How Diet and Gluten Impact Health Conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis
By Marge Pickering-Picone
My studies of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) have led me to determine not only what was at the base of my dad’s health problems, but now my own difficulties. I started comparing my diet of today with the diet my father and mother provided when I was growing up.
My father had other symptoms of RA long before he suffered the inability to walk or bend. Unfortunately, these symptoms went unacknowledged by everyone, including his doctors. What I found surprising is that these professionals never took into account our family history- his mother (my grandmother) was in a wheel chair at a young age due to rheumatoid arthritis! I always remember dad scratching his legs, but it was said to be blamed on his nerves from serving in World War II. This was considered a PTSD type of response. He also suffered from a cough that would come out of nowhere. It was persistent and was not from an illness or due to asthma. Instead his incessant coughing was blamed on years of smoking.
The most visible problems caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis are swollen, inflamed joints. Those diagnosed with RA will tell you that joint pain and stiffness are their worst symptoms, because it decreases their mobility. I grew up watching my father get struck with this affliction. I would be getting ready for school and see him at the breakfast table with his head down on his hands. To this day I believe he must have been trying to drum up enough energy to get ready for work.
Our family ate many meals that contained “gluten”. Gluten, which means “glue” in Latin, is found in wheat, barley and rye. That is why we say no starch or sugar diets. We ate cereals for breakfast with regular milk. Lunch was PB&J or lunchmeat on white bread. Dinner always consisted of potatoes, noodles or pasta and included a sugar based desert. My dad actually had a glass of milk and cookies every night before he went to bed. Ice cream sundaes were our snacks many nights.
Based upon what I know today, this was definitely not what my father or any of us should have been eating. Foods that contain gluten can cause inflammation for some people, especially those with a RA (rheumatoid arthritis) factor in their blood. Most do not have to see blood test results as the symptoms of: stiffness, sleep issues, upper respiratory trouble, skin problems and inflamed joints are a big hint.
Time to Change the Diet
When I started in this field of nutrition, I was stunned by how many foods my family consumed that irritated and advanced health issues such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. During some of my research, I was introduced to “blood type” eating. Each of the major blood types: O, A, B, and AB all have different enzyme function with capabilities for digesting certain types of food better than others. Loving the world of investigation, I gave eating as an “O” blood type 30 days to see if it would help. After 30 years, I still try to eat this way. I also promote clients to at least eat in this direction. I cut out the glutens and the cow’s dairy products as much as possible.
Being an “O” blood type, I will confess that I do love to eat starches and sugars, but they do not like me in return. They cause stomach issues, gas, bloat, allergies, skin problems, breathing difficulties, stiff/achy joints and weight gain to name a few. Wheat especially makes me feel lethargic and tired. They also cause allergy and breathing difficulties that seem like “asthma” or “COPD” when I consume them. Additionally, I feel like I need to eat again sooner when I include any starchy carbohydrates like bread or pasta in my meal. What I have learned is that I feel the best when I eat according to my “O” Blood type, especially as it helps keep my rheumatoid arthritis in remission.
Changing your diet when you are so used to eating the same things all the time can be challenging. If you try to go “cold turkey” and don’t replace the nutrient values your body is looking for, it will cause sugar lows, shakes, nausea, fatigue and flu like symptoms known as detoxing.
How do you know that you have deficiencies? Deficiencies of nutrients can be expressed by symptomatic problems such as: RA issues, migraine headaches, allergies, weight gain or any other negative body ailments. Most inflammatory ailments start in the digestive system, which ultimately started with the foods you put into your mouth.
One of the easiest ways to start taking control of your diet is to eat foods that are “Right for Your Type.” Most people find they can easily comply with this type of eating. There are self-test kits that cost under $15.00 that you can use to determine your blood type. From there, there are low cost booklets for each blood type that lists the foods that are highly beneficial, neutral or ones to avoid entirely.
Nothing is a perfect antidote, and some foods could still bother you, but in general it is a good place to begin your health journey. Over the years, I have utilized this way of eating as it simplifies foods and gives you enough changes to continue eating in this way.
Blood typing kit: http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/blood-typing-kit/
Blood Type A Diet Guide: http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/blood-type-a-book-by-dr-dadamo/
Blood Type B Diet Guide: http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/blood-type-b-book-by-dr-dadamo/
Blood Type AB Diet Guide: http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/blood-type-ab-by-dr-dadamo/
Blood Type O Diet Guide: http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/blood-type-o/
Bio: Marge Pickering-Picone has been working to educate thousands of clients over the last 30 years to help them understand and simplify ways to change their diets and utilize supplements to keep them from their fear of long term use of medications and disabilities. Understanding different approaches and uses of supplements has helped many clients to improve their own ailments and issues due to stress, poor nutrition, traumas and chronic conditions.