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Changing my diet may give me some relief, is it all in my head?

Hello, I’ve been a bit of a creeper on this site since I was diagnosed with RA in January. It came on several months after having both ovaries removed, I’m 42. I think I had minor symptoms prior to that but it hit me like a truck after my hormones disappeared. Most of my inflammation is in my hands and feet, the usual can’t close my hands for two hours when I wake up, no more heels for me and knees make me walk like an old lady sometimes. Anyway, I know I’m not alone when I say I hate the meds, when I take my methotrexate on Monday my husband always says “See you Thursday!” Really not funny but he’s right haha.

So, I am pretty active in my care and willing to try whatever might work and I read about meat and dairy being a source of inflammation for some people with RA. Of course I read some of the stories online where people claim going vegan cured their RA. Wow! (Sarcasm there) But desperation is a motivator for me so...I tried it. And the second week into it I felt pretty darn good! So on week three I was bad, I had chili fries, baked chicken, and an Arby’s roast beef sandwich. Getting hungry just thinking of it. But by day four, I wasn’t able to close my hand entirely for the whole day. So....I’m just wondering, has anyone else given this diet a try? Not as a cure but just to help take up the slack that the medicines are missing? I’m back to being good and this morning I had my mobility back within 30 min of waking up. Don’t want it to be wishful thinking because at my next visit my doc is going to discuss biologics with me and that’s a little scary.

Thanks for reading and thanks for all the support this community offers. :)

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I wouldn't agonise about it too much as this is such an individual disease that no-one is quite the same. If you think it helps, then it helps. So just appreciate the relief you get. You might want to think about whether it's meat or the high fat foods that are a trigger for you?

My OH doesn't eat meat at all, but I do like it so occasionally I splash out and eat some. It makes zero difference to me! My worst time recently was in summer was when we had family staying who are vegan, so ate a vegan diet the whole time they were here. I was achy & miserable - but could equally have been that I was getting more tired than usual. So sometimes it's easy to say it's food when actually it could be other things.....

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True. I think it’s a moderation kind of thing. I don’t think I could give it all up entirely but there is incentive to eating less of it. It could be high fat stuff and I really only get that when we eat out so I’ll pay more attention to my choices. This disease has been life changing for sure! I don’t think I’ve really accepted it yet, hard to believe that the old me won’t come back :) Hopefully soon I will find the medicines that help my joints and don’t exhaust me in the process. Thanks for your input.

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Flash a-ah, saviour of the universe. Welcome! I had to look up what Arby's roast beef sandwiches were, hell's teeth, how much beef?! That's a month's worth of beef in one serving! It's been discussed many times but I find diet is all so individual, I think we've just to experiment & see what we react to. I can eat many things others here can't even go near without their joints screaming, it's most odd. I include dairy because I have osteopenia/ borderline osteoporosis & prescribed calcium/Vitamin D daily yet my DEXA scan T score is on the decrease so wouldn't choose to delete dairy particularly as it appears to be working, 4 years now & I've reacted negatively to two bisphosphobates. The same with MTX, it's been the best thing for me. Ok the day after I'm tired & pick at food but by Friday I'm up & at em again. I take folic acid 6 days so guess it just suits me.

I do hope you can stave off going on to biologics with your diet, tour Rheumy may be surprised at the results. Did you think to do a daily diary from starting your regime? If you did I'm sure it will be of interest to your Rheumy.

I hope now you've introduced yourself we'll see more of you now! 😉

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Is it just me, but what I eat neither makes me feel better or worse? I eat a relatively healthy diet but there’s nothing that I totally exclude from it- I like the occasional steak and chips!

Marie

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No it's not just you Marie, I'm the same. The only things I don't eat are offal, because I've never liked it, & red shellfish because I'm allergic. I'll try most things, none caused inflammation or any other symptom which may be expected. Steak & chips, proper real potatoes, thick cut & deep fried, nom nom! Flambéd brandy, beurre noisette fresh peppercorns, cream sauce, heaven.

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That’s good to hear! I wouldn’t wish thus disease to rob me of any further pleasures in life!

Thank you

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Indeed. Actually it's nice to know I'm not alone!

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😋😋😋

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Arby's roast beef sandwich....yummy. I've only eaten a few over my life time because of the high sodium. Chilli fries are also very high in sodium..but darn good :) .So I was wondering do you think it might be the high sodium that might be effecting you? Whenever I eat something high in sodium, I seem to swell up the next day....So I avoid salt as much as possible.

As for it "all being in your head", who knows? As long as you feel good, does it really matter? :)

All the best to you

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I have a lot of friends who refer to their "sausage fingers and toes" after a high intake of sodium on the previous day :)

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Thanks for sharing, I didn’t think about the salt. Thankfully I never had to worry much about diet...just the getting older and metabolism slowing down thing. I’m a baker so now when I do make treats I make sure I have a lot of people to share it with so it’s gone quickly, that kind of thing. But I did that before RA just to mind the weight. Now I’m minding for a totally different reason and I did notice after eating chicken my hands were aching within hours (after a strict vegan diet for two weeks) and the same response when I had a soda one day. It was a low, I was feeling lousy from MTX and had one for a pick me up. Not diet, a nice sugary one haha. I hear soda has a lot of sodium too so something to ponder there. I probably have a soda a few times a year, normally I need my coffee and water and I’m happy. So... I think I’m going to go the route of occasionally enjoying my meat and dairy and think of the rest as a new culinary adventure.

It really is quite something that we are all given the same name for a disease that affects us all so differently and that it’s still not known what exactly triggers it. They know that hormones play a role but they don’t know how. They can’t explain why some people literally wake up one day with rheumatoid arthrits! It’s crazy! We all have different reactions to the medicines and the foods we eat and so on. It seems like there is a long way to go with finding a cure but I guess most of us can be thankful that what options we do have at our disposal will prevent it from crippling us. Even though some days it feels like the side effects of the medicines don’t outweigh the benefits. But I guess the same can be said of cancer and other diseases.

I have found all of everyone’s contributions on this site so encouraging, thanks for being a part of such a big support group. :) Prayers to everyone for better days ahead!

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Sorry this will be kind of long.....

I kind of scoffed at dietary changes, but even before being formally diagnosed, I knew something was not right. I've always had a few allergies, but it started feel like I was gaining a new allergy or side effect from something new (particularly food & cleaning products) every other month and all the while the pain in my feet, hands, etc kept getting worse & worse. I decided that I would try a more "clean" diet because I noticed that anytime I ate fast food, store bought bread, or things that come prepared "in a box" type foods that I felt so much worse. I suffered from rosacea, eczema, along with the chronic pain. It's a long story, but after several months of eliminating & adding back in certain foods, ingredients, and the like, I found that one of my major sources of inflammation is a list of food additives & preservatives, along with a host of chemicals found in cleaning products, and your usual suspects like grasses, trees, mold, cats, and the like. Yes, my immune system was/is totally on overdrive, reacting to what seems like everything under the sun.

About 9 months ago my symptoms got much worse for a while due to stress and I could physically see the changes in some joints. Some that appears to be permanent nodes, bends, and general funky looking things. I switch medications & cleaned up my food habits, along with switching to milder cleaning supplies whenever possible and it's helped a lot. I'm 48 and suspect that this really began over a decade ago. Ignoring the signs only made the situation worse until I couldn't ignore the screaming that my body was doing any longer.

I now buy whatever foods I can locally and eat "in season". I also preserve my own vegetables and fruits. I ask questions about where my food comes from when we eat at a restaurant. We have several that get their produce & meats locally & we have a large organic farming community. We are lucky that where we live it's farm country and while our growing season is short, it is prolific and we have a lot of variety.

I cut way back on refined sugar in favor of honey from our own bees, or raw sugar, and I have nearly eliminated eating any bread product that has any type of "enrichments", particularly potassium bromate as I've narrowed down that one as a main culprit in inflammation for me. I've found that local, organic meats don't cause me any trouble, other than I have a few issues with fatty meat cuts. I have no issues with our local, non-gmo dairy products, but have had a few issues if I overdo milk, no issues with cheese or ice creams, interestingly enough. I think that everyone is different, and might have different triggers. It is worth the time spent figuring out what makes symptoms worse.

As a side note, I started using local honey about 5 years ago as a last ditch effort before going back to allergy shots. It took about 6 months of eating a few spoonfuls a day before I noticed that my pollen allergies were a lot better. Could be that it's introducing the pollen slowly into my body, could be the vitamins keeping me healthier overall, could be all in my head. Whatever it is, I'm going with it because it's working.

Best of luck figuring out a good food plan.

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