I’m turning 46 in a couple of weeks. I’ll be less than a handful of years away from a half-century old. Maybe I should say a half-century YOUNG. I certainly don’t think of myself as old. But living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) makes me feel older than I should. So, I made a commitment to myself last year: I will look my absolute best by the age of 50. I pushed the date out because I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself or feel like a failure by giving a shorter timeline. To jump start my journey, I’ve been phasing out meat and trying to eat more whole foods on my way to being a vegetarian.
Over the past month, I’ve been keeping a “flare-up” journal – a record of the foods, etc. that cause me inflammation. I was already aware that beef/pork was an issue. For years, I have known that perfectly grilled steak or that beautiful slice of crispy bacon was going to cause me misery, yet I ate it anyway. The next day, I was swollen and in a tremendous amount of pain. I finally had to ask myself the question “is it worth it?”
In my journal keeping, I’ve found there are a lot of foods that are causing me misery, most of them animal fats (butter, sour cream, etc). Fried food and anything processed is pretty much out, too. Chicken breast was my go-to meat, but going without it too has made me feel noticeably better.
I’ve had a mostly vegetarian diet for the past two weeks and I can already tell a difference. When I eat something that’s questionable, I can tell immediately in my joints. My energy level is up – which is a BIG deal if you’ve ever know anyone with RA. I just feel better.
I know that this journey is going to be a positive one and is going to change my life. When you get to be a certain age you start to value things differently. Your health becomes of the utmost importance, because without you, you have no quality of life. I value quality of life – and in turn, I might get more quantity by making myself healthier overall.
I view this as me taking control of my health. Of course for now, I’m still on my $4,000/month biologic injection for my disease. And, I’ll still have to take an anti-inflammatory when I have a flare up. But, if I can reduce the number of flare ups caused by my intake, I can reduce the amount of meds I’ll need to help ease those flares. My ultimate goal is total remission. I had a short remission once. I’d love to induce a much longer one. I have full faith in my body, my mind and my choices to make it happen.
If you’ve been thinking of making dietary changes, no better time than the present. I guarantee you’ll feel better overall with more of a plant-based diet. Eat whole foods – the way nature intended. These manufacturers have us putting who knows what in our bodies on a daily basis. You don’t have to read an ingredients label when you’re looking at a zucchini.
I’ve already lost 5 ½ lbs! At this rate, I’ll be able to get into some of those jeans I’ve been hanging onto in my closet by Christmas! Make the change. You won’t regret it!