Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment: Tips for Cocktail Parties, Holiday Travel and Beach Vacations

Delayed food and chemical sensitivities are an often unrecognized underlying cause of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis. Because the particular foods and chemicals that are triggering inflammation vary from person to person and can even change over time, it is important to be individually tested.

My most important recommendation would be to be tested at least a month ahead of time, so that you know what your triggers are and have figured out a strategy for your cocktail party or vacation to be arthritis-free. It takes most people about a month to successfully discover and learn to avoid hidden food allergens, once they have a list of which foods are safe for them and which they need to avoid. Once they have this skill, they have the power to stop arthritis flair-ups.

For instance, if you are reacting against grapes, brewer’s yeast, sodium sulfate, beef or pork (because pig and cow byproducts are often used to make gelatin and gelatin is often used to clarify wine) you won’t want to skip wine with dinner, but depending on your reaction pattern, you might do just fine with a bloody Mary or a Margarita. If your food sensitivities are moderate or severe, you would be best off skipping the alcohol all together, because it tends to make leaky gut syndrome and therefore inflammation worse. However, that doesn’t mean you have to skip the fun of a cocktail party or drinks with dinner. Knowing what drink set ups are safe for you means you can still “drink” with everyone else without making your arthritis worse and without having to worry about triggering an arthritic flair-up.

If you have a tricky pattern of food and chemical sensitivities, planning a trip to a spa or another place that understands food allergies and can cook interesting and appealing food that is safe for you, might be just the ticket.

A few years ago I noticed that the food concessionaires for the US National Park System were particularly good at creating safe, creative, gourmet entrees even in the face of the food restrictions I had at that time. My best experiences were at the lodges at the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Restaurants that are part of the “slow food movement” are also often a good choice because they are already so aware of what is in the food they serve and much less likely to accidentally include one of your problem foods in the dishes they serve you.

As for the beach, knowing your food and chemical sensitivities ahead of time can be a godsend there too. That will give you time to make sure your sunscreen is not not accidentally triggering your inflammation and if it is, to purchase light colored clothing you can wear instead of sunscreen for sun protection. Knowing if you are reacting against chlorine can let you know if you need to stick to swimming only in the ocean or if the hotel pool is also safe for you.

Since it generally takes about seven days for the inflammation triggered by delayed food or chemical sensitivity to end, mastering how to avoid your inflammatory trigger foods and chemicals before you leave, can make the difference between the vacation of a lifetime and one spent in pain.

Barbara Allan is the author of the best selling book, Conquering Arthritis.

Visit her website for more information on testing yourself for delayed food and chemical sensitivities with the alcat test.