Diet Does Matter

I cringe every time someone says that they will hurt no matter what they eat. Why does this bother me? Because I used to say the same thing and I was wrong!

Fanning the flames of inflammation

Inflammation is a huge problem with psoriatic arthritis and many of my other chronic illnesses. The problem is there isn’t just one food or food group that causes inflammation. Until a few years ago, the only foods I avoided were ones that I was allergic to. Changing my diet to improve pain proved useless when every “diet" I tried never seemed to reduce my daily pain level.

I tried going gluten-free, gave low FODMAP diets several attempts, and even tried keto. All of them failed to make a difference. But that didn’t mean that my personal diet wasn’t contributing to my pain level.

Investigating how food impacted my pain

I do not have celiac disease nor am I gluten intolerant. Yet, I discovered that I felt better when I would omit gluten from my diet. Then I did a little experiment. After months of logging the food, the ingredients, and including gluten in my diet, I discovered that I could eat anything made with wheat if it wasn’t genetically modified, didn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, and was organic. This experiment led to discovering other ingredients and foods that I needed to eliminate. Foods that were included in each and every one of the diets mentioned above. It’s no wonder why I didn’t experience any relief.

Finding comfort in food

The worst part about discovering what my trigger foods were, was that they were my comfort and what I considered to be convenience foods. They were my go-to snacks and meals when I was in physical and emotional pain. I had to accept and acknowledge that they were making me worse.

I did great for almost two years. Then last winter I fell into a deep depression and back into old habits. I not only gained weight, but I increased the pain I was already in from an injury. Depressed and ashamed, I stepped on the scale a few months ago and the reality of comforting myself with food hit me in the face. Don’t think that I haven’t wondered if recovering from broken ribs would have been easier had I avoided eating food that inflamed my body.

Getting back on track

Since my wake up call two months ago, I have gotten back on track. I still have those moments when I want to grab fast food for dinner or devour a bag of Cheetos, but before I do, I think about the consequences. I also think about how far I have come with managing my chronic pain. I have put too much work into decreasing my daily pain level and refuse to allow a hamburger bun or pizza to destroy my hard work.

Before you say that diet doesn’t matter or give up because you haven’t noticed a change after trying several diets, try investigating what you are eating. You may be surprised by what you discover.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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