What Fuel Fires Your Engine!?
Have you ever looked at food as fuel for your body to function? And have you ever considered what combination of foods would allow your body to function at it’s best? A rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis caused me to start looking at food as a way to help or hurt my management of the disease.
Here are my steps to finding what fuel best fires my engine:
Step ONE- Eliminate Preservatives, Limit Added Sugar and Salt
In general, an anti-inflammatory diet is what we are talking about. A diet that nourishes (fuels) our body (engine) for optimum performance. And there are a gazillion of them out there. Personally it was overwhelming, so I kept it simple by eliminating preservatives (the multi-syllable-chemical-sounding names), limiting added sugar and added salt.
Step TWO- Read Labels to Know What You Are Getting
When you are feeling your worst, which is often the time of figuring out what the problem with your health is and ultimately a diagnosis, is when you probably have the least amount of energy to be following lists and directives of what foods you should be eating. The food needs to be edible ( I am a foodie). Fatigue is a problem making it difficult to carry around a list with directions for the restrictive diet AND then have a recipe in mind to make the food edible and appealing. Hence, my simple list and directive- I read labels!
It was surprising how many foods I thought were healthy, then read the label to see how much added sugar, salt and preservatives were added to make them taste good and extend the shelf-life.
Step THREE- Eat Nutrient Rich (Dense) Foods
When I selected lean meats, a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds (nutrient rich or dense foods) and read labels to ditch items with added sugar, salt and preservatives, I started feeling better immediately. This encouraged me to stick with my simple plan. Then I started experimenting with new recipes to satisfy the desire for interesting, yummy food. I did say I am a foodie!
This whole process, and it is a process, trained me to listen to my body. This is important. We are all unique and need to give our bodies the good stuff. That means figuring out sensitivities, allergies, and what happens when we eat certain things to fuel our individual body the best. I am constantly assessing what I eat and how I feel. It now is a habit and I do it subconsciously.
As I started being aware of how I treat my body and how my joints feel, I realize my lifestyle is as important to managing my disease as my medication is, That is why I created my acronym *FRESH* so I could quickly identify what area of my lifestyle may be causing my joints to get angry when I feel sore.
The F is for FOOD, of course. What I eat, how I fuel my engine, has been a major factor to help keep my inflammation level down. I believe it is every bit as important as the biologic I take for my autoimmune disease.
So, what fuel fires your engine? I’d love to know!
And that is using Arthritis Wisdom!
Photo credit: Steve Harvey from Unsplash