“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.”
After much thought and research I have decided that taking my health into my own hands is probably the only way to combat my illnesses. Yes I will continue to see my rheumatologist, allergist, family doctor, psychologist — and all the other monthly people who are trying to make my quality of life better.
But in the last year, as my autoimmune diseases have progressed to almost an unbearable state — I realize that wholistic healing is the only approach that is going to help me get better. The problem has been overcoming some major depression due to recent life-changing events. The depression has made me even more lethargic, so when I do get home in the evenings (sore and tired) — really all I want to do is rest. This keeps me from properly planning/cooking healthy meals and getting the exercise I need.
I am determined to get out of this rut though!
I have read so many blogs, websites and books about different diets, lifestyles and exercise programs that people who suffer from autoimmune diseases may benefit from. I think some would work for me — others — not so much. So I think I will combine certain aspects from different plans and tweak it to fit me.
I’m a strong believer that everyone is different in their chemical make-up, so what works for one person, may not work for another — and so on.
I have a severe allergy to wheat, so although something like the Mediterranean diet seems like a healthy way to go, I obviously would have to eliminate the aspect of the diet that incorporates whole wheat.
I also found this great site that gives the “Dos and Don’ts” for people with Lupus. Here they are according to the site — which can be found HERE.
The 7 Top Lupus Diet Don’ts
Do not drink alcohol, soda, energy drinks, or other ‘acidic’ non-healthy drinks, including treated or public drinking water facilities.
Do not eat processed foods, or foods with unhealthy preservatives such as MSG (which include most foods in the center isles of big box food chains).
Do not eat red meat. A little fish such as salmon is great, and chicken. For some even these may trigger flares, so be cognizant of how it makes you feel.
Avoid the 4 white foods, including salt, sugar, white flour (refined carbohydrates and starches) and dairy.
Avoid spicy foods. Spices are known to trigger flares.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. These are toxic and many believe it to even induce disease (I agree). There is no viable reason to use this product and they do not help you lose weight.
The 7 Top Lupus Diet Do’s
Eat a diet that mostly consists of simple, natural whole foods such as fruits and vegetables in its raw form.
Eat easy to digest foods, such as soaked almonds, soups, fruit/veggie smoothies, and salads based on natural, raw ingredients.
Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day. This supports the elimination of toxic build up in the body, and a faulty digestive process common with lupus sufferers.
Support your body by supplementing with digestive enzymes and probiotics. Most lupus patients are not absorbing their food and nutrients properly and need extra enzymes to support the healing process.
You must consume enough essential fatty acid (EFA’s), or supplement with it. This will support you in reducing inflammation and therefore reducing pain and avoiding flares.
Avoid foods that cause food sensitivities or allergies. You must be tested for this in order to be sure of your bodies specific needs. Some tests do not indicate food sensitivities (such as to sugar, salt, etc.), so keep a journal of your body’s reactions to foods. Eat a varied diet, rich with alkaline, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory foods. Always clean your food well, (including organic foods).
So — needless to say — to combine these aspects to a diet that already eliminates wheat — it won’t be easy.
I already eliminated alcohol based on other studies that said the same thing.
The hardest part for me will be eliminating the artificial sweeteners — being that I have an unhealthy obsession with Diet Dr. Pepper!!
The site also says the benefits include:
- Reduced inflammation, pain and swelling
- Decreased muscle pain, tissue damage and strain on organs
- Significantly increased energy and stamina
- Increased mobility
- Reduced body fat
- Relief of constipation, bloating and irregularities
- Improved memory and cognitive functioning
Disabled World – Examines some of the food in your diet you should and should not eat if you suffer from lupus: http://www.disabled-world.com/health/autoimmunediseases/lupus/diets.php#ixzz1v351lZ7q
So – if I can suffer through weaning myself off the Pepper — then I think I can stick to the guidelines.
I also plan to incorporate the following strategies:
- Eat mostly from the Mediterranean diet
- Add supplements such as Vitamin D, E, B6, C and antioxidants such as L-glutathione and Omega-3 fatty acids
- Eat fruits and veggies high in vitamins and antioxidants such as beets, shiitake mushrooms, avocado, kale, blueberries, brazil nuts, garlic, asparagus, cantaloupe, peaches and zucchini
- Incorporate Green Tea
- Eat cold water fish at least twice a week (such as salmon or mackerel)
- Limit processed foods
- Limit dairy (this is a difficult one too)
- Incorporate morning and afternoon all-natural shakes
- Snack on nuts, all-natural popcorn
- Eat salads and veggie plates/lean meats for lunch and dinner
- Incorporate yoga and meditation exercises at least twice a week
- Walk at least three days a week (even if it’s a leisure stroll)
I also plan to start all this out by detoxing for about a week. The detox will be strictly shakes (green), fruits, veggies, nuts, popcorn and water and tea.
So – I guess I’ll also keep a food diary and update the blog to let you all know how I’m feeling. I’m hoping that this lifestyle, combined with my current meds and the addition of a prescription-strength antacid (been suffering with chronic heartburn since my rheumy upped my dosage of MCTD meds) — will help to relieve some of my joint pain, fatigue and weight gain (steroid side effects).
I plan to put some meal plans together over the weekend and get started come Monday (May 21, 2012).
If anyone else has MCTD, Lupus or any other autoimmune disorder and has had success with a diet — please respond!
Until then friends