Sharing the Journey: Ensuring Healthy Eating Habits
The Sharing the Journey series is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.
This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:
While there is no lupus-specific diet, being mindful of what you put in your body, eating healthy and staying hydrated is very important for lupus warriors to feel their best. How do you ensure you are eating well?
Most of my meals are homemade, that way I can control the sodium in my diet, and I try to make sure there's enough left over so I don't have to cook every day. When I meal prep, I freeze food so it's easy for me to heat up a healthy meal without wasting. I try not to buy sweetened beverages and stick to water and seltzer and squeeze in some citrus to give my water some flavor. I also make my shopping list in advance which helps me stick to the healthier items on my list. I've became familiar with reading the nutrition information, which has helped me keep my blood pressure stable by not purchasing items with high sodium counts. I also go for fresh or frozen vegetables over canned goods because they are healthier. – Jaime
I must admit that eating well is something I struggle with. Most days I don’t have an appetite, though I make sure I am drinking water all day long. My goal, however, is to eat small meals throughout the day as advised by my physician and to drink as much as I can. This keeps my energy up and overall helps me to feel better. – Angel
Taking care of your body in any way, shape, or form is vital to maintaining your overall health when you have lupus. In order to make sure I am eating healthy meals, I like to meal prep a lot of healthy ingredients at the beginning of the week. Since the food is already prepared, it makes it easy and fast for me to make healthy choices during the week. I also make sure to have meals rich in meat, fruits, and veggies before I do something extremely physical. I am an avid exerciser, so I also make sure to drink a sports drink after every workout to get back all those electrolytes I lost during my run. The more I hydrate, the more energy I have! This is super important since lupus can zap your energy very quickly. – Becca
Over the years, research has provided more insight into how making healthy lifestyle choices and eating a balanced diet can help ease symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. While there is no diet specific to lupus, we recommend obtaining antioxidants from a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and adding moderate amounts of freshly cooked meats, poultry, and fish. It’s also ideal to drink plenty of water, if there is no fluid retention, and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. As our lupus warriors shared above you can manage and maintain a healthy lifestyle, even small changes to your daily eating habits can make a big difference.