Curing Rheumatoid Arthritis – Removing the Causes
Over the three and a half plus decades in which I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis, the severity of my symptoms has varied greatly day by day, even hour by hour. Stress, weather, sleep, exercise all had an impact but I eventually discovered that my diet was the most powerful symptom-determining factor.
I had a low-level tooth/gum infection throughout this time which gradually became worse in more recent years to the point where it became a critical health issue and I had to get it treated. I had a course of powerful antibiotics which significantly reduced the infection and I later had the tooth removed and the socket cleaned. I now believe that this tooth infection set the stage for the development of my rheumatoid arthritis by releasing pathogenic bacteria over a long period of time and compromising my immune system. The combination of dietary triggers (via leaky gut) and the bacterial infection from the tooth caused and promoted my RA.
I came to realise many years ago that when I stopped eating (apart from filtered water) all my symptoms would reduce then disappear. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, I could only maintain this for a few days at a time. It was very ironic that eating (essential for survival) was actually killing me.
So, I began to experiment with my diet and spent many many years trying to isolate and identify the particular foods that were causing my symptoms (at this stage I wasn’t taking the tooth infection seriously). I subsequently read dozens of books on this specific subject, all very interesting but most of them contradictory.
Unfortunately, although I tried hundreds of times over a thirty odd year period I could never produce a diet that worked and still allowed me to be healthy. Drinking water and breathing fresh air just wasn’t enough :-)
I did manage to identify a number of foods (and food substances) which were particularly devastating to me, and I was very optimistic each time that removing these from my diet would cure my illness. Alas, no… I realised that there had to be some thing (or things) causing a reaction that I was eating all the time, no matter which diet variation I tried.
The problem was (still is) that in the real world I had to earn a living, run my company, take care of hundreds of things every day, every week… It was almost impossible to stick to any kind of test diet without drifting off slightly or becoming discouraged and giving up.
Whenever the stress increased, the accuracy of my dietary experiments would decrease. After working fourteen hours on my computer or on-site, it was difficult to avoid drinking a coffee or making a quick snack that wasn’t quite within my test limitations ;-)
The problem is, in my experience with rheumatoid arthritis, it doesn’t matter how healthy you are, how good your diet is, or how old you are, if you eat the wrong thing you become ill.
Ultimately I did develop a diet which effectively cured my rheumatoid arthritis for a period of several years, eventually however, my tooth infection gradually became worse and my diet was no longer enough to maintain remission. At this point I sought treatment for the infection and later had the tooth removed, but due to the infection and the antibiotic treatment I received, as well as mistakes made by several doctors; my RA became even more aggressive and destructive than before.
Since then I’ve been trying to recover for the second time and reach the point where I’m in remission again or effectively cured. This time around it’s been much more difficult and I’ve had to do a tremendous amount of work and research to achieve modest results for myself (so far). The reason I’m writing this is because I feel certain that the knowledge I’ve gained through this process will help fellow rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to reduce their symptoms, halt the progression of their disease, and hopefully in many cases reverse it. I know for myself, if I’d had this knowledge just five years ago I could have maintained my cure and stayed in remission, and avoided all of the subsequent suffering and wasted time. I’d be extremely happy if I could help even one other person to avoid my current situation.
At this point I’m going to update this page to reflect my current (as of 2018) diet and lifestyle which is based on everything I’ve learned and experienced since I originally wrote the content for this page. I’ll leave my original, earlier conclusions and RA diet cure below towards the end of this page. It was effective at the time and may be helpful for those who don’t want to adopt a fully whole food plant-based diet.
My Whole Food Plant-Based Anti-Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet (2018)
I now eat a whole food plant-based diet because prior to adopting this diet I wasn’t making any progress with my RA. My current diet is made up from the following whole food groups.
I don’t eat any processed foods, fast foods, packaged foods, snack foods, cafe or restaurant foods or alcohol. I don’t eat anything with an ingredients list.
I don’t eat any added processed oils or fats.
I don’t eat any meat, dairy or any other animal products.
I’ve minimised my added salt intake to a maximum of 1.5 g per day, often I don’t have any added salt.
Likewise, I’ve minimised my added sugar intake to 5 g per day or less.
Currently, I take only two supplements; B12 and an algae derived DHA.
I drink plenty of filtered water.
I try to obtain around twenty minutes of sunshine each day when possible in order to obtain my D hormones.
I try to sleep seven hours each night starting before midnight when possible.
I aim to do at least forty-five minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day.
The summary above represents the base of my current anti-rheumatoid arthritis lifestyle and I’ve highlighted the most important components of it. It’s not an easy lifestyle to adopt but it is very simple, and based on current knowledge it’s by far the most health promoting and disease preventing lifestyle, not just in terms of rheumatoid arthritis but for all other chronic diseases.
To treat my rheumatoid arthritis I’m combining the above lifestyle with the identification and elimination of RA triggers. As I mentioned earlier it’s important to have a health promoting lifestyle as a base but for the treatment of RA it’s extremely important to remove inflammatory triggers.
For the majority of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers the most common inflammatory triggers are usually; dairy products, gluten-containing grains, nightshade vegetables, corn, trans-fats, saturated fat (especially animal fat), any highly processed so-called foods, cigarettes, alcohol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (speak with your medical practitioner before changing any medication), and citrus fruits. Regardless of specific triggers which vary from person to person, I believe in all cases of RA that dairy products should be removed from the diet immediately.
I’ve found that the best approach is to start with a very simple starch-based meal and eat that for a week and see if RA symptoms improve. The starch-based meal should be as simple as possible for example rice and broccoli with a little added sea salt, or buckwheat and Brussels sprouts with some added sea salt :-) as long as you obtain enough calories from the starch base and include some greens then this should form a safe starting point for the identification of food-based RA triggers. If symptoms calm down after eating this simple meal for about a week then individual new food items can be introduced one at a time for a period of two days each time, whilst monitoring symptoms. If you react badly to a particular food item, remove it again for a period of two days and then try a different food item. A highly nutritious and enjoyable diet can then be developed based on whole foods, diet which no longer triggers or aggravates RA symptoms.
I’m currently creating a number of recipes with photographs and videos which I will post here on this page to help fellow RA sufferers who want to trial my method of treating rheumatoid arthritis :-) in the meantime, I’ve provided quite a lot of information and tips in some of my more recent posts including explanations of why I think this approach offers the best chance of recovery.
My original (old) anti-rheumatoid arthritis diet can be found below, this is from 2009 but I prefer my new approach which I’ve described above (2018).
I Managed to Build a Safe Anti-Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet (2009)
As I explained in my ‘About Me‘ page; some time ago with some deduction and reasoning but mostly luck, I finally discovered some foods which were safe for me (at the time) :-)
So, here is the result of my initial twenty-eight years of study, research and experimentation. This worked for me, not just a bit, not just sometimes; it worked 100% as long as I stuck to the diet. However, it wasn’t easy and required stupid amounts of willpower. So if you are going to try this, then follow these instructions literally. If you’ve known the pain of arthritis, then you should be able to find the willpower to give it a go. You’ve nothing to lose (except maybe a few pounds in weight) and everything to gain :-) Also, keep an eye on my latest posts for more recent insights into RA and for my latest dietary changes.
Obviously, if you’re already on a very strict diet prescribed by your doctor, or if you suffer from another illness which a change in diet may adversely affect, then seek medical advice before making any changes. Then use common sense.
In my own experience, I would suggest trying this for one month if you can manage. If it’s going to work for you, you’ll know within this time. In fact, you should notice a difference within a day or so, but persevere anyway.
Foods and Other Substances Bad for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Illegal substances (I have to mention this, because many people use them and they will have an effect on the success of this solution).
- Junk food: burgers, fish and chips, curries, pizzas, fizzy drinks etc.
- Processed foods, ready meals, mixed foods, TV dinners, microwavable stuff etc.
- All fried food, all baked food, all grilled food. No cooked fat or oil whatsoever.
Stick to this diet and this diet only, nothing else literally, no tap water, no fruit drinks, no nibbles, no one off chocolates, no sips of your friend’s coffee, don’t even use toothpaste or gargle with mouthwash! You have to put only the following foods into your body and nothing else (apart from any essential prescribed drugs of course), ideally for a month.
If you’re taking pain killers or NSAIDS by your own choice, i.e. you decide when to take them to suit your pain levels, then try to reduce the quantity or frequency or remove them altogether after the first day, and see if you can manage without them.
Here Is the Diet That Removed the Symptoms of My Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Filtered water (use one of the many carbon filtering systems available).
- Organic tea (bags).
- Natural unrefined cane sugar.
- Soy milk (I initially used Sainsbury’s own brand, but subsequently switched to organic soy milk with D3).
- LoSalt, the actual brand name one, not an equivalent (later I switched to Himalayan Pink Salt).
- Black pepper – buy the peppercorns and grind your own, don’t use normal pepper powder.
- Extra Virgin, cold-pressed olive oil. Don’t use any other oil or fat, at all.
- Brussels sprouts.
- Tinned tuna fish in spring water (only spring water!).
- Tomato puree (the bottled stuff made from tomatoes and more tomatoes!)
OK, that’s it. Make your tea with the filtered water, soy milk and unrefined sugar. Clean (but don’t peel) the vegetables and steam them using the method described below. Mix the tuna fish with olive oil, tomato puree, a little LoSalt and some black pepper, then blend it together. Put the steamed veg on a plate, put a little LoSalt, pepper and olive oil on them, and then empty the fish paste onto the veg and enjoy! Eat bananas as a snack, maybe two or three each day if you like.
It was actually quite nice, but I must admit after 2400 servings or so, it began to lose its appeal :-)
Steaming the Veg
Use a typical steaming arrangement (one of the many tiered pan sets that are available) or just use my method. I used a medium sized pan with a few centimetres of filtered water in the bottom, then I placed a colander type pan over this which contained the veg. I put the lid on the top, set the flame to a fairly low setting and let the boiling water do its job. Usually it took about twenty minutes or so. Watch that it doesn’t boil dry ;-) I did this many times!
Making the Fish Paste
Use a small hand blender if you have one, there’s less washing up to do later. Open a medium tin of tuna fish (in spring water!) and drain off the water as much as you can, you just want the fish. Empty the fish into the blender cup. Add about an egg cup full of olive oil (or less if you prefer). Pour some tomato puree in straight from the bottle, about two or three egg cups full. Add a little LoSalt and black pepper.
Screw the twizzy thing onto the blender cup and shake it up (it helps with the blending process). Then blend it until it becomes a smooth paste.
I just want to stress that the above list of foods is all that should pass your lips! Nothing else at all if possible. This is a perfectly healthy diet by any standards and you must try to manage on it if you want to give this a proper chance.
I have since found other food items which are OK for me and I am continuing to experiment. I will post the results here on my blog and I would appreciate it if you could do likewise for the benefit of other readers (myself included). You are welcome to comment at the foot of this page or on any relevant post.
Good luck, try your best and I sincerely hope it works for you too :-)