I have arthritis and as I age, I find more and more areas it is affecting. I know that it is going to happen regardless of what I do, that repetitive actions (spinning, knitting, gardening) help it along, but I’m not going to stop doing those things. I also know that injuries can contribute, but I can’t go back and undo the 39 year old shoulder separation, nor the 17 year old wrist break, the torture my knees took when I though running was the only exercise. So I decided instead to clean house. Not just the log home in which we live, already cleaned that this week, but my internal house.
I am not one to go flying off to try this cleanse, that herbal “cure,” or some magic elixir. Generally, I eat well, local when possible, homegrown is best. This is why I garden and raise chickens. I know what goes into my soil, I know what my chickens eat and how they are housed. I buy local pasture raised beef and pork when I eat that, but we are bad about eating lunch out, and I am bad about buying bread and pasta from the Farmers Market that is not whole grain, though I don’t eat a lot of either of them.
I have been particularly bad the past couple of weeks with lots of white potatoes, a few dark chocolate candy bars that were in my stocking, cream cheese and hot pepper jelly (it has been delicious Whit) on crackers that are not whole grain, the white flour buns at fast food, hot cocoa with Chambord and whipped cream at night. I haven’t gained any weight but I have gained enough inflammation to have joints that hurt, a couple that are swelling and it is time to clean up my house.
A bit of Dr. Google and I see that refined grains, sugar, alcohol, dairy, processed meat, grain fed meat are all major contributors. I knew that, I didn’t really have to look it up, but sometimes doing so is the kick in the right direction. I can eat a salad or soup instead of a sandwich, I can give up the cream cheese and hot pepper jelly (I enjoyed it for a week), I can stop with the hot cocoa and reduce the amount of white potatoes and pasta that I eat, but breakfast becomes a problem. The half a bagel or English muffin have to go. As I am genetically predisposed to high cholesterol and can’t/won’t take statins because of the way they make me feel and the current research, eating eggs each morning is out, even if my girls are free range and eat a healthy varied diet. I’m not a fan of smoothies that don’t have yogurt and reducing dairy plus no local fruit in season, make that not a good option. My other breakfast choice is long cook oatmeal. With walnuts and flax seed, that is a good option, but it is boring every day. When berries are in season, that is a boost to the anti-inflammatory foods and an improvement on the oatmeal, but not in the middle of winter unless I want berries that have traveled father than I ever will and cost a premium. We never went berry picking this past summer as I wasn’t making jam this year, so there isn’t a stockpile in the freezer.
I do know that some foods must go or certainly be seriously moderated. Some foods that I love need to become a part of my daily diet and hopefully, this winter won’t be too uncomfortable as the cold and damp become the norm for the next few months. I see curry, ginger, cinnamon in my future. Plenty of dark greens and veggies, fewer starches, less cheese (especially the softer ones), a break from the sugar monster, more dishes with my homegrown canned and frozen tomatoes. A cleaner house.