There are thousands of books written about rheumatoid arthritis ranging from medical textbooks to ancient Egyptian remedies. However, the majority focus on self-help in the form of the author sharing his or her experiences, or the extolling of a particular alternative or complementary therapy, including a vast range of diets; it’s hard to know which way to turn.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis or are trying to help someone with this disease, you will probably have read some, or many of them yourself. Like me, you may quickly have become confused at the bewildering array of contradictory advice regarding diets, nutrition and food preparation methods, including which foods are allowed and which are restricted.
At one point, I was completely lost… “Right.. so I have to eat a well balanced diet, but I mustn’t under any circumstances eat celery, or tomatoes or potatoes… or any of the nightshade family of vegetables (even though tomatoes are a fruit!)… but I can drink raw potato juice because it’s good.. or is it? Cider vinegar is good but I must avoid all acidic foods and drinks? I need to avoid gluten, wheat, lactose, soy, cane sugar, cheese, alcohol, nuts, red meat, white meat, processed food, raw food, food that was harvested on a Tuesday afternoon, food that begins with the letter ‘p’… aaaarggghhh!!! So that’ll be fresh air and rain water then!”
I’ve tried everything, and yes, many of these ideas, therapies and diets have had some impact on my illness. The trouble is, non of them removed the pain, stiffness, ‘flu’, aches, depression, cloudy thinking, tiredness or any other symptom of my arthritis. All they did was alleviate some of the symptoms in a similar way to NSAIDS etc.
The best way I can describe the effectiveness of all these ‘cures’ is to use the following analogy: Imagine you are outside in the cold, in winter (camping in Scotland maybe!). It rains, your matches become soggy and your tent is eaten by a very confused seagull; how will you stay warm?
First… you try blowing on your hands (it helps a little). You try jumping up and down (again it helps a little but you are soon exhausted). You grab a bunch of nettles and hit your thighs with them, an old Roman soldier’s trick (it hurts like blazes and is no fun at all). Ahh… you remember the flask of whisky you have in your pocket! You drink some to warm you up (and you become even colder, of course), you give the remaining whisky to the seagull in the forlorn hope that it will cough up your tent!
OK that’s just a bit of fun to introduce the theme, but imagine being in a real survival situation (and having RA ‘is’ a real survival situation) perhaps after becoming lost during a hike in the mountains, in winter. Suppose you had previously read some survival handbooks, but they all recommended different things, were too complicated or offered contradictory advice.
Focus and Willpower – So Important in Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis
After sifting through your memory, untangling, weighing up, and trying some of the things that were recommended, if your situation didn’t improve, you would naturally become more and more demoralised and confused, your ‘will’ to continue trying would diminish, and in a survival situation, you could end up in serious trouble.
What you need is some simple advice that works, some kernel of truth that is common to all the advice that you have read, something that will keep you safe, or even save your life.
The problem with many of the recommended ‘cures’ or therapies for rheumatoid arthritis is that they are too complicated or they contradict each other, or worse still; they never get to the point!
I know from personal experience and from trying to help friends with this disease; people have a finite amount of available willpower on any given day of the week. This means, in the real world, when people are working, dealing with children, and with a thousand other demands on their time; any attempt to deal with their RA has to be simple and focused, if it is to have any chance of succeeding.
Contradictions and repeated failures significantly reduce this available willpower. Things become blurred and fuzzy, determination softens, targets and goals fade. I’m sure you recognise this effect if you’ve ever tried to lose weight! There are thousands of weight loss diets, all with miracle ‘lose 500 pounds in a week’ special, unique, ‘only our diet will work’ benefits! Yet only a handful actually make any sense, but if you try too many contradictory fads the disappointments will reduce your ability to persevere next time around.
Of course, everyone knows that the only real ‘cure’ for having too much weight is to eat a wide range of good quality, natural foods and exercise like an Olympic runner being chased by a swarm of angry wasps! But, people still like to try the shortcuts, just in case :-)
The RA solution that I designed for myself works, it is simple, and I managed to stick to it for the last year or so, and I’ve had no RA symptoms since – I’ve survived.