Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is easier with the right arthritis diet and recipes – ones that don’t make your joint or bone pain worse. Rheumatoid arthritis can be incredibly painful on a daily basis, which makes the kitchen far from appealing.
Melinda Winner of Gulfport, Mississippi has lived with RA for 30 years, and knows how important it is to eat the right foods. She blogs and writes about arthritis diets and recipes, to help others live in harmony with RA or other forms of arthritis.
Here’s what she says about being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis:
“Never give up! You can still have a normal life if you have rheumatoid arthritis – it’s simply a new normal. It is possible to follow your dreams even if you have rheumatoid arthritis, if you believe. You will have good days and bad days when you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis – and it’s ok to rest when you are having a bad day.”
Melinda wrote A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking With Arthritis, to inspire and encourage people to cook even if they’re in pain because of arthritis.
Here’s a glimpse into her life with rheumatoid arthritis, and her tips for arthritis sufferers.
Living With RA – Why Melinda Writes About Arthritis Diets and Recipes
I was born with a birth injury to my right arm, and left with limited use. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a young adult (in my early 20s), then osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, degenertive disk disease and RSDA – all within a 10 year period.
My rheumatoid arthritis is severe and active. I learned to deal with the pain through exercise, and some pain medication, but mostly attitude . After many years of weight gain and operations – and horrible pain – I realized my life was passing me by.
I was going to be in pain whether I laid around or lived my life, so I chose to live. I have pain levels of 7 and 8 daily, and a flare is well over a 10, but that just happens a few times a year. The more I keep busy and use my mind, the better I feel. I do once in a while overdo it, though.
When you live with rheumatoid arthritis, you need to find your personal balance.
Why Arthritis Diets and Recipes Are Important for People Living With RA
What would I have done differently, when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? I wish I would have taken my biologic medications. If I had, I wouldn’t have the deformities I do.
I also wish I would have exercised and ate correctly when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I gained over 100 pounds, and then had to lose it (which is why cooking with the right arthritis diets and recipes is so important!). That takes its toll on the body. I also wish I would have learned about my rheumatoid arthritis and accepted it.
Living with rheumatoid arthritis is so much better now that I understand the old adage “move it or lose it” – because it’s so true.
Why RA Sufferers Need to Exercise
Here’s a blurb about rheumatoid arthritis from the University of Maryland Medical Center:
Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to chronic, debilitating inflammation of the joints and other parts of the body. The hallmark symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is morning stiffness that lasts for at least an hour. (Stiffness from osteoarthritis, for instance, usually clears up within half an hour.) Even after remaining motionless for a few moments, the body can stiffen. Movement becomes easier again after loosening up.
Although rheumatoid arthritis almost always develops in the wrists and knuckles, the knees and joints of the ball of the foot are often affected as well. Indeed, many joints may be involved, including those in the cervical spine, shoulders, elbows, tips, temporomandibular joint (jaw), and even joints between very small bones in the inner ear. Rheumatoid arthritis does not usually show up in the fingertips, where osteoarthritis is common, but joints at the base of the fingers are often painful.
If you can keep your body loose and fluid, your rheumatoid arthritis may not be as painful. That’s why “use it or lose it” is so important.
Tips for Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
To friends and family living with a loved one with rheumatoid arthritis, Melinda says: be caring, understanding and realize the person you love may have a disease and need your help from time to time but they still need to be independent. Don’t do every little thing for them. Be there if they need you, but don’t act like they can not do anything for themselves.
I live in harmony with rheumatoid arthritis, and even sometimes feel blessed to have it. Sounds strange but I have help so many people with this disease and saved my grandbaby from losing her leg, so to me that alone was worth all the pain I live with.
What surprises people about living with rheumatoid arthritis is that I don’t look sick, unless you see my hands or toes or x-rays. I look like an attractive 50 year old woman.
If you’re living with RA, read Rheumatoid Arthritis – How 19 Year Old Justine Copes With Joint Pain.
Why Melinda Writes About Arthritis Diets and Recipes
I’ve had a passion for cooking since childhood. I have five forms of arthritis, and know that the right diet and recipes have a direct effect on my health.
It can be difficult and even exhausting to cook when you’re in chronic pain with a disease like rheumatoid arthritis. Yet, you need to eat healthy, nutritious, fresh foods to stay healthy and strong.
Melinda’s book, A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking With Arthritis contains arthritis diets and recipes to help physically challenged people eat and cook, pain-free.
To learn more about Melinda, or ask questions about arthritis diets and recipes, visit her website Cooking With Arthritis.
If you have any questions or thoughts on living with rheumatoid arthritis, please comment below.