Monthly Archives: October 2009

Chicken Soup for R.A.

soup

There  are some studies that show that undenatured chicken collegen may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.   So can chicken soup help RA?   I’ll leave that to the scientists. I know that I always feel better after a bowl of soup!  I love soup!  Expecially when the weather is cold and damp.  This  is my chicken soup recipe. It is loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and has anti-inflammatories also. I have purposefully left the size of the cut up vegetables up to you because I know how hard it can be to get small cuts when your hands are hurting and it really does not matter what size they are because they will simmer for long enough to fully cook anyway. I hope you try it!

If I have the time I prefer to make the stock myself.  If not commercial stock is fine but make sure that it is low fat and sodium.

Chicken Stock:

1 Chicken Roaster carcass (It is more economical to use the leftover roaster, but you can use fresh chicken (with the bones) as well)

1 small Onion quartered with the skin

2 unpeeled Carrot cut up

2 Celery stalk cut up

16 cups purified cold Water.

Put chicken, onion, carrot and celery in large stock pot.  Add water. Heat to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer 2  hours.  Place colander in 2nd stock pot strain chicken and vegetables. Remove colander from pot so that stock remains. Put chicken and vegetables to the side to cool. Once cooled discard vegetables and chicken bones.

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion chopped

1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger Root peeled & minced (or if it is easier you can use a grater and just grate it)

2 Clove Garlic crushed or minced ( you can grate the garlic as well)

2 Ribs Celery with leaves diced( or cut to whatever size is manageable)

10 cups Chicken Stock

1 Large New Potato chopped with skin

2 Carrots (peeled) chopped

1 cup frozen kernel Corn

1 Bay Leaf

1 Tablespoon Parsley

1/2 cup Brown Rice

1 Whole Boneless Chicken Breast ( optional based on how you get your stock ) diced

Salt ( I prefer sea salt ) to taste

Pepper ( I like fresh ground ) to taste

In the original pot heat 1 Tbs olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, ginger and celery.  Saute over medium heat until the onion begins to wilt and the celery begins to brighten.  From the cooled colander remove chicken from the bone and cut into bite size pieces if necessary.

Note: If you are using a commercial stock, saute the chicken breast with the onion and celery before adding the stock

Add chicken stock, carrot, potato, corn, bay leaf, parsley and chicken.  Heat to boil and add brown rice. Reduce heat to medium, cook for 20 minutes reduce to simmer.

Serve with garnish of fresh chopped scallion or chives.

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Finding A Rheumatologist That Is Right For You!

medicalcopy

Do you feel really comfortable with your current rheumatologist?  Are you able to discuss all of your questions and concerns with your rheumatologist? If the answer to these questions is no; you are not alone.  A surprising number of patients report that they fell rushed when they visit the doctor’s office and often leave without understanding what was discussed during the visit. It is important to be able to communicate with your physician at your visit.  Your health is at stake.

It is a good idea to make sure that before your next visit you are prepared.  If you have blood work that is due near the time of the appointment make sure it is done and the doctor has had the opportunity to look at the results before your appointment so that you can discuss the results while you are there.  Make a list of questions/concerns for the doctor.  Prioritize the list so that you cover the most important questions first.  If you do not completely understand the doctor’s response to your question, let them know.  Don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify something for you.  If the doctor wants follow up testing or changes  in medication, make sure you understand any side effects and/or  necessary information you may need ( ie. time of day to take meds or have test done, fasting, non fasting, etc…) before you leave the office. If you feel as though you did not have all your questions answered at the visit; don’t be afraid to call the office and ask for the doctor to call you back when he/she is free to answer your questions.

If you have done all this and still do not have your questions answered, your concerns addressed, or if you feel you are not being heard, and are rushed,  it may be time to find a new doctor!  My first rheumatologist was an extremely intelligent doctor, and a professor at an Ivy League University but we did not communicate well with each other.  After interviewing several other doctors I found a rheumatologist that is the right fit for me.  I am comfortable discussing all my issues with my physician and I always feel like her focus is on my wellness at all times.  My questions are always answered, I never feel rushed and I always feel that my health is of paramount importance to her.  It may take some time to find the right rheumatologist, but it is well worth the effort.

5 Tips for Dealing with Arthritis Pain

5tips

Everyone from time to time needs ways to cope with pain. Here are a few tips I use to help me deal the pain.

Meditation

Meditation can lower your blood pressure, enhance your immune system, relax muscles and help you deal with stress. And lets face it pain is stressful. 

Start  with just 5 to 10 minutes a day and gradually work up to 20 to 30 minutes a day.   You will be surprised what a difference it will make in how you feel. 

Find a quiet place where there are not likely to be any interruptions.  I try to get in some time before the kids wake up.

Sit in a comfortable position.  Close your eyes.  Focus on your breath; the coolness as you breathe in and the warm exhale.  Try to keep the inhalation and exhalation the same length.  Start with your feet and focus on the sensation of relaxation.  Now move up to your legs, stomach, arms, and shoulders,. With each exhale feel the  tension leave your body.  Now relax the corners of your mouth, the outer corners of your eyes relax outward.  Stay like this focusing on the inhalation and exhalation, try to empty your mind. 

It takes practice to be able to shut out the world for a little while, but it is well worth the effort.

Pamper Yourself

Sit down and enjoy a nice warm cup of tea.  Take a long soothing soak in the tub. (provided getting in and out is not an issue)  Try a nice paraffin wax for your hands.  The warmth feels wonderful and your hands end up so soft and smooth when you are done.   Schedule a spa day with your best friend.  Indulge in an afternoon nap. Do something that makes you feel good.

Move your Body

Exercise is a must to help with pain reduction.  Find an exercise that you enjoy and you are more likely to stick with it.  Start with something that you can do now. Begin with  some stretches and add a few isometrics to gain some strength gradually increasing the time and level of activity.   Be careful to listen to what your body is telling  you.  Do not continue if you are experiencing pain.  Remember that consistency is the key.

Laugh

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine.  Well it turns out that laughter is exactly what we need when dealing with pain.  Laughter causes the pituitary gland in the brain to release pain suppressing compounds.  So watch a funny movie or tell a good joke !   

Listen to your favorite music

Studies have shown a significant reduction in pain and depression for patients with arthritis who listen to music. So crank up the tunes and enjoy!

Samantha’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Story

Samantha shares her story of rheumatoid arthritis.  She talks about how the disease changed her life and how she adapted to the changes that it brought her.  It is an honest story of what it can be like living with rheumatoid arthritis.  I could relate to her story on many levels.

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