Trying to loose #weight?

sliced cheese served on white tray
Photo by Jennifer Murray on Pexels.com

If you choose cheese, are you aware how high in cholesterol it is?

I am a cheese lover;

I particularly like goats cheese for its strong unusual flavour.  In the past, I would regularly tuck into cheese sandwiches every day; selecting different cheeses to eat every week. 

I’m not in a minority enjoying cheese with around a third of us eating cheese regularly in a meal. 

The top five most popular cheeses in Britain at the moment are:

English Cheddar

Red Leicester 

Brie 

Mozzarella 

Parmesan

This trend seems to be growing with the increase in popularity of vegetarian foods recently. More people are becoming aware of the health benefits of cutting down on red meat and are also aware of the environmental impact of production processes. An appealing alternative to this appears to be cheese.

The most surprising fact is that one in ten people habitually eat a chunk of cheese as a main meal.

I’ve been trying to cut back on saturated fat intake along with my carer. Until recently I’d eaten cheese and thought it was not particularly any more fattening than any other type of food; except fruit and veggies which you can eat in abundance.

I discovered reading food labels in detail, that it is very high in saturated fats. Much higher than most red meats in fact and therefore not much help if your trying to cut back on saturated fat.

Cheese can contribute to increased levels of saturated fat in the diet fast if it’s eaten regularly. An alarming fact if you have switched to cheese recently and thought it was a healthy option to meat products.

Why is saturated fat something to be aware of in a diet?

Saturated fat in a nutshell……

Eating too much saturated fat in your diet leads to your body producing excess cholesterol which causes blood arteries to become blocked or restricted. This in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease which includes heart attacks, angina and strokes.

The easiest way to reduce this risk is by lessening the intake of saturated fats. There are some quick and easy ways to start making a difference. Avoid or reduce full fat dairy products such as cream or cheese (skimmed or 1% fat milk is much better than full fat milk). Also cut back on pasties, pastries, pies, cakes, chocolate, coconut milk, coconut oil and palm oil. When eating meat choose low fat meats such as chicken, turkey, venison, veal or rabbit.

In addition you can have foods that reduce cholesterol in the blood.

Soluble fibre (e.g. fruit, vegetables, oats and nuts) absorbs and carries the cholesterol out of the body.

Plant stanols or sterols inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut. These are available in fortified foods such as Benecol.

For more information about diet and healthy eating have a look at the following website:

NHS Live well, eat well

Further details about heart disease and stroke:

British Heart Foundation information and support

Stroke Association

Look after your health and your heart….

I have #fibromyalgia…

adorable animal breed canine
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Fibromyalgia affects around 1 in 20 people. Although most people have no idea what fibromyalgia is; let alone what it’s like to live with.

So, here’s a brief guide for anyone who doesn’t know anything about fibromyalgia.

What is fibromyalgia?

Its a long term chronic health condition characterised by pain. The pain ranges in severity on a daily basis from mild symptoms to severe pain in changing areas of the body.

The main symptoms are:

Pain throughout the whole body 

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Quality of sleep can be poor

Feeling tired and fatigued 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity 

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression 

Anxiety 

Painful periods in women 

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

Factors that influence this are:

  • the amount of stress you are experiencing 
  • how much daily exercise you have
  • and changes in climate and temperature 

Further information is available on the NHS website.              

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional. They will run a variety of tests to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

There’s no cure….Yes you did read that correctly; there’s no cure, but…

I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 15 years and found some times are really tough.

The single most upsetting factor for me has been other people’s perception of ‘living with fibromyalgia’. They almost always get it wrong. So, if you meet someone who has fibromyalgia, tread carefully. Don’t jump to conclusions about how they feel. Listen to them. After all they are living with it on a daily basis.

The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.

I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise  and meditation .

This is a short post about symptoms, living with fibromyalgia is another story…

If you would like to read more about what helped me, follow my blog and have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help Pages.

Does it really matter what I eat?

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Could it have an impact on my health?

Why should I be aware of my cholesterol level?

I can see you thinking how does this link to Fibromyalgia?

Or even, why should I be interested; I’m not changing what I eat. I don’t want to eat a boring diet for the rest of my life. Living with pain I need some treats.

Well, maybe that isn’t necessarily what you would have to do.

What could happen if I ignore it and just carry on eating what I like anyway?

“I was shocked when we found that my carer has high cholesterol. Looks can be deceptive as this news reveals.

I thought they were super healthy, not visibly overweight; they exercise and visit the gym regularly. 

Perhaps more surprising, they rarely go out to restaurants or visit fast food outlets. Preferring to eat a modest meal at home.”

What is cholesterol?

It’s a fatty substance in the blood, produced by certain foods which can cause arteries to be blocked.

Why is high cholesterol a serious health concern?

If you have high cholesterol levels, your chances of suffering a heart attack or cardiovascular disease are much greater.

What can be done to lower it?

Changing your diet to a healthy balanced one, stopping smoking and regularly getting exercise.

My carer went for a free NHS Health Check which is available to UK citizens between 40 – 74. 

It checks if you would be likely to develop heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes or a stroke.

Imagine how you would feel if someone you cared about was diagnosed with high cholesterol.

If you think your cholesterol could be high, your doctor or health professional can arrange a blood test to check these levels.

They will be able to discuss a plan to help you lower it, if it is high.

Since my carer’s diagnosis; they have made changes to the diet they eat. This has helped a lot to not only reduce cholesterol to a healthy level and also lose weight.

Discovering Florence…

aerial photography of city
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

Sometimes it’s easier to focus on others to put your own problems into perspective.

You may of read about Florence Nightingale as a student, but you may not be aware of her link to fibromyalgia or indeed Florence, Italy.

She was an inspiring person who despite illness and injury, lived an exceptional life.

Florence was quoted as saying

There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain”

Florence was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy, after which she was named. She was the youngest of two children.

Florence was born into a wealthy family and was expected to get married and have a children. Florence rebelled against this stereotype. She had always helped to care for sick people and started working as a nurse.

Florence was sent to nurse injured soldiers during the Crimean War. She proved to be a very dedicated nurse; visiting the injured every evening on a regular basis which started the phrase ‘the Lady with the Lamp’.

Because of her influence in nursing practices unsanitary areas were improved which increased the survival rate of patients.

Florence wrote about her nursing techniques from experience, which formed the basics for standards in nursing care adopted for the profession.

During 1860 St Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale School for Nursing was opened.

blue and silver stetoscope
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Florence and fibromyalgia

Florence suffered from an invisible illness after she returned from nursing solders in the Crimea War.

Her symptoms are reminiscent of fibromyalgia; which was not a recognised condition at the time. Florence spent prolonged periods in bed, due to her illness. This was probably triggered by excessive stress carrying out her duties nursing in terrible conditions.

In recent years soldiers from the Gulf  War have gone on to develop fibromyalgia after they returned from war. The unbearable stress they were exposed to at that time triggering fibromyalgia.

Florence died on August 13, 1910; she received the Order of Merit in 1907 for her contribution to modern nursing practices. Florence was an amazing woman who cared for others and put others health before her own.

Mobility Secrets with Fibromyalgia

photography of woman in pink tank top stretching arm
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

It’s really important to keep as healthy as possible, as your level of stamina fluctuates so much.

When you have Fibromyalgia it is a daunting prospect, keeping fit. Particularly starting out for the first time, with a new exercise.

On a visit to my Physiotherapist recently I mentioned I go walking regularly. She said doing moderate exercise can build up strength and help with mobility.

After I was was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2004, I found that exercise helped me a lot to keep a reasonable level of mobility. But I struggled to find things I could do. 

I have made a list of everything that has helped me that you could try. If you’re starting out try hydrotherapy first and then some gentle flexibility exercises.

Hydrotherapy

I found gentle exercise in a warm water pool can help. The water supports your body and has less impact on muscles and joints.

Research has shown that lying in warm water helps the body to relax and lowers pain perception.

A therapist that specialises in hydrotherapy or a qualified physiotherapist that has a good understanding of fibromyalgia, can help you to work out some exercises.

Your local sports centre or gym may have these facilities and let you have a couple of trial sessions.

Sitting Exercises

If you have limited mobility, sitting exercises could be a better option than other ways of exercise.

The NHS website has sitting exercises along with flexibility exercises that might be worth trying.

person rolling green gym mat
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Pilates

Pilates strengthens the body as a whole, the main aim is to improve core strength. Regular sessions can help to reduce the risk of injury by increasing flexibility.

I  developed my own tailored exercise routine, by trying out different exercises, from visits to a physiotherapy practitioner.

If you go for physio ask the practitioner for advice and help about what exercises are best for you.

I practice these regularly once a day, for about ten minutes in total. Although, I had to work up to doing this amount gradually at first.

Walking

I found walking to be the most accessible and best for my circumstances.  Walking can help to boost your energy levels and enjoy nature.

If you suffer from low mood, walking on a regular basis is a good non medical therapy, to help feel more positive.

If you are on a low-income, it’s no problem to try out as there is no sign up charges.

If you are new to walking it is best to start with 5 to 10 minutes at first and gradually increase this as your body gets used to the exercise

You will need to try out a pattern that suits you.

When you first start you may need to get some comfortable shoes and wrap up well with thermal layers on cold days.

Have a look at my post on walking  for more tips.

woman street friends fun
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

The NHS live well  website has a lot of really useful tips to get you active.

I hope this post has helped to give you ideas to improve mobility for Fibromyalgia. My goal is as always to help others with Fibromyalgia and similar invisible illness.

 

#Autumn approaches

autumn autumn colours autumn leaves background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s that time of year again when it starts to get cooler, after the baking summer sun. The days grow shorter and leaves on the trees are just starting to change colour. 

I’ve written a poem inspired by the changing landscape called Autumn Chill.

🍂 Autumn Chill 🍂

 

Light picks out the gentle rippling on a lake

Clouds hang heavily in the sky above

 

Their grey shadows dance clumsily on the water

revealing a light mist in the distance

 

Splinters of brilliant light highlight treetops

Golden hues glinting their changing colours

 

The air feels cool and fresh

Still a brief hint of summer lingers

 

Subtle leaf tones of red, purple, orange and green

Jump towards me from a transforming bush

 

The weakening sunlight is fading now

Autumn splendour slowly unfolding 

Poem by Nick

If you enjoyed reading this poem, take a look at my other poems and short stories. I’ve recently included a menu header with them all in one section entitled Poetry and Writing.