I am frequently asked questions by people regarding my diet, how I decided to make those changes, and how I stick with them so religiously. Interestingly enough, many of those questions come from people who although don't have RA, but have other issues that can be brought under control by a diet similar to my own.
What amazes me about this whole thing is how your body has the ability to heal itself when given the proper nutrition and care.
I received this question from a woman who was recently diagnosed with RA.
Congrats on your success at changing your diet and getting your RA under control.
I got diagnosed this past summer so i haven't decided what to do with my diet. I am very interested in trying to make changes though. I was thinking of starting with going gluten free.
I would love to hear more about how you decided what foods to eliminate and how you've managed to stick with it. After all, the comfort foods are soooo easy to grab on days when ya feel bad.
It's kind of a long story, I have a blog centered around my story and the changes I have made, here is the link to "My Story"
As far as starting to experiment with your own dietary changes, I suggest keeping a food journal. First, eliminate the most common "allergens" wheat, yeast, dairy, soy, eggs, as well as ALL processed foods and red meats (as they produce inflammation) and stay away from refined sugar.
Eat a completely whole foods diet including lots of [fresh] fruits, veggies, leafy greens, whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa (which is very high in protien) as well as beans, nuts (almonds and walnuts are great) and seeds. If you choose to continue to eat meat, eat lean meats such as fish and organic free-range chicken. You want to continue on this diet for at least a few weeks to get some effect of the changes.
Make sure to write down how you feel everyday and then if you want to start reintroducing some of these eliminated foods in your diet, introduce them one at a time (at least five or more days apart) and again write down how you feel on a daily basis.
The good thing about going gluten free these days is that there are OODLES of options available, much more so than when I started out 5 years ago. Also, reading your food labels is VERY important. Thankfully, over the past few years legislation has been passed requiring food companies to list these common allergens on their packaging, so you don't have to carry around a list of undecipherable words for "wheat."
Shop the periphery of the grocery store, that's where all the whole foods hang out. Avoid buying food that have more than five ingredients and make sure that those ingredients could be recognized by your great grandmother as actually being food. Stay far far away from diet soda or foods containing aspartame, that suff will kill ya!
Honestly, one of the most detrimental foods is dairy. There are a whole host of reasons why we shouldn't be eating (or drinking) the stuff, many of which goes way back to ancient chinese research. Simply put, we can't digest it and we're not meant to. Our society puts far too much emphasis on it's consumption and interestingly enough, not only are we the largest consumers of dairy, we also have the highest instance of osteoperosis. Coincidence?
Also, so you know, if you're thinking of getting tested to see if you are "allergic" to any of these foods, those tests are not always accurate. Just because you test out of an allergy doesn't mean you're not intolerant to it. Makes sense?
I know this all may seem a bit daunting at first, but for me it was worth every single bit of it. If you think about it, it's simply going back to the way we should be eating, and once you're on track you won't even think twice about any of it! In order to stay healthy you need to invest the time in yourself, and once you start doing so you will realize that it's time well spent.
One of my favorite books that I recommend reading is "Skinny Bitch" it's an easy read and it also answers some of the questions you may be having regarding why you shouldn't eat certain foods. I read it in one night, it's light, informative and entertaining. For a heavier read, check out The Blue Zone. The author travels the world to explore groups of people who live the longest and are the healthiest, his findings are interesting and support this very diet.
Please feel free to let me know if you have any more questions...I'd be happy to help!