The 5 Best Tools for Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis (part I!)
When I was diagnosed with RA, I realized I needed certain tools to make my life easier as I was getting used to my restrictive elimination diet and the boatload of medications, supplements, and other things I had to keep track of, like monthly blood draws and new recipes.
I'll continue to expand my toolbox over time so consider this part one, but below you can find all of my most favorite tools that you need to have to make your life easier if you're struggling with rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disease.
Ready? Let's dive in.
RA Tool #1: Compression Gloves
My partner actually got me these incredible rheumatoid arthritis compression gloves by Dr. Fredericks that I swear by. I wear them to bed every night and wear them during the day (especially if it's cold outside!) to reduce my swelling and pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
Raynaud's -- another autoimmune condition that reduces circulation in your fingers and toes -- runs in my family, and I've struggled with things like Chilblains' as well.
Basically if you have a lot of inflammation, you need to keep your circulation going strong. Compression gloves help ~particularly~ if you have wrist pain. Carpal tunnel is another close cousin to RA (and sometimes a symptom/side effect) and a compression glove not only helps to reduce swelling, but to reduce pain and keep the joints in your hand warm so they don't get damaged as easily.
I love the above gloves in particular especially because they're designed by a doctor, and provide special stitching so you still get circulation in your hands and can do things like type without discomfort, which is great for writers like me.
RA Tool #2: A Hefty Pill Organizer
One thing I wasn't expecting when I got my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis was the sheer number of pills and supplements I had to take every day.
And it's so complicated to keep track of! Don't take folate the same day you're taking your methotrexate. If you're taking steroids and tapering off, make sure the dose decreases every seven days. Take curcumin between meals, and probiotics at the end of the day.
I felt like I was in the matrix of trying to figure out what to take when, it was nuts.
Enter: the pill organizer.
You need a hefty one like this pill organizer below that allows you to store all the pills you need per day and can bring with you if you need.
Or if you hate planning ahead, try something like this monthly pill organizer that allows you to plan a month ahead so you can be truly ready 2 rock each day:
However, if you're like me and want a pill organizer that's a bit more stylish and doesn't make you feel like a grandmother, then you can try something like this stylish pill organizer:
Whatever you pick, try and choose a pill organizer that allows you to not have to think about all the various pills you have to take each day for your rheumatoid arthritis. That way, you can have more mental space to enjoy each day.
RA Tool #3: A Cold Press Juicer
The best purchase I've ever made is probably this Jocuu Juicer -- it's a cold press, masticating juicer that preserves the vitamins and healthy good stuff in the veggies you're juicing.
I got this model in the cute blue color, and honestly it's so worth the $100 bucks. (Most fancy juicers in this category are like $400, so this is actually a steal for how good this juicer is!)
I juice every single day, particularly celery juice, which is highly anti-inflammatory.
Everyone with rheumatoid arthritis should be juicing every day: the before and after of how you feel is unreal. Also -- juicing helps you save those vegetables that are going bad in the back of your fridge!
It's important to get a *masticating* juicer like the kind above, because most standard juicers use heat which neutralizes the benefits of vegetables. A masticating cold press juicer like the one I have helps you to get the most out of your juice, and is a must for any holistic health nut.
RA Tool #4: Paprika Recipe Organizer
I live and die by the recipe organizer Paprika. If you're using any other recipe app/organizer, I can't save you.
All of us rheumatoid arthritis folks in the holistic health world understand that food is key to our healing process.
If you're having to go through the process of elimination diets, food becomes especially important because you need to be constantly testing and tracking ingredients, and storing recipes for different parts of your elimination diet is key.
Trust me -- I wouldn't have survived my AIP elimination diet without Paprika.
What I love about the Paprika app is that it automatically downloads recipes from the internet using its browser feature: all you have to do is enter the URL and it automatically downloads. You can also rate recipes, save them in different categories, and all that other good stuff. It also organizes your grocery list based on grocery aisle, and automatically compiles the list from your meal plan. Very snazzy.
I have an app for my computer and phone so I can access my recipes and grocery list everywhere. Highly recommend for everyone, not just RA folks!
RA Tool #5: A Symptom/Food/Emotion Tracker Journal
One of the important parts of the healing process is to track what you're feeling and experiencing.
I'm actually in the middle of designing the perfect journal that combines food, symptom, and emotion tracking to better support you on your healing journey. Be sure to subscribe to this website to stay tuned on when that's dropping :)
In the meantime, you can just use a bullet journal or an Evernote note to better track this stuff and also see what you're learning from your rheumatoid arthritis and holistic healing journey.
Journaling can be incredibly therapeutic, so I highly recommend taking the time to feel what you're feeling -- you never know what it will unlock.
That's all for now -- feel free to let me know in the comments what other kinds of tools would be helpful for you!