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With RA and living a full life

I’m a 64-year-old that was diagnosed with RA 3 years ago but I probably had it for a long time before that. Deformed fingers, not being able to move joints during flare ups, sometimes I could not get out of bed.

My rheumatologist recommended pills (I have to be careful, I only have one kidney, having lost the other one to cancer) but I decided to try alternative ways.

What did I do? I found out that there are foods that cause inflammation and I cut them out of my diet. Since I stopped eating dairy products (no milk, no cheese), red meat, bread and all the other grains, no rice (that was a tough one for a Hispanic), no tortillas. I found out that biggest cause of pain was sugar, so no more sugar. I now live without pain.

Sometimes I walk and I feel like I’m floating. I can go up stairs two at a time. I sleep well every night. I get up in the morning and have no pain. The change has been miraculous. I also walk 3-4 days a week and watch my weight. Last year I went to Africa with my daughter for 21 days. Flew 2 very long flights (one 12 hours and the other 11 hours), sitting for hours and no pain. We went on 14 game drives in South Africa and Botswana, no pain. We walked many miles at Victoria Falls, no pain. And all without expensive medication.

But I have to be careful, not long ago my wife and I went out and we had ice cream, oh the pain afterwards! Within 15 minutes my right shoulder was hurting like crazy (it used to be my most damaged joint). I also had pain in my fingers and could not even open a bottle. The pleasure of the ice cream was not worth it.

I’m not a doctor. The only proof that I have is my personal experience. But I tell you what… it has worked for me. It takes will power but the alternative is to live in pain and I don’t want that anymore.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • bc55
    2 years ago

    So what DO you eat? My problem is that I’m losing a bunch of weight, and am making milkshakes with Boost and Carnation Instant Breakfast to hopefully put some weight back on. I don’t have hardly any appetite either. Would love some concrete suggestions. Thank you.

  • Cmontelep
    2 years ago

    That’s amazing that diet has really made a difference in your life! I was diagnosed with JRA at 12 months and have finally developed a vitamin regimen and strict diet that has made all the difference in the world. Just like you, I’ve cut out all dairy, red meat, white flour, sugar, and trans fats. I’ve also included turmeric and ginger into my diet, as well as tons of fruits, vegetables, tons of leafy greens, and overall fiberous foods. Sure enough, it works like a charm. When any inflammation occurs, if I stick to that strict diet, it’s amazing that I can physically see results the very next day. Good for you for remaining so disciplined in taking care of yourself. It certainly pays off!!

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story jet1011. It sounds like you are doing what you can to live the life you want to live. My wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), has had RA since she was a small child (diagnosed at 2) and the disease has done its share of damage. However, she has things she wants to do and does what she can to live a fulfilling life. Like you, she loves to travel and experience things and places. She gets me to do things I probably wouldn’t otherwise. In this article she writes about assessing wellness:

    She has a great relationship with her rheumatologist and she notes how “My rheumatologist begins our visit with the same question every time: “Kelly, how are you?” He doesn’t look at bloodwork first or the computer screen. He looks into my eyes, examining my face. He is trying to assess how I am feeling.”

    Sometimes whatever is allowing you to live the life you want is the best treatment. wishing you the best and keep us posted on how you are doing. Richard ( Team)

  • Eebtool
    2 years ago

    This is SO AWESOME for you!!
    I am ‘TRYING’ to go over to that same type of diet. So far the score is –
    New diet = 4
    Old diet = 854,658,337,218,035 1/2
    I type this while eating a 2 oz bag of cheddar jalapeno Cheetos.
    Can you say FAIL!
    But seriously, I am glad for you. RA is hard to handle, and doing a lifestyle change of what is a complete diet makeover is also hard. Keep up the good work.

  • Carla Kienast
    2 years ago

    This is a great story to be included with this month’s theme of how diet/foods can affect your RA. It’s wonderful that you’ve found such relief.

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