Thursday, 31 December 2020

More on the Anti Inflammatory Diet

 About a fortnight ago, I told you about Dr Donald Thomas' Anti-inflammatory Diet.

I've been following it since then, and so far, I've been finding it quite easy.

I have not yet shown any signs of losing any weight. (I still weigh in at 101kg.) I don't know about how seriously we need to take that warning that the diet should only be followed by people who can afford to lose weight.

The major challenge I think many people will have is only eating during an eight hour period of the day - fasting for 16 hours.  I'm delaying breakfast until 10am, and making sure I eat a light dinner shortly before 6pm.  I'm making lunch, any time between midday and 2pm, my main meal of the day.

I was already gluten free (to relieve irritable bowel symptoms), so that didn't phase me at all.  The recommended cheeses, yoghurt, etc, I've found in lactose free variations so I can eat them without causing reflux. I do still get some sniffle and blocked nose issues eating lactose-free dairy products, but that's nothing an antihistamine can't fix.

I didn't give up nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, etc), because they don't seem to cause me any issues, and Dr Thomas' diet post only said to avoid them if you flare after eating them.

Giving up red meat hasn't really bothered me much. I did eat some at Christmas - and gave myself permission to eat pretty much whatever I wanted out of what was on offer at Christmas.  (It was a lot - my daughter and her partner cooked, and they made sure to make gluten free and lactose free variations of most things for me.) Otherwise, I pretty much just went back to the foods I was eating when I was vegetarian.  Strangely enough, I had gone back to eating meat when my GP told me to stop eating gluten, because I was afraid of running out of things I could eat - but now I'm used to being gluten free - going back to a mostly plant-based diet isn't really that bad.

Keeping chicken/turkey to two meals a week isn't that difficult, and I haven't eaten either at all in the past week, in the previous week I had a couple of meals out and opted for chicken then.

In case you're trying this, and having trouble knowing what to eat, here's a couple of suggestions.

Meatless bolognaise (no set measurements, go with your taste - I just chuck stuff in):

  • A handful of dried red lentils washed (put them in a strainer and run the tap over them),
  • A little bit of olive oil (a teaspoon or two is enough)
  • Onion
  • Your choice of any (or all) of the following vegetables; finely diced: capsicum, carrot, celery, mushroom, tomato, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, olives
  • Red wine (optional)
  • Passata (tomato puree), or you could use a can of crushed tomatoes
  • Your choice of any (or all) of these herbs; chives, oregano, parsley, basil, chilli
  1. Cook onion (and fresh garlic if using), with olive oil over a low heat until onion is translucent.
  2. Add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil, then simmer slowly until lentils and vegetables are tender and sauce is thick.
  3. Serve with your favourite gluten free pasta, and a topping with grated parmesian.
  4. If making lasagne - layer the bolognaise between lasagne sheets, then top with cottage cheese, sprinkle with black pepper and a little nutmeg, and then a layer of grated cheese.  Bake in a medium oven for half a hour.

Ways to serve a cold potato

The whole cooked, then chilled, potato not sounding great? Try one of these:

  • Make potato salad. Mix your diced cold potatoes with mayonnaise, chopped hard boiled egg, perhaps some cold peas, parsley, spring onion, whatever takes your fancy.
  • Cook potato in the jacket, cut in half and chill. Serve potato halves topped with a mix of cottage cheese and tuna, or cottage cheese and finely cut gherkin.
  • Minted potatoes.  Add a sprig of mint to the water when you boil diced potatoes.  Once cooked, drain the potatoes, and pour over them a dressing of: half a cup of boiling water, half a cup of white spirit vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of dried mint.  Chill, and serve with a salad.

Want a really quick meal?
  • Drain, then wash a can of four-bean mix. (Empty the can into a strainer, then run under a tap until the water stops foaming.) This is your protein.  Finely chop a carrot, a stick of celery, a gherkin. Dress with a teaspoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Serves 1-2, depending how hungry you are.
  • Toast a couple of slices of mixed grain gluten free bread. (Mixed grain GF breads will almost always have linseed in them, you don't need to go looking specifically for ones that say they have linseed.) Spread with avocado, and top with tomato and cheese (any type of cheese from the diet will do).

OK.  I'll give you some other recipes over the next few weeks.

So far, this diet hasn't changed my pain and fatigue, but I'm going to stick with it, to give it a proper go, and I admit I haven't added in exercise yet.  I'm trying to decide if I'm brave enough to go back to a pubic pool for hydrotherapy - COVID is very much under control here in Queensland, so the risk is minimal, but even minimal risks bother me to some extent.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Anti-inflammatory Diet

 For years, I've been hearing about various anti-inflammatory diets, and even seen a list of foods graded on an inflammatory scale.  I haven't shared any of them with you because, I haven't been able to find any research backing any of it.

Well, here's the holy grail.  It's an anti-inflammatory diet that's based on the latest research.

Dr Donald Thomas, the rheumatologist who brought us the Lupus Encyclopedia (review here), has shared the diet he shares with his own patients, which is based on research. He cites his sources, so you can check them out for yourself.

You can find it on his blog, here:

He does warn it's only for people who can afford to lose weight.  So it's no help for anyone who is underweight.  (Although I am always struggling with being overweight, I know lupies come in all shapes and sizes.)

I looked at it and thought, I will start on it in the new year.  Then I looked again, realised how easy it would be to make those adjustments to my diet, and decided to do it now.  It's really not greatly different from my current diet, except that I eat far more meat.  I've been vegetarian before, so I can handle the reduction in meat. 

There are some foods in my kitchen that are incompatible with this diet, and I will use them over time.  I will allow myself the occasional deviation so I'm not wasting food I already have in my freezer, or so that I can enjoy whatever is available when I'm out.

So lovely lupies, even though I'm only two days in to trying it for myself, I recommend you have a look. As always, if you're unsure, your best advisers are your own GP and your rheumatologist, immunologist or other specialist.

I also recommend keeping an eye on Dr Thomas' blog,

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Autoimmune Research and Resource Centre Fundraiser Raffle

 Here's your chance to help the Autoimmune Research and Resource Centre, and possibly help yourself to something amazing.

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Friday, 4 December 2020

Tips for Pills

Break the foil with a fingernail
 I've always been one of those people who has problems with blister packs of pills.

Theoretically, I should be able to push on the bubble side of the blister pack, and have the pill just pop out of the foil side.  That's what manufacturers would have me believe is possible.

What actually happens is that I push and push, and nothing happens.  I keep trying, and throw my whole body into the effort and almost find myself rolling on the floor wrestling with the packaging.  When I finally do get the pill out, I am more than likely to cut myself on the foil.  Of course, if it's a capsule, by this time, it's flattened, and I'm amazed it hasn't exploded and let all the powder out.

Just recently something miraculous has happened.

I've recently started to grow fingernails.  Well, I've always grown fingernails, but they've been thin, weak and constantly split and broken off.  Since the doctor has been checking vitamin and mineral levels on my regular blood tests, and getting me to take supplements on the things I was low on, I've grown thick, strong fingernails of the type I've only ever dreamed of.  They're so strong, that instead of breaking off, I've actually had to cut them!

Did you know the round edge of a fingernail is just the right shape to fit around the edge of a pill in a blister pack? Now I puncture the edge of the foil beside the pill, and suddenly it really is easy to just pop the pill out of the pack!

Cut the plastic band.
I've also had endless hours of fun trying to access pills in bottles. I'm sure someone in a pharmaceutical somewhere earns a huge bonus every time they think of a new way to make medications inaccessible to people who need them.

You know those plastic bottles that have the band just under the lid that make them impossible to open the first time? I eventually found the solution to that as well. The trick is to carefully run a knife between the lid and the plastic band. There's a weak spot that's supposed to break when you twist the lid, but it never does.  That's what you need to cut. That breaks the seal and makes it so much easier to get the bottle open.

By the way, it's also important to cut through that plastic band before putting the empty bottle in the recycling bin.  That way, if the band somehow goes astray from the recycling system and ends up in the environment, it can't strangle animals.