strong>Comments from readers remind me that the problems posed by RA are complex and persistent. The words ‘just change your diet’ aren’t enough no matter how often you hear them.
This post will be a summary of what untold numbers of us have done to successfully toss RA symptoms into the trash and get on with our lives. It can be done without enriching the pharmaceutical industry or endangering ourselves by taking lethal drugs. Keep in mind the staggering amount of mostly hidden medical research that has linked food and Rheumatoid Arthritis for many decades. We are not crazy. We are on the right path.
I’m not a physician and my columns are for educational purposes only. Onward.
************************ In Summary:
1. The 3-Day Fast can seem like a miracle for those who thought their destiny was beyond their control after a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. By the 4th day of a water-only fast, we feel completely well again. The cause of the pain, flares and fatigue, as well as the way forward, is then crystal clear. When all symptoms vanish like they never existed, we know that it is time to change our diet to accommodate our fussy immune systems.
And we got our health back without the drugs that ‘experts’ had assured us we needed. The condition is not so harrowing after all. We can control it ourselves just by eating with care and caution. What a relief!
2. The fast convinces us beyond a doubt that RA is caused by food sensitivities and we can now move on to the next step: identifying problem foods.
Unfortunately, as easy as it sounds, this is the part that can drive us to distraction, and back to the doctor’s office for a prescription for biologics.
Here’s how to avoid that fate:
3: Invest in a small spiral notebook that will fit into your purse or pocket. You will need to have it handy because you will record everything that goes into your mouth every day.
In addition to itemizing the food you eat, you will also note how you feel when you awake and go to sleep, joint by joint. Your hands, feet, knees, hips, etc, have many, many joints, any of which can be affected individually by a specific food.
If you’ve had RA for any length of time, you are familiar with flares, sudden bouts of severe pain and inflammation that seems to come out of nowhere and affect only one area of the body.
Flares occur because you happened to eat something that you are unusually sensitive to. They go away within the same 3 days as your diet changes from day to day.
4. By now you know that your RA problem is actually a food sensitivity problem and you’ve bought yourself a good little notebook.
5. Limit the number of foods you eat. The fewer foods that you eat in day, the easier it will be to pinpoint any menace.
6. Stock your pantry with vegetables and fruits, olive and canola oil. They are much lower in inflammatory properties than fried foods or foods with a lot of animal fat.
7. Remember that it takes 3 days of abstaining for a food to clear your system. Any pain caused by RA inflammation will take several days to subside, even if you don’t eat the problem food again right away.
8. We are not equally sensitive to all foods. Some we can eat once and feel like we were hit by a truck. That kind of intolerance is fairly easy to identify. We don’t have to be hit by a truck very often before we learn to avoid trucks.
But minor, low level intolerances are an entirely different story. If eaten too often, meaning more than once every four days, those antigens will build silently until they accumulate in the bloodstream to an extent that the immune system can no longer ignore them. Since we have been eating those foods for many days in a row and they caused no problem, we are bewildered. What did we do to make our immune system so angry, we wonder. We haven’t eaten anything that we can link directly with a food. It’s not like we haven’t been avoiding trucks.
This situation is the result of low level intolerance that builds over a number of days as we eat the same food. Eventually our immune system strenuously objects and we have a delayed reaction.
The absolute best solution for most RA inflammation is the rotation diet, where you eat no food more often than once every four days. Yes, it takes planning, but is your health worth it? There are posts about the rotation diet on this site.
Following the rotation diet means that, except for trucks, you don’t have to know what food caused the flare, pain and fatigue because whatever you’ve eaten will work its way out of your bloodstream in 3 days before it can cause any damage.
Therefore, the real solution to RA inflammation is to avoid some foods at all times and to rotate all other foods so that they appear on your menu no more often than once, maybe twice, a week.
That advice applies also to spices, some of which cause massive problems for many people.
It can also include vitamins and other supplements, depending on the composition. If you have a reaction to citric acid, for example, you will need to read the labels on vitamin bottles as well as food labels.