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10 Symptoms You May Experience With Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a tricky condition to live with as there are many symptoms you can experience beyond Pain and Fatigue. Here are 10 of the top symptoms you may experience and how to manage them.

Symptoms_of_fibromyalgia

Symptoms

1. Brain Fog

This is a cognitive impairment that causes problems such as temporary loss of memory, forgetting words or mixing up words, losing your train of thought, or saying things that don’t make sense. It can be frightening when it happens, as these are also signs of other conditions, such as Alzheimers Disease.

Your doctor can do some mental testing to make sure the symptoms you’re experiencing aren’t being caused by some other condition. Ways you can help yourself include keeping a notebook with you to write down important information, taking a moment to pause and collect your thoughts, and keeping a sense of humour about the situation. If you tend to panic about having this happen, laughing is a good way to keep things light while allowing you to start over with what you were saying.

2. Jaw Pain

Jaw pain in the joints on either one or both sides can be mistaken for TMJ (temporomandibular joint disfunction). Pain and swelling are the common symptoms of jaw pain along with stiffness and being unable to open the mouth without pain.

Gentle stretching exercises and muscle relaxants may be helpful in managing the pain. If only one side is affected, try chewing on the other side to relieve pain. If you hear popping or clicking, or if your jaw seems to be “out of joint”, see your dentist to rule out TMJ or other conditions.

3. Urinary Problems

If you are having difficulty with urinating, whether it’s a problem with urgency, leakage or straining, it’s good to check with your doctor to make sure there’s no underlying problem.

Having Fibromyalgia can affect the bladder and kidneys, causing the above symptoms. Some solutions include urinating on a schedule, doing Kegels, seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, and using bladder control products for leakage issues.

4. Body Temperature

People with Fibromyalgia may have difficulty in regulating their body temperature. In my case, I can have cold skin and goosebumps, yet be sweating from overheating at the same time. It’s a very disconcerting feeling.

Things that may help include keeping a light blanket or sweater nearby for chills and a fan for when heat becomes a problem. I have found that keeping my feet warm helps with the chills and then using a fan helps ward off the sweating.

5. Weight Gain

There are over 60 symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Find out about the top 10, along with a few tips about how to treat them in this post.

Weight gain is often caused because of medications you may be taking for your Fibromyalgia. Even if you’re not taking prescriptions, you may find you’re still gaining weight – it’s one of the anomalies of having Fibro. The only way to lose weight is by taking in less calories than you are expending. Fad diets may work for a short period of time, but in general are unsustainable.

Following a proper eating plan from all 4 food groups is essential and exercise is as well. You may find walking helpful (consider using walking poles for extra stability) or water activities, such as Aquafit, Deep Water Workouts, or Pool Walking to be helpful.

6. Chest Pain

Chest pain can be a scary symptom of Fibromyalgia and should always be checked out by a medical professional if you experience the following:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back.
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness.

The cause of chest pain in Fibromyalgia is often because of something called Costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the cartilage around the ribs. The condition usually affects the cartilage where the upper ribs attach to the breastbone, or sternum, an area known as the costosternal joint or costosternal junction.

Treatment includes anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen and using either heat or ice (which ever feels best for you).

7. Sleep Disorders

Pain can keep you from getting the sleep you need. You may also be experiencing Restless Leg Syndrome and not even be aware of it. Sleep Apnea is another problem that you may be facing and all of these issues can prevent you from getting the deep REM sleep that is necessary to repair the body.

Good sleep hygiene is important to follow. You may want to keep a notebook to jot down your thoughts when you wake at night to see if there is a pattern. Keep the room cool, avoid using electronics for one hour before bed, and try using a weighted blanket to see if that helps.

8. Digestive Problems

When you have Fibromyalgia, you may experience digestive disorders including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation (or occasionally both), heartburn and a general sense of feeling “unwell”.

Drinking peppermint tea can help with nausea, eating smaller more frequent meals might make a difference and trying to set up a schedule for bowel movements can help relieve discomfort. Metamucil or other Fibre supplements every day can be helpful for the bowels without resorting to laxatives.

If symptoms persist, see your doctor to rule out other potential problems.

9. Skin Problems

Itching, rashes, hives and tiny red marks can often show up when you have Fibromyalgia. Skin may become more sensitive to soaps and fragrances and you may discover that your normally dry skin has become oily or vice versa.

Use of a mild cleanser for face and body is imperative, especially ones containing oatmeal. Antihistimines are suggested when hives and itching become a problem and the tiny red marks that might show up on your skin are harmless.

If you have problems with skin rash, see your doctor who may recommend a dermatologist for further treatment.

10. Depression

Depression and Fibromyalgia may go hand in hand without you realizing you are showing signs. If you are finding yourself struggling to maintain interest in former activities, you’re isolating yourself, eating less or more than usual or have been unable to shake “the blues”, you may be experiencing Depression.

Treatment includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and often, medications. There is no shame to having Depression – you haven’t done anything wrong. You’re not weak, your body is showing signs of a chemical imbalance which should be treated like any other medical problem.

If you are feeling so depressed that you are suicidal, please call a hotline for help. You can find more information on hotlines here for Canada and here for the United States. In the UK, you can use this page for help.

Conclusion

There are over 60 different symptoms that relate to Fibromyalgia. These 10 are just the tip of the iceberg, but are the ones more commonly experienced.

Fibromyalgia is hard to explain

If you are experiencing something new, or if a symptom you’ve had for awhile changes, it’s always important to see your doctor, to rule out anything outside of Fibromyalgia. Better safe than sorry is certainly the key here. And remember…

There Is Always Hope


Resources and Further Reading


Pamela Jessen lives in Langford, BC Canada. She is a blogger who writes about Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness at pamelajessen.com.  She also writes for The Mighty,  PainResource.com and various independent publications. Pamela is also a Patient Advocate with the Patient Voices Network in BC.  She sits on 4 committees and one Provincial working group and has also been involved in advocacy work at the Canadian National level as well. Pamela is married to her amazing husband Ray and they have one cat named Dorie. 

There are over 60 symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Find out about the top 10, along with a few tips about how to treat them in this post.
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State of the Zebra Pit 2019 with Poll

You may have noticed things have changed a bit at the Zebra Pit recently. Posts aren’t coming as often, there are fewer topics being covered and there are fewer posts arriving each day to our social media accounts. You might have also noticed I was very careful when framing what my future might look like when discussing goal setting in my New Year Resolutions post. I suppose it’s time I got official about telling my readers what’s going on.

2018 in Review

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First let’s talk a little about what’s behind us before we talk about what’s ahead to get some perspective. Last October, the Zebra Pit (or Disability Depot as it was first called) turned three. It’s been three years of sometimes difficult, but always enjoyable work. It started out as an outlet for me to express myself and share a little of what I was beginning to figure out worked to help me feel better and it evolved into what you see today. It’s grown with my cognitive abilities and I’m very proud to say I’m almost back to being the writer I was in 2003 before EDS, MCAS and POTS began to overwhelm my brain with inflammation and pharmaceuticals.

It wasn’t until 2018 that I really began to treat the Zebra Pit like a business and that was a mistake, but not really an avoidable one. I worked on it as much as my health allowed and 2018 was a great year for me despite emerging heart problems and the ramping up of my MCAS so that I’m reacting to hundreds of substances and triggers and have to wear a mask everywhere I go. In a way it was a blessing because now I know how to protect myself, even if the reactions are that much more severe. You can’t treat something you don’t know about.

I’ve pushed hard to try to make the Zebra Pit successful and I’m proud of what I accomplished. We grew exponentially in 2018:

yearly stats 2018
The Zebra Pit has seen more than 2.5 times growth per year.

month and years 2018
Monthly views, the end of 2018 was really heating up

annual site stats 2018
More posts, more words, greater push to get the word out via social media. It all added up.

I’m also incredibly proud of some of the articles I wrote last year. As I’ve mentioned, it’s been my best year yet for writing because my head symptoms are at an all-time low and I’m able to tackle the tough stuff with greater ease and communicate with more specificity.

These were our top 20 posts and pages for the year:

  1. man with fireworksUnderstanding Mast Cell Disorders
  2. Fascia Treatments for EDS and Fibromyalgia
  3. Are Most Spoonies Suffering from MCAD?
  4. Breanna Sprenger, My Hero!
  5. What PQQ Can Do For You
  6. NIH Releases FAQ on Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia
  7. Medications & Supplements
  8. FDA Warns of Dangers of Epidural Spinal Injections
  9. MCAD: Medications and Treatments
  10. What is Interstitial Cystitis?
  11. Quercetin and MCADs
  12. AloeMD; Pain Relief + Healing
  13. FaceBlaster Beauty Results
  14. Wall Squats
  15. Low FODMAP Barbeque Sauce
  16. Tips for Exercising with EDS
  17. Recipes
  18. MCAS & Doctors Disbelieving Patients
  19. What is Gastroparesis
  20. MCADs and the Low Histamine Diet

What the Numbers Say

As you can see, we’ve done a fine job increasing our posts, our word count, and our reach, yet it’s still not enough. I started this blog because I needed it, not because I thought it would make money: However, I need to earn an income. While what I’ve done seems impressive on paper and I am very proud of it, it’s equal to $18 of earnings in advertising. Yes, I did all of this work over 3 years for $18. I’m lying, actually. It’s costed me more than that to maintain my blog, so I’m running at a loss, even if you count the few freebies I’ve managed to obtain by writing sponsored posts.

I’d love to turn this blog into a publishing empire, but the fact of the matter is so long as I write exclusively in the “Your money or your life” category, I will never be at the top of any search on Google and I will never get a fair shake on Facebook or Twitter. Because I am a patient advocate and not a licensed practitioner pushing pills as the solution to every ill, I will never rank high on any social media platform, search engine or collection site.

If I open a pharmacy or wellness shop to try to support my writing, more likely than not people will grow wary of my advice, assuming my work is nothing more than a tool for sales. I’d probably barely break even from the amount of advertising I’d have to do and fold in the first 6 months because I don’t have any start-up funds or savings. As things are right now, we can’t even cover our monthly expenses, so a trial run is simply out of the question.

No matter what angle I come at this from, there’s no way to win.

2019 and Beyond

20181231_212049
Capricious and her husband celebrating their first new year out in 14 years.

Though I know the Zebra Pit is a losing proposition financially and that’s come to matter to me a whole lot as my financial situation grows more untenable and my health less so, I’m not shutting it down. I never started this to turn it into a money-making enterprise, I started it to have an outlet for myself and as a way to help others. I plan to continue in that vein. Of course, now I have to balance it with the growing and changing needs of myself and my family. I’m looking for work, be it freelance or contract.

What this means is that I will be devoting much less time to the Zebra Pit. I won’t be pushing so hard to grow followers here and on social media. I won’t be writing 2-3 posts per week. I won’t be covering as many topics and I won’t be available to chat with my readers and followers the way I have in the past to answer your health questions, commiserate or just enjoy each other’s company and the knowledge that we each get the others struggle. I will always answer your questions and comments on the blog, though.

While searching, I’m doing my best to still post one original work per week and reshare at least one post per day on each social media channel. I’m also trying to keep my pinterest and YouTube channels (which of course has finally decided to take off) going. It’s a lot when doing all of one’s own cooking from scratch, making animal food, working out, fasciablasting, job hunting, self-care, other chronic illness management and still making it to 1-3 medical appointments every week. I sometimes wonder where I’ll get the time to actually work, but time I will have to make.

Yes, this leaves the future of the Zebra Pit in a precarious state, but we all have to make our own choices and do what’s right for us in the long run. And even if I do end up walking away entirely at some point, the site will still be here to guide other trifecta zebras through the process of healing and recovering their own lives so they too can move on to working and living life to the fullest again.

Help Shape Content for The Zebra Pit

blackboard chalk chalkboard classroom

Since my time is limited, I wanted to ask my readers what topics are most important to you? You could help to shape the content for the Zebra Pit moving forward by answering the questions below:

Your answers are greatly appreciated. Feel free to expand on your thoughts in the comments. Your answers and comments will help shape future content. Thank you for taking the time to answer!

state of zp pin

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Why Aloe is for Spoonies

After my trial of AloeVeritas’ Aloe Drink Gel went so well and relieved so many of my nagging gastroparesis and IBS symptoms, I decided I wanted to keep exploring aloe drinks to see what else was out there. Turns out there are a lot of fake products out there, but there was one juice that stood out nicely above all the rest while still being quite affordable.

Testing Aloe Juices

green leafed plants
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

I grew fascinated by the aloe industry when I began doing research for my AV Drink Gel article. The process of extracting inner aloe gel for drinking may be a simple one, but it’s very important to avoid the contamination of inner leaf gel with the outer leaf gel, which contains aloin, a bright yellow liquid aloe leaf latex which can be fatal to humans if enough is ingested. This is why it’s so very important to get a good quality aloe juice. Unfortunately, what I discovered during my investigation of aloe drinks, is that there are a lot of companies out there who claim to offer a safe and effective aloe drink, but are coming up way short on delivery.

When I began testing a second aloe juice, I did so before doing my write up on the Aloe Drink Gel. I hadn’t yet realized there are a lot of Aloe Vera fakes out there, some of which can be dangerous because they use Aloin in their products, the dark yellow outer leaf gel that contains latex. Aloe latex can deplete the body of our precious potassium, so essential to heart health and maintaining heart rate and blood pressure (2).

When I realized this, I checked research on the aloe juice I bought after I was out of the Aloe Drink Gel. The results weren’t good. Not only did it contain very little actual aloe, it tested positive for aloin. Aloin is in outer leaf gel. It contains latex and when consumed causes dehydration, diarrhea and depletion of potassium, which can lead to a heart attack. If you’re taking aloe and it’s causing you diarrhea, it probably contains aloin. Pure inner leaf gel shouldn’t do that, taken in the right amount. Unfortunately, the cheapest, most popular brands tested very poorly and either contained aloin, way too low an amount of aloe to contain anywhere close to what they say they do. While I hate to badmouth products on my site, to protect the health of my readers, I want to state clearly that this includes George’s, Fruit of the Earth and Real Aloe and Whole Foods brands. I’d also be highly suspicious of any drug store or grocery store brand (1, 4).

red heart ornament and aloe vera plant covered with paper

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Luckily, when I finally got off my post-vacation flared-up duff and reviewed my notes to begin writing my review of Aloe Veritas’ Drink Gel, I realized I wasn’t seeing nearly as many of the benefits with the cheaper aloe juice I bought afterward that I’d been seeing with Aloe Veritas’ Drink Gel. As is my usual way, I got to work on the research. That quickly convinced me I wanted nothing to do with the cheap aloe.

While the healing effects of the AV Drink Gel hung in there with me for a few days after I finished it off, I could tell the effects were dwindling after a week or so. I was having more problems with diarrhea, nausea, heart burn, and even occasional shut downs of my system that would cause severe nausea and terrible, painful gas if I tried to relax my diet in the least.

This made me wonder what I was really drinking in this new, cheaper aloe and when I started researching it, I was not happy with the results. One company tested it back in 2012 and claimed it had absolutely no aloe at all in it, while just this last year, another company tested it and it was found to have significantly less aloe content than it should if it were actually “pure aloe vera juice” as the label claimed. Could they be using cheap aloin to get the positive aloe vera results? It was certainly possible and according to what I’d read, other companies had been caught doing just that.

I went off of the aloe products entirely because I was so afraid of everything the research revealed. After only 3 days, the full force of my stomach issues resurfaced. My meals had to be cut in half and I was still suffering nausea. I had little to no appetite and mealtime became an if/when proposition for me again because the food was sitting in my stomach for hours and hours, no matter how tiny the portions. I also had overall gastric pain that woke me up every time I moved in my sleep.

This experience convinced me the test results I read were probably valid. While taking the AV Aloe Drink Gel, I felt like my stomach was 10 years younger, like real change was possible, while on the other drink, it was only somewhat pacified and even upset some of the time, while my POTS symptoms were getting worse. On the AV Drink Gel, my POTS symptoms seemed better, probably because it has added potassium and enough aloe vera content to increase absorption by 300%, as all pure aloe drinks should.

Lakewood Aloe

So I went on a mission to see if I could find any products that were at least a little more affordable that had good results in testing and I came up with Lakewood Organic Pure Aloe Inner Leaf Juice with Lemon. Like AV’s Drink Gel, this product isn’t 100% aloe, but it only contains a minute amount of natural organic preservatives and lemon juice for flavor enhancement. The taste is quite similar, as is the color and consistency.

So are the results. I’ve been drinking Lakewood for about a month now and I have a very happy tummy. I can get a 32 ounce jar at Kroger for $7.49 with my groceries, so it’s really convenient and affordable. Of course I’ve since figured out I can get it from Amazon for a lot cheaper. Since I only drink 4 ounces every night before I go to bed (or first thing in the morning if I forget), a bottle lasts me 8 days.

The Benefits of Aloe for Spoonies

When starting on Lakewood, my system started to calm down almost immediately. By the end of the week, I was back to enjoying pain free digestion, much like what I got a glimpse of on the AV Gel. I haven’t been able to cut out any medications or anything, but what medication I am on is actually working, without breakthrough heartburn. Oddly enough, I can’t even remember the last time I had diarrhea or constipation. That may sound weird to the average person, but to someone like me who used to rotate constantly between the two, it’s a flat out miracle.

I’m also dropping weight at a somewhat higher rate. Over the last two months, I have averaged 2.3 pounds lost per month, compared with my usual average of 1.1 pounds. Given that it’s taken me 4 years to lose 55 pounds on a 1300 calorie diet, I can’t help but be impressed that it’s doubled my weight loss rate in such a short time and I suspect that once I am able to return to my regular cardio routine once the cardiologist clears me, that weight will come off a whole lot faster.

Of course the most important thing to me is that it help with my symptoms. When taking either Lakewood or Aloe Veritas drinks, my stomach seems to digest at a normal rate and I am able to eat a normal amount, all without any of the usual repercussions of heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pseudo-blockage, bloating and painful gas. Of course this is only true if I stick to my required diets, the low histamine for MCAS and low FODMAP diet for gastroparesis/IBS.

Benefits and Uses of Aloe Vera

It’s not a miracle cure. I can’t eat anything I want. I can have cheat meals while taking the aloe, as it doesn’t seem to upset my system in the least if I devour the occasional big boy and fries or pizza and salad. If I try to do it 2 days in a row, my digestion slows, I experience nausea and pseudo-blockage. For me, this is a huge improvement and I will happily take it. Results for you may be quite a bit different depending on disease progression and other personal factors.

Aloe is also great for spoonies for a variety of other reasons. It can greatly reduce inflammation (one of the reasons it works so well for GP and IBS), which translates into a reduction in pain in many ways. For me this has been a reduction in joint pain, tender points and organ pain. I’ve also enjoyed a life with fewer dislocations/subluxations (yes, aloe supports healthy production of collagen and can help with fibromyalgia pain). Even my skin is enjoying my aloe drink. It’s slightly firmer, more youthful and not nearly as dry. I’m actually psoriasis free for the first time in over a decade and it’s WINTER!

I can’t wait to see what other things begin to improve as time goes on. I’m not taking as much as a recommended serving (6-8 ounces) in large part because I think I’m probably going to have to always be on it and with taking it daily, I reason that a smaller dose is okay. So far, it seems more than sufficient.

Will Aloe Heal My Chronic Conditions?

two green succulent plants
Photo by Tharatip Sukee on Pexels.com

We’d all love to find a miracle cure, but really, the best we can usually hope for is something that quells our symptoms without serious side effects. The only side effects I’ve seen to taking aloe vera have been overwhelmingly positive and I aim to keep it that way by ensuring I’m taking aloin free gels and juices only.

Aloe Benefits PinI don’t really know if aloe can offer actual permanent healing of any of my complex chronic illnesses, but I know as time goes on I do feel better and better and I’m able to eat more and more foods that were once barred from my diet. I’m not sure if the aloe is responsible or my MCAS meds or the combination, but I am hopeful that this could spell long term permanent change. For now, I’m just happy it’s working and I get to occasionally enjoy some of the wonderful foods I’ve been missing for years. For now, aloe is a blessing and I can really only hope that it remains that way.

Below are the articles I used to research aloe, including those test results. If you can’t find Lakewood or can’t afford AV’s drink gel, perhaps there’s another on the list that’s at the right price point and available to you. Just remember, if you decide to take aloe, please be sure you pick a reliable, high quality brand and be sure to avoid aloin to ensure you’re reaping all of the benefits of aloe with none of the dangers!

  1. Aloe Vera Juice Brand Competition
  2. Aloe Vera: Ultimate Guide
  3. Our Aloe – Aloe Veritas
  4. Laboratory Tests Find No Evidence of Aloe Vera in Store Brand…
  5. Quality Control of Aloe Vera Beverages

As always, thanks for taking the time to read. If you’ve tried aloe or have any questions, let us know! If you can think of someone who might benefit from the knowledge I just put down, leave a link somewhere for them to find and pick up.

UPDATE: Important Things to Consider When Taking Aloe Vera Drinks

January 16, 2019
I just released this article about what happened when I didn’t consider the full ramifications of supplementing daily with aloe. I gave myself a big scare. Whatever you do, take the claim that it can increase absorption by 300% seriously and adjust any vitamins and minerals you take as necessary, testing them as needed. My potassium serum levels looked okay, but I was over-saturating my cells and could have had a heart attack. Some of my other levels were too high as well:

Some vitamins and minerals accumulate in the body until they reach toxic levels. Potassium is one example. Vitamin D is another. Since my potassium was so obviously being affected by my use of aloe, I felt it was best to decrease my vitamin D. I’m glad I did. I tested in the high normal range 2 weeks after cutting my dose in half. We also retested my sodium and it’s no longer too high (it was just borderline high two days prior to surgery), however it is just under the bar for high, which means I can cut back on my salt intake as well.

Truly, the fact that aloe can make a stomach like mine absorb things normally is something to celebrate. I’ll be saving a small fortune in vitamins and minerals and getting most of what I need from good old food. Just don’t be like me and wait to adjust these things until after there’s a problem. Vitamin toxicity isn’t always easy to figure out and can be quite serious. See my post about it for more information.

I also noted a few other warnings and contraindications for use in my original post on Aloe. I was remiss not sharing them here, too:

Aloe Vera can even help lower blood sugar, but that can be both a plus and a minus. If you have problems keeping your blood sugar regulated in the first place, it could cause more problems and it may not be ideal if you suffer from hyperglycemia or diabetes. It’s also possible that aloe may decrease the body’s ability to clot the blood, so its consumption is not recommended prior to surgery. Finally, a special note for the masties; when used topically, it can increase the absorption of hydrocortisone cream.

On a positive note, my blood sugar is actually down a bit, so I can attest that claim is also valid. I’ll continue to update as I learn more about this fascinating substance.

Aloe is for Spoonies Pin 2

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Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

This delectable Quinoa Breakfast Bowl is packed with everything you need to get your day off to a powerful start. They’re not only low FODMAP and low Histamine, they’re also gluten-free. They’re easy to make, but they aren’t so quick so I recommend making them ahead of time and freezing them if you want to enjoy them throughout the week, especially if you have mast cell dysfunction. They do reheat from the freezer quite nicely, so you can make these on the weekend and freeze them into individual portions to use during the week. I’ve included microwave instructions for reheating them so you can do just that. The recipe makes 4 servings, so you can easily double it to cover a whole week for one person or just keep it to one and rotate it with something else to prevent the breakfast boredom blues.

QuinoaIf you aren’t familiar with quinoa, it’s a fragrant grain that’s about the size and color of rice, but with a different taste and texture. It tastes heavenly with just a little salt and olive oil and pairs perfectly with kale. At 8.1 grams of protein per cup, quinoa makes for a great breakfast grain, along with its 5.2 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium and manganese while low in cholesterol and sodium.

While kale is often the butt of many jokes, it’s an incredibly nutritious and versatile vegetable and there are actually several different varieties of kale. Baby kale is surprisingly like spinach, in that it shares it’s tenderness of leaf and has a lighter flavor than its bolder, tougher leafed cousins, so it’s a great introduction to kale. If you don’t know why you might want to add kale to your diet, it has 206% the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A, 6 times the vitamin K necessary, 134% of necessary vitamin C, and is a good source of fiber, making it beneficial to the eyes, heart, immunity, colon and even offers some anti-aging benefits.

kale and sausage

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

  • 1 lb heritage raised breakfast sausage
  • 8 ounces baby kale
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium heat. Brown crumbled sausage and place on paper towels to drain. In the same skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and add baby kale. Stir rapidly, sautéing until soft.

Pour cooked quinoa into bowls and spritz with olive oil (about a teaspoon) and sprinkle with salt. Top with sausage and quinoa. Add more salt if desired. Serve hot.

Allow to cool completely before freezing. To thaw, microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir once, and microwave an additional 45 seconds to 1 min 30 seconds.

Cook Time: 20-30 mins

Serves: 4

Looking for more recipes or information on gut health? Take a look at A Balanced Belly!

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Sausage and Kale

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Roasted Green Beans with Almonds

fodmapiconhistamineiconRoasted Green Beans with Almonds has been a rotating favorite for the holidays for some time in my family. Not only are they delicious, but they look great, and they’re a nice alternative to the onion, soy and lactose green bean gut bomb casseroles everyone has so fondly carted out every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the last 40 years. Roasting green beans with marjoram, almonds and lemon make for a flavorful but simple way to jazz up green beans.

I love green beans and they are one of the few vegetables I can still eat without consequence, yet there seems to be a lot of controversy about whether or not this vegetable is safe. Check one site and it’s on a forbidden list. Another site says they’re one of the best vegetables to eat if you have histamine issues. What’s a mastie to do? The only thing one can; listen to your own body and track the signs of inflammation. I have none when eating a regular sized serving of green beans.

This is the same case with citrus. While not everyone with mast cell issues can handle much citrus, a little goes a long way and personally speaking, the amount on one serving of green beans (1 cup or 125 grams) isn’t enough to upset the apple cart, but of course you should listen to what past experience tells you about your own body and skip the lemon juice if necessary. You’ll still enjoy the flavor of the marjoram, sea salt and almonds, and with the wonderful texture of slightly crunchy green beans and almond, this dish is a real pleasure.

So, I’m marking this recipe both low FODMAP and low histamine if you CAN handle green beans and with MODIFICATION. It might not be for everyone, but it does work for me.

Roasted Green Beans with Almonds

  • 2 pound green beans*
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice*
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped sea salt roasted almonds

Position 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 rack in top third. Preheat to 450°F. Remove tips from green beans and collect in a bowl. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and marjoram and toss; divide between prepared sheets.

Roast vegetables 10 minutes. Switch sheets from one rack to the other. Continue to roast until beans are tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 10-15 minutes longer.

Transfer vegetables to bowl. Add lemon juice and 3/4 of chopped almonds. Toss to coat; season with salt. Sprinkle with remaining almonds and serve.

Cook time: 30-40 mins

Serves: 6-7

*may not be suitable for some low histamine dieters. See notes at top of recipe.

Roasted Grean Bean with Almonds