A Supplement That Could Have You Craving Your Calcium

Adora Calcium SupplementIt is important for arthritis warriors like us to maintain good bone health, and taking a calcium supplement is one way to stay on track.

FitSugar calls to our attention an alternative calcium supplement that also doubles as a sweet, all-natural treat: Adora. This is a great solution if you often forget to take your vitamins, and also love a sweet, healthy snack.

One of these fantastic things about these new supplements (besides the fact that they come in dark or milk chocolate) is that they don’t contain any gluten or artificial sweeteners.

Here’s an ingredient comparison:

Viactiv Calcium, Milk Chocolate
Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Calcium Carbonate, Sugar, Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, Cocoa Butter, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Glyceryl Monostearate, Artificial Flavor, Carrageenan, Sodium Phosphate, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K1.

Adora Milk Chocolate
Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Calcium Carbonate, Chocolate Liquor, Milk, Soy Lecithin (an emulsifier), Vanilla, Vitamin K1 (Phytonadione), Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol).

Take a 30-piece bag to work and pop one in the morning and one in the afternoon when your sweet tooth is nagging you.

Don’t forget: the National Institute of Health website recommends 1000 milligrams a day (500mg in the morning, 500mg in the evening) for women 19-50.

Has anyone tried the Adora wafers? How do they taste? Let us know in the comments.

Adora Calcium [via FitSugar]

3 Reasons To Keep A Food Diary / Health Journal

Food DiaryI wish I could say that I am diligent about keeping track of what I eat in a colorful little food diary that I carry around with me everywhere. But I do no such thing. Every so often I think about how it could be useful to keep a diary for a month at the very least, but, let’s be honest, it sounds like a lot of work.

Am I the only one that thinks this? I hope not. I don’t want to find out that not only am I a bad journalist, but I am lazy and whiny, too.

I think part of the reason I don’t keep a food dairy is because I enjoy food so much that I don’t want to find out, for instance, that the delicious, buttery Parrano cheese from Trader Joe’s is possibly the cause of an increase in inflammation. I don’t want to feel compelled to change my eating habits based on my findings. Have I mentioned that I’m stubborn, too?

But a recent post by healthy eating blogger, Ali Hale, got me thinking. What if I sucked it up and kept a food/health diary? Without a doubt, I know I’d learn a thing or two that might actually help me manage my RA better. It also just might help me achieve a healthier state — RA or no RA. Literally as I am writing this post, I have decided that I’m going to give this a two week try. If my scribbling goes well, I’ll go the whole month.

Here are my three reasons why I think keeping a food/health diary would be beneficial:

  1. I’ll find out if I am truly eating a balanced diet
  2. I may find certain foods appear to give me more (or less) energy
  3. I may find a particular food seems to aggravate my arthritis

Okay, so let’s think about how to go about this. In addition to meals and snacks, here are the other items I will record:

  • # of glasses of water, juice, coffee, etc.
  • Hours of sleep from the previous night
  • Level of inflammation on a scale of one to ten (with ten meaning my hands look like the Pillsbury Doughboy’s)
  • Level of perceived energy for the day on a scale of one to ten
  • Indicate the days I took my Enbrel Shot
  • Indicate the days I forgot to take my other regular meds

Seems like a lot of items, but I want to do this right so I can get a full picture. And now that I’m committed, nothing can stop me! I hope. I created a nifty little excel sheet that I will fill in. If you want to download the template, click here. Alright, I’m on my way! Who’s with me?

In the meantime, check out Ali Hales’ 5 Reasons to Write Down Everything You Eat for a Week [via Lifehacker]

Three Tips On Living Life More Optimistically

Having a chronic disease not only has a way of zapping your energy, but it can also deliver a mighty blow to your optimism as well — especially when you are first diagnosed and trying to sort out all the new information:

I have WHAT? I need to give myself a SHOT to feel better? I CAN’T play softball anymore? I need HELP opening the salsa jar now? I don’t have TIME to be slowed down by this disease! Bah!

Thomas Edison was an optimistic fellow and has some great tips that one can apply to managing their disease or to life in general. The folks over at Life Dev have the complete post, but I’ll offer up my favorite tip to get you started:

1) There is no such thing as a failure- there are only unexpected outcomes which will provide valuable guidance for future work

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. -Thomas Edison

Edison believed that most people gave up to soon and walked away from success, accepting failure. He viewed negative events as temporary setbacks on his inevitable path to success. To live like Edison, coach yourself to not take setbacks personally, and instead think of them as temporary glitches on your way to success.

When I am having a bad day, I think of that line from the movie Galaxy Quest: Never give up; never surrender!” That helps keep me on the right track, mentally.

On days when your body isn’t cooperating and you just feel like crawling back in bed, but you can’t because you have responsibilities to attend to … how do you stay positive? Leave your tips in the comments.

Read Life Dev’s full post on living optimistically here.

Eating Healthy: 11 Foods You Aren’t Consuming

This informative post from Tara Parker-Pope’s blog provides the “What, Why, and How” for eating healthful foods (such as cinnamon, beets, and frozen blueberries) that might not find their way into your kitchen on a regular basis. These eats are worth a second look!

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating [via the New York Times Well Blog]

How To Explain To Friends And Family What It’s Like to Live With A Chronic Disease

Spoon with a SmileIf you live with an arthritis-related chronic disease, it is imperative that you know about The Spoon Theory.  Imperative, I say! It might just be the best tool out there for helping your loved ones understand your disease a little bit better.

Blogger, website founder, and Lupus & Fibro warrior Christine Donato came up with the most excellent description (on the fly, no less!) about how the lifestyle of someone with a chronic disease is different from a person who is healthy. Hence, the Spoon Theory was born!

Essentially, the theory explains that someone with a chronic disease has a limited amount of “spoons” to get them through each day, therefore he/she has to budget them wisely so that he/she does not run out before the day is over. For instance getting up, making breakfast, showering and getting dressed would require at least four spoons.

Excerpt from the Spoon Theory:

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war.

Christine’s theory is a great way explain to friends and family alike why you sometimes have to cancel plans, or why you need to rest in between activities, or why sometimes you don’t have the benefit of a “second wind.”

Have you come up with creative ways to give your loved ones insight into your disease? Share your story in the comments!

The Spoon Theory (PDF) [via ButYouDontLooksSick.com]

Six-Part Podcast Series On Managing Crohn’s

Drug company Abbott (known for making HUMIRA) has created a six-part podcast series that focuses on issues that people with Crohn’s disease might be faced with. Normally, I’d be cautions to recommend anything that a drug company skins as helpful information, but this seems like an honest effort on their part. If the first episode is any indication, the main goal of these podcasts is to deliver relevant information about disease management.

Here’s what the site says the Crohn’s Casts will offer:

The podcast series shares insights and tips from health professionals regarding diet and nutrition, the emotional impact of the disease and its effect on relationships. Each Crohn’s Cast also includes a first-hand account from a person living with Crohn’s disease.

The first podcast is about 10 minutes long. You can listen to it directly on the site or download it as an mp3. Two episodes are currently available: “Food–Friend or Foe” and “Enjoying Eating.” Other topics are listed below with the dates that the will become available:

  • August 20, 2008 – Understanding the Mind-Gut Connection
  • September 3, 2008 – Coping with Crohn’s
  • September 17, 2008 – Dating Dilemmas
  • October 1, 2008 – For Better or For Worse

Crohn’s Casts [via Fayette Fitness & Health]

Changing the Face of Lupus

Nicole Paxson CosmeticsDiagnosed at the age of 12 with Lupus, Nicole Paxson is now a young adult. As a response to being unable to find the right make-up to offer good coverage, she decided a few years ago to take on the challenge of developing a cosmetic product line that would offer high SPF UVA/UBV sun-protection, in addition to maximum coverage. After three years of extensive testing and perfecting, Nicole’s products have launched.

Good candidates for Nicole’s full coverage make-up include people with Rosea discoloration, Lupus’ butterfly-rash, dark circles, or acne scarring.

A subtle nod to the skin rash that is so common in Lupus patients, Nicole uses a butterfly as part of her logo. She also named each of her products after North American butterflies. A portion of the proceeds are donated to Lupus and skin disorder research. Currently her products are available through her website.

If anyone has used her make-up, please let us know what you thought of it in the comments.

Nicole Paxson Cosmetics

Her Product

Top 4 Lessons I Learned At Comic-Con About Managing My Rheumatoid Arthritis

Comic-Con Exhibition HallI’ve had RA for 11 years, yet I still need to be reminded to be good to my body and not overdo it. Two weeks after the Juvenile Arthritis Conference, feeling more committed to taking better care of myself, I went down to San Diego for the annual monstrosity that is Comic-Con. For those of you who have never been, the convention is a gigantic world where comic books, movies, TV, collectibles (and more) collide to create a sensory overload. Trust me. It’s a whole lot of fun, but it means a lot of walking and standing. These lessons may seem obvious, but when you mix Rheumatoid Arthritis with stubbornness… well, you guys understand.

The Lessons:

  • Take regular sitting breaks to rest the feet.
  • Don’t forget to take your medicine even if you get back to the hotel room late and just want to crash. Your body worked overtime today and the meds will help you achieve a better tomorrow.
  • It’s okay to wear light colored sneakers (instead of your cute, but uncomfortable open toed heels) with dark jeans and a dressy black top because comfort sometimes must win over style.
  • When your sweet boyfriend suggests taking a taxi back to the hotel, rather than walking a mile, don’t say, “I think I’ll be okay to walk.” The appropriate response is, “Thanks for looking out for me; that’s a great idea.”

How do you manage a long day of standing and walking? Leave your suggestions in the comments.