A woman wearing glasses presenting the viewer and empty plate.

My Food Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis: What's on My Plate?

I asked myself years ago, “Can what I eat really make a difference in relieving some of my RA symptoms?” The answer was yes. If I am being 100 percent honest, I have struggled since I can remember with knowing what to eat. There is much controversy when it comes to nutrition and RA.

There are a lot of diets out there geared towards individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. I have tried them and, for me, I did not see this miraculous cure for my RA. However, it was through those trials of the different foods and methods that I am learning what works for me.

Nutrition to help manage my RA symptoms

I have learned to use nutrition as one of my many tools in my toolbox to help alleviate my RA symptoms. My food journey will be a series of articles based off of what I have learned along the way. This article will focus on What My Healthy Plate looks like.

This is my personal experience

Again, my results will not be your results. My point here is that individuals with RA’s bodies and body chemistries are all different. So, for me, “How could I expect one diet to be the right one?” Food just like medicine is an art form. It is not one size fits all. My diet strongly reflects items that I have found to not trigger an inflammatory response in my body.

5 foods that I keep on my plate for my RA

My goal on my food journey has been to make eating fun again in my life. Instead of a chore. Eating is supposed to fuel you and make you feel good. I have to disclose: I try my best with my nutritional intake. Some days don’t always go as planned and I eat something I hadn’t planned to. I do not beat myself up anymore. I do not follow a diet. I instead follow a healthy living plan. Even the best laid out plans get disrupted. Below are some of the foods that are on my plate daily.

Non-processed foods

Basically, this refers to any food that’s nutritional makeup has not been changed. These foods would not contain preservatives, additives, hormones.

Organic, grass-fed, hormone-free, lean meats

These meats are free of any added artificial ingredients, additives, preservatives, and hormones. By eliminating these ingredients, my body does not process the additives as a foreign invader to my body. I help to prevent a systemic inflammatory response in my body.

Dairy-free alternatives

My body doesn’t process an ingredient called casein well. Casein is a milk protein. When I eat dairy, my body has a systemic inflammatory response which is difficult for me because I love cheese. On those days that don’t go as planned, cheese is the culprit! You will see coconut milk derived options on my plate.

Fruits and veggies

I eat mostly organic fruits and veggies except for nightshades. On my plate, you will see apples, oranges, lemons, melon, blueberries, cherries, kiwi, watermelon, peas, beans, kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, garlic, turnips, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

Food that does not contain gluten

I find that my body is sensitive to gluten. In some individuals when they use gluten, they experience inflammation. Gluten is a complex of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye.

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