I belong to many different online support groups for chronic and invisible illnesses. I didn’t jump into all of them right after my diagnosis, in fact, many of them have only been since I started the Spoons 4 Spoonies project.
There are many benefits of the groups. We share inspirational or funny photos, tips to battling our diseases, or just the knowledge that we’re not in this fight alone. Which is no small thing, really.
However, there can be a down side. Sometimes it’s hard to see that there are SO MANY of us out there that are hurting and sick. Sometimes the tips that are meant to be helpful can be too pushy and not helpful at all.
We’re all only human, after all.
One of these groups recently shared a blog about things you should and shouldn’t do with a chronic illness. And while it had some great information, there was one item that really irked me. It was saying that you should immediately change your diet to one excluding dairy, soy, gluten, and anything else that might possibly cause a problem.
This is advice I’ve heard many times since my diagnosis, and not once from any my doctors. It is flung far and wide on the internet without any recommendation that you first discuss any extreme diet changes with your doctor.
And this is why that’s an issue for me…
Not any one diet will work for everyone. While soy might irritate my friend, I can tolerate it just fine and it has NO impact on my RA or anything else. I can have most dairy, but straight milk is not good for me. However, I know others among my groups that don’t have any difficulties with dairy.
Yes, there is some research out there that certain diets can help relieve some symptoms of various illnesses. Will it work for everyone? Nope. Just like each medicine doesn’t work for every one of us. Discussing diet options with your doctors means that you can find a plan that WORKS FOR YOU. Just like discussing treatment options with your doctors means that you can find a plan that is designed to work for you.
I’m not telling you to not make some changes to possibly ease your pain. I’m not telling you that you must, either. I’m telling you to make informed decisions that involve your medical caregivers so that you can get the very best results FOR YOU.
As for the next person who tells me to I need to give up gluten, my doctor says I can have all the bread I want. Excuse me while I go make some toast.