You Are What You Eat: Energy and Health
- Nuts: Just a handful of cashews as a snack seems to give me a boost when I am running on empty. I also eat organic peanut butter on celery. Celery is said to help reduce inflammation and I have noticed more energy from this combination than if I eat a peanut butter sandwich.
- Molasses: I cook with molasses in many of my meat dishes. Drizzle a little over burgers or skinless chicken on the grill, add a little garlic powder to counteract the sweetness, and you have a rich flavor that helps with energy naturally. Molasses is very high in iron and offers healthy carbohydrates to provide a boost.
- Chia seed: I found these by accident when I bought some organic sweet potato tortilla chips that were covered in them, and the result for me was more energy. Chia is said to be a great plant-based source of complete protein, high in antioxidants, nutrients and calcium and balances blood sugar levels to burn energy evenly without spikes or drops.
- Lemons: I have been told by my doctor that added to your water, lemons are a natural way to reduce inflammation and cleanse the body better of waste. The key I think is to also drink plenty of water. Think of it as constantly flushing out the body of waste and toxins. I know I should drink more water than I do and often coffee is my downfall when it comes to choosing a beverage.
Avoiding Flares From Food
I believe I have seen a pattern with some foods I might normally choose to eat. There just seem to be certain foods that, without fail, cause my lupus to flare. Here are a few I must force myself to avoid:
- Soda (diet or regular): I used to have a can or two of soda each week, but I began to see a pattern of flares within 12-24 hours. Thinking it was the “diet” ingredients causing it, I switched to regular soda, but without fail the flare still occurred. I now drink tea or lemon water.
- The drive-thru: Fast food was once my favorite, easy solution to a meal. I mean if you don’t have the energy to cook, it makes sense, right? Wrong! I have seen a direct correlation between hitting the drive-thru and a sudden flare. Not to mention I feel terrible after eating greasy food. The good news is once you cleanse your body of it for a while, you are disgusted by eating it. No cravings!
- Too sweet: Yes, even Stevia, the “natural” alternative to sugar can cause issues. At one point I was trying health shakes and natural herbal supplements that had more than their fair share of natural sweeteners in them and initially, I felt more energy. Then the positive effects lessened and what it left me with was reactive hypoglycemia — which meant I felt shaky and awful if I ate anything too sweet (like an ice cream sundae) or if I went too long without eating.
- Nitrates: Found in bacon, hot dogs and sandwich meats this preservative is huge on my list of things to avoid. Breakfast with bacon combined with pancakes drizzled with fake maple syrup (the cheaper mass-produced variety versus the pricey real stuff) and I am in a flare within three hours.
- The carnivore plate: When a meal consists of mostly meat, I always feel the effects the next day. I think with lupus, balance is required, and my plate is normally filled with only one part of meat to three parts of veggies. If I stray, I feel a difference the next day.
It is hard to stay on track with your diet. I stray, and I pay the price. It happens to the best of us.
Try and think about what a flare will mean to your health and how you feel and be strong when it comes time to make the best choices for your health. You will be glad you did.