I have learned about nutrition because I had to. I was really sick. Pain and fear were the big motivator that inspired me to learn about nutrition and learn to cook healthy. I’m basically a food addict, I love fatty foods, meat, pasta, dairy, bread and sugar,
I had to learn to create healthy vegetarian meals that tasted great or I wouldn’t make it. As a bachelor I lived on a staple of my daily green smoothies and green juice and a couple vegetarian or fish dishes. My girlfriend and I have been together 2 years now, she has RA so is mostly on board with the vegetarian eating, but she is a great cook so we’ve experimented and created some delicious vegetarian dishes. Nice to have some variety! Delicious food addict healthy vegetarian variety!
Let’s Start with Nutrition. What I have learned is what is helps my Lupus | Rheumatoid Arthritis |Connective Tissue Disease | Autoimmune Disease and what hurts. I have a short list below. Basically, I have learned about Alkaline vs. Acid. Food and drinks that make your body more Alkaline seem to help with inflammation. Acid foods seem to worsen inflammation.
I am not a doctor or a nutritional expert, my recommendations come from my own experience over 16 years of living with MCTD, Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The best recommendation I can make as far as nutrition is to try and eat as much organic vegetarian food as you can. The more raw, whole, organic fruits and vegetables you eat the better. I have struggled with this. I have found a balance that works for me. I eat approximately 70 % vegetarian. Once or twice a week I allow myself some fish.and we do eat organic eggs a couple times a week.
I love a good burger or a steak now and then, but only as a treat or “Zag” day once a month.. I have learned to cook some deliciously awesome vegan dishes and I have listed some of my favorites on my Recipes page of this website. I will be adding more soon.
Fresh organic fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, enzymes and yes, protein. .
I eat veggie burgers with lettuce vs a bun, veggie tacos with organic corn tortillas, veggie spaghetti with quinoa pasta, veggie stir fry, veggie wraps with gluten free (organic brown rice flour) Tortillas and of course veggie salads. I roast veggies, barbecue veggies and eat raw veggies with organic home made hummus. My girlfriend makes a gluten free veggie lasagna to die for. She make the noodles out of organic quinoa flour (grinds her own flour in the vita mix) and uses an organic raw cashew and nutritional yeast as white sauce replacement for cheese. We make a Portobello stroganoff sauce that is gluten free (gluten free flour) dairy free (coconut cream vs sour cream) and uses organic veggie broth. It is my favorite meal. I usually put it over organic brown rice or organic quinoa. She also make some pretty darn good sugar free, dairy free and gluten free desserts – like her Avocado, Coconut Cream, Agave, chocolate Mousse. You can use cocoa powder or organic cacao.
Another favorite is wild Alaskan cod – gluten free breading and baked. I eat it once or twice a week. We get the cod at Costco and use gluten free bread crumbs and gluten free flour. We do use an organic egg as a binder, Learn more as to what protein sources we eat in my Protein myth page.
The more vegetarian I eat, the better my body feels, and the better my digestive process works. Eating mostly vegetarian also helps keep my weight down which helps my joints. I have always been a husky guy and gain weight fast if I don’t eat healthy and exercise. Eating mostly vegetarian also helps keep my cholesterol and blood pressure low.
Dairy and Milk Products: I have eliminated most dairy milk products from my diet. I don’t drink milk at all, I do still eat cheese though only sparingly. Dairy has lactose and casein. I am pretty strict about not eating casein which is in all dairy including goats milk and cheese.
My big vice was espresso lattes and coffee creamer. I don’t like almond milk and I don’t eat soy. Today I drink coffee with coconut cream instead of creamer, it’s actually very tasty.. I’ve talked to others that use rice milk or soy milk in place of milk. I don’t eat or drink soy products. I take a cup of coffee from the Keurig, pour it in the vita mix blender with a small spoonful of coconut cream (not coconut milk) Coconut Cream – comes in a can at Trader Joe’s. I whip it up in the vita-mix and voila! Tastes better than a latte and NO DAIRY! We use coconut cream in place of cheese and sour cream in recipes like the Portobello stroganoff and my spicy veggies to make them creamier.
Protein: Since I don’t eat much meat I get my protein mostly from quinoa, black beans, garbanzo beans, fish, organic eggs and organic vegetarian protein mixes like “Maca Up” or “Metagenics UltaInflamX 360.” . Believe it or not there is protein in vegetables as well. Some experts believe that we can get more than enough protein just from our vegetables and beans. I think it is up to each individual to experiment and see what works for you.
Veggies have protein. It’s a scientific fact!. Those that believe we need to eat meat to get enough protein, are simply misinformed. It’s all in the nutritional science.
The challenge with getting protein from vegetables is not one individual vegetable has the complete Amino Acid chain to make up a complete protein, which your body needs to absorb and utilize the protein. You have to eat or drink a variety of vegetables in order to get the complete chain of protein amino acids your body needs.
An option I sometimes use is I will add vegetarian organic protein mix to my juice ensuring I am getting enough protein and all the amino acids without the meat, dairy or Casein.
I will use Metagenics UltraInflamx 360 which is an anti-inflammatory blend of all organic ingredients designed to reduce inflammation. It has a lot of Turmeric in it which is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. The protein comes from organic brown rice.
I also use a product called “Maca Up”
It is vanilla flavored (naturally) all organic and is a vegan protein supplement with the complete amino acid protein chain. It tastes incredibly good and makes my juice and green berry smoothies taste awesome! The protein comes from organic peas and organic brown rice.
I eat a lot of organic quinoa. Buy it in bulk at Costco. Quinoa is a low carb high protein whole grain that tastes great. It also has the full amino acid chain of proteins making it the perfect protein. That is also why we learned to make home made gluten free quinoa pasta for veggie lasagna, veggie or shrimp fettuccine and veggie spaghetti. Ok, so I used the word “we” a little loosely there, my girlfriend Brandi makes the pasta. I am grateful for that!
No, I’m not a vegan nor do I want to be. Most of my vegan friends eat too much wheat, grains, sugar and soy.
I don’t eat any soy and rarely eat sugar or wheat. Why don’t I eat soy you ask? I used to. My first generation of smoothies was made with soy milk. First, 90% of the worlds supply of soy is genetically modified or GMO. No thank you! Some research says that soy can affect the endocrine system and I don’t want to eat anything that could possibly mess with my hormones
Fish like salmon, cod and halibut are a great source of protein as well as Omega 3 Essential Oils. I eat fish 2-3 times a week
I only eat fresh or fresh frozen fish. I never eat farmed fish. When ordering fish at a restaurant I if they cant guarantee me it’s fresh and not farmed then I wont eat it.
I eat eggs but not much anymore. Just doesn’t appeal to me without toast and cheese! It’s still animal protein but we use organic eggs to make the quinoa pasta and also in breading the gluten free baked cod.
Essential Oils: As previously mentioned, fish is a great source of essential oils, as are some raw nuts and oils that come from nuts. Essential oils are called “Essential” because your body needs them but does not produce or manufacture them internally so they have to come from an outside source.
In addition to eating fish I also take a liquid supplement called Udo’s Oil 3*6*9 a product made by Dr. Udo Erasmus and available at almost any health food store, organic grocers and whole foods. I drink a couple ounces a day. Some people don’t like drinking it straight, it’s kind of like drinking liquid butter as far as the taste. A trick I learned is to squeeze the juice from a small piece of fresh pineapple into the Udo’s Oil, the pineapple juice sinks to the bottom of the oil and is the last thing you taste when you drink it. I use a garlic press to squeeze out the pineapple juice. The Udo’s is a combination of different oils from nuts and designed to give your body the proper combination of omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids for maximum absorption into the body. I believe that Udo’s oil taken daily over a long period of time has done wonders for my Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Wheatgrass Juice: I try to drink 2 ounces of fresh, organic wheatgarss juice 2 -3 days a week. I love Jamba Juice! They serve fresh organic wheatgrass juice and ginger shots. They even make fresh juice now, but I stay away from their smoothies because they are loaded with sugar and some have dairy. They are in almost every metropolitan city I have traveled to in the US, and it is only a few dollars and change for a double shot (2 oz. of wheatgrass juice, they do the work and clean-up. Wheatgrass juice is loaded with minerals, a large percentage of all the minerals known to man. If I am in a place I can’t get fresh wheatgrass juice, I have some powdered wheatgrass supplements I mix with water and drink.
Green Drink: Green Drink is a powdered supplement that comes from all sorts of vegetables and grasses like wheatgrass and others, and again is loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. You just mix it with water and drink it down. I learned about green drink at a Tony Robbins Seminar and use a product that his company manufactures. You can purchase green drinks at most grocery and health food stores.
Water: I can’t say enough about water. We all know we need to drink more water but we don’t. We are dehydrated most of the time. I have worked really hard at drinking more water. I have a water purifier on my sink at home and a brita in the fridge. When I do buy water I only buy trusted brands of purified water. Today you can even buy filters and water that is alkaline. Very Cool! A rule of thumb is to take a small drink about every 5 – 10 minutes. I was taught at a Tony Robbins seminar that I need to drink half my weight in ounces every day. So I weigh about 220 lbs so I try and drink approximately 110 ounces a day. Yeah I know, lots of trips to the bathroom! It’s not so bad. Your body uses water to flush your system so it aids in removing toxins from your body.
I use a reusable water container most of the time, but when I don’t have it with me I buy plastic bottles of water, but try to recycle them. I wish they had more recycling receptacles in public spaces. I hate throwing them away, but sometimes have no choice. I am aware of the problem of plastic bottles filling up the landfills so I do make an effort to recycle most of the time.
Sugar: I don’t really have a sweet tooth, so sugar isn’t a big deal for me. I don’t drink pop or sodas very often, they are really bad for you and loaded with chemicals and calories. The occasional root beer at the movie theater is about it for me. I do enjoy a small piece of organic dark chocolate as a treat. I rarely eat desserts. I have been told excessive sugar intake can contribute to inflammation so I try to keep it to a minimum.
Supplements: I’m not big on lots of supplements. I do take a multi vitamin and I also take Glucosamine , Chondroitin and MSM, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and fish oil. That’s about it for me besides my green drink or organic veggie protein mixes which have a lot of supplemental nutrition as well. I once saw a naturopathic doctor for my Lupus / Rheumatoid Arthritis who had me taking dozens of supplements and it made me sick to my stomach, so I have settled with just taking a few that I have found to make a positive impact for me.
Juicing : Fresh Juice! I love it! I have a juicer at home and make my own. One of my favorites is Carrot, Apple, Beet, Ginger parsley, kale, spinach juice. When you are drinking fresh juice you can taste the freshness and it just feels healthy going down and you get all the fresh enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Cleansing and Juice Cleanse: I have been doing juice cleanses for 16 years, ever since I was first diagnosed with MCTD (Mixed Conective Tissue Disease) which is a combination of Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Scleraderma. I have a different take than most people I talk to who do a cleanse because I believe in nutritional support during the cleanse vs. just juice.
The purpose of a cleanse is to aid your body in eliminating harmful toxins and chemicals that build up in our bodies and can cause health problems. Our environment, processed foods, non-organically grown fruits and vegetable, the air we breathe, it is all contaminated and we ingest all sorts of toxins everyday. Some of the toxins get eliminated, but our bodies can only eliminate so much at a time, and some of the toxins build up over time and our stored in our cells.
I believe in cleansing, but I also believe in healthy nutritional support while I do a cleanse. I do a juice cleanse 2 times a year, usually for 7 – 10 days.
Here is what I do. Prior to the cleanse I eat strictly vegetarian for at least 2 -3 days. This gets my digestive system cleared out and ready to go for the cleanse. I also do that because the first time I did a juice cleanse I had been eating meat the day before which tends to clog my system or at least slow the digestive process, and when the toxins were being released into my system with the cleanse they couldn’t get out of my body fast enough and it caused a lupus flare up. I haven’t had that problem when I eat nothing but veggies for a few days first.
I use a product called Ultra InfamX 360 by Metagenics, which was recommended to me by a Naturapathic doctor in Seattle. It is a powdered supplement designed for eliminating toxins in people with inflammatory diseases and has anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric. . It has organic brown rice protein and all kinds of vitamins, minerals and amino acids so it gives your body plenty of nutritional support throughout the juice cleanse. It has worked well for me.
I make fresh juice with organic apples, carrots, beet , kale, parsley, and ginger, then I mix the UltraInflamX with the juice and drink it three times a day. Between my cleansing shakes I drink lots of fresh vegie juice and a whole lot of water. I also like to go to the gym and sit in a sauna and sweat out those toxins. I can’t stress enough to drink alot of water. 5 – 10 days and I am refreshed, cleansed, full of energy and ready to eat again.
After the juice cleanse I usually ease my digestive system with only veggies for a day or two before adding other carbs or any animal or fish protein. The other thing I have done during a juice cleanse is colonics. I was introduced to colonic treatments at Tony Robbins Seminar, which is by far the most comprehensive health (and Life) seminar I have ever attended. I highly recommend it. Colonic treatments infuse your colon with purified water and aids your body in eliminating built up toxins and fecal matter from the walls of the colon. It works. I felt a little nausious after the first treatment, but by the third I felt great. I highly recommend colonics as a part of your cleanse, but also must add that you should consult your doctor first.