There are food blogs with glossy, professional photos that are meant to be devoured with the eyes. There are food blogs that focus on weight loss to get that “bikini body” just in time for summer. There are food blogs devoted to getting dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. There are food blogs that focus on healthy eating to heal the body. And then there is Pain Free Kitchen.
What is Pain Free Kitchen?
Pain Free Kitchen is one of those blogs that is more than just the sum of its parts. Rachel’s story begins with a quest to maintain a healthy weight and continues today with her mission to help others heal and manage chronic pain through diet.
At a petite five feet tall, Rachel always struggled with weight, yo-yoing between 100 and 145 pounds. At times, Rachel managed to maintain her weight with a rigorous schedule of competitive dance, but once she started college, a steady diet of spaghetti and peanut butter sandwiches packed on the pounds. She turned to dance again but was unable to maintain balance. Eventually, she stopped eating anything but protein bars, fueling herself further with Red Bull energy drinks. Concerned about her health, her family began to monitor her eating over the summer, but the cycle continued.
Mysterious pain and other symptoms caused Rachel to sink even further into this cycle of weight gain and loss. Tenderness in her body and fatigue sent Rachel to nine separate doctors over a period of years.
Pain Free Kitchen and fibromyalgia
Finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2010, Rachel went looking for answers that couldn’t be found over the counter or by a prescription.
Doctors had only given her Vicodin for the pain and tenderness of her flare-ups, but Rachel wasn’t convinced that drugs were the best (or only) treatment option. She had been blogging for six months when she started hearing that eliminating dairy and gluten could help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. Rachel eventually decided to try a Paleo diet and found that her symptoms nearly disappeared. She even lost weight that had been resistant over the years.
But Rachel’s journey at Pain Free Kitchen isn’t just about a diet plan.
In her own words:
“My weight stabilized, which was nice. But it was about more than just the weight. My pain started to disappear. I found myself taking Vicodin less and less until I didn’t need it at all.”
Pain Free Kitchen doesn’t just focus on what to eat. It also focuses on how to eat. Rachel didn’t really know how to feed herself (or even cook) before she started the blog, which contributed to the up-and-down fluctuation in her weight:
“But the problem was I didn’t learn how to eat. So my weight started to creep up again. I was stuck in a cycle of gaining and losing. Until I stopped making my diet about my weight and made it about my health.”
Pain Free Kitchen provides a fibromyalgia diet for health
To that end, Pain Free Kitchen offers more than just a collection of recipes and tips for healthy eating. Rachel shares her fitness journey and offers reflections on the challenges she has faced when it comes to healthy eating and exercise.
In a recent blog on shopping for Whole30, Rachel discusses all of the delicious foods she eats when eliminating gluten and dairy. Many blogs seem to only talk about what you can’t have, but in this video, Rachel highlights all of the foods that are available to people thinking about making healthy changes. Her manner is warm and friendly, and her tips are helpful and easy-to-follow.
Other blogs follow her gym and fitness challenges. In the post about what she learned during her May fitness challenge (working out every day in May), Rachel dives into common misconceptions about weight loss, fat burning, and excuses. Some of our favorite parts of this blog include addressing the idea of motivation. Rachel’s solution? Don’t make working out (or not) a choice:
“By removing the choice of whether or not you’re going to work out, all of life’s excuses go out the window. [Everyone is busy]. But what if you said that one of your priorities was spending 30 minutes each day working out? Just like you find time to brush your teeth, I bet you could squeeze in a quick workout.”
Rachel is providing support and encouragement to all of her readers, sharing her story and remaining involved in the pain community through her blogs, videos, and participation on other blogs and pain sites. Pain Free Kitchen goes beyond simple weight loss, diving deep into what matters:
“…my blog isn’t meant for those who are looking for a quick fix to lose weight. It’s about taking a closer look at what you’re putting into your body and how it affects you.”