Gout, Gout, get it all out!
If you or a loved one has ever suffered an attack of gout you will appreciate that statement. For those of you lucky enough to never experience this painful condition, here’s the scoop.
Gout is a different form of arthritis, it’s very painful and can come on suddenly, it happens with there is too much uric acid in the blood and crystals start to form and accumulate around the joints. A very common joint it attacks seems to be the big toe.
But what is Uric acid?
Uric acid is a compound produced when your body is breaking down purine. Now, purine is naturally occurring in your body but it’s also packed into certain foods. Usually, uric acid is excreted in your urine, but when there is a build up in your body and you can’t process it, that’s when the attacks happen.
Following a gout diet may not only reduce the pain and inflammation related to gout but may also help you avoid medication. Since so many of our students tell us they have a collection of pills the Doctor has already given them 🙂 it’s nice to have a helpful hint that doesn’t include pill popping. A gout diet is simpler than it sounds and may help lower the risk of future attacks as well as helping protect us from progressing joint damage.
A quick history lesson.
Centuries ago when gout first popped up on the radar, it was dismissed as a disease of the wealthy. It was an overindulgence disease. It was believed that overeating meats and over drinking alcohol were the main reason the disease appeared. Even back then the Doctors of the day saw relief for their patients by using diet restriction.
Here’s the Good News It was once believed the “cure” for gout was an extremely difficult diet that must be followed to the T. It included long lists of foods that must be completely avoided it also contained foods that had low as well as high levels of purine. But having such a strict diet to follow made it very hard for people to effectively stick to the plan.
As we all know, when following an eating regimen if it’s too hard, too long or too confusing, we won’t follow it for too long!
The Good News
With more recent studies we have obtained a clearer understanding of gout as a disease and the important role that following a gout diet can play in your recovery. Yes, there are some foods that during an attack should be strictly avoided… I’d say the pain will help in the desire not to indulge. But the good and exciting news is, foods that once were considered on the no-no list are now part of the yes yes list.
In previous incarnations of the Gout diet, all foods with purines would have been eliminated, even fruits and vegetables. It was believed this was necessary to quickly reduce the uric acid levels.
The gout diet as we know it today really focuses on management of the risk factors for all disease. The awesome goal of the gout diet is obtaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy well-balanced diet, and in return, you are lowering your risk of other diseases. Pretty good bonus package 🙂
Here’s the Deal McNeal… Losing Weight. As we all know being overweight is a huge risk factor for many diseases and gout is on that list. Losing weight even if you are not following a purine-restricted diet will net you fantastic relief, your joints will automatically thank you for lessening their load. Many people also are unaware that losing weight will lessen the damage to your kidneys. The fat in the abdominal area puts a great strain on the blood vessels feeding the kidneys causing eventual kidney stones and other kidney distress.
Eat Carbs! I have to admit, carbs are my go to. I love a bowl of cereal and some fruit. But the powerhouse of carbs is stored up in the complex carbs department. In the previous version of the gout diet, it was believed you should avoid all fruits and vegetables that contain purines. But what we have discovered, it is not necessary to restrict or avoid fruits and veggies even if they run a bit high in purines. It’s much more important to avoid processed carbs like bread, candy sugary beverages and… dun dun dun…. High fructose corn syrup! (which seems to be in everything so read your labels.
Water is the Word. Drink more water, for sure drink your 8 glasses a day it will help your kidneys have something to flush out the bad stuff. Think of it this way. When planning for gold you must have water to wash away all the excess dirt and sand. The kidneys are the same way they must have fluid in the body to release all the excess “dirt and sand” we eat during the day
Cut back the Fat Attack. Focus on reducing your saturated fat intake from meat, poultry, and dairy, yep that includes your mocha from Starbucks (dadgummit!) the sacrifice will be worth it. Power Proteins pack too much of a punch. There are so many diets today that focus on extremely high intakes of animal protein. Unfortunately, this is a huge stressor for your kidneys. Limit your protein from fish, meat, and poultry to 4 to 6 ounces. That is the size of the outside of your hand when made into a fist ( a woman’s hand that is). Focus for a bit on low-fat dairy, usually, we suggest not using low-fat dairy as they will always add sugars, but for a bit when you need the dairy it’s going to be okay. Check out this list of low and high purine foods.
Good for You veggies.Eat lots of fruits fresh cherries are awesome for gout but don’t do what one of our customers was doing. After he heard cherries were good for gout he started eating a jar of maraschino cherries every day. Also, increase your nibbles of veggies even if they are high-purine counts (eat multiple times a week, v.s large amounts at once), always include peas, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus. Include your favorite beans and lentils to help boost your proteins. Limiting amounts at serving time is better than eliminating these foods totally.
Purine-Rich Foods.Avoid All organ meats. All processed meats, bacon ( I know that freaks some of you out) also avoid all processed deli meats as they contain loads of salt and chemicals, (we talk more about that in our second book, There’s NO Food in your Food)
Seafood. For now avoid anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, haddock, mackerel, tuna, and herring.
Alcohol.I know that will be hard on your social life if you enjoy having a beer with your mates but alcohol significantly raises your uric acid production and also is a factor in dehydration. Beer specifically increases your risk of having attacks of gout. For wine drinkers, the verdict is still out.
Coffee Lovers rejoice! For whatever reason (let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth) coffee consumption may help reduce the risk of gout attacks, especially the regular caffeinated coffee. Can we all say, Thank you, Jesus!
Quick Menu Ideas
Breakfast Old Fashioned Oatmeal for Breakfast (not instant) drizzle a big of Original Canary Island Garlic Herb Olive Oil over the top before serving. Super Delish! I can’t eat oatmeal without it 🙂
Lunch 2 oz of sliced chicken breast 2 Tablespoons of Black Beans ½ apple diced Sliced almonds Sliced cucumbers
Serve on top of organic arugula and spinach salad Drizzle Canary Island Garlic Herb Olive Oil over top with Drizzle of Honey
Following these simple steps is a huge step in the right direction.
Take it one day at a time and add our Canary Island Garlic Herb Olive Oil to everything you eat. It is sugar-free contains no high fructose corn syrup and is almost totally salt-free. It hits all the right targets for a gout free lifestyle.
If you have a friend or family member that suffers from gout attacks please share this information with them.
We thank you in advance, take good care. Miriam Vigoa and Kristi Linebaugh
Join us this weekend in Valdosta Georgia for the Azalea Festival March 10-11 It’s a great festival and lots of wonderful people and a beautiful area. We would love to see you come on by and say Hi!
P.P.S When you’re ready here’s two more ways we can help you.
For free shipping on a 4 pack of our oils, use our Etsy site with the shop code SHIPMEFREE