Having dealt with the ‘enemies’ of your Immune System in the last blog, let’s turn to the positive –the ‘friends’ of your I.S. One of the best outcomes of RA in my life is that it has turned me into a fighter. Passivity is possibly our greatest enemy in life. With RA you simply cannot afford to sit back and let the disease take over. Today I am going to show you how to be ‘armed & dangerous’ against the attacks on your physical body.
- GOD-MADE FOOD – before putting anything in your mouth ask yourself, “Did God make this?” Avoid man-made, processed food whenever possible. Your ‘pharmacy’ needs the right raw materials to keep you healthy. The food you eat today will determine the body you have tomorrow. Remember: If it doesn’t rot or sprout – do without!
- WATER – do you have an internal drought? Make water your best friend and constant companion. Water is vital for every system in your body. Aim to drink between one and a half to two litres of filtered water per day depending on your body size. Too much is as bad as too little. Do not drink from plastic bottles that have been in the sun as harmful chemicals can leach into the water! Choose glass or use a flask. Remember: A dry mouth is the last sign of dehydration!
- DEEP BREATHING – I am busy mastering the art of breathing – after 52 years! It has made a huge difference to my exercise routine and a great way of defusing stress. Go to a Pilates website for some basic instruction and then get to work for immediate results. Air is FREE.
- EXERCISE – You have to go with the flow as every day with RA is different. Balance is the key to exercise – too little depresses the I.S. and too much suppresses the Immune System. Exercise has great rewards: it reduces stress, elevates mood (we all need that!) and promotes blood circulation. Water exercise is by far the kindest to our joints. Physiotherapists are great for getting us up and about after surgery but if you want to regain your strength you need a Biokineticist. In RA joints tend to get all the attention and muscles are the poor cousins. Remember that without good muscles a new joint is of little value. I had a shoulder replacement and despite a perfect new joint for 20 years my arm sat by my side as my muscles had wasted away. During the past year a Biokineticist and Pilates instructor have helped me to regain the use of my arm and at this stage I can lift my arm halfway up!
- NATURAL SUNLIGHT – Avoid sunbeds. Natural sunlight boosts your Immune System and if I am feeling a bit down sunlight works wonders for me. Avoid the midday sun. I get my daily dose after exercising in the pool as I live in a sunny climate. Check your Vit D levels if you don’t have access to much sun. I believe that in colder climates you can purchase special lights.
- REST/SLEEP – are not a waste of time! They are essential for the repair, rebuilding and regeneration of your body. I need a siesta after lunch as that is when my energy levels are at their lowest. If I don’t have my rest I tend to struggle for the rest of the day.
- LAUGHTER – A merry heart does good like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones (Proverbs 17:22). When everything gets too much for me my husband, Jan, pulls out our collection of funny dvd’s. You have to know what to do when the doldrums hit and plan for it. My animals are a great distraction for me and they give me many laughs during the day when I am alone. I have a Doberman, Gretta, who smiles at me!
- FASTING – RA medication makes it difficult to fast as we need food to protect our stomach lining. However, fasting can involve doing without anything (TV, our favourite food, computer etc) in order to focus on God. A side benefit of fasting is that it also rids the body of toxins that produce free radicals. I enjoy a one day juice fast.
- SUPPLEMENTS – The basic supplements that work for me are: Multivitamin /multimineral + Powder Vit C (cheaper than tablets and you can add it to juice) + Omega 3 + Glucosamine (sometimes on its own or with MSM & Chondroitan)
- ANTIOXIDANTS – Vitamins A,C,E,Selenium (ACES) + Zinc. Get them first and foremost from your food. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals & so prevent the weakening and damaging of your cells.
- ENZYMES – You are not only what you eat but you are what you digest! As we get older we have a limited ability to produce enzymes. If you have overdrawn on your enzyme bank account then supplement before meals. I cured Jan from taking endless antacids using digestive enzymes. Cooking destroys enzymes in the food so I always have a small bowl with raw food before a cooked meal (carrots, shredded raw cabbage, radish, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, beans). Digestive enzymes are God’s spark plugs to light the fire of digestion.
- PROBIOTICS – Antibiotic = against life, Probiotic = for life; These are very important supplements after a course of antibiotics, a stomach bug or diarrhoea in order to restore healthy gut bacteria. Eat ‘live’ yoghurt with AB culture (A=acidophilus, B=bifidus)
- JUICING – live juice therapy is great and it supplies you with a superhighway of vitamins and minerals to the body without having to expend energy on digestion. There must be a balance between juicing (no fibre) and eating whole fruit & veg as we need fibre in our diet. Fruit juice cleanses the body and Vegie juice rebuilds the body. My best combination is: 6 x large carrots, 2 x apples, inch of ginger, stick of celery, half a pineapple. I add broccoli stems and cucumber for variation. I need to experiment more with green juices.
- POSITIVE THINKING – learn how to turn lemon into lemonade. Use the negative energy to push you in the direction of your goals. My goal is to walk in divine health. Try balancing what life gives you with constructive thoughts & actions. “I am in this situation – so what am I going to do about it?”
I bet you didn’t know how many ‘friends’ you have! It has taken me years to learn what I am sharing with you. Change happens one step at a time. Remain teachable and develop a mindset that is focussed on that which is good. YOU are either your bodies best friend or worst enemy. The choice is yours.