Polymyalgia & an anti-inflammatory diet

We have just spent the weekend with a family friend who is suffering from POlymyalgia. having known him my whole life, it was awful to see someone in such pain -he put up a valiant effort with guests there, but his pain was evident.

As a Health Coach, I do not have the answer to everything but I am always interested to learn more so I started researching possible natural assistance to help treat the polymyalgia.

First of all, what is it?
common inflammatory disorder that causes pain, usually in your shoulders and upper body. Inflammation is your body’s natural response when it’s trying to protect you from harmful germs. Inflammation works by drawing extra blood and white blood cells to whatever part of your body it’s trying to defend. This increase of fluid can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain (reference: http://www.healthline.com/health/polymyalgia-rheumatica-diet#overview1).

As it is an inflammatory disease, assistance with a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods can assist. As we are all bio-individuals, we react differently to certain foods so try to keep a food diary & see whether certain foods have a positive, negative or neutral effect.

My top 10 anti-inflammatory foods:

  1. Salmon
  2. Sardines
  3. Walnuts & almonds
  4. Flaxseed & flaxseed oil
  5. Olive oil
  6. Oranges
  7. Green leafy veg including collards, kale & spinach (whatever state our health is in, there is no diet/lifestyle that doesn’t benefit from more leafy greens)
  8. Turmeric – one of my favourite things to add to dishes, delicious in a curry, or through eggs (either powdered or finely grated fresh)
  9. Berries – raspberries, blueberries, cherries
  10. Herbs & spices including cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, sage & thyme

I also highly recommend easing up on inflammatory foods including sugary products (juice, biscuits & soft drinks), cooking oils (that you would deep-fry food in), alcohol, refined grains (white flour, pasta, biscuits & pastry). More controversial & again I urge you to TRY for a week, or perhaps longer – ease off the dairy & see if you notice any difference. If you’re a meat eater, source the best possible quality meat, ideally grass-fed & grass-finished & only consume meat every third day, or even less frequently.

I love this simple article on 7 days to an anti-inflammatory diet – plenty of easy swaps, if you try to make one change per day.

I am not a Doctor or qualified Nutritionist, always see your Doctor if unsure.

Foods that fight inflammation-infograph

Salmon & sweet potato patties

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | PESCETARIAN |NUT-FREE (optional) | 7 INGREDIENTS ONLY | mixing bowl & pan only

I’m all about making life easy, especially for families where it seems multiple meals are often made to address all family requirements. These salmon & sweet potato patties (better word?) are gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free & can easily be nut-free. They use basic ingredients which I would bet you already have at home.

400g sweet potato
1 medium salmon fillet
Juice & zest of half a lemon
1 tbspn chia seeds
1 organic egg


  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped kale – it doesn’t add much taste, I add it to increase the nutritional value
  • 2 tablespoons thyme – I add herbs to everything but they can be omitted if you feel the taste is too strong for littlies
  • 1 tablespoon sumac – adds a nice citrusy taste (not as sour as lemon)


1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup almond meal

If you are nut-free, you can use all quinoa flakes. You could also use a standard breadcrumb if you’re not fussed about gluten. If you don’t have quinoa flakes, you could use all almond meal.


1. Peel sweet potato, cut roughly into 4cm cubes & boil until soft
2. Mash sweet potato, it doesn’t have to be smooth
3. Pan-fry the salmon fillet, don’t worry if it’s not entirely cooked as it will be cooked again once in the patty
4. Throw the salmon fillet in with the sweet potato & again roughly mash (a fork will be fine)
5. If you’re using thyme &/or kale, you can just use some kitchen scissors & chop it straight into the mixing bowl.
6. Put in juice of half a lemon & zest – this can be omitted
7. Mix in chia seeds (this helps the mixture bind), then mix in the egg with a fork
8. In a separate bowl, pour in almond meal & quinoa flakes (or whatever ingredients you use for crust)
9. Using your hands, form the mixture into balls then coat in almond meal/quinoa flake mix
10. Put all the patties on a plate & throw in the fridge for at least 1 hour so they set. Any sooner & they may fall apart.
11. Pan-fry in preferred oil on a medium heat – they only need a minute or 2 on each side

MAKES 12 PATTIES – enough for 3 young children

Serving suggestion: mayonnaise or pesto or even better – mayonnaise mixed with pesto. I’ve popped up the recipes for both – just do a search 

Hot-smoked salmon salad | GF SF

I love a good salad – salty salmon, creamy feta, fresh mint, crunchy lettuce & of course a generous sprinkle of chilli 

1 fillet of hot-smoked salmon, shredded

1 cup cos, finely chopped

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 zucchini, sliced & pan-fried for 1 minute on each side 

3 baby Roma tomatoes, cut in half

3 teaspoons Persian feta (or goat’s cheese if preferred)

4-6 olives

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1/4 lemon

Sprinkling of micro-cress (for decoration!)


1. Pan fry zucchini

2. Chop all other ingredients

3. Layer all in a bowl, squeeze the lemon over the top 

BBQ salmon & quinoa

How good is BBQ salmon? Somehow it doesn’t taste as rich to me when BBQd. Pair it with a really simple quinoa salad & you’ve got an easy dinner for 1.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR 2 (it is a meal that keeps well for lunch the next day)
2 skinless, boneless salmon fillets (please peeps, do yourself a favour & buy wild rather than farmed*)
2/3 cup (when uncooked) quinoa – I used tri-colour but whatever floats your boat.
1 lemon – zest the whole thing (thanks Microplane for making this easy!), then juice it.
Sh*tload of parsley – I think this equates to approx 2/3 cup in metric
2 cups lettuce – the darker, the more nutrient rich.
Optional: we happened to have some slow-roasted baby tomatoes in the fridge which I added – really not essential….& in fact I’m not even sure the sweetness was necessary.

1. Boil a pot of water – check how much water to put in on the quinoa pack
2. Turn the BBQ on
3. Depending on your multi-tasking skills, you can chop the parsley now (otherwise leave until quinoa is cooling)
4. BBQ the salmon to your desired
5. Quinoa tends to take about 12-15 minutes. Once done, I let it cool for 5 minutes then stir through chopped parsley, lemon zest, juice of lemon & olive oil

*you know something can’t be good when a cancer patient has been told to exclude farmed salmon from their diet. From my understanding, part of it is the carcinogenic soy they are fed but please, I’m not a professional, & would love to hear your feedback on this


Rice paper rolls

I had always looked at photos of rice paper rolls & thought wow, they look amazing but well out of my reach in terms of difficulty! I bought the rice paper & soon after my brother told me he had just made some & that they were easy to make which gave me the motivation to do it. Very pleased I did!



Such a personal thing but here’s what I added (if my friend Georgia was eating them I would omit coriander)

250g pack       rice noodles
1 pack             rice paper rolls (can buy in most big supermarkets)
4                      baby peppers / capsicums – any colour, I like red, yellow & orange
6                      snow peas, sliced thinly on an angle
1 cup               lettuce
2 cups            mint & coriander torn up
1 large             carrot, grated (I only buy organic carrots now – they taste so much sweeter)
200g                 salmon, skinless & boneless, cut into small thin strips (just omit for a vegan RPR)
1 tablespoon      soy sauce (gluten free if you want the meal to be GF)
1 tablespoon      sesame oil
½ small               red chilli, chopped
1 tspn                 ginger, grated


  1. thinly slice the salmon fillet
  2. put the sliced salmon fillet in a bowl, then add soy, sesame oil, ginger & chilli, cover with glad wrap (or cling film for my English family), then pop in the fridge for 20 minutes
  3. do your prep now – cut up peppers, snow peas, lettuce, herbs & grate the carrot.
  4. Cook rice noodles as per the instructions on the packet
  5. Allow noodles to cool
  6. Pan-fry the salmon – you should get some pretty good smells now, try not to eat all the salmon straight away!
  7. Get ready for rice paper rolling! There are always instructions on the packet but you will get the hang of doing it pretty quickly. Fun to do with a friend or with kids if you’re game & don’t mind noodles hanging off every surface in your kitchen (speaking from experience)

I found these rice paper rolls incredibly fresh but also filling. You could really add any ingredients you want into them & they really are good fun to make. Cooking & preparing meals shouldn’t be a chore.

DIETARY: gluten free, dairy free, vegan if you omit the salmon, pescetarian, sugar free