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.


  1. I know the gluten, sugar, and dairy both affect me. Recently I have also eliminated all grains. This site is a totally different type of diet than it sounds like you are eating, but the podcasts have lots of good information about autoimmune disease and how all grains, dairy and legumes play a part in our disease. Keep searching. I too believe there is a correlation between food allergies and our disease. Good Luck.

  2. For some people, some foods are triggers for flare-ups in RA. Like so many other aspects of RA, what triggers your flare might not trigger mine, or vice-versa. I think it's a great idea to try an elimination diet, slowly testing different foods against how your body feels. It makes terrific sense! And it can't hurt at all to focus on eating healthy, nutritious, low carb, high protein meals -- instead, doing so is beneficial in many other aspects of health and well-being, not just RA. Bravo, Stacie, for taking this challenge serously. Keep us posted on what you learn, OK?

  3. Cathy: Did you find it hard to remove gluten from your diet? What about sugar, do you find natural sugars like those found in fruits have an effect on you, too?

    Wren: Do you find any foods trigger your RA? I know it is different for everyone, and would really like to see if there is a connection between RA, diet, and maybe even try to figure out if people with lower immune systems tend to develop RA. It's all just ideas, but interesting all the same!

    Thanks for the encouragement :)

  4. Hi Stacie-
    I've never done a food-elimination test to find out if certain foods might trigger an RA flare in me. I've read that nightshade foods -- tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes -- can be a problem, but wouldn't you know, I love all of them too much to cut them out of my diet. ;o) That said, I've never noticed that my flares come about after eating particular foods, and I HAVE paid attention to that during the more than 20 years I've had this disease. I honestly don't think that food has much, if anything, to do with my RA flares.

    But I'm not you. YOU may find that there are certain foods, such as potatoes, that cause problems for you.

    Here's what I know for sure is helpful: eating mindfully and with good nutrition uppermost in your mind. For the last couple of years I've cut all white rice, breads, pasta and sugary treats out of my diet, while loading up on vegetables and good, lean meat, like chicken and fish. I avoid red meat except for the occasional lamb, which I use in vegetable soup. This change in my diet has helped me lose 50 pounds, slowly, and I know for sure that being lighter on my feet is good for my joints. I also move much more easily without that excess bulk on my body.

    Good luck with the elimination experiment. I do hope that, if certain foods cause more pain for you, you'll discover which ones they are so you can avoid them.

  5. Congrats on your weight loss! I love tomatoes and don't think I can cut them from my diet :D I mean...a girl's got to be able to enjoy spaghetti and pizza, right? haha tomatoes stay, regardless lol.

    I agree, I think different things effect different people and that there is no one cure or answer to something.

    Have you also cut dairy from your diet?

  6. Stacie, I went gluten free seven years ago. Back then, gluten free wasn't what it is today. But, over the years, it has gotten a lot easier. Friends are very open to learning how to prepare meals gluten/dairy free and my family is on board also which makes meals easier to prepare and restaurants choices easier to pin down. I eat a ton of veggies but not a lot of fruit. However, it doesn't affect me the way sugar does. I didn't realize the effect it had on me until I eliminated it for about eight months and then tried eating it again. Once your body is away from offending foods, it doesn't want to go back. Feel free to email if you have any questions on gluten free diets or just want to talk. You are doing a great job. Even if it doesn't "cure" RA, there is lots of research out there that certain foods do create more inflammation in our boides than other foods, so whatever you can do to reduce the inflammation is a good thing!