The Herbal Cupboard Presents:

Arthritis Flare Foods:

A Simple, Safe, One month Test to see if certain food sensitivities cause 3/4's of your arthritis symptoms.

Try this test for one month. Reduce or eliminate these four items from your diet & see if your arthritis symptoms lessen. You may find that you can reduce your dependance on pain medications & may other things that you are currently taking as well.

Questions: Do you have twinges of arthritis? Are you on full fledged NSAIDs or other pain relievers for arthritis pain? Do certain times of the year make your arthritis pain more severe than others? Have you ever wondered if certain foods set it off?

I came to that conclusion a little over two years ago. See if this next section sounds like you...

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the ripe old age of 22. I saw all the pictures of horribly shaped hands & fingers while in the Navy. I wore the special braces that made me look like a prize fighter in training. I progressed from aspirin based products; through the ibuprofens & the more expensive alternatives as well. Soon I found myself semi dependent two times a year on a controlled substance that I keep in my medicine cabinet and also in my car at all times. I had gotten so bad that during those "flare" cycles; I couldn't work on my property or do anything that might "lock" my fingers in place...this sometimes included driving which impacted my ability to make a living.

Possible Answers Began to accumulate:

I began reading up on older "remedies" suggested by herbalists & other alternate therapy people & found that the following four foods had somehow a common bond with arthritis flare cycles in people with all kinds of arthritis. These four items managed to set people off with hereditary types & those that came from prior injury. The more that I read about these four ingredients in multiple products that I love; the more I realized how much of some of these products that I ate; especially at certain times of the year.

It began to dawn on me that I might be able to control some of the waves of pain that wash over me at certain times of the year; usually coinciding with the start of Fall & Spring.

What were these four foods? And what made them so particularly flare enabling?

A. Potatoes - My favorite Fall crop. Especially when the "new" little red bliss potatoes would come out...all the way through the big leathery baking ones. In all forms. Baked, fried, mashed, in flours, used as a thickener as potatoe starch, boiled, pureed. The worst are the white potatoes with their skins; sweet potatoes & yams were also not good - yucca, being a relative seems to be okay.

B. Tomatoes - I love tomatoes. I'm especially fond of the Roma tomatoes...grew zillions of them for years. Can't touch them now...Still fudge here & there; tomato sauces on pizza & pasta; the occasional Salsa or other wonderful food product wouldn't be the same without them; but they too came out of my diet in quantity.

C. Peppers {I can hear the outcry from here} All kinds; even the ones that seem to give you relief from many of the painful stiffness symptoms...Green, yellow, red ones, pimentos {my favorite next to bannana peppers} Out of the diet or at least reduced to a dull roar.

D. Eggplant - This may not seem like such a hard thing for you to give up; but for some of us; for a long time; it was a major food group.

You can practically see how the seasons / and arthritis would be affected by these four items. Most of them were fall produce specials although some of them were glorious in the first blush of Spring. Most of them used to be less expensive & were the first things used to fill the dietary gaps when the pockets were thin.

Quite a few of them are tasty put together...Many of our now normal side dishes & condiments are made of some of these ingredients. Katsup, Salsa, the ubiquitus baked or french fried potatoes {not to mention home fries in the morning}; even potato flour donuts or rolls {famous in Pennsylvania}

What causes these particular four foods to behave in an unfriendly manner?

Solanine. A chemical that helps each of these fruits & vegetables to change the color of their skin. Have you ever left a potato out in the sun? Seen it turn green & start to sprout?
Conventional wisdom tells you that that potato is no longer "good" to eat - but fails to tell you why. The why is that Solanine is not exactly good for our bodies in any quantity. And in arthritis sufferers; it sets off all the accumulated miseries of that affliction.

I didn't want to believe it. Didn't believe that it could make a difference. Decided to try it on myself for a month to see if it would make a difference. Chose March of 1998 to give it a fling.

It was very hard at first. All types of the four foods kept popping up in what I ate.
People served them to me; I had to turn them down; they showed up as garnish on plates; I had to leave them behind; they were incorporated into the things that I liked to eat like salads; they had to go back & be removed.

Trying to stay away from potatoes proved to be the hardest thing on the outside for people to understand. Say that you can't have the baked potato & the waitstaff will usually offer you fries instead or mashed. Vegetable mixtures sometimes include them; its amazing how many places that they are used as a filler item. Soups had to be scrutinized as did many breakfast items.

Tomatoes were the next hardest thing on the list followed by the peppers. We are a cosmopolitan lot in this country & the things that we eat have expanded in the past 30 year to include some things as "usual" that wouldn't have been a few years back.

It wasn't easy, but I persevered. The first month flowed into the second month which sort of segued into the third one before I became aware that I wasn't taking as many of the "big honkin' pain killers" as I used to & that my reaching for the 500mg of aspirin in the morning was no longer a routine before hobbling into the hot shower. In fact; I couldn't remember the last time that I HAD hobbled into the shower...

So I tested the waters...I went to a famous steakhouse & had their signature fries with a group of friends...didn't outrageously pig out or anything...but....

The next day I woke up with a stiff neck. I blamed it on the pillow... driving to work; my hands & fingers needed "cracking" several times to remain limber.... figured it was a change in the weather... my neck & back were really bothering me at work... and my knees were really stiff... by this time it was hard to miss all the symptoms and not notice that there perhaps might be a link.

I buckled down after fighting the "owies" for about 5 hours & took a "BHPK" the end of the day; I had taken three of them just to make it through the day & to get to sleep that night with some form of comfort. It took three days of again keeping all of those "fearsome four" out of my diet to get back to a more "normal" and less stiff state.

I stayed reasonably off of the four flare foods for another 6 months...By this time I found it easier...and the results through the next flare cycle were really great...I didn't even realize that I was going through the flare cycle until someone asked about my cane in the back of my car in December & I realized that I was already PAST the fall flare cycle.

That's when I started more formally suggesting to the people around me that they should try it.

That was two years; almost three years ago now. I've been relatively pain free unless I fall off the "wagon" somewhere along the line. The difference is amazing. I'm no longer consuming aspirin, ibuprophen or any of the other brand named pain/destiffness items. My stomach doesn't bother me & I don't seem to have any flare cycles any more.

Why not try it for a month? And then email me with your results?

I'm not suggesting that you should just come off of all of your pain medication or that this will be some kind of panacea for you. But I think that enough people have tried it locally to me to put it out on the net & have others give it a whirl.

I'm suggesting that you try the alternate for a month; & then test yourself by having something that you like that includes one or more of the ingredients. Then let someone else besides you observe you for the next two or three days & see if there is a difference. Email me. with your results.