MY TOP 7 FOODS FOR FIBROMYALGIA

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I shared recently about what I did (and do) about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Symptoms. I really hope it helped someone because I know a lot of people struggle with these and other inflammatory problems.

One of the keys to feeling good, I have found, is getting enough high alkaline foods, but also enough of the right fats.

So here’s a list of which foods are part of my regular staple and make a huge difference to my health and my life…

LEMONS

I start each day by squeezing half a lemon into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Lemons are possibly the highest alkaline food on the planet. Squeezing some lemon into my water when I first get up gives my system a kickstart and starts cleansing my body before I’m even fully awake. Easy peasy.

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WATERMELON

The other highest alkaline food on the planet is watermelon! How amazing is that? One of the yummiest foods in the world just happens to be high alkaline-forming. Like lemons, watermelon has a pH of 9.0.

Technically, you can even eat the seeds and the rind. The entire thing can be ground up in a food processor or blender (a little at a time, of course!) and made into a juice. Personally, I prefer to just eat the red juicy part. Occasionally I’ll eat the seeds too. You can even toast them and add a little salt as a snack. But we’ll talk more about that another time. 😉

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QUINOA

Moving on in the day…quinoa is one of my other fibro-food buddies. As with everything I eat, it’s gluten-free. But that’s not the only reason I eat it at least 4 or 5 times a week. It tastes good and has a unique flavor! It has kind of a nutty, earthy taste and a nice, soft texture. It’s also alkaline-forming. Even though it isn’t the highest alkaline grain, it’s definitely far above rice and most others.

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(To find more alkaline-forming foods, this is a great link I just came across: 74 Alkaline Foods)

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL

What do I add to my cooked quinoa? Besides tons of raw vegetables, that is? Virgin coconut oil. If you haven’t read up on all the benefits of virgin coconut oil, I hope you will. The list seems endless.

Contrary to all the ads telling you to stay away from fats, our bodies need fats…the right kind of fats. Virgin coconut oil is one of those fats.

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AVOCADOS

The other high alkaline, good-fat food I add to my quinoa concoction is avocados! Some think it’s a vegetable, but it’s actually a fruit, going by the giant pit in the center of it. Avocado is also delicious with some chopped up garlic and salt sprinkled in with it.

I can’t tell you how fast my hair and nails grow and I know it’s due to eating these good fats on a regular basis, especially combined with all the other raw vegan foods I eat. My hair is at my waist and I actually have to cut a few inches of it every few months or I find that it’s too long!

Also, I play guitar and shouldn’t really have long nails, but they grow so fast, I need to keep clipping them. When I do grow them, they are strong and hardly ever break.

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RAW ALMONDS & ALMOND BUTTER

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Almonds are more alkaline-forming that other nuts. Of course, other nuts have tons of nutrients as well. But almonds are the best if you’re looking to alkalize, and thereby, decrease inflammatory pain and fatigue.

I take raw almonds with me on the go. A handful here and there does the trick, satiates my appetite till I can have a full meal, keeps my blood sugar stabilized and gives me a boost of energy and focus.

Raw almond butter is another tasty treat and goes incredibly well on bananas.

But my favorite thing to have almond butter with is…

DATES

These sweet, chewy little things show up on most lists of top alkaline foods. There are so many different varieties, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a variety you like. Some have softer outsides and some are a bit hard. My personal favorites are Medjool dates. They’re a bit bigger, softer and spendier, but they’re worth it.

Just make sure when you buy dates to look on the label and make sure they don’t have sulfites or any kind of sweeteners added. They’re sweet enough and there’s no need for anything to make them even sweeter.

Dipped in almond butter, it’s like eating a candy bar! Only better! Because you know you’re giving your body something that is good for it, so you can enjoy it even more.

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There’s nothing like knowing that what you’ve just eaten is treating your body with the nutrients and care it needs. Your body will thank you with less pain, more energy and an over all sense of well-being that will make it easier and easier to incorporate healthful foods into your regular diet.

If you’d like to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me, please click here and book yourself an appointment. I’d be happy to talk with you!

To your good health!

Monique

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WHAT I DID (& DO) ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA & CHRONIC FATIGUE SYMPTOMS

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About 8 years ago, after years of various trials that had left me worn out, and a tornado that was blowing through my life at that time, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia Syndrome. There was a point where, for nearly a year, I was rarely capable of leaving the house for something as simple as getting groceries. Extenuating circumstances were not helping (more on that another time). I was weak, in constant pain, unable to get a good night’s sleep, and feeling like someone who was dying…only there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. I thought a lot about the word “chronic” and, at one point, I decided that I simply refused to assign that word to my life in any capacity that implied endless illness or futility.

I may have been sick, but I was also blessed by God to be chronically hopeful and chronically determined to survive. And not only survive, but to thrive. Against all odds, I kept believing that somehow, a better day would come for me. But I had an inkling that it would require some effort on my part. God helps us, but most of the time, we need to take a step in the direction of that help and put feet to our faith.

We also need to take ourselves out of victim mentality because that is a dangerous place to get stuck. And all it requires is a mindset shift, a renewing of the mind. We need to stop telling ourselves a debilitating story and start telling ourselves a new story. The story you tell yourself again and again is the story you will believe…and live.

There came a point in that particular year where I absolutely refused to believe that this was my lot in life and I truly believed that with divine help, I could and would overcome this debilitating illness. At the time, anything that involved much effort in meal preparation was not something I was interested in. But I prayed for guidance to find a way to get better.

That day, a hope rose up in me beyond anything I can explain. It was the kind of hope and faith that bubbles up when you know you’re on the verge of a turning point or a breakthrough.

I got out a couple of my natural health books which I often used and started poring over them, searching for answers. I came across something about the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies, learning that disease breeds in a body that is too acidic and it cannot thrive in an environment that is alkaline. I had already been vegetarian for about 20 years and vegan for nearly as long, but it’s possible to be vegetarian and/or vegan and still not be as healthy as we can be.

I got online and spent the next 6+ hours researching, determined to learn more about acid/alkaline balance. I followed the advice by Linda Rector-Page in her book Healthy Healing and fasted for a few days, taking in only a potassium broth and a green drink. Within those days, I started to feel some relief. I found charts online listing the foods that are high alkaline, pH neutral and high acid and determined to get all the foods I could get my hands on that were high alkaline. I started eating this way immediately…eating all raw foods—loads of dark leafy green vegetables, celery, avocadoes, bananas, apples, watermelon, fresh dates and more. I started squeezing half a lemon into some warm water every morning when I first got up. I ate handfuls of raw almonds. I had a green superfood drink every day. That was the food part.

I continued with my spiritual practice of daily prayer, scripture reading and meditation.

I continued with stress relieving yoga regularly, at least three to four times a week. This eventually progressed to never, ever missing my daily morning yoga practice, as well as adding poses throughout my day as needed.

I limited time and contact with people who I felt drained by and spent time with people who lifted my spirit and who I felt enlivened by being around.

I continued my habit of voracious reading on everything from faith and spiritual topics to personal growth, creative development, literature, health, raw food and alkaline cookbooks…anything that added to my health of mind, body and spirit.

And what happened? Within weeks, I went from being so weak I could hardly leave the house to living again, and what’s more, to thriving! It was clear that each day toxicity was leaving my body and health and vigor were entering in. I felt more alive than I had in years…possibly than I had ever felt!

Since that time, I have continued to eat a high alkaline, 70% raw food vegan diet most of the time and it has made all the difference.

Do I ever have flare-ups? Yes. Extremes of weather are still a challenge for me (especially cold, damp, windy weather) and can cause muscle and joint pain and stiffness as well as fatigue, but the most important thing I have learned in the last decade is how to take care of myself. Self-care is crucial to wellness and I hope you’ll read my other posts on this important topic.

For now, I hope that if you’re reading this and you struggle with Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue, that you will believe there is hope for you. While I am not a physician, I can share with you what has helped me…in the hopes that some of these things will help you too.

I will be sharing more about things I do and don’t do, eat and don’t eat to maximize my health in upcoming posts, so stay tuned. Perhaps you’ll implement some of those things yourself and start seeing amazing results too.

If you’d like to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me, please click here and book yourself an appointment. I’d be happy to talk with you!

Until then…blessings and renewed health to you.

Monique

* Photo credit: Take Me Home by d’pegasus ( through flickr & pinterest)

10 EMPOWERING TIPS FOR ADDICTIVE PERSONALITIES

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Some weeks ago, I posted a piece called Hope for Addictive Personalities here: https://artoflifeandwellness.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/hope-for-addictive-personalities/

Following are some tips to help you get started if you struggle with any type of addiction—from serious ones to ones that are not necessarily life threatening. Whether it’s an eating disorder, a drug addiction, a worry addiction or a nagging addiction, these apply…

1. Admission. Acknowledge and admit that you can’t go on like you have. The first step of surrendering and putting your hands up to say, “I can’t do it on my own” can bring a flood of relief. Especially combined with turning to a power greater than yourself, whether that is the God you believe in, or a supportive community, or both. (I realize not everyone believes in God. A loving, supportive community is God with skin on though.) It’s not about trying harder. It’s about laying down arms and admitting you’re powerless over this thing. It’s humbling to admit we don’t have something under control, but it’s a lot less exhausting than trying repeatedly to overcome something that we’re obviously not overcoming.

2. Change your thinking by replacing disempowering thoughts with empowering thoughts. It all starts in our minds. Once we get that sorted out, our actions begin to fall into place much more easily. Where you focus your mind, your energy follows. Instead of allowing your mind to automatically fall into old ways of thinking (which can lead into old ways of behaving), find ways of thinking that fill you up with energy, hope and confidence. This doesn’t happen overnight usually. It takes some discipline, but be encouraged! Your brain wants to help you. As you form new patterns of thinking and acting, your brain creates new neuropathways that will eventually make the new thoughts and actions the norm for you. Identify disempowering thoughts and intentionally replace them with thoughts that edify you, rather than bring you down. This step alone can lead to amazing results.

3. Become aware of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Know that, as it says in Proverbs, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Or as the poet Hafiz said, “The words you speak become the house you live in.” Think of each word you speak as being the brick and mortar of the life you want to be living. Which leads us to the next two…

4. Stop saying mean things to yourself. Life is hard enough without chanting about all that you don’t like about yourself and all you’ve done wrong. If you mess up, admit it, and press on. If you’re working on improving, then give yourself some credit for your willingness and tenacity.

5. Start saying kind things to yourself. Talk to yourself as you would to a good friend or someone you really care about, someone you want to encourage. It’s not egotistical to care about yourself. You could say it’s egotistical not to because when we care for ourselves and treat ourselves with love and respect, it’s easier to treat others the same way. Also known as “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Speak kindly both to yourself and to others.

6. Be intentional about your actions. This will flow more easily if you’re already thinking differently. Decide what you want to change, and take small steps towards changing it. At first it may be difficult, but difficult isn’t the same as impossible.

7. Tell someone. Talk to someone you know won’t judge you or try to rush your process, someone you know will come alongside and cheer you on as you take on the brave challenge of change. Not only will it give you accountability, it will give you momentum and courage.

8. Notice. Start noticing how, little by little, what once seemed impossible to change is becoming easier. You’ll see how you and your brain are working together to form new habits to replace the old ones.

9. Be gentle with yourself. If you have a day when you fall down, get back up. If no one else is around to do so, remind yourself that just starting on this new road is a huge hurdle you’ve overcome. Brush yourself off and try again.

10. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Any great work takes time and effort and a lot of faith to keep going. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. Remind yourself that your life is a great work. Think of all the possibilities that may lie ahead for you if you simply keep going. Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel in one day, or in one go. Abraham Lincoln had a nervous breakdown and many setbacks before he became president.

You may not be running for any elections or looking to paint famous ceilings in Rome, but whatever it is you are trying to overcome, you can if you simply do not give up.

And I hope one day these hurdles that you face will only have paved the way on your personal road to greatness.

If you need help working through some of (or all) of these steps and you’d like to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me, please click here and book yourself an appointment. I’d be happy to talk with you!

p.s. Here is the version that was published on Elephant Journal:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/05/do-you-have-an-addictive-personality-theres-hope-for-you/

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