NOTE: I AM NOT A DOCTOR!
These are my experiences only, and I am offering them in
case you, too, want to avoid having to go on long-term medications
with the accompanying side effects. IF these had not worked
for me I would have gone to medications.
My mom acquired Rheumatoid Arthritis at about 45. She had the grace to have a lovely wise friend, Georgette Robertson, who has a very serious disease who was seeing a Chinese doctor. (BTW, Georgette had 10 years to live in 1965 and died in 2014 at 89 — much of this was from listening to a Chinese Doctor.) The Chinese diagnose most arthritis as a poor diet — a Western diet! My mother followed their instructions (same as the ones I used below) and at 94 has very little impact from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her knuckles have the slight bent disfiguration, as that happened prior to her acquiring a healthy diet.
When I stepped into arthritis at about the same age, it came upon me quickly after having the shingles vaccination (I do not know if there was a connection.) It was completely debilitating. I was in agony in my knees, sharp pains like needles and there was no comfortable position for relief. It was a pain unlike my back pain (dance injury). I had trouble walking (even a few steps was agonizing), standing and sleeping. During the few months I was solving my body’s riddles, I gained about 25 pounds because I was incredibly immobile.
I spoke with my AMA PCP, he did a test to see if it was Rheumatoid Arthritis, and it was not. (BTW, and told him that I wanted to try the Chinese way first. For one thing, the drugs are horrendous for arthritis. Really as bad as the disease. My doc armed me with some serious pain meds (Percoset) for a short time, which I only took at night to assist me with sleep. I then headed over to Golden Needle in Portland.
I did a complete cleansing diet on their recommendation, which meant I could have mild salad fixings with organic olive oil, carrots, summer squash, hot red peppers (no bells), onion, garlic (thank goddess for both), butternuts, celery, chicken fed a rice diet (they have white skins instead of yellow skins, and rankly, now with the GMO crapola — yes I am completely against it and perhaps it is time to write about that as well — I would say now everyone should abandon grain fed meats unless non-GMO or organic.), fish, apples, peaches, blueberries, pineapple, papaya, and black beans and rice. He said rice has rarely caused anyone arthritis; the Chinese had almost no arthritis until McDonald’s showed up in their country! Black beans are held apart by both the Vedic and Chinese practitioners, though he said beans rarely caused arthritis either. If I remember, they are one of the beans which are the most whole? Whatever.
NO tomatoes, oranges, most foods with high acid (pineapple was the exception, as it is structured differently), no potatoes, no wheat of any kind ancient (no spelt) or highly processed, no red meat or pork (it is not that it is the problem, but sometimes what it is FED that is the problem), no crustaceans, no nightshades of any kind, almost no salt (though other herbs were fine and black pepper), no SOY of any kind (sauce, tofu, raw beans, soy sauce), no sugar (he allowed me a bit of honey but said if my symptoms persisted to cut it), no coffee or caffeinated tea, no cherries, watermelons, etc.
Now I could tell you I was not happy about this diet, except that within a week I could walk — HALLELUJAH! I am totally serious. The arthritis had hit my knees and three stairs were like needles in my knees and we had two stories; I had trouble walking at 50 and 140 lbs. Now I could walk up the stairs with such reduced pain levels and I was so damn happy the diet was easy.
After four weeks I introduced one food every day, and watched for a reaction. IF I had a reaction I had to wait a week to introduce another food, or at least until the reaction was gone from my body.
The docs at Golden Needle said most foods that westerners have trouble with are highly processed wheat, highly processed corn (corn syrup, powdered sugar, or a daily dose of corn flakes), MOST cereals in general except oats, nightshades, high acid foods like coffee and oranges, and various sugars. However, every body has triggers and people had to find what worked. I can tell you my triggers and what doesn’t work for me, and they fall into three categories:
- NEVER EVER EVER: Eggplant or potatoes, I don’t walk for a week again, it is that strong, and now due to the non-gluten craze potato flour is a real problem — it is even in some cat food! TWO potato chips will do it, that is how strong this reaction is, and the few times some potato flour has gotten past me I was in serious pain for a week+. I check all labels (including vitamin and pro-biotics) and ask at new restaurants if the chef uses potato flour. Also, anything with corn syrup or powdered sugar makes me crazy sore for a long time, but I can still walk. I don’t want it!
- Occasional foods that will cause me moderate swelling and pain if eaten once a month, but I don’t die over it — especially if I am at someone’s home for dinner, let’s say: sweet potatoes (different family from potatoes or yams), soy sauce (substituted Bragg’s and had no problem), tofu, soy milk, most baked goods, wheat goods including spelt and so forth (I have one brand that does not fall into this category for some reason, thank the heavens), bell peppers, raw tomatoes, orange JUICE and most fruit juices except pineapple, cow-dairy, and sadly, most ice cream.
- In moderation, up to let’s say once a week if I wanted. I pay for it a little bit, maybe am stiff the next morning but it dissipates quickly in my body so if I crave it then I give into it: red meat IF IT IS GRASS FED (once a week maybe), organic salsa, shellfish, pork (once a week maybe), Dave’s Bread (I am not sure why but his bread is the only one that we can have a slice or two A DAY with no problem, and now he is nationwide), organic corn chips, organic popcorn, organic low-fat cottage cheese. I can have up to three oranges a week if I munch the white part too, and if I feel the pain I simply stop.
I don’t drink but can tell you that my mom, who did this same diet, had to limit her red wine intake to very occasionally, and her beer intake to very very occasionally. White wine was not as bad.
My mother’s Chinese doctor also had her eating a can of sardines a week. Fortunately she likes them and so, it was not a problem. I don’t love them and so don’t add that but if I was still in pain you betcha’ I’d eat sardines! She also takes a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar daily, but I am not sure if this is for the arthritis.
I can have:
- Yams, delicata squash, and butternuts I want, and most summer veggies.
- Goat cheese and sheep cheese in moderation (especially if it is softer), and
- Goat yogurt in our smoothies.
- I have less of a reaction to organic ice cream, and we make our own using goat milk for an occasional treat.
- We make burritos like other people make sandwiches (wrap) and the organic tortillas we buy are so thin they have never been a problem; we use organic shredded cheeses only once in a while.
- I live on Hot Blackened Pepper Pesto as a condiment and ingredient in many dishes. I can eat any hot pepper, but no bells peppers — different family!
- Ric, including pure rice crackers, thank you!
- Beans, as long as I watch how they are cooked — it is the other ingredients that tend to screw with my joints.
- Salt in moderation.
- Cherries in moderation.
- Watermelon in moderation (other melons so far are fine).
- Fresh organic corn on the cob is totally fine, but only one ear a day. I also can do frozen organic corn occasionally.
- Oats, thank you!
One other thing that I will say about all this: for some things it appears it is the COMBINATION OF INGREDIENTS, so, after a couple of months, I played with this:
- I can have corn chips and some salsa in nachos (my own, so I am using organic ingredients including cheese) or with salsa and guacamole, and I have almost no problem — while with wet ingredients it seems better. But eat a bowl of corn chips (I have salty-crunchy cravings) and I have at least moderate swelling.
- I can eat dairy organic blue cheese or cheddar (in moderation) with apples/pears, and have little problem but alone or with rice crackers and it hurts.
I also drink a gallon of water a day, and can have a cup of organic coffee (makes all the difference in the world). We make ours with slices of organic ginger and organic brown sugar. On that note I will also tell you that I am firmly convinced that much of this is from high levels of pesticides in our foods, as arthritis is an auto-immune disease. I’m no doctor, and in the comments possibly there will be arguments, but unless I have someone offer me a really good substitute notion, I remain convinced!
It took about a year to really come to the point where I was pretty sure what the triggers were, but I was doing very well after three months of “fast” and introducing foods. I found things that work, and I am pretty much okay with my diet now — I miss potatoes the most, as I had one almost every day, and I would kill for other breads. Wheat is one ingredient that is never found in traditional Chinese diets, and so, the Chinese feel it is a serious cause of inflammation.
We also added turmeric to our diet, and frankly have fresh sliced ginger every day in our teat or coffee. In another post I offer recipes for turmeric drinks (such as Golden Milk), the easiest (and tastiest) ways to include an anti-inflammatory into your diet!
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