It feels appropriate to share this Arthritis Health Monitor cover with you now because today is TV Dinner’s 2nd birthday, a good time to reflect on another year of food and how it’s become more a medicine to me than actual medicine.
I think about where I was last January — a month away from getting married, working out 5-6 days a week, feeling good, feeling strong, feeling in love. I was cooking all the time, but lots of fish and grains then. My ankle had just started to bother me and I began experimenting with new drugs (under the guidance of a rheumatologist, of course) to help with the pain.
But things went from bad to worse with my foot after that and in May I went to see Dr. Lipman, who would not only flip my diet on its head but also eventually change the course of my RA. It’s still a work in progress, of course, but I’m starting to feel some real changes in my arthritis that begin, as he believes and I now do as well, in my gut. To that end, he gave me some probiotics and other “gut-healers” to put in a shake each morning. I also started on a pretty strict Paleo diet and since then have only had a few bites of grains. Same for sugar and alcohol. (I had already given up dairy years ago.) I added some pasture-raised, grass fed meat into my repertoire, which was a weird thing at first — I had some moral dilemmas about it — but I decided to let my body choose. If it would help my gut, my joints, and by proxy, my RA, then I’d keep eating it. And it has. Foods like coconut oil, almond flour, ghee, grass-fed steak and bacon are now staples of my diet and I’m happy to say that arthritis-wise, I’m feeling good.
I’ve gotten off some of those aforementioned drugs I tried and more importantly, significantly tapered the steroids I’ve been on for years. My goal for 2015 (amongst others) is to get off of them completely. It will be tough and it will take time, but I will do it.
If I can get through this last year of joint pain and eventual foot surgery, I can do anything.
Which is why, in the right context, the pull quote on the magazine cover above makes sense. My RA is a blessing because it’s allowed me to appreciate every step I take (literally and figuratively) and discover what food my body can and cannot tolerate. Would I rather not have RA? Of course. But now I’ve got two healthy feet and a husband who loves me, so I’m actually pretty lucky.
That girl on the cover is hiding a lot of pain. My foot was killing me that day, long before I had surgery. Her name was different then, too.
This girl, Jamie Stelter, is ready for anything.
So here’s to another year of health and strength… and of course, many more TV Dinners.
** If you want to read the full cover story, you can find the Arthritis Health Monitor in many doctors offices. **