June 1, 2023
From Viva Vegan Charity

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I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis 20 years ago. It’s an autoimmune disease that causes joints to become swollen and painful and can become progressively worse. I had a strong family history of rheumatoid arthritis, affecting my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Furthermore, my mother suffered from psoriasis.

I had to leave my teaching job as I was in so much pain I could hardly move. For the next 13 years, I took heavy immunosuppressant medication, also used to treat cancer, risking some very unpleasant side effects. During this time, I noticed if I ate certain foods, my joints would feel worse but my rheumatologist assured me: “Diet has nothing to do with it”. But I’ve always been rebellious, so I started researching psoriatic arthritis and diet and found some interesting information on diet and the microbiome. My nurse suggested an elimination diet, starting on simple foods like rice and apples. I found that red meat, eggs, cheese and stone fruits had a negative impact on me.

I’ve always loved animals and have a keen interest in the natural world and decided that I no longer wanted to eat animals. This is when I became an ethical vegan. There were some signs of improvement but then I met a plant-based runner at a vegan festival in London. I told her that, whilst I would love to go running, I couldn’t because of my condition. “Well, I used to have rheumatoid arthritis, but I went wholefood vegan and now I run marathons” she said. I was stunned. She told me she had stopped taking medication 10 years ago and I burst into tears. She encouraged me to try a vegan wholefood diet, which also meant ditching processed foods like plant-based burgers and sausages.

Source: Viva.org.uk