A Mess: Food and Stress

There are 50 million Americans living with autoimmune conditions (That’s almost one in six people!)

 

A Mess: Food and Stress

I have lived with an autoimmune disorder since the age of 17.  To make a long story short, just before I was diagnosed I was under an extreme amount of stress as well as eating poorly (tons of sugar and processed foods or not eating enough at all).  Years down the road when I realized how much food and stress affected my body I started to remove myself from stressful situations, address any stress that was affecting my mental health, pay attention and shift the processed food I was loading into my body and I really started to notice a big difference. It makes sense though, right?  

Food

We all know that what we eat directly affects each cell in our body. I mean, our bodies literally break down the food we consume and turn it into the building blocks that sustain and repair ourselves. With that small reminder, wouldn’t it be a good idea to supply the body with fresh and wholesome foods?


Remember that saying, “we are what we eat”?  Well its true!  Much of our body is made from what we put into it!  Try incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables -cooked or lightly steamed vegetables.  Much of the packaged foods today are not wholesome or nourishing let alone food at all.  It is more or less a combination of ingredients and preservatives designed to taste good and have a long shelf life.  I’m not saying all pre-packaged foods are bad but you must be conscious of your choices and don’t be afraid to read the label!  If you are, its probably not the best to buy in the first place! 

Stress

Ahhh stress. Everyone experiences it in one form or another.- family, work, school or just day-to-day life experiences.  Regardless of where it comes from it wrecks our body. It can break down our mental and physical self slowly leaving us feeling haggard and tired. This is why along with food we must be conscious to rid ourselves of stress as much as possible. We must decompress in a healthy way to not overwhelm ourselves with stress causing the slow decline of our mental and physical self. 

This is a little reminder to pay attention to your current stressors and either remove yourself in a healthy way from them or if you can’t, learn stress reduction techniques. I love to listen to meditation tracks on my iPhone (I use an app called insight timer) and just zone my mind out on some positive tracks. I also sit outside and listen to nature – whatever sounds may be going on. And one of my favorites although pricy is experiencing the calming effect of a floatation tank. I wrote about my experience here.


There are small things we can do every day that will add up over time and turn our body into less of mess. These are good reminders for everyone but especially us with an autoimmune disorder. We already have enough riding on us and If we can make a few small healthy adjustments to improve our body our mind and our life, then why not?

I hope you join me and try out some of the things mentioned above.  Let me know your thoughts!

Float Tank and Myasthenia Gravis: My experience

“The contraindication for magnesium in MG is when someone is in the middle of a MG crisis you are not supposed to use intravenous magnesium. But the warning has gotten MG people afraid to try magnesium in any form. Myasthenia Gravis causes muscle weakness and the theory is that since magnesium relaxes muscles, maybe giving it will cause even more muscle weakness. But magnesium doesn’t cause muscle weakness, it keeps muscles from spasming and it actually makes muscles stronger – such as the heart muscle.”

source

My Float Tank Experience

While the numerous people who’ve been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis tend to heed all warning of magnesium use, I decided to see what my body thought. I was gifted the experience by my beautiful mom on mothers day. She has always gotten me something to thank me for giving her the opportunity to be a mother to me. Kind, isn’t it? 

We walked into the float studio and received our tour. Although I still had my reservations, I was cautiously curious. I mean, I had been reading and researching the effects float tanks are said to have on the mind and body for some time. Having MG though, I knew the caution spread every which way across the internet and even out of the mouths of many doctors’. There is a caution said that serious trouble can be caused by magnesium for those who have been diagnosed with MG. 

I decided I was only going to dip my foot into the tank and see how I felt; I wanted to do this cautiously. I did and I was fine. Next I wanted to try to get into the tank for a few minutes to see if it affected me in any noticeable way.  I set my phone timer for 5 minutes and went in, full body. I was fine. Actually I was better than fine however I still decided to leave the door to the pod open. 

After the 5minute timer was up, and I was fine, I wasn’t as nervous although I was still being cautious. Needless to say, thirty minutes later I had shut the pod door, turned off the lights and rung the front desk to request the relaxing music be turned back on (the music automatically turned off after 15min).

I’m not sure how long I was in there for. I believe the session lasted for just 45 minutes. With just-perfect temperature water, the ability to float on my back effortlessly (without the ability to sink) and the soothing sounds of music in complete solitude, I drifted away. It was over too soon. As I got out and rinsed my body off, I realized that I didn’t feel weak or heavy. I simply felt relaxed. It was a mind+body relaxation. One I soon plan to visit again.

My first float tank experience with Myasthenia Gravis was amazing. I walked out of that room feeling calm, relaxed and peaceful. I am stable with my MG so I was more willing to see how the high concentration of magnesium in the water affected me. It affected me in only the best ways. Pain in my back decreased and I had a mind and body calm that lasted into the night. I was apprehensive but so glad I took the risk because believe me, I will float and float again!

If you want to learn more about float tanks (‘sensory deprivation tanks’) and the said benefits on our health, you can do so here: Float Tanks

 

 

 

Is Exercise Good For Myasthenia Gravis? Yes!

Most simply put, exercise within your limits is absolutely recommended if you are able.

Lack of exercise can actually cause fatigue; try something pleasant and nonstressful. Those who are able don’t necessarily exercise for how it feels when they do it, but how it makes them feel afterward. Listen to your body. Start slow and short. Always heed your body’s “NO” at its first hint.

From an Expert

Should myasthenia gravis patients undertake an exercise program? Different sources provide different answers. The very general answer is — exercise is helpful for people with MG, but patients should not embark on exercise programs that require maximum output and produce weakness. Exercise should be done in a way that stops short of muscle fatigue, and this point will vary from person to person depending on age, overall fitness level, MG symptoms and other factors.

From Livestrong.com: One of the most frustrating components of myasthenia gravis is the tendency of symptoms to come and go. Some days you may feel capable of exercising, while on others a simple walk to the mailbox may leave you extremely fatigued. For this reason, only your doctor can advise you on how and when to exercise. Together you can set up guidelines on how much exercise is healthy for you and under what circumstances you should attempt it.


So, exercise is a good thing. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise program. Ask your doctor for specific guidelines. If he is vague about specifics for you, ask him if he knows of a physical therapist who has worked with MG patients. Keep in mind that slow progress is fine and very worthwhile.

 

Exercise and MG: A Study

Exercise for Stable Myasthenia Gravis is an ongoing clinical trial sponsored by the Baltimore VA Medical Center. One of the study’s goals is to determine whether a 3-month comprehensive home exercise program can enhance fitness, strength and lung function to improve physical activity and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
– World Health Organization 1948

 

source: MyastheniaGravis.org

Video: Myasthenia Gravis and Exercise

 

I have written previously on the undeniable benefits of exercise for those living with MG as well as my own personal journey back to health which most defiantly included (and still does to this day), exercise or ‘physical therapy’.  

So after being inspired by my good friend who is on a similar journey of improving his health after not being able to walk, today, I wanted to share a helpful and informative video with all of you. 

 

My dear friends…I want to remind you that when you take the time to focus on improving the various elements of health, your body will respond and your health will improve. Speaking from personal experience, by incorporating physical therapy, upgrading nutrition and working to reduce stress and calm the mind, you can and over time will, improve your strength and overall MG health.

*Always talk to your doctor before starting a physical wellness plan and never exercise if in a crisis. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to request physical therapy as part of your treatment plan!

Myasthenia Gravis and Exercise 

Video from the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of Illinois

 

 

 Have you read:

Exercise for MG: the 9 tips you need to know 

 


Start Somewhere

My mantra for this beautiful Monday morning.

START SOMEWHERE

If you are ever unsure where to start, simply “start somewhere”