Lupus Lifestyle

Since September 2023, I have been without any lupus medication. My skin tone was turning gray, and I felt I needed a reboot from 13 years of taking heavy lupus prescription drugs.

That would have seemed impossible just a few years ago when I was taking Benlysta weekly and hydrocortisone doses daily. I thought that was going to be my story – for life.

The Beginning

When I first received the lupus diagnosis, it felt like a death sentence. The doctors basically explained to me what was going to happen and that I needed to accept my ‘new broken’ body. It was not under my full control anymore.

For all of you who have received such difficult news as an autoimmune diagnosis, I am here to share my story and tell you that our daily lifestyle can directly impact our quality of life. We can change the outcome with our small, everyday choices.

Plan B

I started studying nutrition, herbalism, yoga, and Ayurveda to fill in the blanks. My goal was to find better answers to my questions about living a fulfilling life without relying on hard medications. Western medicine was helping me during the crisis. Still, I wanted to be able to part from the heavy doses of prescription drugs.

While lupus is not yet curable, Ayurveda can help manage and control undesirable symptoms, including chronic inflammation, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and rashes. In my case, these are the lupus ‘bad news.’

I have consulted with a few qualified Ayurvedic practitioners in the States and found a good combination of treatments. My journey was a trial and error – learning how my body was responding and adjusting to the best therapy and approach. I entered the journey with curiosity and embraced the experience. 

My Approach

Some principles to feel and live better are obvious, but many neglect them. In my case, adjusting my lifestyle and managing stress has a direct impact on handling lupus-related symptoms. 

It is a multi-faceted plan. It’s not only food or herbs. There is no simple answer. I have learned the importance of paying attention to my feelings and emotions and, including daily physical activity.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

Diet Strategy:

    • Choose organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible. 
    • Add herbs and spices to your food. Turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger are great allies.
    • Pay attention to any allergy or food sensitivity. Gluten and dairy are trigger foods for me.
    • Favor easy-to-digest, cooked vegetables and fruits over raw, cold ones.
    • Try drinking warm water with lemon on an empty stomach in the morning, and learn to use love herbal teas.

Herbal Remedies:

    • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has many properties, including anti-inflammatory. I take a sizable tablespoonful of the powder mixed with black pepper, lemon, and water in the morning and take curcumin supplements daily.
    • Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is a root that helps reduce inflammation. Experiment with ways to add it to your diet, as part of a meal, as pickle ginger, or as a warming tea.
    • Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera): I love Ashwagandha, and my Ayurveda practitioner combines it with other adaptogenic herbs in my daily treatment – it makes a huge difference in my energy levels. Adaptogens help balance our stress, stamina, and immune system.

Ayurvedic Therapies:

    • Abhyanga (self-massage): In my previous blogs, I mentioned it. It’s nurturing and calming, besides helping with the pain due to inflammation. 
    • Panchakarma: A detoxification process that includes various cleansing therapies. It does magic to my body.

While ashwagandha promotes stamina, it is relaxing, and helps to regulate sleep rhythms. It will not help you sleep, taken at bedtime, but it has an overall anxiolytic property that promotes easy sleep over time. A 2021 experiment, published in the prestigious Journal of Ethnopharamcology, found it to be a potent remedy for anxiety. – KP Khalsa

Yoga and Meditation:

    • Gentle yoga and meditation can help manage stress, still the mind, and improve stiffness and body pain.

Lifestyle Recommendations:

    • Establish a regular daily routine to promote balance in your life. Take breaks, listen to your body.
    • Prioritize restful sleep to support the body’s healing process. During sleep time, our immune system resets.

Avoid Triggers:

    • Identify and avoid factors that may trigger lupus flares, such as exposure to sunlight or certain foods.

Look for an Ayurvedic practitioner you trust, a personal trainer, and a yoga instructor who can tailor recommendations based on your body and current needs. Don’t go beyond your limits; respect and accept what your body tells you.

And remember, any alternative treatment, such as Ayurveda, should go in tandem with your rheumatologist’s care. Your doctor can confirm if any of the meds you are under interact with herbs you may be prescribed.

Talk to your primary healthcare provider. They should be your advocate for better health.

With love,

Hope

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