Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hummus…where have you been my whole life?

Okay, so while everyone around me ate hummus for years, I thought I hated it! For some reason yesterday I turned the corner and discovered life! I LOVE  HUMMUS! Wow! What the heck have I been missing all this time? Maybe it took turning vegan until I would give it a shot? Who knows, but I really like it, especially the Sabra hummus (I get it at Costco).

Anyways, RA peoples, how are you? It has been awhile. I have been struggling with painful hands and wrists (enough pain to make me curse like a drunken sailor! Hey that is it! Maybe if I actually become a drunken sailor my pain will go away?! lol). I have also had tons of stiffness and neck pain, yadda, yadda, yadda – just par for the course with RA.

As most of you know I have been a Raw Vegan girl for over 5 months. Well that changed about three weeks ago. The raw diet helped in so many ways – my cholesterol dropped 30 points, I am finally going to the bathroom on a regular basis and my skin got clearer. However, the one thing that got worse and I do mean WORSE was my RA. I have no idea why. How can NO processed foods, and a diet of raw vegetables and fruit NOT help my auto immune disease? I have no answers. But 5.5 months was enough and I just started to incorporate some lean protein into my diet. Very little mind you, maybe 2-3 oz a week. So I am still eating pretty healthy but I have indulged in some occasional crap like a few cheetos, non-vegan desserts, etc. So is my RA better since I incorporated some lean protein and a little processed stuff back into my diet? YES. Let me repeat, YES. I have not taken prednisone for at least two weeks when I had practically been living on it. Now, research shows that my RA should have improved with a plant-based diet, so maybe I am just a freak of nature. I still want and plan to eat a healthy and high plant-based diet because that will keep my cholesterol low. RA people have a higher incidence of heart disease *some research states that due to inflammation, we are at higher risk for cardiac issues. So I would like to combat that with a healthy diet.

So for the unveiling of my beautiful HUMMUS WRAP – just grab a tortilla (in my case a Trader Joe's Brown Rice Tortilla cuz they are chewy and I like em!) and spread your hummus all around, dump in a ton of veggies and voila! I used spinach, carrots, green and purple cabbage, and some avo. Next time I am gonna throw in some red bell peppers.

Hope everyone has a terrific, painless weekend! Now anyone out there know of a natural way to thicken your hair? Methotrexate (oh how I loathe you) makes me lose hair, and I cannot afford to lose a single strand!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Amazing Strawberry smoothie!

Happy Tuesday to all my auto-immune blogger friends! Hey it is windy up here in the high desert (how shocking huh?) – I am getting ready to go for a walk but thought I would share this super yummy raw smoothie with you!

My Crazy Strawberry-Banana-Coconut Smoothie with lots of other goodies

  • 1 box of Coconut water (I use Vita)
  • 7-8 frozen strawberries (organic if you got em)
  • 1 banana
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cashews (for extra creaminess and just because they are so good!)
  • 2 TBSP pepitas (for extra iron)
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds (optional – they are really good for you!)
  • 1 –2 tsp coconut oil (the benefits of coconut oil are amazing…for another post)
  • dash of vanilla
  • dash of sweetener (like agave, stevia, honey – add enough for your sweet tooth)
  • a little extra cold water
  • 1 Warm blanket (cuz smoothies always make me shiver when I drink them!)

Blend and enjoy!

I really like coconut water in my smoothies. I ordered a box from for auto shipment (once a month) and it cost $18 for a case of 12. That is a little expensive compared to plain old H20 but it is so worth it.  So I can use 3 cartons of coconut water a week and I am all over that!

This smoothie tastes amazing – just like dessert! It is packed with vitamin C and potassium and iron. I have been incorporating coconut oil, water and coconut butter into the diet lately. There are a lot of health benefits and I will post later about that.

I hope everyone has a great day! I am stiff as a board this morning but forcing myself to go on a walk. I have three months to get into shape for backpacking. It will be very tough this summer to backpack as my RA has never been worse. I will probably have to take prednisone to do it (and lots of duct tape!) but I will crawl on the trail before I let this crappy disease stop me. I have already had to give up some things that I just CANT do anymore. One of the things that I have had to pretty much give up is snow skiing. This is a bummer cuz me and the hubby love to ski.  But hey, I can sit in the lodge and drink hot buttered rums while the hubby skis right?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Go Green – Green Smoothies that is! Fight your RA with nutrition!

Hey everyone! how is the RA been treating you? Crappy? HAHA – Well how about you up your intake of veggies and fruit by making one of these bad boy green monster smoothies? I have a green smoothie or green juice almost daily for breakfast. It is easy on the digestion and loaded with super-rich nutrient foods that can help power up our bods to combat RA and the associated symptoms like fatigue, yukky skin, hair loss, etc. I am a firm believer that a healthy diet based mainly on plant-rich foods can really help with auto immune disorders. Has my RA improved on the Raw/Vegan diet? NO…but remember I had a major surgery 6 months ago which I think put me in a major flare. That in conjunction with detox symptoms from switching from a crappy Standard American Diet to a High Raw/Vegan diet has made my RA not so good.  But hey, I am not a quitter! I have improved other areas of my health dramatically by going Raw. My LDL cholesterol dropped a whopping 30 points since I started this diet, and we all know how important it is to remain heart healthy when you have RA. I am keeping thin on this diet which really helps my knees. My skin has finally cleared up and alot of my brown splotchy areas on my face (which I know was from RA) have disappeared. My nails grow like crazy and I have also cured myself of lifelong constipation. I know, I know, a yukky subject, but I lived on senekot for years. I was the queen of constipation! Not anymore. I am 100%, totally cured of that crappy ailment (no pun intended!)

Ok, so anyhoo, here is the green monster thang that I drink alot of!  Drinking smoothies and fresh juice is a great way to get tons of veggies and fruit into your diet!

My Green Monster Beast! with a Rubik's Cube in the background..I am such a nerd!

Judy's Spinach Mango Green Monster Beast

  • 2 big handfuls of Organic Spinach (I buy mine in the package at the regular grocery store)
  • 1 cup of frozen Mango (Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 cup frozen Papaya (Trader Joe's)
  • 1 banana (I freeze mine in chunks then just toss them in my smoothie)
  • 1 TBSP Coconut butter (I LOVE THIS STUFF and it is soooo good for you)
  • 2 cups of high quality H20 - (just like waterboy)

That is it! Blend it all up for about 30-60 seconds and you have a super-nutritious green monster beast to feast on anytime of the day!

You can replace the coconut butter with almond butter, or whatever floats your boat. Sometimes I toss some raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in there to increase my iron intake, maybe hemp seeds for protein. You get the picture. A basic green smoothie recipe that you can tweak to your heart's desire and feel good about drinking! Be warned though, go put on a jacket as these dang things make you cold. Well, I am always FROZEN cuz of RA, so cold drinks make me cold…lol go figure.

We can take control of what goes in our bodies! That is the one area that we are totally 100% in charge of! We may have to take crappy meds and live with RA until they find a cure (*cough*) but I WILL control what goes into my body. I hope one day that my RA will turn the corner and I will be able to get off conventional meds due to my healthy diet – if not, well back to cheetos! haha

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Working out with RA – The Dreadmill, I mean Treadmill

Hey, hey, its Saturday! What's up? How is the RA treating you this weekend? Crappy, yeah, I knew that. Well, I thought I would let you know about the new Asics running shoes I just purchased last weekend. I have a treadmill in my bedroom that I try to use at least 3 or 4 times week (if I am not out hiking). But alot of times I put my workout clothes on, lay in my bed and stare at the treadmill. Does that count as a workout? Can I burn calories that way? HAHA…I SO WISH! I have been wearing Salomon trail shoes, but they suck on the treadmill as they are made for the trail. I am soooo glad I purchased these Asics 1140 Running shoes and I got them at a killer price of 59 bucks. I notice my feet are not near as sore after I walk and there is alot of heel cushion. So if you have RA and you are looking for some great walking/running shoes, these Asics are the bomb. You can also insert Superfeet insoles, as they are awesome for arch support.

Asics Women's Gel -1140 Running Shoes

I have stepped up my workout routine lately as I am trying to shed some poundage. I have been alternating walking and running on the treadmill. Granted I cannot run fast (its a jog ok?) but I am hoping it will jiggle the pounds off of me. So far my knees are handling it okay. When I first went on the raw diet, my knees were killing me, but that has subsided a bit. My RA has always really affected my hands, wrists, and feet.  All my other joints are not great, but not near as bad as the former. I used to lift weights faithfully years ago before my RA got really bad. I am trying to start that up again, but with horrible wrists, I have to lift really light and wear tight wrist straps. Remember these:

 Wrap these super tight to hold any weights in your hands…even 2 pounders!

Anyways, here is my workout routine this week (I know a boring post but hey, my life is mostly boring!)

  • Monday: Treadmill [2.0 miles, alternate walking at 4.0 incline 3, jogging 5.0 incline 1.0)/Pyramid Upper Body Cathe Tape
  • Tuesday: off – felt crappy today
  • Wednesday: off – still felt crappy
  • Thursday: Treadmill [2.0 miles, alternate walking at 4.0 incline 3, jogging 5.1 incline 1.0)
  • Friday: Treadmill [2.25 miles, alternate walking at 4.0 incline 3, jogging 5.2 incline 1.0)
  • Saturday: Treadmill [2.25 miles, alternate walking at 4.0 incline 3, jogging 5.2 incline 1.0)/Cathe Muscle Endurance tape

This routine includes LOTS of Motrin and keeping up on my Enbrel (my medicine routine kind of sucks, I am trying to work on it). I feel the need to really start building up my muscle strength to help support those crappy joints I have. Okay, well it's Saturday and I have not started my workout. Off to the dreadmill, oh I mean treadmill! I hope you all have a fantastic day! And remember, RA is CRAPPY!

What do all of you do for exercise? Do you feel that it helps you in the long run even thought it might hurt to do it at the time?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to peel an orange

Not so easy to do with mangled hands! Simple solution. Have the hubby do it! Yep. He peeled it and then I ate it. Men are really useful for some things! lol. At least for me, peeling an orange with my bare hands is not gonna happen. Alot of times I do not want help even though I need it. Kind of a rebellion thing. One time I stopped all my meds for six weeks just cuz RA pissed me off so much. Yeah, RA won that battle – but it's always a battle with RA isn't it? A mental and physical battle. I cannot open jars, or ziplocks (yes ziplocks…how sucky is that??!!! I mean who cant open a ziplock?), clean showers or any tight spaces, button stuff, etc. But hey! I can still tell RA to go where the sun don't shine right?  For me, I know it's gonna suck most of the time. Like last night at 4:30 am when I woke up to take a Darvocet and some prednisone cuz I hurt so bad. But I refuse to get depressed over it. I would rather just lift my crippled, mangled, middle finger and flip RA the bird each morning, and then get on with my life. Sorry for the middle finger reference, but sometimes that is exactly what I need to do to overcome this crappy RA thang! I do not look to happy in this pic as I was trying to peel the dang orange by myself, but had to let the hubby finally do it! Scroll down for happier pics from this crippled, old RA gal.

Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Hiking essentials with RA 101 – Trekking Poles are a must!


Wrist wraps are absolutely essential RA hiking people using trekking poles! Well at least for me they are necessary.

Pineapple and Peet's Coffee….yum..Pineapple for Bromelain for the anti-inflammatory effects. Heck, I do not notice a difference but it tastes good (even better with Rum and Coconut) No alcohol with RA meds? Who said that…hello I can't hear you???!!!!!! After 13 years with RA, who says I ever listen to Doctor's anymore?

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Has the RAW diet helped my RA?

It's official! I have been raw (well high raw) for three months now.  I posted this over at my other blog RawSierra but thought I would start this thread on the RA Wild blog. Just my thoughts on the Raw diet and RA.

So my thoughts on this RAW diet thang– has it helped my Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I went through some NASTY detox symptoms (at least I think they were detox symptoms). Within one week of the raw diet (and I was 100% raw from the get-go) my knees were super stiff and hurt all day long. My RA got much worse everywhere. Basically I started a major flare and I think it was detox symptoms. Maybe us RA people detox in a weird, joint-associated way. I took more prednisone during this time period than the last 13 years of my RA disease.

Still injecting Enbrel into my thighs 2x/week. In fact, it does not work as good as it used to since I went raw – go figure!

Has my RA improved overall in the last three months?

Well, let me see – in a word – NO.  How sucky is that? I am still worse than when I started. I think it might take longer to detox for people with auto-immune disorders. But I am no expert. I can only tell you what I have experienced.

Have I seen any health symptoms improve?

YES and can I get a YES. I know this a tabu subject but can we talk constipation? I am the queen of it. No the King of it. No the Galactic Ruler of it! I have struggled for my entire life with the number 2 thing. I lived on Senekot. I am sure I kept that company in business. I have tried it all, Benefiber, Metamucil, you name it I have tried it. Now I have always consumed massive quantities of water so that was never an issue. Before I went raw, I ate a ton of steamed green beans which seemed to help but then I would digress to my old sluggish ways. RAW has seemed to cure me of this awful problem. So was it meat, dairy, crap processed food? Do I lack enzymes that help me digest stuff? I have no idea, all I know is that the RAW diet has CURED my constipation.

How about weight loss on the RAW diet?

Yeah whatever (She says with arms folded and back turned!) – Seriously, damn it. I lost seven pounds when I first began this diet, but since then I have lost NOTHING. ZIP. NADA. In fact, I have put on two pounds. Now, to be fair, when I started RAW I had just had a hysterectomy so I basically laid around for three months due to a horrid recovery. So I am sure I lost some muscle mass. In the last month I have really stepped it up and I am lifting weights again and walking alot with the hubby. Yes, it does hurt to lift light weights and exercise when you have RA. At times I find myself cursing my own body parts (damn these wrists, damn you to hell!) but we RA people have got to keep moving no matter what, right? So maybe the two pounds is muscle? At least I can tell myself that! But after three months of being RAW (two months 100% raw, and this last month high-raw), I expected to be down 10 pounds! What the heck is going on? I will have to cut off an arm to lose that last five pounds.

What about your hair and skin?

Is my hair fuller and thicker? NO. But keep in mind I have RA, and the meds make you go bald (seriously, I used to have 100 times more hair). Has my skin improved? Do I have that glow everyone talks about? NO! In fact I still have adult acne at times. I always battle clear skin. I was hoping going RAW might really help that but so far I have not seen any difference in my skin.


Besides the obvious benefits of helping stave off animal cruelty and environmental impact issues, the jury is still out for me as far as my health is concerned. I really had high hopes for going RAW. I really thought I might be able to get off all my meds one day. So far, this seems to be unattainable for me. RA drugs have really nasty side effects, but the disease is so debilitating that most choose to take the meds (including me) or I will cease to function. Now I realize my inside health has probably improved since I am not eating animal fat. I do realize all the benefits, but my main goal was to overcome this dang, crappy RA thing.

Do you have RA and have you altered your diet to see if it might ease the progression of your disease or give you relief? Have you added any supplements or natural therapies to your diet and noticed an improvement in your RA?

Friday, February 19, 2010

My hand modeling career is over!

goodhands Okay, Okay, I do not have George Castanza's hands! Who does? Hey RA peoples! I found some old pics of my hands way back from 2006 and thought I would compare the images with my hands today (why? you ask, I don't know I guess I am sadistic like that). These are my "I wish" hands.

***Warning*** the pictures below are not for the faint of heart and are real-life graphic depictions of mangled, crippled, goofy RA hands (yes goofy as I drop things all the time!). You better have your children leave the room…jk

Well this is the real thang people and we all just have to deal and rock on right? Hey maybe we should have an RA hand modeling contest! The winner gets a pair of gloves. ha-ha! Yeah I'm sick like that! But after all these years, my hands have become the "butt" of jokes. My friends and family seem to find amusement in making fun of my mangled hands. It is kind of funny. I mean what else can we do but laugh at our ailments sometimes.


Well, I have been on various cr@ppy RA drugs since 1996 – so what do you all think? Has the meds stopped the progression of this cr@pola disease? Hey, remember I am only 46 even though my hands look like the crypt keeper. Maybe in heaven I can have beautiful hands, oh and while we are at it, a small booty and gorgeous thick hair (yeah, hair loss is another RA post for another day!)

Hilarious Anecdote: and its twu!  smile_teeth

A few years back, my son Cody spent the weekend with his friend Adam, at my best friend's Leslie's house (Cody, Adam, Leslie – check). The rest of us were on our way down there and decided to stop at a restaurant for a bite to eat. It just happened to be my birthday. So, my BFF Leslie, decided to have a huge brownie thingy delivered to my table. She called the restaurant over the phone to accomplish this sweet task. However, the restaurant needed a way to find me? It was packed, and they were not going to call my name over a loud speaker. My friend told them to look for a girl in a black shirt, but tons of women were wearing black shirts. So my witty, and oh so sick-sense-of-humor son says "Have them look at the hands!, the mangled up hands!" – Well at the time it was hilarious – as they found me right away after that dead giveaway.

So ya see? Because my hands were so twisted, I got a brownie delivered to my table! *sigh* Life is good. smiley


A Wild and Crazy Ride - RA is one sick puppy!

logo Hey! Thought I would start yet another blog that totally focuses on the trials and tribulations or Rheumatoid Arthritis, cuz we know there are at least 2 million of us out there in the US alone! RA has invaded my bod for over 13 years now, so why the heck don't I blog about it, eh? The world needs another blog don't ya think?

Trying to put a positive spin on this wild disease can be a difficult thing, but I will try my best.

RA is Really Awful - how is that for a positive spin? jk - well it is really awful, but when you got it, you got it and you can't give it away - so let's face it together shall we? Having trouble opening a ziplock? Turning a door handle? Buttoning your shirt? Getting out of bed? Well you have come to the right blog!

Repeat after me: RA can bite me, RA can bite me, RA can bite get the picture!

How about we really focus on the positive things in our lives and how we overcome this cr@ptastic disease with determination and lots of wrist braces! So onward fellow crippled people! Let's kick RA's bootay shall we?


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