View Full Version : Dietary recommendations

12-10-2006, 01:34 PM
I have read in two different books (about autoimmune diseases) that people with SLE should avoid Soy and dairy.

The dairy is easy because I am not a big fan of it anyway. But the soy was surprising. One of the books said it was because it is an immune booster and a common food allergy.

I also read that we shouldn't eat alfalfa or bean sprouts, because they are hard to clean and they can hide germs.

What do you all think? What have you heard or read?

12-10-2006, 09:14 PM
People with lupus should definitely stay away from any alfalfa products, including alfalfa sprouts, because they contain an amino acid called L-canavanine, which can cause lupus flares. All the lupus experts pretty much agree on that one. Other kinds of sprouts don't have the same levels of L-canavanine, but you might want to avoid them anyway. And some of the rheumatologists recommend avoiding foods or supplements that are high in zinc because it stimulates the immune system - which is exactly what you don't want in lupus. Some of the herbal cold remedies contain zinc. And a lot of herbal products contain echinacea or goldenseal, which people with lupus should also avoid.

As for dairy and soy, like you, I've read a lot of conflicting information - none of which seems to be based on independent research. Soy is definitely a common allergen, but most true "food allergy" develops in childhood in people who have other allergies too. So I'm not sure why they recommend avoiding a food that's an allergen if you're not allergic - kind of like telling people not to eat peanuts because they are a common allergen too.

I know some books say to avoid soy, other say to avoid wheat and gluten, others say to avoid nightshade plants like tomatoes and potatoes. You can read 15 different books, and all of them will have a different program or protocol that's guaranteed to help. But lupus patients have such a wide range of symptoms, and no one really knows how much the disease outcome is influenced by genetics and heredity, so no one diet will probably be right for everyone. Since heart disease is a big risk for women with lupus, following a sensible, heart-healthy diet may be your best option.

12-11-2006, 09:20 AM
I totally agree with MaryCain. I have talked to "Lupies" that swear by avoiding certain foods. As for me, I have actually had more problems, the more restricitve my diet. I think my body thrives best on a healthy, varied diet.

I think all our bodies are so unique, that we have to learn to listen to our own bodies. This disease gives us a chance to really get in touch with our personal feelings and our physical needs.

Of course, I avoid all supplements that could induce an immune response - like zinc, echinacea, goldenseal (don't foget Airborne has all that stuff in it, even though it's all the rage right now).

Also, I'm sure to avoid foods that are more likely to harbor increased bacteria, etc: sprouts, unpasteurized juices, and I'm sure all my meats are cooked well done! And don't forget to wash those hands!

12-12-2006, 02:20 PM
The only soy product I ever eat is soy sauce, and very little of that.
As for dairy, it has never given me a problem. I asked my doc about it, and he said he'd rather see his Lupus patients approach calcium deficiency naturally than with pills, so until there's a problem with milk products, or until we see a definite connection between lupus flare and dairy, he said to eat up!
I try to follow a sensible diet...very little red meat (and when I do, I make sure it's lean.) and I eat a "rainbow" each day...vegetables and fruits of every color available. I think it's good advice.As for gluten....I do enjoy pasta (who wheat, though) and potatoes (hey, I'm Irish) but i also have learned to LOVE wild rice and brown rice, too. I use olive oil for practically ALL oil/fat needs, and garlic everyday in something.
As a cook, I'm devoted to real butter (I find I use less of it than margarine, as the taste is so much better)and, igh, yes I do use heavy cream often to cook with. Since I am trying so hard to gain back the weight I lost, I am not sweating the fat, though I know it's full of cholesterol. I'll cut down when I have regained my weight.
Salads are a wonderful thing; soups, too. All those fresh veggies. YUM.

12-13-2006, 09:46 PM
i always feel better when i eat berries (if they're not in season frozen are good on top of pancakes) and also colored bell peppers.

12-13-2006, 09:52 PM
Great idea, i love both of those ideas. In fact, a good old-fashioned stir fry with lots of colored peppers sounds great right about now....yum!

12-14-2006, 06:58 AM
I was getting so confused about diet, I decided to dust off my copy of the American Heart Association cookbook and join Weight Watchers. The cookbook has some great recipes and guidelines on eating in general. Weight Watchers (I joined on-line) is just a good way to try to keep myself honest about how much I'm eating. Now if I can just get through the holidays....