Can you treat rheumatoid arthritis with diet?
This is a post about Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments and ways that I have used to help alleviate my Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. It also discusses how I tried to treat my rheumatoid arthritis with diet. It does in no way constitute medical advice. I am in no way promoting or rejecting the myriad of Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments available. Please refer to my Dislaimer for further information and please continue to consult a medical professional for your medical conditions.
I got this!
I am a big believer in a natural and organic way of living. I’m by no means a skinny hippie vegan (not that there is anything wrong with that) but I mean, you put a cake in front of me, you can bet your bottom dollar I will demolish it. I’m only human after all! I love food and think you should have a good balance. Life is to be enjoyed is it not? I still truly believe that we are what we eat and food is the original source of medicine. I looked after my body with plenty of good organic food and plenty of good quality exercise (I cover that in this post, there is just so much to write about!). This is the approach I took when I was given my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis.
My own rheumatologist recommended that I read Amy Myer‘s ‘The Autoimmune Solution‘. You can purchase a copy here. You can also use my $10 discount code MALY10 for any purchases on her site. This is how I came to trust my specialist because there is nothing more irritating than having a medical professional roll his eyes at your suggestion that you will cure your condition the natural way. This has happened to me multiple times and I never go back those doctors and have always successfully healed myself.
My family and I rarely go to the doctor and taking prescription medicine was something even rarer for us. I’m not saying that I refute medical advice, I just don’t appreciate doctors who are not open minded to the fact that there is more to healing the body than pharmaceuticals. Without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, pharmaceuticals is a big money making machine. Think Dr. Richard Kimble. Yes, I make my case by referring to Harrison Ford’s Fugitive. I love that movie!
Where was I?
Quashing Rheumas, right. I went on a quest to heal myself the natural way. I had complete confidence and didn’t think it was a big deal that I could treat my rheumatoid arthritis with diet. However, to put it in context, my body was fading; my sleep quality was poor because my body just ACHED, mornings were hell because my body felt like it was frozen. It was just so stiff and it literally took hours to thaw.
The afternoons were tricky, especially during the working week, because all I wanted to do was sleep! I was never the type to want or need an afternoon kip but when Rheumatoid Arthritis hit, I NEEDED an afternoon nap. It got to the point where I was having naps in my car during lunch breaks or just crashing on the couch for a good 2 hours straight after work. If I didn’t have kids to tend to, I would’ve called it a day. I even had to ask for a week off work to just sleep because I just couldn’t continue anymore, my body was THAT tired. Lucky for me, I have an extremely understanding boss (thanks Jackie!) and had a great classroom assistant (yes, you Roshanne❤️). You can read more about RA fatigue here.
Despite all that, I had faith that given time and good food, I could heal. I even followed Amy Myer‘s diet. But after a good month of nothing but clean eating and gorging on inflammation-fighting food, not only was I not getting any better, I was getting worse. I had reached the point where I was questioning my beliefs and whether or not life was even worth living because I couldn’t see myself continuing this way. I’m not a crying person but tears were becoming a regular thing. I was beyond frustrated. You know what was worse? There was no-one to talk to about it who could relate to what I was going through. – Lucky you have The Rheuma Mill!
I don’t got this
I had reached rock bottom so I turned to the drugs, as in the pharmaceutical rheumatologist prescribed drugs. Not just 1 but all 16 of them! I was prescribed 16 pills/supplements a day! To go from not remembering the last time you even had a Panadol to now a pill box was a massive change. It was a hard pill to swallow (pun totally intended).
Within 3 days, my old body and life were returning back to me. I felt kind of foolish that I had spent the last month in hell stubbornly trying to heal myself the natural way when Dr. Kimble’s enemies healed me in 3 days. I felt like Anakin Skywalker, completely seduced by the dark side (yes, I made reference to Star Wars). It felt good too to finally eat whatever I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should try to treat their rheumatoid arthritis with diet first especially if it is in the beginning stages and the inflammation has not taken complete hold of your body. You can read more about autoimmune nutrition here.
A few months later, I was also able to return to training. That for me was the best thing. Training was good for my mental health. Pole dancing made me feel strong. Striking and grappling made me feel invincible. I couldn’t do it as intensively and as well as I used to pre-Rheumatoid Arthritis but I could do it. Small victories!
Wait…. I got this!
This is one of my favourite quotes:
It completely resonates with me. I’m now about a year into my successful treatment. I say treatment because I have been able to find a good balance with food and meds. I’m down to 6 pills a day now. Over time, my rheumy and I have eliminated the pills that have been identified as not working. I have also found a good balance with diet. I’m not cleansing but I’m not clogging either. I’m enjoying life. I have also come to know what foods trigger my Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms and which ones don’t. For example, I know gluten affects my Rheumatoid Arthritis so I stay clear of that now. A great way to find your triggers is to use a symptoms tracker. I have a free one you can download here.
In terms of Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment meds, the only 3 pills that I found made a significant difference to my Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms were Salazopyrin, Plaquenil and good old Prednisolone. Prednisolone is the power of the dark side. It can get addictive and you can’t have it in huge amounts over a long period of time but boy does it make a difference. I only took Prednisolone periodically under medical supervision and am not on it anymore because I no longer need it. If you are after quality pain relief, I would recommend trying CBD oil. CBD oil has been scientifically proven to reduce pain and inflammation and has successfully helped millions of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. You can read more about CBD oil here.
Finding the right cocktail of meds takes time and is a frustrating process but this something for you to discuss with your doctor. I get asked by thousands of people daily what the best medication is but unfortunately, I cannot tell you that. Everyone reacts differently so the best person to ask is your rheumatologist. The only thing I can advise is to find one that you trust and is willing to LISTEN.
A lot of people worry about medication and weight gain and that is a valid concern but remember the alternative is continual pain. You take the good with the bad. Everyone is different and will react differently to Rheumatoid Arthritis and the treatments available. Keep being active, try to eat right and do what makes you HAPPY is the key. Right now I am only on Salazopyrin and Plaquenil. I am waiting to start Biologics as Methotrexate has not done anything for me which is a good thing. Who wants to be on cancer drugs if they don’t have cancer right?
You may have heard of the Paddison program which was created by a fellow RA warrior. Clint Paddison has developed a program that has helped countless RA warriors successfully manage their symptoms. I have not personally tried or done the program but I have heard nothing but success stories from those who have completed the program. It is however a VERY intense program. If you have the willpower then I would certainly recommend you try it. You can read some testimonials here.
I’d love to hear if you have been able to treat rheumatoid arthritis with diet or if it hasn’t worked for you so leave a comment below! All the anti-inflammatory recipes I use can be found in the ‘books’ section of Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources page. You can also read more about nutrition and Rheumatoid Arthritis here.