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autoimmune disorders



Tennis Star Venus Williams Starts Raw Vegan Diet

Venus Williams, the seven time Grand Slam winner known for her colorful appearance both on and off the tennis courts, has decided to go vegan. Specifically, she has begun a raw foods vegan diet in a quest to manage her recent diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease which has no cure in which the body attacks itself.

Williams has taken up her new dietary regimen to try to get a handle on her disease. She hopes that by swearing off of all animal products she can manage the symptoms of her disease, which include dry mouth, joint pain and often crushing fatigue. Sjogren’s presents in a  similar fashion to fibromyalgia, and studies have shown that those who suffer from fibromyalgia have found some relief by choosing a vegan diet. In some cases, people who suffer from Sjogren’s have experienced kidney disease.

Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s a month before the U.S. Open began. She attempted to compete, although she was forced to pull out just before her second match. She’s visited multiple doctors to try to determine why she’s suffered from so much pain and a lack of energy over the years, reporting that at times, it’s been difficult to even lift her tennis racket.


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The Mysteries of Gluten Explained

Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.

Calorie Count members want to know more about the mysteries of gluten. Here are some of our readers’ favorite “Ask Mary Q+A’s,” all gluten-free.

How would I know if I’m unable to tolerate gluten?

The classic signs of gluten intolerance are digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. And although not as common, not being able to tolerate gluten can also cause skin rash, joint pain, headaches, and anemia. Sometimes, gluten intolerance can actually show no obvious symptoms at all. Since there is a lot of overlap between gluten intolerance and dozens of other diseases, you should visit a doctor for evaluation if you have any concerns. You also should also consult a doctor before starting a gluten-free diet as this change can impact the test results and confound the diagnosis.


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Nutritional Healing For Lupus Sufferers

This guest post comes from Gale Tern, author, alternative health proponent, and blogger at Arthritis Pain Central.

According to mainstream medical literature, lupus is one of many disorders of the immune system known as auto-immune disease. The immune system is supposed to protect the body from invaders like harmful bacteria and viruses. However, in the case of auto-immune diseases, the immune system actually attacks parts of the body it is supposed to protect.

The theory is that when your body turns on itself and begins to damage cells and body tissue, this leads to inflammation. And so the inflammation you see associated with lupus is really a symptom of the disease. Lupus affects all parts of the body including the heart, kidneys, joints, skin, lungs, brain, tendons, and blood vessels. The most common symptoms of lupus include extreme pain, inflammation, kidney problems, swelling of the joints, fever, weight gain, and skin rashes.

The thing about lupus is that it discriminates. It primarily affects women. In fact, approximately ninety percent of all lupus cases affect women in their thirties.


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Yoga May Ease Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating chronic health condition that affects an estimated 15 million Americans, the majority of which are women. Now, new research shows that yoga may offer relief to the muscle soreness and tenderness associated with this autoimmune disorder.

In a recent study of more than 50 women conducted at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, those who participated in a two-hour yoga session once a week reported improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety and better sleep and mood.
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Staying Fit with Multiple Sclerosis

multiple sclerosisMarch is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month In the United States. (Canada will celebrate in May.) Although Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be understood as a neurodegenerative disorder, it is defined as an autoimmune disorder because the immune systems of sufferers attack their own central nervous systems, damaging the myelin sheath of neurons. This damage causes miscommunication and missed messages between the brain and the nerves. MS can be a very emotionally heavy diagnosis because it is chronic, there is no known cure, and it a very unpredictable disorder. MS can effect any function controlled by the central nervous system.

Symptoms tend to come episodically without any warning. One day a person with MS may be functioning just fine and the next muscle weakness may inhibit walking. These symptoms can also terminate without any warning. The unpredictable nature can be very stressful, the lack of a cure can be disheartening, and the often degenerative nature of the disorder can be depressing.
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