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Eat This… Don’t Eat That!

As some of you know, I’m an F-O-O-D-I-E!!! I love all types of food. I’m accustomed to eating what I want, when I want it! My faves- buttery soft, mouth melting buttermilk red cupcake(s) topped with a dollop of cream cheese, a smooth rich, and dense NY Style Cheesecake topped with fresh berries, and extra crispy, golden brown SOUTHERN(deep)fried chicken (with all the fixings on the side). yes, I love food- #dontJudgeMe! Since being diagnosed with Lupus, I’ve been told to eat this.. don’t eat that.. Then of course everyone under the sun want to suggest what I should and should not eat. Overwhelming is an understatement- and I’m HUNGRY!

I dont enjoy my food or feel satisfied after I eat. I’m always worried that I ate the wrong thing, did the hubby put something in the food I wasn’t suppose to have[he cooks a lot of our meals during the week], what if I get sick, what if I get a flare up? With all of that swirling around my head, I can’t eat or enjoy my food.

I took to the Internet to see what other Lupies are eating- BIG MISTAKE! I’m more confused than ever. My doctor is suggesting that I do a gluten free eating plan. Others have suggested I do a vegetarian eating plan (the two conflicts with each other). I’m making an appointment with a nutritionist and hopefully will have a clear understanding what I should and should NOT be eating.

In the mean time, some of the common foods I’ve discovered that I Should Not Eat are:

Alfalfa seeds and sprouts should be avoided because they contain an amino acid called L-canavanine. This amino acid can aggravate the symptoms of lupus.

Animal meats, dairy, eggs, nori seaweed, and peanuts contain arachidonic acid. When used excessively, arachidonic acid can actually be destructive to the body.

Beans and mushrooms contain amines and hydrazines, which increase lupus symptoms.

Oils like corn, poppy seed, safflower, and sunflower, cured meats and hotdogs actually encourage lupus episodes because they contain components that have been proven to trigger lupus symptoms.

Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes, called nightshade vegetables, should be avoided because they contain solanine, an agent that triggers inflammation and pain common to lupus sufferers.

Sulfur-containing veggies such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. These may be difficult for many lupus sufferers to digest without upset.

Fats. It’s suggested fat reduction can produce up to a 25% improvement in the aches and pains of a lupus patient.

Herbs like andrographis, echinacea, eleutherococcus, garlic, ginseng, and Panax should be taken with caution since they are known to increase autoimmunity.

Iron should come from food, not dietary supplements because it could promote joint destruction, pain, and swelling.

To Summarize-Don’t Eat This!

  • Caffeine, dairy, foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol
  • Red meats and high fat meats like organ meats, and dark meats.
  • Alcoholic beverages, salty foods, sugar sweetened beverages, candy, snacks, sweets, and alfalfa sprouts.

You should Eat THIS!

Foods high in iron. Eating leafy green vegetables, fish, and lean meat like liver can help offset your risk of anemia. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with iron.

Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring, contain natural anti-inflammatory substances and may help reduce swelling and inflammation associated with systemic lupus. Your lupus diet should include plenty of fish.

Antioxidants. Many fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which are natural healers. Berries, apricots, and sweet potatoes are especially good sources.

Vitamins. Vitamin E, zinc, vitamin A, and the B vitamins are all beneficial in a lupus diet. Vitamin C can increase your ability to absorb iron and is a good source of antioxidants.

To summarize-Do the following!

  • Include: chicken breast, lean beef, wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, tuna (canned light), crab, oysters, tilapia, cod, pacific oysters into your diet
  • Remove skin from poultry because that is where the most saturated fat is located
  • Look for lean meats around 99%
  • Broil and grill vs. pan fried with oil, deep fried, and breading.
  • It is important to incorporate fish into your diet around 3-4 times a week
  • Practice portion control – meat should not take up ½ of your plate, it should be more like ¼
  • Beneficial fish oils to consider include: evening primrose oil and flaxseed.
  • When you are thirsty, replace soda and tea with water

The Lupie Chick is H-U-N-G-R-Y! If any of you have any advice or any recipes please share.

Disclaimer: The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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Depression and Guilt

I was contacted on Twitter by a follower that told me she was thinking about me. Initially I thought- she had run across one of my tweets on her timeline about these migraines. She then went on to tell me about a young lady that lives in her county, 19 years old, has a 4 month old baby, recently diagnosed with Lupus and defective heart. As you know with Twitter you can only type 140 characters, so her message came over to me in 3 tweets. I told her to please give the young lady a hug for me (sometimes all I want is a hug- no words.. just a tight hug) and let her know that she isn’t alone- then 5 seconds later the 3rd part of her tweet came-the young lady-19 years old, lost her battle with Lupus- she died over the weekend. I literally burst into tears right then and there. Although I consistently tell myself that Lupus isn’t a death sentence- for some – it is. From the time of her diagnosis she was extremely sick, and the disease just took over.

According to my Twitter friend, her entire community is heartbroken over this- and I am also heartbroken. In one tweet I realize that I could have been the women she speaks of. I could be the women whose community is heartbroken over my death, instead of my children not remembering me- it would be my 6 month old grandson that wouldn’t remember me. I cried for 2 hours. I didn’t know the young lady however I was sad and I was feeling guilty. I didn’t understand the guilt part- WHY WOULD I FEEL GUILTY??? Is this a whole nother set of emotions I have to work through?

I realize that dealing with Lupus and the symptoms affect my emotional health and my family. I’ve begun to notice that my mini me ( daughter) is always checking on me ( more than usual), she is always saying “ mom are you ok”. She text me a lot and when we are home alone she lays beside me in the bed, as if she is watching over me. She even said to me the other day “why are you doing that- you know you’re going to make your head hurt”. All I could think about was the young lady’s child who is only 4 months old most likely won’t remember her, why did the disease have to attack her and take her away from her child, her family, and her friends? Why was she chosen as oppose to me or someone else? WHY? WHY? WHY?

I started surfing the web for help- I was an emotional wreck, and I needed some clarity. I ran across this statement: You may feel agitated or angry, and find it difficult to concentrate, relax or sleep. You may also feel guilty, as you realize your family is now going to have to take up the chores you normally do. This stage of emotional distress then gives way to bouts of depression, sadness, silence and withdrawal from family and friends. During this time, you may be prone to sudden outbursts of tears, set off by reminders of your inability to perform simple tasks, and memories of your old lifestyle. Over time, the pain, sadness and depression start to lessen. You begin to see your life in a more positive light again. The final phase of grieving is to let go of the thoughts of being able to return completely to your old lifestyle and move on with your new life. This helps any lingering depression to clear, and your sleeping patterns and energy levels improve.

Reading that made me understands that what I’m feeling is normal and it’s a process. I have to take one day at a time, work through the grief, pain, and the guilt. I will honor her (the lady that lost her battle) by NOT giving into depression, and not giving up on life.

“You never lose peace once you find it. Peace sometimes lies hidden beneath a veil of unkind thoughts, confusion, or pain. Shake loose the discontent from the veil and peace is readily accessible.” ~ Rion ~ *my new favorite quote*

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