When Cleaning Up Your Eating May Be Worth It for Auto-Immune Issues

It’s been a while. I’ve been thinking about resurfacing but life has been busy! Not that it has changed but apparently I found time!

While I’ve not been posting I have still been encountering a few things worth sharing. I’ll try to share them out as I have time.

First, a bit of background for anyone unfamiliar.

I have rheumatoid arthritis, or what I’ll refer to as RA in this post. I am trying to remember how long I’ve had it but I can’t remember. It’s probably been since 2013 or 2014 but that is just a guess.

At first it was annoying, I had a few flared up fingers, and sometimes it was frustrating that it made me felt limited in my life. Any pains or inconveniences that I experienced I was willing to tolerate them as opposed to letting them change my life.

To complicate things I was hit by a car I believe a year and change ago while biking to work.

While I walked away with any major injuries what did happen was that it sent my RA into cycles of rage. What annoying at first turned into almost unbearable .. and they started to happen more often. Sometimes I’d get hurt and sometimes it would just ‘happen’ .. I’d go through a week work of moving pains. It usually started in an extremity (i.e. ankles, hands, etc) for a day and a half, take a day off then move in closer to the center, and repeat the cycle all the way in. It would last about a week on and off. I’d be up miserable all night screeching in pain and by 4pm the next day I was back to normal until the ‘next cycle.’

So, a few things happened.

#1 I went to my doctor and he bumped my meds up, although I said ‘just a bit’ for now because I don’t want to medicate more than I need to. After xx weeks the flare ups would still surface but they weren’t as bad. They would, however, limit my ability to function and teach classes.

#2 I started taking probiotics consistently. I read an article that mentioned that probiotics may be linked to RA and figured it can’t hurt to see if they help with it or not.

#3 I start cleaning up my eating. I will admit to occasionally being tired or lazy and opting for quick food .. not necessarily fast food but quick and convenient food at home.

One day I looked down and noticed that the swelling in my hand was better.

One day I noticed that it had been months since my last flare up.

One day I noticed that my joint mobility limitations were .. all but gone.

I can’t say for sure that anything in #2 or #3 above helped with this but I have no reason to steer off course. Since noticing this I have also been talking to my mother, who has IBS (another autoimmune disease), about probiotics and cleaning her diet up. I am hopeful that it helps her out in the same way.

If this makes life a bit more normal than before then I have no problem keeping all of this momentum going!

I’ll check back in later!


Getting My Running Game Back

Oh hello there blog. I have been busy but hopefully I am on my way back.

Let’s talk running.

About a year ago, give or take, I was biking to work when I was struck by a vehicle. Fun. He took off and physically it left me with rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle I landed on, and in an air cast for about 6 weeks. I attempted to run after a reasonable time out of the cast but for the next 6 months I still had lingering pain, most likely from the RA, in that ankle.

So no marathon in 2015 for me. Actually no running races at all and at one point I was sadly debating if my running days were over.

Somewhere along the way my ankle started feeling better… then almost normal. I ran once or twice and would have stiffness the next few days but it was progress.

About a month or more ago I decided to take my ankle for a serious test. I went from no miles / no days to about 3 – 4 miles 2 or 3 times in a week. I just pulled that bandage right off and went back into it! 

The first few days it was a little stiff and then, … nothing. What? 🙂

I did this for a good couple of weeks and decided that it was good … that I could do this … and that maybe I just need to keep running.

I pulled the trigger and signed up for marathon #3, which will be in April 2016.

My goal is this … run 2 – 3 days a week with at least one day having 6 miles (I am already doing this now) between now and the end of the year. Work on strength and getting my pace back. Then, in January switch to a marathon training plan. … and keep going.

I am worried that if I stop now I could risk losing this normal feeling ankle so I am using that as momentum to just … keep .. running!

So, we will see how things go… if the rheumatoid flares up or if things are good.

I am excited to have a little more normal but also equally cautious that this could be a decision that I need to keep monitoring.

The goal is to keep progressing and not get obsessive, which I like to do. It has been hard to limit running to 3 or 4 days but I have so many other moving parts to my life that I really don’t have time for more right now.

I will report back later.

Thanks for reading!

I Could Be *eek* Ditching Gluten .. But I’ll Tell You Why ..

Eek .. Who would have thought I would be saying *that* .. but I am.

For the record I LOVE bread .. so much .. so this is not an easy decision. The more I go down this path though, it seems to be a good one for me.

Let’s talk about it.

First things first. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Boo, hiss, sigh, grumble. All of that and more. When I found out a few years ago I *freaked* out because my baby sister has it to the point where it intrudes with her life pretty significantly. Here I was, active as can be, thinking that my lifestyle as I know it was going to be ruined by this disease.

Well, thankfully that did not happen. ::whew:: Maybe I’ll talk about it in a future post but know that I believe I made a choice and that choice allowed me to not change my life or lose anything that I currently had.

Fast forward to last summer. I was biking to work and some guy hit me and fled. Thanks to my lightning sharp reflexes acquired from years of working out I landed on my feet, and landed on my ankle. Well, that led to an ankle injury that I am still dealing with today. That also lead to developing rheumatoid arthritis in my ankle, where I had no issues there before.


Moving on.

It’s been bothering me consistently but I believe one day I decided that it went from ‘injury’ to chronic pain. I posed the question to a facebook group and a few people suggestion ditching gluten. So I figured, why not.

The first week I cut it down but not out, then told myself that if I was going to ‘do this’ then I should ‘do this.’ So, for the most part it’s gone (I’m not perfect, ya know!).

What Gluten Free Lunches Look Like For Me -- not bad!
What Gluten Free Lunches Look Like For Me — not bad!

This was two or three weeks ago and in some areas I had to really re-think my food… which in turned caused me to clean up my eating regimen even more. No more PBJ sandwiches at lunch 😦 and now I’m eating salads. Dinner means no more convenient food when I get home really late .. I have to prep something healthy and have it waiting.

I downloaded an app the other day to track my symptoms. You can even take photos with it. In the two weeks that I’ve been doing this I’ve noticed a few changes that I think could be related to the eating change…

1 – My left index finger is usually swollen and has limited movement. Yes, it’s still both but it’s actually less than normal (I’ve also lost my medicine bottle so this is actually happening while I’ve been off my meds, which is why I think it’s from the eating change). I’ve been waking up in shock at how flexible it is compared to normal.

2 – For the past 3 of 4 days my ankle has not hurt. At all. Usually I am aware of it while I’m working out and usually I have moments where it feels tweaky. Neither have been happening. It’s been hurting for … hrm … 3 or 4 months solid. I even went ‘balls out’ on a HIIT style class the other day and expected it to be sore and .. it wasn’t. What??

Do I know that it’s related to ditching gluten? No, but I never will.

The only thing I know is that I made some eating changes and right about the same time I’ve been fortunate to see some health improvements. With that being said I’m willing to stay the course to see how this works out. I will update the blog if I notice anything else worth pointing out.

In the meanwhile I’ve already been poking at my baby sister, nudging her to ditch the gluten.

Here’s the deal .. it is 2015 .. I was amazed at the gluten free choices out there. There is pretty much a gluten free option for most everything we eat. Seriously. Even bread has a gluten free option .. it’s actually sitting in my fridge but I’ve yet to grow the courage to try it :).   I basically made a list of the food I typically buy then went through and found a gluten free alternative. Easy easy.

So, that’s where I’m at now. I’m willing to keep going with this and, I’m hopeful that this could mean something positive for me, whatever that is. I’ll let you know when I find out 🙂

Happy day and thanks for reading!

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