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!

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How to Survive Thanksgiving .. and all of that food ..

How to Survive Thanksgiving … we think about all of that amazing, tasty food and some of us cringe knowing we are about to throw our eating habits OUT THE WINDOW without thinking twice.

Well, for 2 years straight I’ve managed to survive feeling that I both enjoyed it and did not suffer one way or the other. What did I do? Let’s talk …

1.) Plan the day out, eating wise, ahead of timeThis may sound silly but for the most part we know what to expect, food wise, each Thanksgiving … it rarely changes. So, think about how you can eat and get through the meal, or meals, of the day without causing complete chaos to your eating plan. Is it smaller portions, is it picking and choosing? You decide, but it’s good to have a game plan … and then stick with it.

2.) Pre-burn — if you know that you are eating more than normal that day then why not knock out a good workout to burn extra calories ahead of time. Whether it’s outside, at home, or at a gym think about what you can do that day to get a workout in, then you gain those calories on top of your daily allowance to use later on.

3.) Skip the secondsSo you finish your plate and really, really want to go back for more? Try this .. drink a glass of water, maybe walk away from the table, and give it 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry then maybe get a touch more but most likely the cravings will be gone by then 🙂

4.) Don’t feel guilty — I am the WORST at beating myself up any time my eating goes off track. Guess what? If it happened, it happened. The moment has passed. Pick yourself, regroup, refocus, and get back on track.

5.) H2O — think about all of that sodium that we take in over Thanksgiving. Feel bloated? I bet that sodium is not helping. Drink water and start flushing some of that out of your system. It’s a good detox for the system so sip away!

6.) Try and balance those calories out over the long weekend — Things did not go as planned or you ate a bit more than your daily allowance? Well .. maybe you workout a time or three over the weekend and try to balance those numbers back out. Everything helps!

Enjoy the holiday and thanks for reading!

Christina

Nutrition – Could Tracking MacroNutrients (Macros) Improve Our Health?

I’ve been reading about macros lately .. macronutrient discussions are *everywhere* and I’m one who is always looking at ways I can eat better and just be healthier. So, I’ve decided that I want to do this. Currently I am stressing out over how to get started.

What’s the problem? Well, there are blogs and more blogs about it and while some are similar most have a bit of wavering on the calculations and what you should, and should not, do.

Here’s what I’ve decided …

I’m going to figure out what works for me, than change my focus to macronutrients.

What is this you are talking about? Instead of watching calories (which is what I usually do) you focus on your daily intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Instead of meeting one calorie goal you are trying to meet three nutrient goals.

The tricky things I have run across so far?

  • Should I have a set goal every day, whether I work out or not, taking my exercise ‘expectations’ and dividing those calories out over the week?
  • Should I adjust my carbs and fats on days I workout differently that rest days?
  • Do I go with the first bullet or do I start with a base calorie goal then add on my exercise every day (which is what I do now)
  • What is the best ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats (this seems to vary widely)

There are probably more but that is a good start.

What is my plan?

Well, I track on myfitnesspal currently but it’s really not going to work well for this. The benefit though is that I have a nice eating ‘history’ on the app … including since I’ve gone mostly gluten free.

I’m going to look at the last 3 weeks and see what my trends are in regards to carbs, proteins, and fats. I’ll start there and try and figure out what is recommended, then maybe tweak my goals a bit if need be. In the meanwhile I have to decide whether I go with a consistent daily calorie goal or a dynamic one, based on my workouts. I have always gone with dynamic but I actually see the value in consistency, to be honest.

So … I’ll report back later and let you know how this is going!  I am hopeful that I’ll see good things from this tweak!

Happy day and thanks for reading!

I have tons of playlists on Spotify, by BPMs, by moves (i.e. seated flats, standing climbs, etc). Feel free to follow me as I am constantly adding to my playlists 🙂

Christina

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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.

Boo.

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!

I have tons of playlists on Spotify, by BPMs, by moves (i.e. seated flats, standing climbs, etc). Feel free to follow me as I am constantly adding to my playlists 🙂

Christina

Feel free to follow me on social media!

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