Monthly Archives: March 2009

10 Reasons For Adding Garlic To Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet

  •   Garlic can reduce pain and inflammation in people with RA.
  •   Garlic inhibits the formation of free radicals that can cause joint damage . 
  •  Garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and may protect against some cancers.  
  •  Garlic has cardiovascular benefits.  It can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol which help to protect against atherosclerosis which means a reduction in chance of heart attack and stroke. 
  •  Studies have shown that eating both cooked and raw garlic together provided a better health benefit than eating either cooked or uncooked garlic alone.   garlic
  •  Garlic promotes a healthy immune system.  
  •  Garlic has antioxidant properties. 
  •  Odorless form is less effective than natural garlic. 
  •  Garlic has vitamins B6 and C. 
  •  Garlic has the minerals selenium which helps regulate thyroid function and immune response and manganese an anti-oxidant.

What Rheumatoid Arthritis Has Taught Me: Lesson #2 Patience

RA has forced me to learn to be patient.  I have had to be patient with my medication and with my body. Patience in doctor’s offices, waiting for test results, and for prescriptions to be filled has been a difficult lesson. I wish I could say that I readily accepted the fact that my life was changing and that I would need to become a patient person to deal with all that lay ahead.  That was not the case.  I spent a lot of time just being aggravated that things took me so long to finish, or that the meds I am on were taking forever to start to work.

Some lessons come easy and some don’t.  Becoming a patient person has not been easy for me.  RA has given me no choice. It took almost 2 months before the methotrexate started giving me some relief from the pain and stiffness. The very last thing I wanted to hear from my rheumatologist was to be patient and that many RA medications can take from several weeks to several months to take the full effect.  I wanted to take a pill and be better.  Wasn’t that why I was going to the doctor in the first place?  I wanted him to make me better NOW not 2 months from now.  I don’t know why I was so dense about the whole process.  I have watched my mother for years deal with these issues.  I guess I thought I would be different.

I spent a lot of time feeling frustrated because I could not control the basics in my life.  I could no longer just finish a project in what I felt was a timely fashion.  Each project needed to be done gradually so that I would not over do things and be out of commission for several days recovering. At some point I had to accept that my body has limitations now.  I have to do things differently and that means I have to be patient. Things take longer now.  Because repetitive motions can be painful, I can do some and then I need to rest a bit.  Because staying in one postition too long can be painful, I need to sit for a while and then get up and move around.

I have chosen to be patient now and accept that my life is going on a slower path than I had planned.  I do not want to waste any more energy on something that is completely futile.  I think that somewhere along the way I had to give up trying to control things and just trust that there is a reason for all things and with patience I will understand what that is.

I think that Brian Adams put it beautifully…

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.” -Brian Adams

Ginger And Rheumatoid Arthritis

ginger-004Ginger is one of my favorite spices to cook with. I use it in everything from Chicken Soup to Stir Fry. Ginger is an anti inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic. Traditional medicine has used ginger to stimulate digestion, and quell nausea and vomiting. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is the root of a lily plant.

In a recent  Danish study, researchers found that up to 74% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis experienced some pain relief  by simply drinking tea made from ginger.  The researchers believe that ginger was able to give relief to those with rhuematoid arthritis because ginger contains compounds that inhibit the production of  prostaglandins and leukotrienes that causes pain and inflammation.

To make ginger tea, take 2 Tablespoons of fresh ground ginger and steep in hot water. I like to add a bit of honey as well. I prefer to make my own tea, but if you are in a hurry and just want something easy to pop in a hot cup of water I found these

Hot compresses using ginger root has also been found effective for pain relief, although I have not tried this method.

Yoga and Rheumatoid Arthritis

I can’t begin to express how Yoga has changed my life and my health.  It has improved my mobility and my overall well being.  I came across this page at John Hopkins Arthritis Center. Here is the link  The site does a good job of describing the different types of yoga with pertinent information about how to find a yoga class and what to expect.

 You will need a yoga matYoga Mats Various Colors

a yoga strapYoga Straps

and yoga blocks

 to get started. Make sure that you wear comfortable clothing that will move with you and not bind up.  I highly recommend trying yoga.  Many poses can be modified for people with RA.  I have found that I am less stiff and I better equipped to handle stress and pain when I practice yoga regularly. Make sure that you check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine and find a yoga instructor that is familiar with rheumatoid arthritis. Namaste.


What Rheumatoid Arthritis Has Taught Me: Lesson #1 Acceptance

When I  think about who I am now verses who I was before RA, it amazes me how I have changed.  I am not speaking of the obvious physical changes but the internal transformation.  I am not the same woman I was before rheumatoid arthritis and I am grateful for it. I like who I am now and who I am is a woman who has RA.  I was not a bad person before rheumatoid arthritis, but I was a very different one.   It has taken me a long time to get to a place of peace with this disease and it didn’t happen overnight .  As I look back on this  journey I want to share the lessons I have learned from rheumatoid arthritis and how I have become a better human being because of this disease.

Would I have learned this lesson without the disease?  I will never know.  What I do know is that for me one of the most important lessons I have learned is one of acceptance.    Accepting each moment as it comes and as it is.  I used to be this person who needed to be in control of every situation.  I tried to plan for every outcome.  I didn’t like or want any surprises. I expended an enormous amount of energy attempting to control every aspect of my life.  Then came RA, something I could not control.

When the disease first took hold of me,  walking was a challenge.  Picking up a cup of coffee, pouring tea, making dinner, getting dressed, tying my shoes, and brushing my teeth and hair caused me so much pain.  The mundane felt like the impossible.  I read everything I could get my hands on and tried to learned all there was to know in an attempt to gain control over the situation. I needed and wanted to fix the problem and move on. 

Eventually I came to the conclusion that instead of struggling to gain control over something I could not, maybe the solution for me is acceptance.  I have been blessed with so many good things in this life and that is where my focus needs to be not on what was and what may never be. In order for me to live a content life, I have to take each moment as it comes.  I have no control over what my body will be capable of at any given time.  I can control how I care for my body and listen to what it needs but that is where it ends. What I may be able to do today, I may not tomorrow. There have been times when I did not appreciate the little bit of mobility I had only to loose all mobility a week later.  If I only focus on what I want my life to be I am missing out on what it is, today, in this moment.  

The times that physically are challenging have given me the oportunity to spend quiet moments with my kids and learn what is important to them.  What their dreams are and what kind of men they want to become. I have the opportunity in those moments of inactivity to be with my family and friends on a level that activity prevents.  These oportunities were there before RA but my focus was different.

I needed to decide if rheumatoid arthritis was going to define me or if I was going to take the challenges that have been given to me and learn from them.  I chose the latter.  I still hold hope for a cure, but I do not focus all my energy on wishing for something that may never happen for me.  So when I have a good day I appreciate it and enjoy all the movement my body will allow. When I am experiencing a bad day I accept that I have done all that I can to be as healthy as I can and listen to my body and be still.   

Apple Sauce Cake Recipe

applesaucecake-003Here is a simple quick recipe that has Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber,omega-3 fatty acids,  flavonoids and anti inflammatories such as ginger and cloves. This was my mother-in-laws recipe that we altered to lower the fat. Enjoy!

Preheat oven to 350

Grease a 13″x9″ pan with olive oil

In a large bowl mix all the following ingredients:

2 1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour

1 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup  Molasses

1/4 Cup Honey

2 Cups Applesauce

1 1/2 Cup Chopped Apple ( about 1 large apple peeled)

1 Large Egg

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp Salt

3/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Cloves

1/2 tsp Allspice

1 Tablespoon Fresh Grated Ginger

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts ( optional )

Confectioners Sugar

Bake  45-50 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

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