Archive for July, 2012

on the brink

In the last year or two I have noticed that I have gradually been putting on weight.  This is to be expected to some degree since for very many months I was quite incapacitated by the flare in my Stills Disease and could barely move about let alone engage in any moderate form of exercise.  Many forms of simple exercise, such as walking, are not an option for me so regular exercise is difficult.  In the past few weeks I have however begun swimming again, once a week at least most weeks, sometimes even twice.  The amount of actual exertion I can expend depends on how busy the pool is but even a little is better than nothing, and the steam room is wonderfully therapeutic.  But this alone is not going to be sufficient to stop further weight gain so I need to make some adjustment to my daily diet.  With my one cup of coffee a day, in the morning, I enjoy a rather special ginger biscuit.  Our dog, Hektra, is also rather partial and gets about a quarter of biscuit from the tin.  As from yesterday I now share my daily biscuit with her, meaning that I will be consuming nearly two biscuits less each week.  Mid morning we enjoy Green & Blacks organic drinking chocolate but I am now having mine in a smaller mug using two teaspoonfuls instead of three, thus saving the consumption of the equivalent of two of the large mugfuls each week.  I have also tried to cut down on crisps and cut out salted nuts altogether.  Hopefully these three small changes will stop me sliding further towards the ‘obese’ category on the Body Fat Calculator, link below.


Although I’m currently getting a BMI score of 25 this is suprisingly a lower score than 76% of women in my age group in the UK, and lower than 55% of the females in the world!  Sadly a BMI of over 25 is considered overweight, hence the need for me to stop the slide!


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Further to the foodstuffs I have already coverered in my description so far of the regime to treat arthritis without the use of drugs, in the book various vitamins and minerals are recommended.  I personally take the following two:

Vitamin C – Since the greatest source of this, citrus fruits, is not allowed, a daily supplement is beneficial.

Vitamin B Complex is a must as it feeds and soothes tired nerves, thus promoting a good night’s sleep.

I have been doing a lot of research online on the subject of nutrition to try and understand better my own personal needs.  Because I also have a Stills Disease related heart condition for which I have to take a low dose of beta blockers and statins I also take a couple of supplements which I believe might help with this, a daily garlic pill and until recently CoQ10.  I have just started replacing the latter with the newly available Ubiquinol which is supposed to be more effective. 

In addition, for my general health I take either Omega 3 or Krill each day, and finally, a daily Vitamin D3 tablet.  Vitamin D is generally acknowledged as helping protect against rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.


Vitamin D may be becoming more deficient in our bodies and there seems to be a growing concern amongst many experts  that it is not always possible to get enough by natural means through sunlight.  This year especially sunshine is in short supply!  I also recently have read that Vitamin D takes 48 hours to develop in the skin before it becomes accessible to the body and many people may be unwittingly washing it off rather than getting the benefit.  The solution suggested to counter this is to wash or shower with plain water, using soap only for underarm and genital areas.

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An acid-free diet is, according to the treatment plan I am following, of the utmost importance, but in my research I have come upon several examples of conflicting advice as to how best to achieve this.  I continue to experiment, and will comment on what I actually do compared to what ‘the book’ recommends.  The following simplified list provides an overview of the ideal diet, readers should consult the actual book for the full details and reasoning behind these statements.

1. Eat less salt – I find it difficult to resist crisps and salted peanuts :(

2.Cut out animal fats “Butter, cheese, milk and cream are very high in lactic acid, and should be avoided altogether.  These animal fats provide arachidonic acid, which increases inflammation.  Cut down on your intake of fat by: * using a vegeyable margarine high in polyunsaturated fat, * use dried or skimmed milk, *eat cottage cheese (not to be confused with cream cheese which is very high in lactic acid).” – I’ve been eating a lot of cottage cheese, and much reduced amounts of ‘proper’ cheese as a treat, and we only ever have skimmed milk.

3. Cut out all citrus fruits.  “Citric acid, when combined with carbohydrates in the system, result in the formation of uric acid.”  Lots of other fruits are also listed as to be avoided, including tomatoes, and this is where I have recently come across some conflicting information.  I will write a separate post with links about this.

4. Cut out ‘old meats’.  “Pork, beef, ham, bacon, sausages, pates etc all contain fibrous tissue, full of acid.” – I try to limit my intake of these meats but I have not been sufficiently motivated to cut them out altogether.

5. Cut out alcohol.  – Again, I try to limit my consumption and I drink alcohol free lager instead of wine or beer some of the time.

6. Cut out all fried foods, white sugar and white bread.  – I have cut out white bread, and limit the other stuff.

7. Avoid cream cakes and biscuits. – We only occasionally buy a nice pastry as a treat, but I do eat one (rather superior quality) ginger biscuit every day, which I am not prepared to give up!

8. Avoid all fruits bottled in syrup. – This is a bit old fashioned and easy enough to avoid tinned fruits.

Amongst the list given as “foods for a health diet” are:

wholemeal bread, olive oil, fresh white fish, oily fish, cottage cheese, lamb in moderation, chicken, duck, turkey, plenty of fresh vegetables, raw and cooked, non citric fruits such as peaches, pears, bananas, apples, apricots and melons, and cut down intake of tea, and make it weak.

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