Friday, October 29, 2010

Feeling kinda sick...

I'm not feeling so great today. I woke up with a dry, sore throat and tried drinking hot tea, sipping water and sucking on peppermints and hard candy but it is still dry and sore. So I decided to lay down after work and woke an hour later to feeling like my tonsils are swollen. My fingers are aching, swollen and stiff but I don't know if the RA is causing the sore throat or if a cold or virus is causing the sore throat and my RA to act up.

It's been a busy week and I am hoping to get better quickly because I have a cousin I haven't seen in eons coming up this weekend with his wife. I really don't want to spend my time with them sick. Especially on Halloween!

Other than all of that, I've been feeling pretty good. I had fish today but have been sticking to tofu and vegetarian dishes other than that. I noticed the stiffness wasn't as bad this week and I hardly had any pain. Energy levels were up(except for today) and my sleeping patterns were good, too.

I still think this vegetarian(plus fish) lifestyle might be the answer for me. I've been making some interesting dishes and even my boyfriend likes them, especially the Breast of Tofu(recipe here). It's pretty good!

That's all for now and I hope everyone has a fun, safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This week's goal

It's been one of those hectic days where I sit back and just hope Friday will come a little faster. My stress level has gone up and down like a roller coaster, and things are now starting to smooth out. I had thought I needed to get a new job due to the person I am filling in for coming back to work, but it turns out she isn't coming back for a while, if ever. So now I do not need to find a new job, which is great, but I was really looking forward to a few days off. I guess I will just have to wait until my vacation in December!

Pain is a bit bad today. I have not had red meat for a while now, and had chicken on Saturday. I feel good, except for the pain. I really hope I do not have another flare up so soon. I'm trying to listen to my body, and I know I over did it today with my very long walk(I got lost and ended up getting off the bus way too early and had to walk the rest of the way to a meeting). It's also been raining all day and I have been having a bit too much sugar.

So the goal for this week is to continue eating a vegetarian diet(with the exception of fish every now and then) and reducing the amount of junk food sugar I am consuming. I just need to remember tomorrow is hump day. Soon it will be the weekend, and Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dr McDougall

I was doing some research today and found a very interesting article about diet and arthritis that I would like to share with you. I say diet, but really it is more of a lifestyle change, eliminating certain foods while eating more of other foods. Here is the link, and in today's blog I will be talking about the article and some key points that I think may be of interest.

The article is from Dr McDougall's website and talks about his way of treating patients, which is by a vegetarian or vegan diet. Dr McDougall eliminates certain foods depending on what disease or condition he is treating. For arthritis he also eliminates gluten from the diet.

A few interesting points he stresses is the importance of low fat in the diet. He says "Those vegan diets that have failed to help arthritis patients have been high in vegetable oils, which are known to damage intestinal integrity" and he also mentions that little to no oil be used, including flaxseed oil.

I was under the impression that flaxseed oil was very good for you, but I guess if one saw it as a must, they could stick with the actual flaxseed. I am not sure what I make of this yet, but am still eliminating meat from my diet.

I have been doing good so far, at least with the red meat. Right now my biggest problem is with dairy. I just can't seem to say no to the cheese. I hear that nutritional yeast has a cheesy like flavor and is great on top of casseroles and the like. I may have to give it a try.

My other concern is eliminating fish from my diet. I am a born Newfoundlander, and love my fish. I don't eat it every day, but usually have it once to twice a month. I am pretty sure I have no reaction to fish, and am really thinking about riding my diet of all other meat and poultry.

What is your take on Dr McDougall's diet and study?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stress and RA

Ever hear the saying "you're going to worry yourself sick" or hear people talking about the relation between stress and sickness? It makes me wonder if stress and disease activity go hand in hand, much like stress and sickness.

Stress can cause a long list of problems, including:
  • chronic fatigue
  • digestive issues
  • back pain and headaches
  • and it can affect your bodies blood cells, which in turn can cause you to fall ill more often
There are even more issues stress can cause, and if it affects the immune system, it is only logical that it also affects RA activity.

So I've got a little challenge for anyone who is willing to participate! Each day for the next 10 days, take 10 minutes aside for you. In these ten minutes, you can meditate or do yoga. The idea is to have 10 minutes a day where you are clearing your mind and being stress free. If you decide to participate, let me know!

Here's a great link to meditation, its benefits and how to go about doing it:
How to meditate

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A lesson in being love

Today's post is a little different from the usual arthritis talk, but I would really like to share it with you. Do you ever have one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong, but you still can't help but be in a great mood? That is the kind of day I have been having.

I work in a coffee shop/cafe and the rough morning started with me dreaming of my deceased father, then waking up late. The bus was late. I made a pot of coffee without the pot. I threw tongs across the kitchen(accidentally might I add). I was dropping change, running into things and dropping eggs. Normally I would be so upset at this point that I would not even be able to fake a smile and thankyou towards the customer.

Today was different. I feel like the puzzle pieces of my life are coming together, and the last few pieces are no longer missing. I really believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not able to understand what that reason is. My father's illness and death, my bad days, strangers on the street...everything is coming together.

I ran into a woman and her teenage son today while waiting to catch the bus. She looked sick and her son was saying they needed to get her home so her sugars could be checked. It just so happened that I had  a chocolate bar in my bag, and I had offered it to the woman. It turns out that she is diabetic, and she accepted the chocolate bar happily. We were talking for a few minutes and she told me she has cancer and her kidneys are now being affected - just like my dad.

I was reminded of how my father helped so many people before the cancer took so much away from him. He would give cigarettes to people who asked for them, talk to people who looked down or lonely. He became love. Love is kind. Love is giving and not expecting anything in return. Love is open minded. Nonjudgmental. Love is warm and welcoming.

Today I decided to be love. No matter what happened, I welcomed it with love. I smiled because I was truly happy despite everything that had gone wrong.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I was feeling much better today compared to how I have been feeling for the last week. I woke up stiff but didn't have as much trouble moving around as I have been having, and the pain was minimum. I packed my lunch for work(rice and veggies, honey pretzel sticks, sliced pineapple, strawberries, melon and a side of guacamole) and was feeling pretty good.

I then had some cheese and potato perogies for supper, and SURPRISE! It's like my pain was throwing me a surprise party...I don't know if it was caused by the perogies or maybe even the temperature. I started feeling pain about an hour to two hours after eating the perogies. Is it even possible to have a reaction to food that quickly? Like I said, it could also be the temperature. The sun has gone down and the temperature is dropping with it, so the cold might be related to it, too.

I found a lovely list of supplements for RA today, and am thinking about bringing a combination of several lists to one of the local health food stores to see what they think and what they advise. Arhtritis today has a good, easy to read list of supplements but I find that herbs2000 does a much better job at identifying why the herbs and supplements are beneficial to RA patients. Just remember that you should consult your rheumatologist or doctor before beginning any new supplements, herbs or medications. Although herbs and vitamins may seem safe enough, some of them can react badly with medicines and should be avoided if you have certain conditions. 

Do you take any of these supplements or herbs? Did you find they helped your RA symptoms?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Food Allergens and RA

The last few days have left me wondering where a person begins on the journey of healing without the use of medication. I've been asking myself (and bouncing numerous ideas off my boyfriend) what causes the immune system to attack the body?What causes the initial change that leads to the attack?

I found an interesting article today on that I would like to share with you. You can read it here. The article approaches the idea of food allergens causing RA. I know it almost seems too good to be true, but can you imagine if by eliminating food that you are sensitive to you could eliminate the pain, stiffness and progression of RA?

I am almost positive that red meat is a triggering food for me, although I don't know if it is the red meat, the protein, or the hormones and whatnot that are added to the meat that I have a reaction to. When I was a vegetarian a few years back, I still had my morning stiffness but I rarely had a flare up. Now that I eat meat regularly(at least twice a week), I am having flare ups more often and they are becoming worse.

I would love to know if you find certain foods trigger flare-ups. I am in the process of eliminating red meat and even considered a basic diet of rice, veggies and fruit for a few weeks then gradually re-introducing foods back into my diet. For now, sticking to no red meat and avoiding potatoes, mushrooms(I'm allergic to them but sometimes end up eating them...) and most night shade veggies minus tomatoes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

RA and the immune system

I know I already blogged today, but I am having a bit of a brain storm and thought you might want to hear it.

We know that rheumatoid arthritis is when the body's immune system begins to attack the joint tissue, in particular the synovial fluid between the joints. So maybe the way to begin to treat arthritis is to help with the immune system. Some questions I have are:

Why is my immune system attacking my joints?
What caused my immune system to attack the synovial fluid?
What will help(naturally) with the inflammation and pain?
Will eliminating red meat from my diet help?

I am hoping to find the answers to these soon. Maybe by reducing the inflammation it will help with reducing the pain, and reduce the amount of damage. I just have to find some natural ways to reduce inflammation!

Glucosamine Sulfate and an update!

Wow, it has been a while since my last post! I just wanted to send a very big thank you for all my followers who are still following me...even though I have been very inconsistent as of late.

It's interesting that my last post reflection on what would you do with a week or day left to live. I had to go through this with my father recently, who we discovered had cancer. It all started with a growth, which was then discovered to be cancer that had spread along his liver, gallbladder, ribs, and lining the heart. We were told that he had cancer on June 15(my birthday) and I sat through that doctor's appointment the entire time, trying to understand everything. The doctors began talking to my father and I about removing him from dialysis in the next month or so, but the cancer progressed much faster. I couldn't be strong anymore...I cried. I was losing the closest person to me, I was losing my daddy. We stayed strong though, and I saw him almost every day until the day he passed, on July 9th.

I have been absent due to the illness and trying to get things back on track. I can't use that as an excuse anymore...So, here I am!

I am still free from medication but experiencing more pain and stiffness then before. It could have to do with the fall weather and the amount of meat I am eating. I am going to make an appointment to see my doctor to try and get a specialist.

For now, I am stretching more, cutting out red meat(again!), reducing the amount of night shades I eat, and resting when my body needs it. I am also beginning to take the supplement glucosamine sulfate, although the pharmacists said there was no evidence of it helping people who suffer with RA. Still, it is worth a try. I'm going to take 1000mg a day with food. I am taking the Life brand version, because money doesn't grow on trees(oh how I wish it did sometimes!).

I tried to take the glucosamine this morning, but it is so hard to swallow. I am going to take it, I just need to figure out how to get it down. I'll update tomorrow with how that went.

Thanks again for following me, and I hope you are all doing well.