Monday, September 17, 2012

Declaring War on Joint Pain ~ My 14 Day Battle Plan

For several years now, my Mom has suffered from the severe pain of Arthritis.  She has fought it hard, trying everything from taking supplements to removing certain foods from her diet, to incorporating others.  A couple of days ago we talked over the phone about a diet that might be especially helpful for her, and maybe for me as well (since Fibromyalgia has sypmptoms similar to arthritis.).  Because I love her very much, and want to help her in the fight (and because I think it might help my pain levels too) I've decided to join her on this little diet journey....
I have to admit, it's a pretty radical diet.  For two weeks you eliminate ALL grains and gluten from your diet, even those "sneaky" ones that might be hidden in products such as salad dressing or spaghetti sauce.  Then, after two weeks you slowly reintroduce one grain at a time into your diet and see how your body responds.  At the same time, we will increase our Omega - 3's and decrease/eliminate sugar.

I will be increasing my intake of anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon, olive oil, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, berries (especially cherries and blueberries), ginger, tumeric and green tea.
A considerable amount of my diet will consist of fresh or steamed veggies, fruit and lean meats.

The first food I thought about being tough to eliminate was beer.  What does that say about me??  Then, I was consoled when my husband reminded me that I could have wine.  Whew!!  And, to top it off, since I knew that my diet was beginning today I ate carbs and drank beer all weekend.  It was fun. But, I must confess that I felt a bit icky this morning when I woke up.

Sometimes I wonder if we just get used to feeling a particular way physically, that we don't realize that the way we feel is not well, and that we can feel so much better. I hope that these dietary changes will reveal just that.

Okay, so I'm thinking that I will share with you a little update each day of what I'm eating and how I'm feeling.  Today is day one.  I will update this post tonight before I head to bed!

DAY 1: The house was chilly when I woke up this morning, so being big on breakfast, I was looking forward to my usual oatmeal and coffee.  Then, I remembered - Oh, the diet!  I held on to the coffee and had a cup of Stonyfield Farms low-fat organic yogurt with cinnamon, blueberries and raw walnuts.  For lunch - roasted veggies with white beans and some grapes.  Supper - skirt steak with a big salad.  Mealtime wasn't difficult today, it was in-between meals that was a challenge.  I enjoy a handful of crackers for a snack, and had a few almonds instead (I'm not a big fan of almonds.) and some green tea.  Right now, I would love some chocolate.  My son George asked me if I would make my famous triple chocolate bunt cake for dessert tonight.  I calmly said NNNOOOOOO!!!! Take up your cross and join me in this battle, dear ones!!!

DAY 2: I hate to say it, but it was easy.  And, I even went out to eat on a rare lunch date.  That can only mean that tomorrow it's going to be hell.  This isn't going to be easy.  Maybe it's just the idea that's working some point, I know that gumption and fortitude are going to have to be exercised.  So, breakfast was a repeat of yesterday.  Lunch, salad with chicken (big surprise).  Thank heavens I can have meat or else I would pass out.  Supper? Popeye shake (will post that recipe later!) since I had to run the boys to football practice.  After I got home, I was hungry, and had leftover roasted veggies and a G-n-T.  Just keepin' it real here!

DAY 3: Remember what I said about gumption and fortitude?? Yep, today was that day.  I wanted toast for breakfast, not eggs, not yogurt.  Toast.  All day, I felt a little off...I knew that my body was doing a detox of sorts.  Rrrr.....mamma....needs....carbs.....I am a veggie lover, but nothing tasted good today.  The brain is at war with the bod, and I accept that.  I'm still on track, and that's a grace.  Tonight I'm going to stay up and arm myself with some rad recipes for the next couple of days.  Thank God I love to cook, or else I would croak.

DAY 4: A Few of you were kind enough to warn me of feeling a little sluggish or foggy for the first few days.  I was glad to know this, or else I might have considered giving up.  I think my body is going through a little de-tox.  At this point, I'm not longing for any wheat-based foods, and would be happy with anything gluten free.  I'm just very hungry for grains, but still eating mostly veggies and lean meats.

Day 5: I thought I was beginning to feel a little more energetic today, so took the opportunity to go running.  It was a difficult run, I felt tired and my body was crying out for carbs.  After that, I decided to allow myself at least one type of grain beginning on Monday. Eggs with sauteed veggies and parmesan was a great supper.  I missed my Friday night beer, but a glass of wine helped.

The Weekend: The boys' football schedule made eating well difficult on Saturday.  Ben went to a birthday party at Pizza Hut, so of course the salad bar was my only option, and there weren't a lot of great, filling choices on it.  I came home starving, and made all of us spaghetti for supper (I decided to go ahead and make a gluten-free pasta).  I wish I would have read the label, because the G.F. pasta contained both rice and corn. I was not ready to try corn yet, only rice.  Needless to say I was up in the night feeling sick.  Sunday was better, I went back to veggies and protein today and felt much better.

The Final 7 Days:  Instead of giving you a play-by-play of the remaining 7 days, I've decided to summarize them:
* The major benefits I've experienced thus far have been increased energy and better digestion, reduced gut discomfort, reduced joint and muscle pain and sharper mental focus.

* I know that I need/must have some grains in my diet, because I felt much better when I added in sweet potatoes and brown rice after one week. 

* I will probably never go back to gluten, maybe cheat here and there, but never go back.  It's just not worth the discomfort.  I did lose about five pounds, but my goal was never to lose weight.  I would probably lose more, if I had zero sugar in my diet, but those gluten-free brownies were calling my name!

Let me know what you think!! Have you tried a diet similar to this one before?? 
Was it successful?? What did you eat??


  1. Ah! My prayers are with you! I recommend trying this for a month because it took that long for my body to adjust. For the first week, I felt horrible because I was clearly a carb addict in a very literal sense. This diet has really changed my life. I started in April and have not looked back. I feel like I'm living in a different body. I've written a little about my journey before (search "diet" on my blog) but I should probably update soon. I just have to say that I love eating now. No guilt. No pain. I am active so I stay at my ideal weight without much effort. Hang in there... if you're a carb addict like I was, the first week is crazy tough. :) All for Jesus!

    1. Thank you for your prayers - I agree - all for Jesus! I will check out your blog pages today for a little encouragement!

  2. This is fabulous, Susan! I did this elimination diet years ago and once I found what I was sensitive to, as long as I stick to it of course ha ha, I feel much better. I eat tons of veggies but usually roast them, and eat a lot of chicken or salmon curry with coconut milk...yum. Also roasted yams and sweet potatoes saved me and now, thankfully, I can also do brown rice! What about dairy? It's often a major culprit. Have you ever looked into MSM and Glucosamine for your mom (and you actually)? Also for your omega 3's if you're supplementing I highly recommend Sounds gross but their fermented cod liver oil/butter oil has had pretty amazing results for years. Anyway, with this diet you're gonna feel great...just plow through the hard part at the beginning! :) Love to you ~ Erin F.

  3. Thanks for the tips Erin! Yes, we both take MSM and Glucosamine. I love curry, so if you have a good recipe, please share! Oh, yes, the dairy. I've been off of dairy for a while, but I'm eating plain organic yogurt for breakfast now, so we'll see how that goes. I appreciate all of your advice!!

  4. Oh awesome, just saw this. Have you found that the MSM and Glucosamine work but just not enough? So curious what works for people b/c I've never been on Gluc. and have tried MSM in different pain sprays and supplements but am about to go on it at a higher dose. Anyway, just wanted to say with the curry I literally just go sans recipe lol. Whatever's in the fridge plus coconut milk and curry powder! I'll message you one of my favorites lately. Snacking is the worst isn't it!? I'm used to it now and also can have some grains so it's easier with rice crackers etc. but celery and peanut butter and HUMMUS is my go to constantly. I'm not sure I could live w/o it! I also basically just eat little meals throughout the day so I feel like I'm constantly "snacking" like leftover roast yam cubes with garlic and parsley etc. Oh gosh are you having yams? If so you can make chips, french fries etc. Also get some good lettuce that you can use in place of tortillas as wraps with tuna, turkey, etc! That helped with my craving to pick something up with my hands like a sandwich. Oh and spaghetti made from zucchini has been my favorite lately! I'll send you that too. You seriously feel like you're eating pasta. Keep at it! :) I'll send you things as I remember them to keep your creativity flowing! ~ Erin

  5. The MSM might be working, I don't know, I just take it because it makes my hair full (oh, vanity!). I'm a bit spasmatic with supplements, and Glucos. is one of them. Can't give you a testimony either way. Yes, snacking is a killer, probably because I work out regularly. I'll eat fruit and almonds, but MAN it is NOT the same as some good carbs. Probably a brain thing. Totally love yams. You should try them with garlic, onion, chili powder and cayenne pepper. So good hot and cold esp. on salads. Thanks for all of your great interest and feedback. I appreciate you so very much!!

  6. Hey Susan - my sister has severe fibromalagia any my two daughters suffer from chronic juvenile arthritis affecting many of their joints. Belle (8) is thankfully in remission. Evie (3) is on some pretty serious biologic drugs and methotrexate just to stay pain free. I noticed this last December that I was getting swelling in my knees - it was hard to walk. I decided to cut gluten from my diet - starting with wheat. I have a severe wheat dust allergy (my face basically swells and I can't breathe) so I thought it should follow that it probably wasn't super great to me to eat either. Since giving up most gluten's and wheat completely - the pain in my knees has completely gone. If I eat wheat, it comes back. I have more asthma when I eat wheat. More IBS and all that entails. All these things pretty much disappear when I eliminate wheat from my diet. I still eat rice (brown) and oats as these personally aren't a trigger for me. I do miss a beer now and again and if I really want one I will have ONE but I know I can expect to feel bloated and IBS(y) all the next day. So GOOD LUCK on your endeavour - I look forward to seeing how you get on. Stick through it during the temptations and you will find a new way of eating that makes you feel so much better you won't miss those crackers. PS I LOVE home made sweet potato chips - a great snack and zero gluten. Not to mention wine, cheese, etc. And you can get gluten-free low sugar dark chocolate that is very high in cocoa content which is so good for you. There is also an amazing vegan chocolate tart recipe that is made from avacado and nuts and cocoa. I will try and find it and post it up for you! :) x Susan Bell Flavin

    1. I would LOVE the recipe! Would you consider doing a guest post at the end of the 14 days where I could feature your recipe?? Let me know what you think!! Hope you're feeling well today :).

  7. I am delighted to have found this blog.
    I have a ton of kids and have been working with one in particular (African American female, age 9) and I noticed her belly just kept getting bigger, even while eating low fat and following the food pyramid. I also noticed that I craved food all of the time and had to white-knuckle it on most days so I wouldn't eat every box of crap in the pantry.
    So...I began looking on Amazon and downloaded several books on low fat eating and weight gain. I was astounded by the info I read in WHEAT BELLY. That very day (July 22) I went wheat free. My daughter has also decided to cut out a lot of the wheat and carbs. She has lost most of her belly. I have lost six pounds easily. The cravings (after three days of yuck) have totally gone away.
    For breakfast I eat eggs on most days. She hates eggs so opts for carbs in the form of Kashi cereal and almond milk (no carbs).
    Lunch: She usually eats a low carb tortilla wrap, veggies and dip, cheese stick and whole, raw almonds. I eat mashed cauliflower and chicken or salad and chicken with hard boiled egg, etc.
    Supper: I used to make fresh bread. Now I just have a protein source, either fish, chicken or beef and then I have about six vegetable options on the table. Zuchinni lightly sauteed, green beans, a veggie tray with at least four options, spinach salad. The children MUST eat three full servings of veggies or they vacuum the house.
    I love deep red wine and will enjoy a glass or two once or twice a week.
    I work in the health and wellness industry and half of American males will have cancer in their lifetime, 1/3 of females will deal with it. I also know, from research, that if we can eat at least 51% of our food from plants then we won't get cancer because the body will be in an alkaline state; cancer cells can't grow in an alkaline body (says Dr. Gersen).
    I still buy commercial cereal but after reading your blog may try to fade out of that. Thanks for your insight and great recipe on roasted veggies!


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