Archive for April, 2010

courtesy of http://food.indif.com/nutri/pyramid/vegan_pyramid.asp

Vegetarian Diet Pyramid

On March 30, 2010, I made the decision to become a Vegetarian. My decision was based on a diagnosis for Rheumatoid Arthritis that I had received from my doctor a few days prior. Since 2004, I had been convinced that the consistent pain that I suffered from in my joints was due to Fibromyalgia, however this year’s blood work showed something very different. My present doctor prescribed a medication that has some of the same side effects as most NSAIDs, however I have taken the initiative to follow a more holistic route and resort to the medication only when I am suffering from severe pain.

Why Vegetarianism?

Although there has not been enough widespread scientific research done on the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, there are a several undisputed reasons to be vegetarian (assuming that you make healthy choices). You can: lower your BMI, lower your cholesterol level, have a longer average life expectancy, reduce your risk of cancer, and be less likely to suffer from weight-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In addition, a vegetarian diet may aid in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was the kicker for me! I searched for research that had been done in this area. After finding a large amount of evidence, I pondered the idea of isolating certain foods from my diet, particularly meat. Honestly, I felt like there wasn’t that much for me to lose. Prior to the decision, I had my cravings for some fried or BBQ chicken and the occasional steak, but when I really though about it, those foods weren’t as great as I had imagined unless I had some delicious vegetable sides to go along with it (yams, collard greens, corn, broccoli, etc.). Therefore, if I took out the meat, I would get to have even more of the yummy sides! Plus, I weighed both sides of dilemma, no meat vs. side effects of the medication. For me it was really clear, nix the meat! The following websites helped to reassure that I was making a decision that would help me in the long term:

Vegetarian Diets in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated with Vegetarian Diets
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Food: Treating Arthritis Without Drugs

I know that there are studies that are out that criticize this evidence. From a personal standpoint however, I have noticed some benefits: my usual occurrence of “flares” has been reduced from 2 per month to 1, I have not awaken in the morning with swollen, tingling feet as I was prior to the diet change, and I have lost a few pounds which helps in reducing the amount of pressure that is placed on my joints. I am sure that I will see more benefits as the months continue. I will let you know how things are going!


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Have you ever awaken in the morning feeling discouraged? Today was one of those days for me and it didn’t just occur during the morning, but it lasted for most of the day. After numerous hours at work, I came home with one question on my mind – how can I fight this feeling? I relied on a few strategies that have helped me in the past, but this time I had to use all 5! I hope that they can be of use to you too!

1. Get a cup of tea.

Decaffinated black, green, or oolong, that is! These teas have an amino acid called theanine that has been shown to have a calming effect. In addition, theanine can influence activity in the brain that is responsible for helping you to feel relaxed, happy in mood, and gain an overall sense of well-being.
2. Pray.

I’ll never forget the story of Hannah! In 1 Samuel chapter 1, a woman named Hannah seemed to have many things that were not going her way. She wasn’t able to bear children, shared her husband with another woman who showed her disrespect, and was misunderstood by those around her. If I were in her situation, I might believe that I have good reason to be discouraged. However, in her sorrow, Hannah prayed. She had a relationship with God in which she was able to talk to Him an pour out the feelings of her heart. Prayer can calm the innermost part of you that is not at rest. Pour out your heart to God and ask Him to bring you moments of encouragement.
3. Open the Bible and read encouraging scriptures.

Some of the scriptures that have helped me are:

Psalm 130;7 – …put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

Isaiah 65:24 – Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Romans 8: 26-27 – In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts, knows with mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
4. Talk with a friend.

1 Thessalonians 5: 9-11 encourages us to build one another up. During times of discouragement and stress, the listening ear of a close friend can help. This should not be a time of complaining, but using the opportunity to express your thoughts and ideas to someone else and allowing them to give you some feedback or advice. There have been many times when I have gone to a close friend to talk through my troubles and ended up leaving with the tenacity to continue to fight or overcome my battles.
5. Believe that there is a way to turn discouragement into an opportunity. In Philippians 1:12-14, Paul discusses how his positive attitude while being imprisoned helped him to be a “light” to those around him. I must admit that it is difficult to go through a tough situation and not allow it to affect your attitude and the way that you treat other people. However, let God help you to see that this may be an opportunity for Him to use you in a special way. Paul was able to minister to others during a time when he could have been bitter. He was able to deal with the challenges that were at hand and overcome them. God opened a new door for him. Let Him do the same for you!

Try one of these strategies and if you need it, try them consecutively! It just might be what you need!

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