Household Tips for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

I imagine the people who know me best would laugh at the title of this blog. I’ve always struggled to have a clean, organized house. I grew up with that perfect Mom who always had an immaculate house, but somehow I never learned how to do this myself.

This blog is more like a conversation with myself, of things I need to do on a daily basis to manage my household chores and save my limited energy.

I’m going to share some conversations with some of the neatest, most organized people I know. Those are the people I’ve always envied, it just SEEMS so easy for them. How do they do it?

I’ve had so many lightbulb moments, it’s hard to keep track, yet these particular moments always stick out in my head when I want to clean house. Now, unfortunately, I have to keep chronic illness in my head when starting off cleaning, to make sure I have enough energy or “spoons” to finish.

Stop buying things without a plan

Yes! I said it! And because it may be the holidays or a birthday, anniversary, etc. makes no difference.
When I go shopping and I see something I may want, my first question for my small, no-storage-space-house, is “where is this going to go?”
You see, without a plan of where something will live, it will just join the other piles of disorganized clutter, or simply be put on the floor somewhere. My second question being, “Do I really need this, and how often will I use it?”

A Place for Everything

One day many years ago when I was on active duty for the Army, I saw a couple men from my unit in the lodge and one was complaining about the slovenly habits of the other. The neater guy had everything set up neatly on a shelf. I was astounded and said, “How do you keep everything so neat?” He said exasperatedly, “Well, just put things away when you’re done with them!” Now, his statement was another lightbulb moment, but taking it a step further, meant that everything needed its own place! Bingo!

Kitchen Tips

I love cooking, but it can get overwhelming. Now, dealing with the kitchen is a series of actions.
First, make sure the kitchen is clean, dishwasher and sink emptied, and everything is put away before beginning a recipe or cooking. Why? That enables you to “clean as you go” which is another of my favorite tips. So, my main tip is clean up after every project, and BEFORE starting a new one. And why? Because us “spoonies” or those of us living with chronic illness may not have the energy to clean up everything afterwards. So if we take the time to clean as we go, we’re done at the end rather than leaving us with an overwhelming mess to clean up afterwards. And yes, we do get overwhelmed when there is too much to do and that adds to our stress and saps our precious energy.

The way my kitchen is currently set up, the sink faces outside near the window. Behind that is the counter. I make sure all dishes are cleaned from there and then I know I’m done. And make sure the sink is empty! Now as you use bowls, utensils, etc., rinse them immediately and put in the dishwasher. If anything needs to soak, use very hot water and do not let it soak for longer than 10 minutes (and yes, set a timer). Why the time limit? Because if you don’t put a limit on it, it could sit in the sink for the next week…no I’ve never done that, why do you ask?

When making a recipe, due to our brain fog associated with chronic illness, I set everything out that I will need and put them away immediately when done. Taking a picture of your recipe ingredients may also be helpful to quickly gather everything up. And please read the recipe if it has multiple parts, and pay attention to the order in which things are done. This will help you to not get caught with the proverbial pants down.

Years ago we went to visit some friends in Washington. I noticed how immaculate the house was, so I asked the owner for her top tips. She said that as far as the kitchen went, she would always clean it before bed, without fail, no matter how tired she was! Why? Because when she got up in the morning, not only was it already done, but it looked nice too and put her in a good mood to start the day. I’ll admit, I don’t always succeed here, but I do think of her before I go to bed and try to get it done if I’m not too tired or in pain.

Dealing With the Mail

Don’t you love going to the mailbox everyday only to find that most of it is junk? Anything without First Class Postage can be thrown in the shredder pile if it has your name and address. Throw in the recycle if not. Do this EVERY DAY. Do not let the mail pile up, make an instant decision on it once it’s out of the mailbox and in your hand. If you delay your decision-making, it’s going to end up in a non-recognizable pile on the coffee table or kitchen counter. My number one tip here is to do paperless billing with whatever companies offer it, and that instantly clears your mailbox of most items that need action, e.g., someplace to file it. That way if you need a statement, you can simply login and download the PDF.

Cleaning your Already-Cluttered House

So, my house is Dir-ty, what is my first step? Well, first go through each room and remove items that don’t belong there, and put them in a cardboard box. Clean that area once the offending items are removed. Dusting is often neglected in a cluttered house because there are simply too many objects covering up furniture that needs dusting, and also blocking the floor. So, the first priorities are to get the items off the furniture and floor. Since we have chronic illnesses, we may need to limit what we plan to accomplish in a day. Don’t feel badly, we are way past the point where we can pretend we have normal energy levels and functioning. Let’s just do the best with what we have, okay? It’s time to stop beating ourselves up for what we can’t do, and look at what we can do. Now, think back to my earlier comments about my Army buddy and his slovenly roommate. Putting things away and having a place for everything is key to maintaining a clean, organized house. You can’t clean with clutter in the way.

The Urge to Purge

So, have you used that gadget you bought a while back in the last 6 months? If not, question whether you still need it, and maybe something else can use the space it was taking up. I recommend purging your house one or twice a year. Have a garage sale, donate to the local thrift store, or see if friends want the item. With social media these days, getting rid of stuff should be easy.

Cleaning Up After Eating

I took this particular tip from a restaurant I went to years ago. I noticed that one of the servers was in training. the manager came over to tell them something like this: “Full arms on your way to the kitchen.” What she meant was, pick up any items on the way back to the kitchen that the customers are done with. So, if I’m eating and watching TV, the next time I get up, I should be taking the dishes back to the kitchen, rinsing them off and putting them in the dishwasher. And also putting any empty plastic bottles in the recycling…currently working on the husband to do this…Now you can take this a step further and work your “items that don’t belong here” task while you’re at it. Take that box and fill it with items that don’t belong there.

Have a Plan

Do a household cleaning plan or grid. Here’s where it gets tricky. Because of our chronic illness, cleaning the entire bathroom may not be feasible in one day. So, break up your tasks, maybe only clean the toilets on Monday, sinks on Tuesday, tub on Wednesday…you see where I’m going with this. Do not be afraid to break up your tasks into smaller segments that do not seem overwhelming. If we tell ourselves we have to get the entire bathroom done, none of it may get done at all. We need to lose those perfectionist and competitive traits to enjoy our “new” success.

To summarize, here are my top tips for household organization with a chronic illness:

Don’t buy anything for which there is no space, or you don’t have a definite plan to use it regularly
Everything needs a place, and put things away when finished
Clean as you go when cooking
Clean up after finishing a project and BEFORE starting a new one
Keep surfaces and floors clutter-free for best cleaning
Take dirty dishes, garbage, recycling to kitchen regularly
Purge regularly of unused items
Have a cleaning plan that breaks tasks into smaller segments

Selenium-A Miracle for the Thyroid

If you have auto-immune thyroid problems, you need to look into Selenium. Particularly if you have Hashimoto’s thryroiditis, Graves, hypothyroidism, or swollen thyroid, nodules, goiter, etc.

What does Selenium do? It helps protect the thyroid from excess iodine, and helps convert thyroid hormone T4 into the active hormone T3, and helps keep the antibodies and Reverse T3 down. What is Reverse T3? To put it in layman’s terms, “defective copies” or “decoys”.

What are some symptoms of low free T3 and high reverse T3? Hair loss and dry hair, constipation, fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain to name a few pesky ones.

So where should our lab results be? And here is where it gets tricky. Unless you insist on these tests, your doctor may only test your TSH which doesn’t tell you much, if anything about what needs to happen with your thyroid treatment.

Here are some recommended labs and ranges:


Selenium also helps the special natural killer cells, which are the cells that can kill cancer and other pathogens.

Sources:
https://chriskresser.com/selenium-the-missing-link-for-treating-hypothyroidism/
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2017/1297658/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HypothyroidismAdviceAndSupport/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HealingSolutionsThyroid/

Recommended Products:

Household Products Harmful to Chronic Illness


Did you know that ingredients in common household products could be making you sick outright, or contributing to and exacerbating your illness? Let me help open your eyes and save you some money too…

Here are some products to avoid, and possible alternatives:

Air Freshener and fabric fresheners

According to Toxipedia.org, air fresheners contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, 1, 4 dichlorobenzene and aerosol propellants. A little essential oil in a diffuser sounds a heck of a lot better to me.

Deodorants and Anti-perspirants (Aluminum)

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not put aluminum straight into my lymph nodes, not to mention some of the other cancer-causing chemicals such as parabens, listed on that store-bought deodorant container. Some alternatives are milk of magnesia or magnesium oil. Others use a combination of coconut oil and some essential oils such as lavender.

Toothpaste and mouthwashes

Just about all toothpastes have fluoride or sodium laureth sulfate, or triclosan, a controversial anti-bacterial. None of which you want and all of which are implicated in cancer and chronic illness! The best toothpastes I see these days are those with activated charcoal and bentonite clay. Other alternatives are baking soda, salt, peroxide, and milk of magnesia.

Household cleaners with fragrances, furniture sprays

These are common sources of headaches just as air fresheners. Furniture sprays contain Polydimethylsiloxanes (Silicon oil), which oddly enough, is also in certain deodorants! Other ingredients include petroleum products, such as mineral oil.

Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners

You can put dryer sheets and fabric softeners up there with the same inflammatory substances as air fresheners. They put off acetaldehyde and benzene which are not safe at any level. I recommend you use Borax and/or Arm & Hammer washing soda to keep your laundry smelling fresh and to fight fungus (Borax). Washing soda will also help with hard water.

Bug sprays

Again, I lump the effects in with the air freshener type issues. Bug spray will give you severe headaches. According to LiveScience.com, “One chemical found in many repellents is DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Developed and tested in the 1940s and 1950s by the U.S. Army for use in jungle warfare during World War II, DEET is extremely efficient at repelling mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers and blood-feeding flies such as black flies and deer flies.”

In addition to popular forms such as aerosols and pump sprays, DEET is also found in towelettes, lotions, creams and gels. The chemical keeps insects away for hours after application and can be applied over sunscreen.”

Hand sanitizers and certain soaps

Here it is again, hand sanitizers smell like hairspray! Kind of makes you wonder what’s in there?! These will also give you headaches, just like air freshener, dryer sheets, furniture sprays, and bug sprays. Hand sanitizers may contribute to the rising problem of super-bugs, or antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Triclosan, in particular is worrisome as it is an endocrine disrupter and was also similar to Agent Orange used in warfare. ‘Nuf said?

Sources:

http://www.toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Air+Fresheners
https://www.organics.org/7-harmful-ingredients-in-your-deodorant/
https://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=chem&id=139
https://www.livescience.com/6687-bug-spray-dangerous.html
http://awakeningwillow.com/2010/04/27/11-toxic-ingredients-to-avoid-in-hand-soap-and-sanitizer-and-safer-options-for-your-family/
https://draxe.com/dryer-sheets/

Blogging Resources everyone should have!

Did you know you can try Tailwind for free?! What? And no credit card required!

I’ve recently started using Tailwind Try Tailwind for Free Now! and my Pinterest and Instagram have instantly exploded! It’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s very easy to add and link accounts. For example, I have two domains and I was able to easily add both Pinterest and Instagram accounts to Tailwind. Now, with Instagram, it’s a slightly manual process through your phone, but it’s not too bad and it seems like every time I share on Instagram now, bam! I get a ton of likes and followers. Also, the program directs you how to create the best Instagram posts and allows you save lists of hash tags, awesome sauce!

See a Demo of Tailwind’s Instagram Hashtag finder here:

Now if you're interested in starting a blog, self-hosted is the way to go. Why? Because if you're on a free site, you do not own the content or the domain and it could be difficult to monetize. I use Bluehost Bluehost Web Hosting and it's a sweet deal with WordPress built in as the software, basically it's all the framework you need in one shot. It's easy to create your "official" domain email address too, and that helps you get approved for more affiliate programs, because, hey, you're legit!

For Plugins for WordPress, the number one plugin to install immediately is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. The plugin I recommend is Yoast and it's free. Others recommend All in One SEO. What will SEO do for you? Make you visible on Google, and the proper SEO will make your page rank higher to people searching for your products or services. Installing a good SEO plugin will also facilitate sending your sitemap to Google.

And how about a great crash course to get your feet wet? I started off with this course myself Free 5-day Blogging Course and it opened the doors to a lot of great information.

For email marketing, I highly recommend ConvertKit as do many other successful bloggers. Get started here: ConvertKit. Many bloggers mention that they wished they had started earlier on their email lists.

If you're looking for a simpler option in email, try Mailer Lite. MailerLite is the simplest email marketing tool for small business. Forget complex settings and unnecessary features. MailerLite is so easy, that anyone can create and send beautiful email newsletters, manage subscribers and track results.

For graphics, you can't beat the free resources available through Canva.com. Many pictures are available inexpensively too. You don't have to be a graphics wizard to use it either.

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What Can a Liver Flush Do For You?

May contain affiliate links below.

What is a liver/gallbladder flush? This is a preparation method to rid your gall bladder and liver of stones. Did you know that you could avoid gall bladder (Cholecystectomy) removal surgery?

Most flushes involve a week of prep, such as taking malic acid/orthophosphoric acid to help soften the stones first. Then on your evening of choice, you drink about a cup of olive oil along with some grapefruit juice or the like, and that stimulates the gallbladder to release stones, along with the liver. You need to have Epsom Salts handy to help eliminate waste, and also to open the bile ducts. Yes, it’s gross. You can try magnesium citrate for short-term use, but it doesn’t work as well.

I recommend joining this wonderful group for TONS of great information. https://www.facebook.com/groups/516214461895539/

What is Toxic or Unbound Iron and Copper?

Where do I begin…

Simply put, toxic or unbound iron is iron that deposits in the tissues and is not bioavailable. What does that mean for your chronic illness? There are some theories that believe that unbound iron is the root cause of all illness, and causes rust within your tissues! Think the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz…although the “oil” in this context is the ferridoxase enzyme, ceruloplasmin. So, our bodies need ceruloplasmin like the Tin Man needed his oil!

Where does this toxic iron come from? Fortified foods such as cereals, iron pills and infusions that you were prescribed and don’t need.

Finally, how do we get rid of it? For men, they do not have a period, so they do not have a natural outlet for iron release. All the women out there who have heavy periods, toxic unbound iron is to blame! Your body is literally trying to get rid of it.

Options to clear iron.

What are examples of bioavailble and non-bioavailable iron?

Liver=bioavailable
Iron pills/infusions/fortified foods=non-bioavailable

Ideal lab ranges for Iron Panel.

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Bioavailable Copper.

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Source: gotmag.org

Fermented Cabbage and Kale Juice for Healing

fermented cabbage
Fermented Cabbage and Kale Juice for Healing

May contain affiliate links below.

Any of my close friends will tell you I’m always ready to test out any new theory on myself. I can only imagine what they must think at times.

I stumbled onto this fermented cabbage and kale juice protocol and am going to give it a try. I did all the jars today, and big thanks to my Vitamix!

I can’t take credit for this protocol, and I strongly encourage you to join this Facebook group for more information https://www.facebook.com/groups/197663030736437/. The founder of the group, Jillian Mai Thi expects that you will read all her 96 or so files and videos, and that each person wanting to try this needs to study the information for themselves. You may have a condition that is contraindicated for this protocol, so please study this group.

Here are some of the items you need to do the protocol (makes 12 1-Quart jars):

1 Head of cabbage, purple or green (About 4.5 lbs)
1 Bunch of Kale, purple or green (About 8 oz)
Himalayan Fine Salt or Celtic salt only. You will need about 8 oz for this purpose.
1 Gallon Spring Water etc.
Blender
12 1- Quart jars, Wide Mouth or Gallon Pickle jars
Regular Coffee Filters (think old-fashioned Mr. Coffee)

Please join above group for the recipe if you have questions, and always check with your doctor before trying anything new. Again, this is NOT my idea so please go to the source.

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Top 10 Chronic Pain Supplements for Canada

Here are my top 10 Chronic Pain Supplements for Canada:

  1. Sam-e (S-adenosylmethionine) Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, helps cartilage and neurotransmitters
  2. Bromelain (Pineapple enzyme) – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and has positive implications in cancer and other diseases and syndromes.
  3. Artic Cod Liver Oil (With NO added Vitamin D, note the product will show a small amount of naturally occurring D.) Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. Contains DHA and EPA, which have positive implications in dozens of diseases and syndromes.
  4. Turmeric – The curcumin (active ingredient) blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
  5. Boswelia (Indian Frankincense) – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, may help cartilage
  6. White Willow Bark – Acts like Aspirin, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory or NSAID
  7. Capsaicin – Reduces pain tramsmitters (Capsicum frutescens)
  8. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Has anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDS and Cox-2 Inhibitors.
  9. Glucosamine/Condroitin – Good for Cartilage
  10. Boron – Helps rebuild bone, relieves osteoarthitis, see my blog: Boron-A Mineral that can do so much for chronic illness

Sources: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/9-supplements-arthritis-8.php
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/prevention-15/vitamins/chronic-pain-relief
https://draxe.com/6-unbelievable-health-benefits-bromelain/

Top 10 Chronic Pain Supplements-UK


May contain affiliate links below.

Here are my top 10 Chronic Pain Supplements for the United Kingdom:

  1. Sam-e (S-adenosylmethionine) Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, helps cartilage and neurotransmitters
  2. Bromelain (Pineapple enzyme) – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and has positive implications in cancer and other diseases and syndromes.
  3. Artic Cod Liver Oil (With NO added Vitamin D, note the product will show a small amount of naturally occurring D.) Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. Contains DHA and EPA, which have positive implications in dozens of diseases and syndromes.
  4. Turmeric – The curcumin (active ingredient) blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
  5. Boswelia (Indian Frankincense) – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, may help cartilage
  6. White Willow Bark – Acts like Aspirin, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory or NSAID
  7. Capsaicin – Reduces pain tramsmitters (Capsicum frutescens)
  8. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Has anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDS and Cox-2 Inhibitors.
  9. Glucosamine/Condroitin – Good for Cartilage
  10. Boron – Helps rebuild bone, relieves osteoarthitis, see my blog: Boron-A Mineral that can do so much for chronic illness

Sources: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/9-supplements-arthritis-8.php
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/prevention-15/vitamins/chronic-pain-relief
https://draxe.com/6-unbelievable-health-benefits-bromelain/

Top 10 Chronic Pain Supplements

Here are my top 10 Chronic Pain Supplements:

  1. Sam-e (S-adenosylmethionine) Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, helps cartilage and neurotransmitters
  2. Bromelain (Pineapple enzyme) – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and has positive implications in cancer and other diseases and syndromes.
  3. Artic Cod Liver Oil (With NO added Vitamin D, note the product will show a small amount of naturally occurring D.) Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. Contains DHA and EPA, which have positive implications in dozens of diseases and syndromes.
  4. Turmeric – The curcumin (active ingredient) blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
  5. Boswelia (Indian Frankincense) – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, may help cartilage
  6. White Willow Bark – Acts like Aspirin, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory or NSAID
  7. Capsaicin – Reduces pain tramsmitters (Capsicum frutescens)
  8. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Has anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDS and Cox-2 Inhibitors.
  9. Glucosamine/Condroitin – Good for Cartilage
  10. Boron – Helps rebuild bone, relieves osteoarthitis, see my blog: Boron-A Mineral that can do so much for chronic illness

Sources: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/9-supplements-arthritis-8.php
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/prevention-15/vitamins/chronic-pain-relief
https://draxe.com/6-unbelievable-health-benefits-bromelain/