Merry Christmas Everybody!!

Merry Christmas everyone.

I know it’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been busy being, and loving being a mum!! 😀

Sadly on Sunday Seb’s cold worsened and he was admitted to hospital, and we’ve been here ever since. But still, I’d rather he get well and come home safe and sound than rush home to spend Christmas at home (although I am devastated that my first Christmas as a mum is being spent in a hospital bay).

Andrew has been a star, looking after the dogs, and prepping loads of food to make sure I stay as healthy as possible. I’m not making the same mistake as I did when Seb was born!!

As a breast feeding mum the hospital is providing me with food. They have a gluten free menu, and a dairy free menu… Frustratingly, the gluten free menu only had options such as ‘with gluten free bread’ or ‘gluten free dumplings’ etc… Plus everything had legumes and nightshades.

And the dairy free menu was packed with gluten… Therefore, only one meal was both gluten and dairy free… So for Monday – Thursday I had a banana for breakfast, and for both lunch and dinner I had tuna salad (minus the boiled egg and tomatoes…). Not exactly nutrient dense, or very varied! Plus, although tuna is a healthy option, it is a fish that should be consumed in moderation due to its possible mercury content.

Breakfast choices were cereal or toast… Cheap to feed the masses, yes. Nutrient dense… No. Especially lacking in valuable nutrients for healing, and very much lacking in choice for people with dairy and gluten sensitivities….

Thankfully, Andrew brought me a selection of nutrient dense meals 3 times a day, including fish, grass fed beef, organ meat, oysters and plenty (nay, copious) amounts of vegetables.

Thankfully I was there to support and feed my baby, not recover from an illness or surgery. But still, the quality of my milk is directly dependent on the nutrition I consume, therefore my baby needed better menu choices for me on the menu. And thankfully I have an understanding of good nutrition, and a partner willing to do the cooking and leg work for me to get it. But other people in the hospital aren’t that lucky, and they still need the nutritional support to heal.

Since learning what I have about nutrition, and seeing menu choices in hospitals both that I have worked at, and been a patient at, I feel it is an enormously important task to encourage and create change in the food that is served to people who are trying to heal and get out of hospital, whether they are people without disease merely having an elective ankle operation, or an elderly immunosuppressed patient.

The importance of food, and it’s healing properties NEEDS to be pushed more in hospitals. The emphasis is so heavily on getting patients out of hospital, to receive community based care back in their own home (which I totally agree with for a large proportion of cases), yet we provide nutrient deficient fuel for their bodies when they most need quality. Of course there is a cost issue (which will be a huge part), but the other issue is a complete lack of understanding and knowledge around the importance of nutrition…

This needs to be redressed.

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Why I’m not a food blogger…!

Since starting my food exploration I have had to get a bit creative with ideas for dinner/lunch. It’s handy because Andrew really doesn’t mind from Monday to Friday if he just receives protein source and veg… it’s what he grew up with (however the protein sources are VERY different from his childhood… and so are the veg for that matter!! And it’s not now topped up with an enormous portion of potatoes and bisto gravy!! Much to his pleasure thankfully), but for me, my parents were always a little adventurous in their food endeavours, and variation was key… so I do get a bit bored… or if not bored, I just feel the need to create a variety of dinners and food…

Now, I feel that on the days when I try to get creative I have on the whole been quite successful (even if I do say so myself!!), and I have been really quite proud of the taste sensations!! But, before I can show off to anyone about how great meals on this restricted, but gradually increasing elimination diet can be… I’ve eaten it!! Mmmmmm!!

Plus, despite being totally in love with photography… food photography just has never inspired me! Can I really be bothered to get out my lovely camera, just to take a few photos of my dinner… nah!! The light in my kitchen is all wrong, plus it’s October, annd England… there is no natural light at tea time round here!!
So the few… well two things that I have managed to take photos of before they became an empty plate are: A cherry ‘cheese cake’ made for my birthday so that I could enjoy a little (modified) AIP treat:

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And last night’s Prawn and Squid coconut curry:

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As you can see… I’m no food blogger! Things I do wrong:
1) The cake was already half eaten
2) The crockery is OLD!! And chipped!!
3) The background isn’t clear
4) The lighting is all wrong
5) The angles are all wrong
6) The presentation of the food is not considered
7) The photos are taken by my iPhone or iPad.. Not even a compact camera!

To name just a few… but, mmm they didn’t half taste good 🙂

And at the end of a day, that is the main thing I care about! Cooking good healthy food that is helping my body heal itself…

So… what’s for tea tonight?

Elimination Diet… Where I’m up to – A Summary!

My last post Elimination Diet…. What have I been eating?! received so many positive comments from Facebook, and additional questions posted on Facbook groups, that I feel perhaps I ought to expand a little! I am by no means an expert in this… this is a little personal experiment. There are things that I haven’t done perfectly, and there are things that I know in time I will need to adapt and adjust, and also, what works for me won’t be the same for you… that is the point of an Elimination Diet, to find out what is your own personal triggers.

Elimination Diet

I stated in A New Start with the Diet what I had decided to eliminate, this included: gluten, dairy, Sugar, Additives, Legumes, Citrus Fruits, Seeds and Nuts, Nightshade vegetables, Meat (excluding fish and turkey/wild game), Eggs, Most drinks!, Spices and Condiments (due to the inclusion of seeds, sugars, gluten etc. – therefor Himalayan Rock Salt, fresh herbs and dried leaves of herbs allowed). I decided on these things from reading The Paleo Approach, and this website which I found in the files section of the Facebook group Rheumatoid Arthritis Managed Naturally.

Pretty restrictive, but well worth it!!

So what have I learnt so far? Well… Initially I don’t think I ate enough. Now to be honest, it wouldn’t have been a problem, as it probably was enough, just not for a pregnant woman in her third trimester!! But this didn’t last too long, as my midwife noticed a high proportion of ketones in my urine after a fortnight of starting the diet. So how did I rectify this?? I added more starchy vegetables – butternut squash, sweet potato, beetroot… plus exactly what I had been eating on the first week of my elimination diet. The next urine test was spot on.
Other possible reasons that my urine test was slightly off that first week… was my appointment was at 9am on Monday morning, and I probably hadn’t drunk all that much before the test, therefore dehydration can affect ketone levels in urine. And also, along the lines of not eating enough, that weekend I had eaten out on both Saturday and Sunday, and generally been quite active (totally unheard of before when I could hardly move!!!).
Eating out is a bit of a problem, and I don’t mind too much as I had, more recently begun to feel that eating out was becoming too frequent, it was taking away the special-ness of going out for a meal for a special occasion. Plus, not eating out saves money… which can go directly into ensuring that the food I’m buying in for our daily meals is as good as we can afford!!
However, eating is a really social event, and it is nice, when friends are visiting, or there’s a get together that you can go out and still eat within your restrictions. Unfortunately, so far I have found that I tend to get one choice of fish or meat with a plain salad, or a plain portion of vegetables. As I go along with my reintroductions, and my diet 90% of the time is balanced and managing my inflammation, I am sure that I will have to be slightly less restricted in a restaurant, but for now it just isn’t worth it!!
In the meantime, I am going to start a little review of each of the places that I eat out at, looking at their choice, service, and food in general, as it’ll serve as a little reminder for me when it comes to having to pick somewhere to go out for food if the need arises!
Reintroductions
My reintroductions have been slow, and I have intended that because I want to know exactly what I can and can’t eat!! I have also so far only really reintroduced some ‘safe’ foods, with a view to building up my diet to an Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) type diet, trying to follow The Paleo Approach as closely as I can, food sensitivities (if found) allowing. The reason I’m aiming for an AIP diet is because The Paleo Approach book made sense to me, and I do eat meat!! And I like eating meat! A lot of other diets move towards a less ‘meaty’ approach, and I felt, for me, I wanted to try this… if I found that I couldn’t tolerate meat through my Elimination Diet then, of course, I would have addressed this and looked towards getting my nutrients from other sources, but everyone has to have a Plan A!!
So far, meat (grass fed Lamb, and grass fed Beef (as of this weekend), free range chicken, and wild game/duck etc.) has been good… No reactions… YES!! So fingers crossed, I can look to follow an AIP diet fully in time.

Eggs and almonds aren’t really in the AIP remit, but I thought I’d give them a go because of their usefulness in baking, and other cooking… Almonds seem OK (I eat in proportion anyway), eggs however didn’t go so well… but because I was doing a detailed Food diary, I have been able to look at the possibility of other possible reasons for my flare – so I plan on trying again with eggs on a clean day, and if the same reactions occur, then I’ll know!

I had my 30th Birthday in the midst of all this, so I did cheat a little for a few days – keeping within an AIP diet – but I did a bit of baking, and eating out once which meant on that weekend I had lots of new foods, and yes, I did feel a bit rubbish following this weekend… I just don’t know exactly weather it was the flax seeds, or honey, maple syrup in the baking, the extra sugar from the baking and eating lots of fruits rather than keeping a balance, maybe the yeast in a bullion that made a gravy… or any of the other little things that sneaked in over that weekend.
But all in all, it was nice to relax for a couple of days with my family and by eating clean the following week my fatigue and pain ebbed away quickly. And I think this is important!! It is important to be dedicated to your elimination diet to work out what your triggers are, but it mustn’t take over your life so much that it makes food a misery or a chore! Food is delicious, and especially so when you know it is healing your body!!
I look at reintroductions as an exciting time of the week… it’s a day to find out if there is one more food I can eat!! And it’s like an adventure, a discovery!

Supplements

This is my weakness… I’m only just getting my head around the nutrients that I am trying to balance in my whole foods… let alone where I’m deficient, and what will benefit me in long or short term. This is my next goal… I am going to wait until little junior is out of me though first, because even though I’m sure most supplements would only benefit me and the health of my baby, everything says ‘if you are pregnant or breast feeding please consult with your doctor’… and unfortunately when you do this, they have no idea of any impact on me or my baby… so I’m going to wait. This gives me time to continue with my reintroductions and get to grips with that anyway.
I’m excited about the addition of supplements and how it will be another piece to the puzzle, I think I may need a little extra help however, and I plan to speak to a nutritional naturopath when the time is right for guidance.

Support
I have been really lucky that my other half has been supportive of this adventure of mine… but I guess why wouldn’t he be?! He doesn’t need to help me on and off the settee anymore, or get woken up in the night to help me turn over and sort out the covers! I can come out on the dog walks, and I’m 100% happier, which makes the household a happier healthier place! And I’m doing most of the cooking (I’m going to have to try to train him back up to AIP cooking sooner or later though!!). Plus… He is very into his sport and fitness… and although we ate pretty well before, always eating our 5 a day, minimal bread or pastries, rarely potatoes, with fish a regular part of our diet… we weren’t eating CLEAN! So now we are… he can’t stop looking at the results he is seeing in the mirror… which is a constant source of amusement to me!

On wards and upwards!

Elimination diet… what have I been eating…??!

I first toyed with the idea of a diet change back in June in my blog Food Glorious Food, and then finally in September my blog A New Start with the Diet documented my starting process of a strict elimination diet… well, as I stated in the title of that blog, so far so good… I’m here now to provide a little update on how things have been going! I think you can probably tell I’m pretty pleased, I have posted 4 posts since starting the diet, and my mood, and the topics I talk about are far more positive! You can catch up with those here, here, here, and here!! (Isn’t ‘here’ one of those words that when it is written/said/read too many times in a row it just doesn’t look right anymore!!)

I have been keeping a really detailed (well I hope so/think it is) food diary, and I also did a pain chart of my pain on starting the diet back in August. I also started doing a little video diary… but I couldn’t keep that up for long (1- because I never had enough space on my phone or iPad, 2 – because seeing yourself doing a video diary is the most AWFUL experience in the world, perhaps second only to hearing your voice on a recording… I don’t know why that’s worse, but I seem to remember that I was more repulsed by that back when I had to do my French oral exam!!).

So, here it is for your viewing:

Where I started back in August.... :-(

Where I started back in August…. 😦

The details of absolutely EVERYTHING that has passed my lips since the 21st August (well with one or two days where I forgot to document, but they have been very few and far between!):

Food diary

I’d just like to say that the first few days where I hadn’t started the elimination diet, was not really a true representation of what I would have eaten were I say… at work, or not planning the elimination diet!! My excuse? I was starting an elimination diet!!! I might never eat a danish pastry again!! So I didn’t really hold back… mind you, despite eating lovely salads etc for lunch at work, there were always biscuits and delicious homemade bakes brought in by colleagues, so where I would give nourishment with one hand, I expect I took away any benefit by stuffing my face with lovely cakes!!! Not any more!

My pain chart as of today:

A much happier pain chart androgynous being!! And a much happier Nina to boot!

A much happier pain chart androgynous being!! And a much happier Nina to boot!

Now.. I have photos of my hands from back in maybe May/June time, and some I took yesterday… I don’t know how easy to spot the difference it is… But I can 100% assure you that they FEEL very very different! I’ll stick them in anyway and you can see if you can tell… if not, you’ll just have to take my word for it, and the fact that I ran with the dogs on their walk yesterday… and I’m going out with them again in about 30 minutes… because I am not crippled in pain!!! Wooooo Hoooooo!!

Left Hand May/June 2014

Left Hand May/June 2014

Left Hand October 2014

Left Hand October 2014

Right Hand May/June 2014

Right Hand May/June 2014

Right Hand October 2014

Right Hand October 2014

Wow… I usually only look at these on my phone, and I thought it was difficult to see a difference… but I’ve just seen them on my computer screen… It has surprised even me!!

I just wish I’d taken photos of all my swollen joints… It would have helped me remember… instead this is all I have… And I hope never to see that much inflammation in my body again!! I know I’ll have flares, I’m sure… but I will not let myself ever get to this again!!! A corner has been turned.

Things I can do…!

Here’s a little list of things I can do since changing my diet, that 2-3 weeks ago I couldn’t:

Sleep through (despite being 32 weeks pregnant!)

Roll over in bed without yelping/crying

Pull my own covers over me in the night

Get out of bed on my own without help

Sit onto the toilet without ‘dropping’ onto it or using the radiator and bath either side to lower myself

Squeeze toothpaste onto my brush

Stand for the whole time I brush my teeth

Put on my own socks – quickly!!

Do up buttons and zips

Pull up own trousers… Even maternity ones

Put up my own hair

Walk down stairs one foot In front of the other without using the banister

Make breakfast including lifting pans

Open some jars and bottles

Empty the dishwasher

Squeeze pegs enough to hang out the washing

Walk without a waddle or a limp (despite being 32weeks!!)

Walk dogs (2 big ones at that) about 3 miles most days

Get in/out of the car without help

Chop veg, even squash and swede

Spend the day in the Lake District without wanting to go to bed immediately on return home

Mow lawn

Swim 20 lengths plus without repercussions

Get on/off the settee without help, even at the end of the day

Get up stairs one foot in front of the other without the banister

I’m sure there are other little things that I manage and think ‘whoop!!’, but my memory fails me!! I am growing a baby! 🙂

On balance just to add…

I still don’t have any bounce!! So I can’t jog, run up stairs (tried yesterday in a moment of exuberance!), and I can’t squat/crouch, or get on off the floor…. But hey!! I’m working on it!! 😉

A new start with the diet…. So far so good!

Something I have been considering for quite some time now is a change in diet in an attempt to reduce my RA symptoms… I wrote about it in Food Glorious Food, I’d been sceptical and also scared… I love food, I also love eating healthy, but I’ve always enjoyed a treat, a beer, a brew, a steak… The list goes on.

But the pain remained and as I draw closer and closer to my due date I worry… Will I be able to function as mum?! How will I cope? So since being off work (sine the 25th July, going back on Wednesday 3rd though!!) I have looked further into this option, I’ve read around quite a few places (by no means all… But I’d still be reading if that were the case!), and I decided to take the plunge. A few weeks back I had swapped from milk to soya for my brews and cereal, and had noticed a bit of an improvement, but after some serious consideration, I decided to go the whole hog and start an elimination diet…!

One of the main reasons I had felt sceptical was that I struggled to find the information I was looking for, but just kept coming back to the Paddison Programme, I’m sure he has a huge amount of information to provide, but I some how feel uneasy about paying online to get advice…. Especially since I couldn’t find anything else… Then one day I was on a RA Facebook group and someone mentioned Rheumatoid Arthritis Managed Naturally, so on I went and found so many answers to so many of my questions. Plus lots of files and resources, and information about where to look. AWSOME!! I straight away bought the Paleo Approach and the cookbook, and The Gerson Therapy book (there are LOADS of other resources out there, not just those two books, it’s just they are the ones I’ve started with!)…. I know… Why am I happy to pay for advice via a book, but not online, well 1) the information in the book is available else where, it’s just easier to read all in one place in a book. 2) I like books, and they are full of references, 3) my studies taught me to be sceptical of web based information! (Despite more and more information these days being web based!). Plus I’ve found some blogs that give me recipe ideas, such as Paleo Mom, and I’ve got myself back onto Pintrest in an attempt to scrap book together recipe ideas and inspiration. Planning planning planning, because it’s going to be so easy to pick up a Danish if I’m out and haven’t planned something ‘elimination’ friendly!

On august 21st I started a brief food diary of what I was eating,with the view to starting my elimination diet on the Tuesday 26th. In the run up to starting my diet I ate RUBBISH!! Not overly intentionally, but I kept thinking if this is the last time I get to eat a Danish pastry, I’m going to have it!! I’m sure that’s human nature….?!

Tuesday 26th came around, and the diet began…. I have eliminated: dairy, gluten, nightshades, legumes, citrus, seeds and nuts, meat (except Turkey, fish and wild game), certain cooking fats (currently using avocado oil, coconut oil and a little olive oil), alcohol (not hard being 7 months preggers!!), caffeine, sugar…. They are the main things I think!

I’m aiming to stick to this for about 3-4 weeks, then start some very gradual re-introductions, with a view to finding out what, if any are triggering my flares and making me feel so rubbish.

When you look at what I’ve cut out, it looks like there’d be nothing left to eat, but… In fact there is plenty to feed a hungry pregnant woman, and thankfully due to the fish and wild game, I don’t feel like I’m depriving ‘bump’! Yes…I have to prepare it ALL, no convenience any more (thank god I’m off work at the moment!), but it feels good to be eating nutritionally!

After my re introductions, I really hope to be able to follow something along the lines of the Paleo Approach, as it makes since to me, and it is pretty much all the foods I love to eat… It’s just I have to make them, rather than buying from a supermarket! Which again, is no bad thing, especially if it means I’m healthy! But I’m willing to accept a more vegetarian diet if needs be to keep me well.

So…. How has the first nearly week gone I hear you ask….? Well, a hell of a lot better than the acupuncture and hydrotherapy!!

In the last 6 days, the swelling in my right knee and left ankle has reduced, including the pain (although not gone!), I am sleeping through the night, maybe waking briefly for the odd position change, pain in my hands and feet is still present in the mornings, but it’s only lasting about an hour, and instead of it taking 4 minutes to put on my socks (yes, I timed it!), it now takes me seconds :-D. my hands look wasted, which they might be… My grip certainly isn’t what it once was, but it could also be they they aren’t fat puffy mits anymore! My fingers still have thick joints, swell a bit and are stiff… But I have had RA for 7 years! This weekend, I have been able to go up and down stairs one foot in front of the other (not every time, but I’m still chuffed!), and I don’t always have to hang on to the banister rail. I’ve been on more dog walks, some even on consecutive days, and yesterday managed a lovely 3+ miles walk in the woods (furthest, and most undulating walk I’ve done since being pregnant!). And I am even able to clean the kitchen whilst the dinner is cooking, including un-stacking and re-stacking the dishwasher!!

Now don’t get me wrong… I still have pain, I still have stiffness, I still feel fatigue… But it is all much less, and considering this is all in 6 days… I’m pretty chuffed!

Of course, I’m aware, it could be many variables leading to these changes…. 1) the rest from work is finally giving me some benefit 2) placebo? Is it the positive mental attitude from the reading around of something I believe should work (only after reading the science!)? 3) maybe baby is finally kicking out some steroids like all my midwives and consultants kept telling me it would…. Or is it the diet?! I guess time will tell!

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We’re all going on a… Summer Holiday :-)

St Buryans, Cornwall

St Buryans, Cornwall

Evening all… Not posted much for a while. I’ve been on HOLIDAY!!! Much needed time for rest and relaxation. YAY!

So I decided to do a blog about my holiday instead of my RA today.

We went to Cornwall, and what a beautiful week we had. We took our time getting down there, staying over in a terrible B&B on the way down (just some chain pub with some very scruffy rooms), to break up the journey, but it did the job.

The next day our trip continued in glorious weather, we stopped off at about 10am at Lifton Farm for some breakfast, it was beautiful! The cherries and strawberries were sooo soft and sweet. There really is nothing like English grown fruit in season! Mmmm!

We then spent the week camping at Tower Park in St Buryan. What a brilliant camp site!! The fact that it was quiet was a big help, but it was so spacious I’m sure even in the height of the holiday season it would have been lovely, plenty of camping space, with trees for shelter and shade, clean and delightfully powerful showers (free too!). A play area, and best of all, doggies welcome! There weren’t any plugs about however, so we weren’t able to charge the phones, but I found it really quite relaxing to not have to worry about the phone. A true relaxing holiday!

The week was filled with gentle walks (although some not so gentle hills and cliffs!), lots of sunshine, reading, sunbathing on beaches with the pooches, a little shopping (for some shorts as none of my ‘bottom half’ clothes fit now!), and lots of cream teas, and Cornish pasties!

Pirates Cove

Pirates Cove

Me and Zeus Sunning ourselves

Me and Zeus Sunning ourselves

Zeus surfing his way in with his stick

Zeus surfing his way in with his stick

Lands End

Lands End

The worst things about the holiday… the fresh sea food… Being pregnant, the ‘advice’ out there is to avoid certain sea food unless it has previously been frozen to avoid listeria. My favourite sea food include: Prawns, Clams, Scallops, Crab, Lobster, Langoustines and so on and so on… and Cornwall have these in abundance, all fresh! Never seen a freezer in their lifetime. I am often dubious about this sort of advice, I’m sure my mother wouldn’t have had this advice regarding food when she had my sisters and I, so I’m sure that the majority of time I would have been absolutely fine enjoying these beautiful fruits of the sea, but equally, is it worth the risk? So… Cornish Pasties it was!! My food was still fine, but it wasn’t what I’d have picked normally… so I guess we’ll just have to go back next year!!

Lands End

Lands End

I particularly enjoyed The Kings Arms in St Just, a lovely little place, and a great pub, it did real ales (mmmmmm….. another thing I couldn’t enjoy!), beautiful looking seafood, and some excellent options of the non-seafood variety, it kept its ‘English Pub’ feel, had a welcoming knowledgeable landlord, and was doggie friendly!!

St Ives

St Ives

And finally on the last day, a boat ride with our salty sea dogs to see the seals setting out from St Ives at midday on the Isla Bea.The first time I’ve ever been on a boat in Cornwall and actually seen seals!! I absolutely loved it!! There’s nothing like being out on the sea!

Zeus patiently waiting to set off out to sea

Zeus patiently waiting to set off out to sea

The Seals!

The Seals!

Salty Sea Dogs!

Salty Sea Dogs!

We followed this with a leisurely drive back up the country, stopping off at the White Lodge in Cheltenham for an over night stay to break up the journey… to be honest, the journey was going pretty well, and we could have been home by about 10pm if we had kept at it, but I think Andrew was keen to get on to some wifi so he could watch Wigan Vs Saints on Sky Go!! We fell on our feet with this B&B, it was beautifully clean and well presented, with stunning gardens for the pooches to stretch their legs, wifi (obviously), and a really tasty breakfast in the morning. We were the only people in that night. I hope it does better trade at other times, as it was a lovely stay and I wouldn’t like to think they were struggling (hopefully not!).

A brilliant break away, with plenty of rest. Getting off the floor every morning was a little tricky, but in general, I was feeling pretty good (regular 5mg steroids did help to make sure I enjoyed myself), and the levels of rest vs activity were just about right.

 

Chilling!!

Chilling!!

Happy Holidays everyone… how long will this feeling last??!

Food! Glorious Food!….. Sorry I couldn’t help it! :-)

So… food.
I haven’t posted for a while as initially I was in charge of the household whilst Andrew went off on a stag do. So I was busy busy keeping the pooches fed and walked!! So my pacing had to eliminate the bike rides and take on the morning and evening walks. But that’s pacing!
However, following that weekend I was unable to conjure up the energy to post as I was struck down by diarrhea and vomiting….. Nice, I know. But interestingly, over the few days I had off work recovering, my RA was a lot easier (not better, but easier). So what was the cause? Coincidence? Lack of work? Or change in food intake?
Now I have looked into food and RA before, but I have been reluctant to massively change my diet for a few reasons. 1) I eat well and healthily, but I do enjoy my food, and the odd treat. 2) I personally feel that once you start with ‘intolerance to this’ and ‘intolerance to that’ you open up more problems (perhaps I’m wrong!), but I have always believed that a little of everything healthily balanced is what maintains and prevents intolerances/allergies. And perhaps I’m way off (or not, but looking at this point from the wrong angle) and it is just my one opinion from observation, but 3) people I’ve met with intolerances/IBS/ulcers often have chronic pain illnesses** and often suffer with low mood. Big sweeping statement I know, and I will be happy to retract it at any time, but currently, from my experience those patterns have come up time and time again ***.
Now, as I say I am happy to retract my third point, well, both my points regarding intolerances (obviously not the one about me loving food… as I do!! A Lot!!), and I am looking into the whole thing with a little more purpose now. Because having not eaten for 2 days during my illness, I was soooo much better (not a totally scientific start – as it could have easily been the extra days off work, I know work adds to my pain as Saturday is generally my worst day of the week)!! Unfortunately, going on a volitional fast and slowly re-introducing foods gradually keeping the worst offenders off the list for the time being….. Not exactly what I want to be doing whilst busy growing a baby!
It’s a really difficult decision to make, especially since I don’t really think that anyone in the world knows the answer, is it better to provide the unborn developing foetus with vitamins and minerals from a wide variety of foods from all food groups, but risk the fact that some of these foods may be making my rheumatoid pains worse, or do I eliminate vast food groups, possibly depriving my baby from certain vitamins/minerals (I just don’t know) during some of the most important months of its newly formed life… but at the possibility of helping rid myself of some sever and debilitating pain… (Which may help the foetus in different ways, e.g. less pained/stressed mum to be) I don’t think anyone knows the answer, I don’t really think anyone knows really what our recommended daily/weekly/yearly allowances actually are? Especially at such vastly different times of our lives such as during pregnancy and during disease?
Plus… Food makes me happy!! Especially all the foods that I consistently see as bad for RA… Dairy, meat products, sugar and gluten – although I think I could manage without gluten without too much heart ache, and I’d like to live without sugar… but dairy…. Meat… especially the badly thought of red meat… oh steak, how could I live a life without another steak? Or cheese? Oh it makes me sad just thinking about it! I could go on about how food makes me happy all night long, but I could also go on about how sad RA makes me (even had a little cry last night)…
If the food issue is indeed adding to my pain (which I won’t know until I cut it out) then I’d have to make a decision, a very difficult decision… what do I want more, and I guess I would have to choose health (but can you believe how uncommitted that sounds!! That is how much I love my food!).
I feel a little bit like I am in the ‘evening stages’ of a bad relationship, coming to terms with the idea of separation, but not yet able to cut all the ties… but in some way I can see it coming. I’m just not sure when yet…
So, any thoughts from any of you out there regarding diet and pain? I’d love to hear of the changes you’ve seen, and what has helped? I know lots of people will have taken these steps, and had different results, please tell me about your experiences! It might help me make my decision…

 

 

 

**(I know, I know… RA is a chronic pain problem! But I have never viewed it in the same bracket as ‘Chronic Pain’, patients with RA don’t have the same pain behaviours as ‘Chronic Pain’ patients – maybe it’s because with RA the patient has a diagnosis, and therefore, can accept the pain and cope/manage better than someone who is continually looking for a diagnosis and no practitioner or consultant can give them a name for their diagnosis apart from ‘Chronic Pain’.)
***Perhaps my snap shot of the population is skewed as those that are out there managing and living with their intolerances/IBS/chronic pain, are the people that I don’t see!! And it is the people that need help with their management that are suffering with depression, understandably in many cases when you hear their stories.