May is finally here!
Now, my birthday aside, May is a very special month to me. Flowers bloom, farmer's markets have beautiful foods, there's an energy in the air that is happily contagious. May is also Lupus Awareness Month, and I want to share why that is special to me...
I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or SLE Lupus. Basically, a "healthy" body creates antibodies, which are like little armies of cells that attack the bad things that enter your body, such as disease and illness and such. Well, my body's antibodies can't tell good from bad, so not only do they attack the bad things, but they also attack my healthy tissue, in my muscles, joints, and certain organs. It causes me to be exhausted all the time, my brain functions like someone who is legally intoxicated most of the time, causing me to slur my words often, be constantly dizzy and such. I have to have bi-annual kidney biopsy's to make sure that my body hasn't attacked my kidneys to the point of needing dialysis or chemotherapy. I get terrible swelling in my joints, much like someone with severe arthritis, and I get these super awesome (/sarcasm/) rashes on my face and shoulders any time the sun makes contact with my skin. In a nutshell, this is my every day life.
Now, before you go feeling sorry for me or anything, I want to share with you what a POSITIVE impact my VEGAN diet has had fighting my Lupus!
First off, my Rheumatologist firmly believes that the ONLY reason that my Lupus has not attacked my GI system is 100% because of my dietary choices I have made. He also believes that, of the inflammation that I have, people who have lupus as severe as mine tend to have about triple my inflammation, which is largely due to a poor diet consisting of red meats and dairy products. Basically, if it weren't for my vegan diet, I could be unable to work, I could be in MORE pain, and I could even be on permanent dialysis to keep my kidneys functioning. My VEGAN diet has kept all this from happening!
Secondly, there are MANY studies that show how a vegan diet is beneficialhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif to those with Lupus. Beef and dairy products are rich in phenylalanine and tyrosine, which are not only unhealthy for anybody, but are chemicals that wreak havoc on somebody who has Lupus, causing severe damage to organs like your liver and heart. It has also been proven that a vegan diet that is at least 80% vegetable-based has had a profound effect on causing skin rashes and lesions that occur due to Lupus to disappear. I know that every time I get a rash, I try to make my diet as vegetable-based as possible, and my rashes not only stop itching and burning, but they tend to go away within days, as opposed to the weeks to months that they typically last!
Dr. McDougall's http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giflow-http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giffat vegan diet has also had such success stories that Lupus has actually gone into full blown remission from switching to his diet from the Standard American Diet....seriously, how cool is that?!
So in honor of Lupus Awareness Month, which also happens to be one of my favorite months of the year, I encourage you, if you don't already, to give veganism a shot. Even if it's one day a week for the month of May, or maybe do some research on what a Vegan Diet can do for you in your life! Give some of Dr. McDougall's literature a read, or check out Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet, to see what a profound effect her diet had on her health.
Happy May, and here's to good health!