Sally tells me she makes healthy food choices. “I’m eating a healthy diet”, she says, “I’m very frustrated that I’ve has been having rheumatoid arthritis flares more often.” “I stock it up to being just like my mom,” says Sally, “Mom has suffered with arthritis for years.” I could see the frustration Sally was experiencing. A healthy diet is to give you good health and Sally didn’t feel like she was getting any benefits from eating ‘healthy’. Should Sally just chuck the healthy eating? Well, the answer is…..of course not!
There are three key points to Sally’s personal healthy life she should review and reconsider. Health, which is a symptom free life, comes from healthy food choices, consideration of personal food allergies and sensitivities and food contradictions.
Sally should first review what is considered healthy food. Recall the Real Results’ New Years Resolution – A Healthy Diet blog post which outlined the parameters of foods that are to be considered ‘healthy’. Briefly, a healthy food is whole natural and unrefined. Healthy truly nourishes you the way nature intended. It doesn’t just fill you up with a few added vitamins. It’s important to remember that if you are suffering from unpleasant symptoms, whether chronic or acute, you do not have the immune strength to deviate from healthy whole food choices. If it all checks out that Sally is eating a healthy whole food diet then she can address the next critical component: What defines ‘her’ healthy diet?
Equally important to healthy food choice is knowing that a healthy diet is unique to you. What is ‘healthy’ to you is not necessarily healthy to someone else. This is mainly due to our own personal genetic makeups. I for one am very sensitive to dairy products. Yet, every where I turn I’m being told dairy is a part of a healthy diet. Bottom line, it isn’t healthy for me! How personal food culprits deprive you of good health is unique to you. It all depends on your unique genetic makeup.
If you were Sally you’d probably be wondering how to figure out what foods are problematic. Well it’s not hard and not time consuming. It just requires some self awareness on your part and a little food journaling. Consider yourself your own guinea pig! With the information from a food diary you will be able to see what foods you really eat, how often and which are more likely to be causing those undesirable symptoms. It is important to know what you are eating. We tend to have problems with the foods that are consumed most frequently. As an extra wammy we can even crave the foods that are problematic for us. Sally could recognized that on days she eats apples or dairy products, for example, her joints really ache. As described by Dr. Theron Randolph, An Alternative Approach To Allergies, this individualized approach “concerns the interaction between you and your own particular environment, which is different from anyone else’s. You must eliminate them (offending foods and environmental chemicals) from your diet and environment or learn to control their intake in order to get well.” The key to an elimination diet is to eliminate the foods you eat most often for at least 2-3 months depending on the severity of your symptoms. No cheating! You should notice an improvement or total absence of symptoms ……
The next piece of your healthy food choice diet is the consideration is food contraction. These are foods, that through scientific study, have shown to antagonize or promote various symptoms in those who are susceptible. So steer clear of these foods. Eliminate them from your diet for 2-3 months, or until your symptoms disappear. In our modern google age it’s easy to find out these possible know offenders. In Sally’s situation she’d like to know which foods are contradictions to joint health. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) article, Food and Arthritis, has listed the following foods as known arthritis triggers. These should be omitted from Sally’s diet immediately and not revisited until she is symptom free and ready to start a reintroduction plan.
- Dairy products*
- Wheat, oats, rye
- Citrus fruits
- Potatoes (nightshade)
- Tomatoes (nightshade)
- Coffee (I would include caffeine foods as well, chocolate, tea, etc.)
*All dairy products should be avoided: skim or whole cow’s milk, goat’s milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
**All meats should be avoided: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.
In addition to the items listed include tobacco and all of the plants in the Nightshade family: Potatoes, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers (including chili peppers, habenero, cayenne pepper and paprika), goji berries, ashwagandha (an adaptogenic herb from Ayurvedic medicine), Cape gooseberries, ground cherries and garden huckleberries. Garrett Smith, NMD, author of Nightshades, Weston A. Price Foundation, says 90% of his arthritic problems were cured by omitting all nightshades.
The only way to be sure that your symptoms are related to a food intolerance is to follow an elimination diet, where you leave out a certain food from your diet, for a period of time. This is followed by a ‘challenge’, where you reintroduce the food to see if it causes a reaction. If Sally’s arthritis is related to a food allergy or food sensitivity she’ll notice a flare-up of her symptoms within a few days of reintroduction of an offending food. Symptoms of food intolerance can develop relatively slowly after eating a food – after hours or even days. Keeping a food journal will be extremely helpful in keeping track of what makes up your diet so that you can be aware of what foods are a contradiction to your great health. Take action. What acute, chronic, extreme or seemingly benign symptoms do you live with? Dandruff, acne, constipation, headaches, asthma, edema or sleep disturbances? Anything is open to possible food induced culprits. You should review and reconsider your food choices. Health, which is a symptom free life, comes from healthy food choices, consideration of personal food allergies and sensitivities and consideration of recognized food contradictions.
Take charge of your health through your personalized healthy food choices!
Be Healthy Be Natural Be Tempted
Lori’s Social Media
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, PCRM, Food and Arthritis
- Weston A. Price Foundation, Nightshades, Garrett Smith, NMD, Tuesday, March 30, 2010
- An Alternative Approach To Allergies, Dr. Theron Randolph and Ralph W. Moss, Ph. D., Harper & Row, 1989.