holiday and spending days waiting for relatives at Southampton General Hospital.
For most of the summer I have been able to gather salad leaves, red onions, tomatoes, beetroot and a few cucumbers from our garden. Whether home-grown or shop bought I like to prepare, wash and spin lettuce leaves in bulk and then store in a covered bowl or Tupperware container in the fridge. This way I have the base for many easy meals. So long as you haven’t added any dressing, or onion, a basic salad will keep in the fridge for days. Still keeping things simple.
In June and July I attended residential examiners’ meetings at the Holiday Inn, Guildford: one meeting of two days, the other of a week. I was a little apprehensive, but needlessly so. All meals were from a help yourself buffet and, most of the time, included an excellent range of gluten-free options. Avoiding potato was a little trickier – I ate rice at dinner every evening. Occasionally there was little on offer at lunchtime, but then the staff were very happy to provide me with a large mixed salad. I did take a small Lemon Polenta Cake with me to have instead of pastries with my morning coffee.
It was at the Holiday Inn that I made the first of my drinks discoveries. Within the Conference Suite, there were the most amazing refreshment stations offering hot and cold drinks, fruit, and healthy snacks all designed to boost concentration. Among the cold drinks were waters infused with berries, citrus fruits or cucumber. When I returned home I researched the benefits of these waters and found my new favourite – cucumber, lemon and mint from 8 Great Benefits of Drinking Cucumber Water (+5 recipes).
I take 1 lemon and about half a small cucumber, cut some fresh mint from my garden and slice the lemon and cucumber. I divide them between my 2 fridge jugs and fill with still mineral water. The water needs to infuse for at least 4 hours. I often leave it over night, then drain into clean jugs and top off with a little more mineral water. To serve, I again dilute a little further with still or sparkling mineral water. The flavoured water will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
At about the same time I decided to try ginger tea. This tea had cropped up on Facebook a few times and I chose this recipe from Fun Inventors to try, and now have it every morning with my breakfast.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and therefore, supposedly, good for those of us with fibromyalgia, and we all know how marvellous honey is. Admittedly, I was concerned about grating ginger to prepare the tea first thing in the mornings. However, I had seen somewhere that grating enough to fill an ice-cube tray, covering with a little water and freezing was a good way to prevent your ginger from becoming stringy and I thought, much like making salad in bulk, it would be an easy way to make my tea each morning.
This works really well for me. It is much easier to grate a large piece of ginger than the tiny amount you would need each day, and the odd bit that’s left over I just slice up finely, so no waste at all.
I treated myself to this beautiful little pebble teapot with removable infuser and making my ginger tea couldn’t be simpler.
The good news is that I can report some definite improvements, however, in terms of pain it is more difficult due to a flare caused by over-activity, but even that is being controlled with very few painkillers. My weight, which often used to fluctuate 4-5lbs over a two-week period, has stabilised. I have been consistently just under 9 1/2 stone for the past 4 months, even with minimal exercise due to the recent flare. I’ve not had any indigestion or IBS symptoms. My mind is clearer, my sleep has improved further and I have more energy.
This is definitely working for me.
Positively living with fibromyalgia