Ever since my diagnosis in 2004 of rheumatoid arthritis, I have had a belief that our body wants to heal itself. I believe our bodies are amazing beings that are constantly trying to fix the evils we throw at them. With this in mind, I started working with a naturopath about eight months after my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis when the medications I was taking weren't providing me with any relief. With her guidance I participated in an elimination diet that included the elimination of coffee, sugar, citrus, peanuts, dairy, and nightshades. What did this leave to eat? Meat, fish, chicken and pork plus lots of veggies, fruits and gluten free grains such as quinoa, rice, and corn. Eliminating these foods brought my inflammation rates back to normal within months and within a year I was in remission. (I did later come out of remission.)
I have remained gluten/dairy free over the years but as my children discovered the benefits of a gluten free diet, sugar slowly became a regular part of my life again and unfortunately it plays a major role in joint discomfort for me. Also, I was never able to eliminate my digestive problems completely. They got better, but never did they go away. This is a problem for me because the more severe my digestive issues become, the worse my joints feel.
I am someone who is constantly reading about alternative methods to healing and write about it on my personal blog. After recently experiencing a severe two year flare, I had a few readers suggest going a step further with my diet and eliminating all grains. Over the summer my sister shared how a friend of hers was having great success on the Paleo Diet which eliminates all grains. One of my best friends was also playing around with the concept of eliminating grains. It seemed like everything was pointing me in the same direction. The more I read and the more encouragement I received from friends and family, the more sense it made to me.
Fortunately I stumbled onto the Paleo Solution site with Robb Wolf, whose beliefs on organic farming and free range meat is in line with my own food philosophy. There I read the guidelines of the diet which are basically to avoid foods that create inflammation in the body: all grains (especially glutinous grains) dairy, and legumes. If suffering from autoimmune disease the elimination of nightshades and eggs are also encouraged. At first this diet seemed more restrictive than the elimination diet I did with my naturopath. But, in reality it has been easier. Once I eliminated all grains, the cravings for gluten free muffins, breads and pastas disappeared which also meant the cravings for glutinous grains also disappeared. (No more occasional cheats with gluten!)
All the sudden being gluten-free became extremely easy. Instead of pasta for dinner we now use spaghetti squash, zucchini or cabbage with our sauces. (Yay for more veggies in our diet!) We eat sweet potatoes in place of breads and cereals. (The kids love mashed sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon for breakfast along with a juicy piece of sausage from our farmer.) I have never been a big legume person as I have always known how they affect my body, even when I soak them first, so that was not a problem. In reality, I was already gluten, dairy, and mostly legume free so all I had to do was eliminate the remaining grains.