Lessons Learned from the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Months after being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I still struggled with joint pains and extreme fatigue. So, my doctor suggested that I switch my medications from Methotrexate and prescribed Prednisone instead. However, despite being on high-dose steroids, most of my symptoms were still prominent.
Commit to changing your lifestyle
As I desperately search for an answer, I committed to changing my lifestyle, making time to move around and exercise, and fixing my sleeping pattern. I even decided to let go of my fast-paced and stressful daily routine, and removing toxic people in my life.
I tried almost every remedy possible, except changing my diet. So, after prolonging my agony, I finally decided to do it. These are the things that I have learned during my first month of an anti-inflammatory diet.
It’s going to take a lot of getting used to
The first week is the most difficult, especially for someone like me, who was used to eating junk her entire life and had the taste buds of a five-year-old child. It’s also hard because you are still learning about what your body can tolerate.
Additionally, I had to get used to the taste of celery and other vegetables. I have to teach myself how to reach out to the box of stevia, instead of grabbing the jar of sugar, and that I have to always find an alternative for dairy.
Know your triggers
Just because it is listed as inflammatory, it does not mean that it is forbidden. Only because it triggers inflammation for others does not mean that it will trigger yours.
What I found helpful was keeping a journal where I religiously recorded the food that I ate and my symptoms every day. I found out that my main triggers were gluten and dairy and that my health and my skin relatively improved when I tried to avoid eating them.
It’s not about what you avoid
I remember how I felt intimidated when I first googled the list of what food to avoid. I went through all of the "do not eat" lists and found out that everything that I’ve been eating on the daily basis was enumerated there.
But then a nutritionist told me that I'm overwhelmed because I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. She suggested that I should be looking at what I am adding to my diet instead of focusing on what I am removing. I should fix my eyes on the food that I haven’t tasted yet, or recipes that I still haven’t tried, instead of being frustrated for not being able to eat what I was used to. This shift of mentality makes you realize that there are better options for you.
It does not have to be an unpleasant experience all the time. You can be healthy, avoid your triggers, make peace with your food, and still be satisfied with what you eat.
In my case, I visualized a healthier version of me, the one who can move easily without feeling so much pain, the version of me that did not have to suffer from so much exhaustion. I started making decisions for her and her future.
To be continued...
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?