1. Ok, here I go.... whole foods.
If you replace everything you put in your mouth that is not 100% whole food with real food, whole food, your body will heal. It is really that simple.
I could give much more information but making changes, one simple thing at a time, is easiest for most people. Changing the diet from processed, packaged, food "products" to 100% whole food is a huge change for most people. Seriously think about what you eat for each meal and snacks, if you snack: How many food items are manufactured in a factory? How many were created by nature and nature alone (no human meddling)?
2. While switching to whole foods, remove wheat and gluten from the diet.
By removing all these packaged foods from your life, you will be removing many laboratory made ingredients that are derived from wheat. Many food additives are made from wheat and therefore contain gluten. You will not read "wheat" on the label but the ingredients with weird, chemical sounding names, more than likely are wheat derived and contain gluten. Eat un-packaged food!
I know many people have complete relief of symptoms by getting gluten out of their diets. This is not as hard as people "groan and moan" it is going to be. People need to educate themselves around gluten and with this new found knowledge, avoiding gluten is not so difficult. Where it gets difficult is we have become a culture dependent on food products and eating away from home (which most food in restaurants is cheap, crap food; use the cheapest ingredients to make the most profit possible). Food products and food prepared out of home is often times full of wheat derivatives. For help: Gluten-Free Cooking & Living Class
3. Another key step in whole food, gluten-free eating is to avoid gluten-free products.
Most are full of filler crap ingredients that are debilitating to health. You will be, in essence, trading one debilitating food for another. Read labels on all foods, gluten-free included, for 100% whole food ingredients. All gluten free foods need to be 100% whole food: no white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, etc. These are refined ingredients and hard on your body's health.
OK, so why remove gluten? Because it is very inflammatory in most people's bodies. Modern day wheat is extremely high in gluten compared to heritage wheat of days gone by, the wheat that existed before human manipulation. The high concentrations of gluten in modern wheat disturb metabolism and cellular health, some people notice it more than others. How gluten affects each person is different. What is known is that gluten is a huge culprit in arthritis and many people are relieved of arthritis symptoms simply by getting rid of gluten. Eat completely gluten-free for 2 weeks, see how you feel. If any doubts about it helping or not, try this: after 2 weeks of gluten-free eating, eat plenty of wheat at every meal for a whole day. Pile on the whole wheat bread, pasta, crackers, and cereal. Now pay attention to how your body feels!
Bread was traditionally made from sprouted whole grains and then fermented for 3 full days with sour dough cultures. The amount of gluten left after sprouting and culturing was very minimal. Today's bread is mass produced in a matter of a couple of hours. There was good reasons for traditional food preparation.
Gluten is naturally found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats*. Any variety of wheat will contain gluten: spelt, kamut, einkorn... anything that says heritage wheat variety. Yes, they have less gluten but at this point, with an auto immune disease, any amount of gluten will just exacerbate the internal inflammation.
Think lung disease: how many daily cigarettes would you recommend to someone with lung disease?
Think liver disease: how many shots of liquor would you recommend to someone trying to heal liver disease?
Think diabetes: how much sugar would you recommend to someone trying to heal the beta cells in their pancreas and ultimately heal their type II diabetes?
Would you tell these people to do the 80/20 plan with their cigarette, alcohol, or sugar consumption?
Eliminating the "culprits," (the cause or causes of the health symptoms) and introducing nourishing healers (food, lifestyle, herbs, etc.) is what will heal your beautiful body, right down to each and every beautiful cell!
*Avoid oats unless certified gluten-free and organic. Oats do not naturally contain gluten. If whole oats, oat flakes, Irish oats, or oat flour are CERTIFIED gluten-free, then they are fine. Gluten-free certification is essential with oats. Otherwise, you are consuming oats that have been contaminated with gluten in the grain harvesting and handling process. Oats are processed on the same equipment that wheat is processed on. This industry practice contaminates oats with gluten from the wheat.
All grains should be organic to avoid pesticides and agricultural chemicals that will, most likely, exacerbate your symptoms. Glyphosate (broad spectrum herbicide brought to you by Monsanto) is hard on the gut lining's health, disrupts gut microbial populations, and creates inflammation in the body.
4. Get rid of sugar:
A whole food diet will take care of that problem immediately. Perhaps some educational handouts around the ill effects of sugar would help out here? Email me and ask for my sugar handouts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Often people have much relief from arthritis symptoms when they completely avoid dairy. Some people do well to re-introduce dairy after weeks of eliminating it IF the dairy is raw and from grass fed animals. This means no pasteurization or homogenization. Others do well to re-introduce only raw, grass fed goat milk and goat milk products (cheese, yogurt).
6. Alkalize the body:
The human body likes to function in a slightly alkaline state. When the body struggles to balance from acidic eating and lifestyle habits our health suffers: mineral loss causing tooth decay and bone de-mineralization and deterioration of body organs, body cells.
Below is a chart on acid and alkaline foods. Eating in a balanced way, to keep the body alkaline, helps to heal, including arthritis. Example: Eat veggies with meat to balance the acid-alkaline effects. This is only a quick explanation of acid-alkaline balancing. I encourage you to explore and learn more.
A youtube video with a good, basic explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk1ru_CJt2k (Forgive the couple of misspelled words, the content is what counts here.)
7. Movement Magic:
Movement is essential. Move it or lose it. Try something called dynamic movement which helps to heal the adhesions that settle in from moving body parts in one direction only. Can I recommend Yoga?
Lisa Huck: I cannot recommend this woman enough: her exercises will restore youthful movement in just minutes a day by lubricating (listen to her awesome words in the video). I stumbled upon her (thanks to Dr. Mercola) and her dynamic movements have ended my sciatica and low back issues (which were not low back issues at all, but movement issues!). She is the Goddess of Movement, my Goddess of movement!
8. Herbal Healing:
Herbs are fabulous whole foods for healing the body. I would add these in AFTER you have had gluten out of your diet for at least 2 weeks. This way, you can see the effects getting gluten out has on getting healing into your body! You do want to know what is having the healing effects!
My favorite herb: Stinging nettles, I love this green healer. Her work is truly magic in the human body. Nettles adds nutrients to every body cell. This is what you want for your body!
Nettles: planted right next to my porch so I always know I have a supply!
9. More herbs to add for nourishing the body cells, easing symptoms of inflammation, and healing:
ginger, turmeric, cinnamon*, cayenne, and Devil's claw. (*Please use real Ceylon cinnamon, not the grocery store variety of cinnamon.)
Turmeric butter, anti-inflammatory butter recipe
10. Burdock root and dandelion root:
Nourishing the liver and adding essential fatty acids to the diet heals the body. Both of these roots can be eaten in soups, stir fries, stews, and grated (raw) into a slaw salad or grated to put on top of a green salad. Making an infusion and drinking 3 to 4 cups daily is healing as well. An infusion is a medicinal strength herbal tea. Need help on how to brew an infusion?
11. Nature's Path:
Find that place outside and get fresh air and sunshine (even on cloudy days) every day. Visualize a potted plant, shoved in the bottom of a closet, no fresh air or sunshine. What do you think will be the outcome for that plant? Put this common sense in action in your life. All living beings need fresh air and sunshine, period, bottom line! Embrace it, love it, find time every single day. I promise, you will not regret it.
Putting your body in direct contact with the Earth is called Grounding. Think bare feet walking on a sunny day, cloudy day, even a rainy day. Try removing as much clothes as possible and lie right down on the ground getting as much Earth contact as possible.
Below zero and snow you say? There are Grounding mats you can buy. I will not profess any knowledge or experience around these things as I have never used them. I have clients who swear by them for relief of body aches and pains.
I would be horribly remiss if I did not tell you about the healing powers of acupuncture to reduce inflammation and move healing energy in the body. I recommend Shelby Connelly, Licensed Acupuncturist in Colton, NY: http://fiveelementsliving.com/
Not in the Northern NY State area? Find an acupuncturist from Tai Sophia, Maryland University of Integrative Health.
Does amazing things for healing! Find a yoga instructor knowledgeable in arthritis health and healing. Here in the Northern part of NY State, St. Lawrence County... I recommend Rebecca Rivers, Ellie Beeler, and Sarah Harris. Try the Yoga Loft & Trillium!
14. Reiki Energy Healing:
Find a Reiki practitioner to help bring calming relief to your body, mind, and spirit. I often recommend people take Reiki 1 training to learn to do Reiki healing on themselves.
1. Whole foods
2. Gluten-free eating, maybe grain free
7. Acupuncture and energy healing
May this post inspire you to move forward in your life, to take self-responsibility for healing your own body. You know your body best and what it needs to heal.
Be well, relax, learn to heal your beautiful body through nature! If I can help you with your healing plan, you know where to find me. Contact Paula
Free Natural Health-Lifestyle Medicine Information to further encourage your Self Healing Skills:
- Principles of Whole Food Eating (Whole foods are the foundation for your healing plan.)
- Movement Magic
- Whole Health Lifestyle Choices
- Making Herbal Infusions
- Bone Health
- Making any recipe a Whole Food Recipe
- Microwave ILLS
- Gut Health
- Keeping blood sugar healthy
- Cook like a kitchen artist!
- Clean 15, Dirty Dozen list from Environmental Working Group