Diet & Chronic Illness (Overall Clean-Eating Diet)

When I was diagnosed with Lupus, at least I had an answer of what in the world was going on with my body. Now, you are given the diagnosis and to stay healthy you have to "watch what you eat". Yea it's like being on a diet 24/7 365 because certain foods will cause issues more than if you were completely healthy. So you have to do a lot of research and unfortunately some of your favorite foods, that could have been contributing to feeling worse, could be recommended for you not to consume. What is recommended for a Lupus diet (or "insert your chronic illness here" diet) mimics a standard diet of clean eating. Don't drink soda or other acidic drinks that are full of sugar and chemicals. They are full of empty calories and can cause inflammation and bloating. Instead, make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. You don't have to intake the 8 glasses a day recommendation, but you should drink water when you are thirsty. The average amount to drink when you are trying to lose weight or maintain at the least is half your body weight in ounces. For instance if you weigh 180 lbs, you want to drink around 90 ounces. Too little water is not good for you, but too much is also not good for you. As long as you intake water throughout the day, it will help push out toxins from your body and help your sluggish digestive system that many suffering from Lupus and other chronic illnesses experience. Don't eat read meat they say. Red meat can cause Lupus flare ups, causing inflammation as well as being high in saturated fat. Red meat does however have high levels of iron that your body needs, but you can easily replace that with plant-based iron. Those consist of chickpeas, kidney beans, butter beans, legumes, flaxseed, chia seed, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and other nuts, spinach and other dark green leafy veggies, dates, raisins, dried apricots and other dried fruits. Plant based irons and proteins are much better for your overall diet to begin with. If you want "meat" in your diet, you are recommended to eat fish. Fish is a lean protein and high in omega 3 fatty acids. You want to stay away from pre-cooked and processed fish though as they may contain high MSG and salt. Don't eat refined carbs which include white bread, white pasta, processed rice and most packaged snack foods. They can cause water retention that can give unpleasant Lupus symptoms. Instead, you should eat whole foods. Whole foods are foods you can eat "whole", vegetables and fruits in their raw state also tend to have more fiber and nutrients when they are uncooked. If you're craving starch, try having potatoes or brown rice. Artificial Sweeteners are bad for everyone. Though there are no studies connected to Lupus symptoms and diets, sugar and artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all costs. Instead of high sugar and artificially sweetened foods, try eating anit-inflammatory foods such as flax seeds, avocados, walnuts, berries, leafy greens, carrots, squash and lean proteins. And lastly for now, everyone's favorite: Fast Food. Do NOT eat it! You do not understand how unhealthy fast food is! It is packed with mono saturated fats, trans-fats and much more that you do not want in your body! They are also high in salt and sugar. Not just those living with lupus and other chronic illnesses, but everyone should keep these foods out of your body to keep you healthy. If you do decide on a fast food meal, try snacking on proteins throughout the day as mentioned above. In replace of fast foods, you want to eat foods that are easy to digest. One of the Lupus side effects is having issues with the digestive system. If you eat greasy foods, you're going to be miserable for a long time while your body tries to digest and break down this! You want more soups and fruit smoothies and whole foods in your diet. After reading through here, I'm sure you probably think, "I already do that"... keep a journal, I'm sure you're eating more than what you think of the things you shouldn't be. I hope this helps not just those with Lupus or other chronic illnesses, but your overall diet in general to keep a healthy diet and lifestyle. Eating out once in awhile is okay, fast food once in awhile is okay, a soda once in awhile is okay, but the consistency of this every day every meal occurrence is not okay.

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