Stomach full of listed trigger foods with joints that are in flare.

Being Overwhelmed by Elimination Diets

One sip of beer and I can already feel a throbbing in my fingers. The sugar and cream in coffee do a number on my joints. Sometimes, I swear I can actually feel sugar from a pastry bring on a flare.

It's no secret that food can have a profound effect on our health. More and more people attribute dietary changes to lower disease activity. Some people have benefited a lot from cutting out gluten, sugars, and processed foods altogether.

What are elimination diets?

When I first learned about arthritis food triggers, I was excited! I loved the idea of avoiding a couple of foods and being in less pain. But I quickly realized a lot of the foods that can trigger flares were some of my favorite foods or even staples of my daily diet. To say I was crushed is an understatement.

Elimination diets can be a long path

Diet changes aren't always easy- many times, they require a new lifestyle. It can demand a lot of time, patience, and perseverance. Elimination diets, for example, are very restrictive for the first couple weeks until you can start adding food groups back in. It can be hard, especially if it's your first time doing something like that.

Over the years, I've done my fair share of elimination diets and food programs. In my experience, there were times I felt like my life revolved around food. The reality is, some diets are hard to adhere to, and it's okay if you feel like dietary changes aren't a treatment that will work for you. Parenting, school, finances, allergies, and many other things may put up a barrier.

Anyway, you don't have to go paleo or gluten-free to adopt a more arthritis-friendly diet. There are many known food triggers that you can avoid. Many people find success by cutting out one or two documented triggers, such as nightshade vegetables or eggs. While I don't follow any specific diet plan, I do actively try to avoid a handful of foods that I have noticed cause flares. Personally, my worst offenders are alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Peer pressure and guilt

There have been times that others have made me feel guilty because I'm not actively trying to treat my arthritis through diet alone. People give me suggestions every day and insist food is what is causing my pain. And while I know it's meant to be helpful, it gets irritating, especially when they don't know my story. It's not the only way to treat psoriatic arthritis.

Finding what works best for you

We are all on different journeys. Some people have found a lot of success by changing their diets. But there are many other ways people have found relief through medication, exercise regimens, and many other options.

You need to do what's comfortable for you. If you feel up to trying a particular diet and have a lot of motivation, go for it! It can't hurt, and you might benefit from it. But if you aren't comfortable with it, don't worry about it. And don't feel guilty, either. Everyone is different! Just do what works for you.

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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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