May 26, 2010

Healthy Nutrition for Lupus Warriors!

Where are ALL my Lupus Warriors?!

I want to see you raise those aching hands, go ahead, do it! Today we're going to learn how to become STRONGER by becoming healthier. Knowledge is POWER luvies, and we're going to educate ourselves to beat this battle called Lupus!

I attended a Nutrition Seminar at the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation with a lovely lady named Brooke on May 11th and learned so much about how eating healthier can help Lupus patients immensely.

Here I learned that we should all be eating FIVE servings of fruits and vegetables. This is the total amount, so you may pick and choose how many fruits/vegetables until you reach a total of FIVE for the day. While this is important, you'd be surprised to learn that the COLOR of the fruit/vegetable you choose is also important!

Each different color of fruit/vegetable contains a unique vitamin that is essential to our health! The processed foods that many of us eat could NEVER compare to natural whole foods, and are often the culprit behind why so many of us become sick.

Here are some examples of Fruits, their colors, and essentials:

Red Fruits and Vegetables
Contain nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin, to name a few. These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, scavenge harmful free-radicals, and support join tissue in arthritis cases.

Orange and Yellow fruits and vegetables
Contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macula degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.



Green vegetables and Fruit
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Similar to the previous nutrients, these nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells.

White fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG, and lignans that provide powerful immune boosting activity. These nutrients also activate natural killer B and T cells, reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and balance hormone levels, reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers.

*Remember: According to the Food Pyramid POTATOS are NOT considered as a vegetable, because they are mostly consisted of starch, and should be eaten sparingly.

>Below I'll share a Food Color Chart, that will help you identify the proper fruits/vegetables with their colors, you'll be surprised what goes where!<

The nutrients found in the above fruits and vegetables have a significant impact on our health.
 
Quercetin, which is found in apples, onions and other citrus fruits, not only prevents LDL cholesterol oxidation, but also helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.

Ellagic acid, which is mainly found in raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts, has been proven in many clinical studies to act as an antioxidant and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract. This nutrient also has been proven to have an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, because it decreases their ATP production.
The best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene, is converted into vitamin A upon entering the liver. Although being known for its positive effects on eyesight, it has also been proven to decrease cholesterol levels in the liver.
Clinical studies have proven that lycopene, mainly found in tomatoes, may decrease the risk of prostate cancer, as well as protect against heart disease. Lutein, which is found in blueberries and members of the squash family, is important for healthy eyes. However, it does support your heart too, helping to prevent against coronary artery disease.
Along with the above stated nutrients, there are even more nutrients found in fruits and vegetables that provide a great deal of support to our body. Almost everyone has heard of vitamin C, which keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. This nutrient is scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits, but commonly associated with oranges and other citrus fruits. Potassium, which is the nutrient most Americans are deficient in, does great things for our hearts, and lowers blood pressure.
Another good food component many people don't get enough of if fiber, found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Flavonoids, which include anthocyanins, flavones, isoflavones, proantocyanidins, quercetin and more, are found almost everywhere. They are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and vegetables and help to stop the growth of tumor cells and potent antioxidants. They also can reduce inflammation.

Beta-glucan, found in mushrooms, stabilizes and balances the body's immune system by supporting white blood cells. EGCG is found in tea and has been shown to reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer. It boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation, which defends our body against sickness and disease.

Bioflavonoids, which are found in citrus fruits, are considered a companion to vitamin C because they extend the value of it in the body. These nutrients have the capabilities to lower cholesterol levels and support joint collagen in arthritis cases.

The number one excuse for not eating the required five servings of fruits and vegetables each day is they are too expensive. However, as compared to the amount of money spent on prepackaged, processed, and fast foods, most fruits and vegetables (with the exception of those that are not in season) are not all that expensive.
Because frozen fruits and vegetables retain the majority of their nutritional value, they can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season.

Someone who is not able to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day can also drink fruit and vegetable drinks in their place. Although this shouldn't become a habit, fruit and vegetable drink mixes can be an excellent substitute when you're rushed or traveling.

The need for fruits and vegetables in our diet is growing rapidly with the type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol, hypertension that result from the "Typical American Diet" of fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.






You can find lots of other great nutritional information at Disability & Health News !

In the end, it is up to only us whether we choose to make the right choices for our body. Sometimes we have to sacrifice the unhealthy things to prolong our lives. When living with Lupus it is extremely crucial what we put into our bodies. So many foods today are pumped with pesticides, hormones, artificial ingredients, MSG, etc... and the list goes on.

We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to such matters, there are so many things about Lupus that we cannot control, however we CAN regulate what we put into our body, take care to make the right choices because it IS makes every difference from making the wrongs ones.


As always be STRONG luvies! Together we can stand tall & Fight the never-ending battle. Never give In!



 



May 19, 2010

Strength from a Footstep...

All it took was a few footsteps and I was reduced to tears...
                                                                                                                                      My Sister Nicole
It all began on thee 8th of May, 2010 at the Piedmont Park in Atlanta Georgia at 3pm sharp, people from far and wide gathered to show support in all different kinds of ways, but mainly to Walk for Lupus with the Lupus Foundation of America: Georgia Chapter for about 1.5 miles.                                 

A woman woke up, organized her friends and drove several miles out of state to stand strong and walk for a cure that is affecting millions of people all over the world. Lupus; an auto-immune disease so severe that some are completely incapable of moving let alone walking without excruciating pain. That woman is my SISTER.
                                                               


 As I looked through the amazing photos they captured that day, it was almost impossible not to get emotional. People of all ages, big, tall, large and small all came together to support loved ones. Stories were swapped & new friends were made.




     
                       


My ATL Walkers of Support!
THIS is why support groups are SO important to people living with Lupus. We all need to feel that we aren't alone, that there is at least one person somewhere out there lifting us up. Many may not quite understand the pain we feel each day, or the struggles we fight to 'Never Give In', but that doesn't matter quite as much as the effort you took to show loving support.

For the full Piedmont Park Lupus Walk album and other awesome information about Lupus Awareness, please visit our Friends Againt Lupus Face-book page!

Remember, Never underestimate the power of your actions. You'd be amazed how many people with living with Lupus are strengthened by just a few footsteps of support!



World Lupus Day 2010!


In case you didn't know; May 10th marked the 7th year strong of World Lupus Day! All across the world "Lupies" (A familiar term used for people living with Lupus) & their supporters showed their awareness for Lupus by wearing orange and/or purple, both of which are the colors of Lupus.




At 8am bright & early I met up with some great folks of the SLE Lupus Foundation , and we rallied at the Today Show. This means, we poked our bright orange Lupus Awareness shirts and waved our orange bands for all to see! We were on TV for a few seconds giving information about Life Without Lupus , which is the official competitive sports team of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and its West coast division Lupus LA, the nation’s leading organization providing comprehensive support services and research funding for the lupus community. Through their team, amateur athletes gain entry into exciting world-class athletic events and raise funds for the fight against lupus.Awesome right!?
No act of Lupus Awareness is too small, EVERYTHING makes a difference! Are you making your voice heard for Lupus?

May 14, 2010

The Love of a Sister...

These days it's often difficult to stay updated when you're always on the go, which for me means endless doctors appointments, Lupus support group meetings, as well as Lupus awareness meetings galore!

Behold! That's when thee online social networks come in to save the day! Twitter and Facebook always help keep me updated on the newest Lupus updates, as well as with friends and family. It just so happens one particular day while I was heading home from seeing my Rheumatologist; I received a tweet from @LupusNY about a new way to support Lupus research.

 @LupusNY spoke about SisSLE-The Lupus Sister Research Study which is a nationwide study that is funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its division, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). 

To be honest I did not feel comfortable having my sisters poked and prodded as I have been for the past several months, however they gushed and practically requested all the information from the Research Institute themselves! *Chuckles*  Here I stand; proud to say I have successfully sent out my blood kit to the SiSLE Lupus Research Sister Study. My sisters and I are now going through the telephone interviews, and email follow-ups. We are proud to say are taking such powerful important steps to finding a cure for Lupus. Our hope is if not to save my life, perhaps a future generation of people living with Lupus. I never was more assured of the love my sisters have for me until this day.
 My Sisters Nicole, *Me*, and Rebekah
 

The life of a "Lupie" is not an easy one, but with the loving support of family & friends we are strong beyond measure!



The criteria to apply to SisSLE- The Lupus Research Sister Study is as follows:
We are enrolling 400 blood-related sisters (including half-sisters):
  • One sister with a confirmed diagnosis of lupus and one sister that does not have lupus.
  • If there is more than one sister without lupus, all may participate.
Criteria for sister with lupus:
Confirmed diagnosis of Lupus (SLE), with disease onset between the ages of 10 and 35 years

Criteria for sister(s) without lupus:
Currently between the ages of 10 and 35

What are participants asked to do?
Each sister, both affected and unaffected, is asked to:

The blood sample may be collected at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY; at a laboratory near your home; or by your personal physician.
To Participate in this amazing Lupus Research Sister Study please contact:

SisSLE Research Study
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
North Shore-LIJ Health System
350 Community Drive
Manhasset, NY 11030.

Call a Research Nurse:
1-877-698-9467

Or

E-mail:
SisSLE@nshs.edu


This study of lupus sisters will provide important insights into the lupus disease process and will hopefully lead to improved treatments and diagnosis! Such a simple step can save a future life, won't you help?

May 13, 2010

Walking Towards a Cure...

 Organizing a successful walk team in less than a month is definitely tricky business!

 BUT...

On May 1st, Friends Against Lupus created a walk team which kicked off Lupus Awareness month with an awesome start by walking at the "Walk for Lupus Now" -Lupus Foundation of America event in 103rd street, Riverside Park, New York City!

Team Captain & Founder of 'Friends Against Lupus'
 Tiffany 'La Mariposa'

Over 30 team supporters showed up bright and early at 9am, bright-eyed, a bit hungry, but ready for action. Thankfully the blueberry muffins I baked that morning for my awesome team  gave us the zest and energy we needed to get us all organized. Everyone was in good spirits! Our team was ready to go once registration, t-shirts, butterfly antennas, and walk signs were passed around & taken care of!
Team 'Friends Against Lupus'


It's amazing how friends & family pull together to show support for a loved one. NEVER underestimate how important that is or how valuable you are to that person in need! There are over 1.5 million Americans living with Lupus today, and even though we were a small group in numbers, we walked for each and EVERY one of them! Together we raised $525.00 for Lupus research, education, and support services!

Our youngest Lupus Supporter!

Friends Against Lupus is extremely proud and thankful for everyone who lent a helping hand; without each of you it would have been a much more difficult task to accomplish! As a result, we are extremely motivated & currently cooking up several more events to promote Lupus Awareness in the NYC area. I'll list links & sites below if any of you are interested in helping or would just like more information.



Face-book Organization Fanpage: 'Friends Against Lupus' 
Follow us on Twitter: @AgainstLupus

Our Awesome Walk Team: 'Friends Against Lupus'




May 8, 2010

Take a 'NY Minute' to Make a Call for Lupus!

Calling All Lupus Advocates!

I am writing to urge you to please take a New York Minute to Make a Call for

Lupus! It is so important and will not take much time! The names and phone
numbers are below.

You can make a difference for those with lupus by urging your state

assembly-person or senator to pass the following bills which:

✔ fund programs that will help educate doctors, nurses and the general

public about lupus

✔ help raise funds to help those living with lupus in New York State.



When you make the call…be sure to mention:


- the BILL NUMBER

- how you feel it will help those living with lupus
- briefly, your relationship to lupus and experience with lupus, whether as
a patient or someone who cares for someone with lupus.
- your desire that the legislator support the bills, sign on as a sponsor,
and urge his or her colleagues to do the same.

Please do it today--or at least before next Wednesday, May 12th


Call some people listed below on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee,

where these bills are currently being debated.

(Note: the actual bills in the Assembly and the Senate are the same, even

though they have different bill numbers.)


Refer to bill number:


• A 08882A

• This is the Taxpayer Gifts Bill which would lead to a listing of "lupus"
as a check-off box on the 2011 NYS Tax Returns for New York state residents
and corporations to designate donations through their tax returns. The
result: funds to set up lupus education, prevention and outreach programs.
Note this will NOT cost the state anything.
• The sponsor of this bill is Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson


AND bill number:


• A 08884

• This bill creates an education and outreach program for lupus. It also
provides for the creation of a "lupus advisory council."
• The sponsor of this bill is Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson

Call people in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee:

Chair – Herman D. Farrell, Jr 212-234-1430 or 518-455-5491
William Colton 718-236-1598 or 518-455-5828
Michael J. Cusick 718-370-1384 or 518-455-5526
Adriano Espaillat 212-544-2278 or 518-455-5807
Deborah J. Glick 212-674-5153 or 518-455-4841
Rhoda Jacobs 718-434-0446 or 518-455-5385
Joseph R. Lentol 718-383-7474 or 518-455-4477
Catherine Nolan 718-784-3194 or 518-455-4851
N. Nick Perry 718-385-3336 or 518-455-4166
J. Gary Pretlow 914-667-0127 or 518-455-5291
William Scarborough 718-723-5412 or 518-455-4451
Mike Spano 914-799-8805 or 518-455-3662
Helene Weinstein 718-648-4700 or 518-455-5462
Keith L. Wright 212-866-5809 or 518-455-4793

IN THE SENATE…pick up the phone today and call the Senate Health Committee

members listed below and refer to:

• S 07187

• Please support this bill, the Taxpayer Gifts Bill, which would lead to a
listing of "lupus" as a check-off box on the 2011 NYS Tax Returns for New
York state residents and corporations to designate donations through their
tax returns. The result: funds to set up lupus education, prevention and
outreach programs. Note this will NOT cost the state anything.
• The sponsor of this bill is Senator Kevin Parker


• S 03679

• Please support this bill, which creates a state-wide education and
outreach program to help improve awareness of lupus, and train and educate
health care professionals in the care of people with the disease. It also
provides for the creation of a "lupus advisory council."
• The sponsor of this bill is Senator Diane Savino.

• S 03663

• Please support this bill, which creates the lupus research enhancement
program and fund. This fund will enable researchers to investigate what
causes lupus, develop or improve diagnostic tests for early detection, and
develop novel therapies that are safer and more effective, and ultimately,
discover a cure.
• The sponsor of this bill is Senator Diane Savino.

Call these people in the Senate Health Committee:

Chair: Thomas K. Duane 212-633-8052 or 518-455-2451
Jeffrey D. Klein 718-822-2049 or 518-455-3595
Carl Kruger 718-743-8610 or 518-455-2460
Velmanette Montgomery 718-643-6140 or 518-455-3451
John L. Sampson 718-649-7653 or 518-455-2788

Questions? Email lupus@lupusny.org or call 212-685-4118.




THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN MAKING A CALL FOR LUPUS!
 
 

May 7, 2010

Take a Peek!

...Awakened by my late night cravings for chocolate Swiss rolls and Pepsi once again. I only weigh about 110 pounds, but I wonder whether that will fluctuate in the months to come. *Le sigh* Can you believe those two are just a few of the symptoms from my current medication; Prednisone.

Let me take a few moments to assess the happenings of my body at this moment. My fingers and knees are a bit shaky, and my toes haven't stopped tingling for the past hour or so. My belly is at a constant state of "fullness" even without having eaten in several hours. I am told this is a result of Lupus activity in my kidneys. Keeping my hands out of my hair seems to be a difficult task these days...even more so when I realize there is hair in my hands after every time I stroke my strands. All this I have been trying to keep track of in a type of "Food diary". I have found that some foods irritate me and can sometimes cause a Lupus flare.

By Lupus flare, I mean swelling and aching of the joints, stomach pains, migraines, nausea, etc... Some flares are worse than others; I usually never know how bad a day will be until its occurring at the moment. I strongly encourage other "Lupies" to keep food & body diaries. It helps to look back on it and know what is going on as you travel your journey with Lupus.

In effort to find a way to express how it feels to have Lupus; I have found a site with an awesome explanation! After reading the BYDLS (But You Don't Look Sick!?)  post on Lupus, and much tears my mom finally has an inkling of what it is I go through each day. She can finally understand how much of a battle it is just to be able to rise from my bed; let alone get my day started.

MAY is the national month for Lupus Awareness! Educate yourselves & share that knowledge with others. Remember knowledge is Power!

But You Don't Look Sick!? < Read this amazing explanation for what life is like living with Lupus & share it with others to help spread Lupus Awareness.