Let me introduce Katie from www.girlmeetsnourishment.com!
I found Katie’s blog just about a week ago. I e-mailed her telling her how much I loved her blog and mentioned that she should join the VGN network (the blog network I am in). I find out that she is already in the works of becoming a VGN blogger. I am super excited to have connected with her, because I know that all you will just LOVE her recipes and personality!
Arthritis is a curious condition. You feel stiff and it hurts to move whatever part of your body that is affected. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me first tell you a story.
When I was a youngster, I lived on Long Island which is part of New York. I was in first grade sitting in the very front seat of the bus. The bus driver stopped to let some kids out, and I wanted to stick my hand outside to see what the temperature was. Before I knew it, my hand was closed in the bus door right at my knuckles. While it was very uncomfortable, I was too afraid to tell the bus driver that my hand was stuck fearing that I would get in trouble; so I sat forward in my seat with my hand closed in the door until the next bus stop. After my hand was released, I sat quietly back in my seat and vowed never to do that again.
A few days later, after a big dinner at my grandparents house, my Dad was sitting around the table with the rest of the “grown-ups” chatting. I was doing something in the kitchen and then made my way back through the dining room when my Dad asked me to come over. My knuckles were swollen, red, and large. I still hadn’t told my parents about the bus ride home, and I was sure that must have been what caused it. I told them about what happened on the bus but they didn’t seem to think that was what caused it. They quickly set up an appointment for me with a pediatric rheumatologist. Before I knew it, we were making regular trips to New York City to see a specialist for my Juvenile Arthritis. I began taking these disgusting tasting pills, and since I was too young at the time to swallow pills, I remember my family mashing the pills up into a powder and mixing them into my jello and yogurt. I can still remember the horrible taste!
My body healed itself!
My knuckles looked swollen and I was self-conscious of my hands because I felt they looked disproportioned to other people’s “normal” knuckles. But years passed and in that time, my body healed itself and my arthritis went into remission. I have since grown into my hands and now I do what I can to take care of my joints to avoid any flare-ups or arthritis in the future.
I am strong now!
What is Arthritis?
Most commonly, arthritis is known as an auto-immune disorder that causes your body’s immune system to attack the joints in your body, which results in painful inflammation and movement. However, there are several types of arthritis that have different causes:
- Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of Arthritis and usually affects people in their later years of life. It is caused by damage and the break down of the body’s joints over years of use.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which is when the body’s own immune system attacks itself causing painful inflammation in joints and eventually will start to breakdown the cartilage in the joints.
- Gout, surprisingly, is also a type of arthritis which causes painful uric acid to collect in the joints.
- Septic Arthritis (also known as bacterial or infectious arthritis), is caused by an infection that inflames the joints.
- Psoratic Arthritis, which has symptoms similar to RA: painful inflammation of the joints that can causing swelling and be accompanied by psoriasis (a skin condition that causes scaly plaques on the skin).
Three Ways to Care for Your Joints
Since there is no cure for arthritis the best thing you can do is start protecting your joints now! These are a few tips I have learned to employ over the years that keep my body healthy and my arthritis in remission. Best thing about these tips, they are all natural and you can start doing them today!
Getting regular exercise is not only good for your cardiovascular system and overall health, it’s good for your joints! Be sure to warm up first which will lubricate your joints and get your body ready for the exercise to come. Be sure to always keep good form when doing exercises and always stretch after a workout which will allow your body to recover. Keeping good form is especially important because any accidental injury we may cause to our joints can put us on the road to Osteoarthritis. Strength training is also important, because the stronger your muscles are around your joints the better protected they will be. Your body is an amazing thing, so just listen to it! If something doesn’t feel right, stop – it knows best!
2. Posture is Key
I am guilty of being a slouch but I do work hard to keep my posture good. I (try to) keep my shoulders down and my back arched just the right way. Keeping good posture protects your joints by keeping your body in natural alignment which causes less strain. Visit this excellent post on Thank Your Body to find three simple stretches for good posture.
3. Eat gelatin rich foods!
Say what? Eating jello is good for my joints? YES! And how sweet it is. Getting gelatin in your diet from rich, homemade bone broths or even homemade jello made with grass-fed beef gelatin is essential to keeping your joints and cartilage strong, according the Weston A. Price Foundation. Gelatin is such a superfood, and research has shown that getting adequate gelatin helped improve symptoms in patients with RA. Gelatin has so many health benefits far beyond what you can imagine, besides just helping to protect your joints, it does a multitude of other amazing things that can be found in the article “Why Broth is Beautiful“. But be sure when you start eating gelatin that it’s the good stuff, not the box you find on the supermarket shelf…in fact, make my recipe for Orange-Lemon Jello Stars below! It’s super easy. Protect yourself with a few of these babies:
Orange-Lemon Jello Stars
4-5 large organic oranges
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups organic lemon juice
3 and 1/2 tablespoons Unflavored Gelatin
3 to 5 tablespoons on raw honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
1. Juice the oranges into a large measuring cup, be sure to use a strainer to catch all the pulp. I got about one cup of orange juice from my oranges and then I added another cup of lemon juice to it, bringing the total amount of fresh juice to 2 cups.
2. Next, in a medium saucepan, combine the gelatin, honey, and juice over medium heat. Whisk until all the honey and gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is warm.
3. Carefully pour into fancy ice cube trays and place in the freezer for 20 minutes (or allow to set in fridge for a couple of hours).
4. Pop out and enjoy these little treats that will keep your joints happy!
1. WebMD: Most Common Arthritis Types
2. WebMD: Septic Arthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
3. WebMD: Psoriatic Arthritis
4. Mayo Clinic: Arthritis Causes
5. Prevention: Exercising
6. WAPF: Why Broth is Beautiful
7. WAPF: Stocks
8. How Stuff Works: Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Joints