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.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?