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Good Choice, Bad Choice: How a trip to Banff reminded me I need to eat anti-inflammatory diet

Cole_Banf

So we took a family vacation to Canada a few weeks ago, which I arranged in my usual bright and cheery manner.  I saved a little money, arranged the RV rental, reserved the campsites, packed up the kids and husband, and off we went.  I made it very clear — in a bright and cheery manner — that all family members would be happy, appreciative, and helpful throughout the entire journey; turn that frown upside down — quickly — or be given RV dump duty.

We had a great time in Banff and Lake Louise.  We walked, hiked, paddled canoes, soaked, fished and rode horses.  I came home feeling tired in a good way.  After a few days, though, I started to feel tired in a bad way. After two days of sleeping and resting, I slowly resurfaced from a lupus flare most likely caused by a road trip diet (licorice, cookies, beef jerky, etc.) and spending too much time in the sun while we were in Canada.

Wood_Hannah_BanffEven though I’ve known for years that following an anti-inflammatory diet could help fight my disease, I’ve balked at actually doing anything about it.  I’ve developed a revolutionary way of approaching my disease management:  “I have a wretched disease and therefore I shouldn’t have to do anything to manage my health other than take my medications.”

I know, I know.  I’ve been talking crazy to myself.  It’s like that commercial about the woman who can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and then make her man sing “Oh sweet mystery of life” over and over again:  it’s crazy talk and it hasn’t done me one bit of good.

Humbled, I sat at the altar of All Things Known and begged for insight.  Google responded back with millions of sites but one stood out quite powerfully:  Dr. David Rakel from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health.  Back in the 90s, Dr. Rakel served as a popular physician at what is now Driggs Health Clinic. He moved on to study integrative health with Dr. Andrew Weil and now runs his own integrative health program at UWSM.  He’s quoted in livestrong.com and in various other sites on the web so if you’re interested in his views on an anti-inflammatory diet, check it out.

I’ve made plenty of bad health choices over the years and perhaps the worst choice has been to ignore my responsibilities to myself.  My Jawbone UP has arrived in the mail. (I just need to find a five-year-old to sync it with my smartphone and tell me how it works.)  Making more good choices than bad choices has proven harder than I had thought it would be, and I’ve realized that I really going to have to suit up and get into the game. In addition to my other baby steps toward better choices, I’ll adopt a new diet of anti-inflammatory foods and see what happens.

PS:  For everyone who commiserated with me about the pain of high school reunions, I send my gratitude.  My husband RSVP’d to the reunion committee for the two of us, so you may now offer your condolences.  Now comes the drama-trauma of finding something to wear.

Disclaimer: This blog discusses my personal wellness goals and is in no way a soapbox to tell anyone else how to eat, exercise and/or live their lives.

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