I have osteoarthritis in the top joints of my fingers. The worst affected are my little fingers, but I get a bit of pain in most of them, apart from my thumbs.
My hands look like I remember my Grandma’s hands looking. The joints of my little fingers are quite swollen. I don’t have much pain, and I have exercises that the doctor recommended, that alleviate the pain pretty quickly when it happens. But there is no cure, and it will get worse over time.
I don’t want it to get worse. And I don’t want it to spread to other joints.
So – I googled osteoarthritis, and this is what I found:
Some things make you more prone to it (obesity, genetics), some things trigger it (age, injury, repetitive movements), some things can slow it down (exercise, eating the right foods) – and some things can make it worse. That’s the bit I’m most interested in.
The site suggested that you avoid refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white bread, white rice). Well, I already do that – most of my carb intake is wholemeal bread, unrefined sugar, brown rice, wholemeal pasta. Tick.
The site suggested that you avoid alcohol. Well, I only have two glasses of wine a week pretty much, one on a Friday night, one on a Saturday night. I think that’s probably OK. Tick.
The site suggested that you avoid sugar. I have sugar in tea, sugar in coffee, hell I even have sugar in hot chocolate. I put sugar on my Weetabix and my porridge. I eat the Haribo and the chocolate at work. I’ve always reckoned I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth – I’m not a big fan of cakes and pastries, I don’t drink fizzy pop. But – still I manage to get through the sugar. Big red cross.
So now I’m cutting it out. No more sugar in tea and coffee, and no more bikkies. No more sweets at work.
I’ve cut down from one spoonful to half a spoonful of sugar in my drinks. In two weeks’ time, I’ll cut it out completely. Yes, just like that. Knowing that it’s doing me no good, and potentially storing up big problems for the future means I can’t enjoy it. End of.
Well, not just like that – I’ve learnt a lot from the Dry January lot (thanks guys, you’re inspirational!).
I’m going to tackle the obvious sources of sugar first – the tea and coffee, and the bikkies – and I’ve stopped eating sweets at work. Then later I’ll look at the hidden sugars in things like yogurts and curry sauces and breakfast cereal.
I need to plan. I need savoury snacks. I need fruity snacks. I need things that can replace the bikkies, things that can replace the chocolates and the Haribo. Or maybe I need to look at why I need to snack in the first place.
Three days in, and I’m really not missing the sugar in my tea and coffee. I thought I would. I thought I might just end up drinking less tea and coffee, but no! I also thought I’d miss the work-related sweet eating – but again, no. The pleasure doesn’t outweigh the damage it’s doing, now that I’m aware of it.
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