By Mary-Ann Shearer
Rheumatoid Arthritis and inflammatory conditions
Basically, from a Natural Health perspective (which now also seems to be the general consensus among many dietary researchers), all degenerative disease is as a result of incorrect lifestyle and diet. And most disease relates to endocrine (hormonal) function. This is definitely the case with these conditions. Arthritis is defined as any one of more than 100 inflammatory joint disorders, characterised by pain, swelling, and limited movement. According to current research, more than 31 million people of all ages suffer from some degree of the disease JUST IN THE USA! The three most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout, with fibromyalgia becoming more and more common.
It is a painful swelling of the joints, together with destruction of tissues around them. In children it is often referred to as Stills Disease. Eventually the joints can become calcified and fused resulting in severe restriction of movement.
Allopathic treatment: physiotherapy, Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication, injections of gold salts, and the use of corticosteroid and chemotherapy drugs.
It is also called degenerative joint disease, and occurs when a joint wears out. Most common areas are the knees, the hips, and the spine. Pain is usually associated with all types of arthritis.
Allopathic treatment: anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers. Aspirin is also often used.
This is a state of disease in which the body cannot rid itself of all the uric acid it produces. The uric acid builds up in the joints as well as in the soft tissues. This can cause extreme pain.
Allopathic treatment: usually some type of anti-inflammatory medication and painkiller.
Fibromyalgia was also previously known as fibrositis or fibromyositis, but as inflammation is not always present, it is now known as Fibromyalgia.
This condition is a type of muscular arthritis, which can be quite painful. Basically, there is pain originating in the fibrous connective tissue components of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other so-called white connective tissues. Various combinations of these conditions may occur together and is often termed muscular rheumatism. According to the Merck manual:
“… the conditions may be induced or intensified by physical or mental stress, poor sleep, trauma, exposure to dampness or cold, … sometimes toxaemia … Fibromyalgia is particularly likely to occur in healthy young women who tend to be tense, depressed, anxious, and striving, but may also occur in children and older adults,”
Symptoms of this condition are usually a feeling of muscular stiffness and soreness that is generally quite uncomfortable, many people complain of aching all over and not wanting to be touched.
Allopathic treatment for most inflammatory conditions is usually with anti-inflammatory medicine and or cortisone based drugs. The drugs are dangerous and have many side effects.
It is not clear what causes arthritis, but what we do know is that the more refined carbohydrates, tea, coffee, protein, and heated fats you have in the diet, the more chance you have of developing the disease. The Hunzas do not suffer from any of these diseases or any other degenerative diseases. Their diet is high in fresh, raw, and dried fruits and vegetables and low in protein. Whatever the type of arthritis or gout, it has now been conclusively shown that a “period of fasting followed by a gluten-free vegetarian diet” (Lancet, October 1991), is the only eating programme to follow to be free of inflammation and pain. I have seen hundreds of people, relieved of debilitating pain and stiffness by adhering to this simple yet effective approach.
Following the 5 Basic Steps of The Natural Way and excluding all animal products (although butter, cream seem fine), and gluten (wheat, rye, barley, and oats), will help to correct and reverse these conditions.
Food to Avoid
Gluten appears to promote inflammation and other auto immune diseases. It appears to affect the endocrine system in a variety of ways especially the thyroid gland.
It is also important to remove any foods that might upset the endocrine system, such as artificial sweeteners, caffeine, heated fat, too much animal fat, refined sugar, and carbohydrates, including alcohol and vinegar.
Most people with inflammation anywhere in the body find they cannot tolerate citrus fruit and pain can result on consumption. This is because the natural acids in fruit, which a healthy body usually “burns” up during digestion, seem to get into the bloodstream and can cause problems (referred to as free acid radicals) by aggravating the arthritis rather than causing it. This is usually sorted out by a fast of seven or more days or a period on vegetable juice only. The best vegetable juice programme is 4-6 glasses of carrot and Barley grass juice or celery (as much celery or barley grass juice as you can cope with as celery and barley leaves are one of the most alkaline foods you can eat, for anything from 1-6 weeks. This is often very beneficial to people who cannot fast due to work, time, family factors, or if they are too nervous.
We also know that animal protein contains arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that increases inflammation (and blood pressure). Although inflammation is part of the healing process, when it is not controlled or regulated by the body, disease and pain can result. This is one of the reasons the Lancet Journal of October 1991 recommended a gluten free, vegetarian diet as best for arthritis.
Food to Include
Essential fatty acids from plant sources like flax and chia seeds, olive (& their oil), raw nuts and seeds, sweet corn on the cob and avocado, should be included on a regular basis.
A diet high in natural vitamins and minerals is vital; these nutrients must be from raw fruit and vegetables as supplements especially Vitamin C is known to actually cause arthritis.
I have found that many arthritic sufferers tend to be petite, and have an emotional predisposition that tends to be nervous of fasting, so a period of dietary adjustment is needed as well as education before fasting is contemplated.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and The Endocrine System
The Hormonal (Endocrine) system is a collection of interrelated glands that produce hormones. Hormones are chemicals that travel through the blood to cause an effect on distant parts of the body. The entire system works very delicately and a fine balance of hormones is needed for the whole system to function properly.
One pair of these glands, the adrenal glands, plays a major role in arthritis besides functions such as controlling mineral salt levels controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, mobilize fats for energy, stimulate protein use, help the body cope with stress including flight or fight, they also control inflammation and immune responses and produce oestrogen after menopause.
Any disease in which the body is having problems in this area is helped by feeding the adrenals correctly as you would the whole endocrine system. From a dietary perspective, there are many factors affecting the Endocrine System, food & stress being major ones. People most likely to have arthritis are A-type personalities who are more prone to worrying incessantly. Stress (worry) will cause chronic strain to the adrenal glands. It is important therefore to control stress, and the starting with prayer, exercise and the right diet.
- Aspartame (Trade names are Nutrasweet, Candarel and Equal):
Aspartame, it is claimed by independent scientists, causes neuro endocrine disorders, i.e. disorders of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the endocrine system. Aspartame can upset any of the endocrine glands, but is suspected of slowing down the function of the thyroid thereby slowing down metabolic rate which defeats the reason for taking it. Because of the close links with the CNS, foods that affect the endocrine system could in unknown ways affect the CNS.
- Refined sugar
Refined sugar affects the pituitary gland by causing a drop in blood sugar, which in turn, causes the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands to malfunction. This could result in a number of endocrine disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Refined sugar also causes ‘reactive’ hypoglycaemia resulting in an adrenaline rush with consequent explosive temper, panic attacks, fainting, epileptic seizure and migraines. This reaction also causes a ravenous appetite and food cravings.
Refined sugar also affects the adrenal glands as it affects the blood sugar levels, which puts an unnatural strain on both glands. Typical Premenstrual Tension (PMT) symptoms can result, making people comment that it is just your hormones! As if your hormones misbehave on their own. Typical PMT symptoms are hostility, aggressive behaviour, panic attacks, epilepsy, headaches, food cravings and increased appetite and these don’t just happen to women! Recent research also shows reduced progesterone levels in women with PMT. Progesterone helps control menstrual bleeding, has a calming effect and helps prevent asthma, skin eruptions, acne and herpes. A high raw fruit and vegetable diet controls all these aspects too, so you could conclude that a high raw diet helps the body produce sufficient progesterone.
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)
Best found in natural unheated foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and cold-pressed oils, EFA’s help the hormonal system in males and females to function properly. EFA’s help us to produce prostaglandins, which help to produce progesterone, which helps prevent PMT and associated pain with menstruation, heavy bleeding and menopausal symptoms. Over and above eating foods with natural fats, we take a flax oil blend as a supplement. You need to listen to you body and take from 1 tsp. to 3 Tbsp. a day. I never advocate fish oil, as fish oil contains cholesterol, has been heated to high temperature and goes rancid within 2 hours of the fish dying. It can also result in indiscriminate bleeding as EPA & DHA found in fish thins the blood, this could affect menstrual periods, gastrointestinal bleeding, child birth and injuries. When you take in plant sources of Omega 3 fats like from flax oil, your body converts the Omega 3 into the EPA & DHA as and when it needs it
- Other substances
Milk and milk products, alcohol (consumed or manufactured by the body through bad food combining), processed and heated fats, low vitamin intake and excess animal fat intake can call compete for the Linoleic Acid (an Essential Fatty Acid -EFA) available, which the body requires to manufacture several prostaglandins. This in turn, can upset this delicate hormonal balance in some people. This explains why many women improve drastically with hormonal problems when their diet changes to exclude animal fats and combining properly (no alcohol) and including a high intake of raw plant food (high vitamin intake). A deficiency in prostaglandins can lead to a breakdown in the immune system resulting in asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, Candida albicans and eczema.
Caffeine – found in tea, coffee, chocolates and colas.
Any drugs or medication (remove only with medical supervision)
Foods containing mustard oil, which tends to slow, down the function (onion and garlic family can be problematic and occasionally kale, cabbage and watercress).
Alcohol has a similar effect on the body as refined sugar (only worse) Remember that alcohol is made in the digestive tract when your food ferments. To avoid fermentation combine your food properly. See chapter 4 in my book “Perfect Health”
The protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley grain not the leaf. Remove these. Gluten is highly inflammatory in the body as is animal protein due to the arachidonic acid it contains.
To sum up:
Basically a 75% raw, alkaline diet with a maximum of 25% acid forming and cooked food, with the removal of unnatural foods and substances is the only way to get the hormonal system to function properly. Remember that in some people, the balance is extremely delicate and can be easily thrown out by the consumption of animal products – one of the reasons why many people’s overall health improves drastically when they become vegetarian or vegan.
It is also important to get at least 30 minutes of sunshine (no glasses or contacts) every day as well as enough Essential Fatty Acids, which you can get from 1/4 – 1/2 cup nuts or seed and 1/2 – 1 avocado a day or 1 – 2 Tbs. of cold-pressed vegetable oil. Flaxseed oil contains more Omega 3 Fatty acids than other oils and it is suggested that you take 1-3 tbsp per day, depending on the severity of your problem. 1 tbsp a day is great just for maintenance. Try AIMega from AIM for a fantastic EFA supplement.
BarleyLife (dried juice of sprouted barley leaves) and sprouted green leafy foods, contains a vitamin E succinate that helps the Pituitary gland work efficiently. I suggest 2-4 tsp. each day just for maintenance more if your condition is serious.
Renewed Balance is a natural progesterone cream, made from wild yam that can be used very effectively to help correct hormonal imbalances, but must be used with the right lifestyle to be fully beneficial. I would only introduce this once all the lifestyle changes have been made.
Aloe Vera Gel made from the aloe Barbadensis plant has a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body, with added MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin, you will find quite quick relief. Royal Jelly is also known for its anti inflammatory effect on the body.
Another very important issue is exercise. Exercise for 20 minutes at least, per day, helps the endocrine system regulate at least 16 different hormones, so get moving!
My book Perfect Health covers the endocrine system in great detail and both recipe books 1 & 2 have many gluten and animal protein free recipes in them and so can help you regain your health.
When it comes to worry and stress, prayer is your most powerful tool, so get down on those knees and ask God to first give you wisdom in making better choices regarding you food and secondly to help you to let go and allow Him to take your burdens. I have found every time, that God does not need my help. So all I can do is stand and pray!
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