I was happily losing weight on the Keto Diet. I loved it! Eating eggs and bacon for breakfast every day and enjoying salmon, chicken, chili, steak, spinach — yum!
Then the pain in my right hand started. At first I thought it was carpal tunnel as I work daily on a computer, but the usual adjustments that Dr. French did on my hand weren’t helping. The pain was getting worse.
Maybe it was a sprain. Dr. French told me to massage the arm and alternate cold and hot compresses.
By Easter, April 21, the pain was excruciating. It was extremely sharp. I’d wake up and my hand would be swollen. When I went to see Dr. French that week, in the 1-10 pain scale he has his patients fill out, I put 15 — it was that bad.
When he saw that, he grabbed my right wrist, then my left one and said, “It’s gout.” My wrist was hot and wearing the brace for carpal tunnel or sprain made it worse.
Dr. French explained that gout is caused by too much uric acid in the body. There are foods that contain purines which convert to uric acid. Usually, the body combats the purines naturally, however, at times, when eating too many of the foods with purines, the body can’t flush out the uric acid fast enough and it accumulates in the joints.
There is a simple and inexpensive uric acid blood test that will confirm if it’s gout or not. Contact Dr. French to arrange to be tested especially if you’re on the Keto Diet!
The Weakest Joint
Gout usually affects the toes first. Not me. It attacked my weakest joint — my right wrist. Gout is a form of arthritis. Now, I have osteoarthritis and I’ve overcome 95% of the pain with a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.
Gout is known as the rich man’s disease because many nobles and kings suffered from it. Little did they know that they could have cured it by not eating such a rich diet.
I started doing some research on what I should and shouldn’t eat to get rid of gout. That was frustrating. I could not find a definitive list on what not to eat!
So below is a list of what I had to give up — basically, it was everything I was eating on the Ketogenic Diet.
Keep in mind that each body is different. A friend of mine, who suffers from gout tremendously, told me bacon didn’t bother him and to stay away from chicken and legumes.
Now, I didn’t mind going vegetarian, but then where do I get my protein? I’m Puerto Rican. I grew up eating rice and beans. Trying to get protein from soy, I learned that soybeans are legumes. Tofu is made from soy. There’s soy in a lot of foods. This was a challenge!
What not to eat to get rid of Gout
- All meats — chicken, pork, beef, organ meats, eggs, etc.
- Legumes — beans, peas, soy (including tofu)
- Ocean fish — salmon, tuna, mahi mahi, sardines, etc.
- Seafood — shrimp, clams, oysters, etc.
- Some vegetables — spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms.
- Sugars, refined carbs & processed anything — honey, chips, white rice, pasta, bread, sugary beverages, potato chips, taco chips, etc.
- Nutritional yeast
Notice the above list, especially the top 5, are the staples of the Keto Diet.
As soon as I stopped eating meat, ocean fish and seafood, the pain got duller. That excruciating sharpness went away. It still was painful, but I could definitely feel a difference.
If you start searching online, you’ll find some lists have certain foods on it and some don’t. Which do you believe? What do you do? What CAN you eat?
Determining which Foods cause Your Gout
The best way to find out which foods are giving YOU gout is to eliminate everything that can possibly cause gout.
What DO You Eat? What is a good Gout Diet?
- Drink A LOT of WATER — get vitamin water with zero calories and zero sugars; alkaline water will help combat the uric acid.
- Cherries, tart cherry juice — you can buy tart cherry supplements. There’s one combined with celery seeds.
- Lots of fruits and vegetables — avoid the ones listed above. I substituted kale instead of spinach. Pineapples have bromelain which is also anti-inflammatory.
- Brown or wild rice
- Nuts — yes, go nuts! They have protein, good fats & lots of other nutrients.
- Go bananas! The vitamin C and potassium help combat the uric acid.
- Lake fish — tilapia, catfish, lake trout. I like my fish sauteed in butter with a little paprika, salt & pepper, dill, lemon juice and touch of cayenne.
- Vitamin C supplements — I read that too much Vitamin C can actually add to the uric acid, so it’s best to consult a doctor or nutritionist before overloading yourself.
- Dairy products — now, being on a dairy-free diet, I ate a lot of Manchego Cheese made from sheep’s milk and goat cheese.
- Coffee — the high caffeine in coffee inflames the arthritis in my knees, so I avoid it.
- Apple Cider Vinegar — helps with the flushing. 2-3 tablespoons in water with some stevia (the only sweetener to use).
Warning! Switching from a Keto Diet to a diet with increased carbs will cause you to gain weight!
Yep, that’s what happened to me. I spoke with nutritionist, Lorrie Karn and she asked me…
“What’s more important to you right now, getting rid of the pain or losing weight?”
Obviously, it’s getting rid of the pain. I couldn’t function! It was my right hand. And I’m right-handed! Try combing your hair with your non-dominant hand. I couldn’t sleep because each time I turned and tried to position my hand, it hurt and woke me up. While I was up, I had to take more tart cherry supplements.
I ate a lot of salads with lettuce, berries, nuts and seeds, tomatoes and avocados. (Had it been winter, it would have been homemade soups.)
What else can you do to alleviate the pain of gout?
- Cold compresses. I got gel compresses and rest my arm on pillows a few times a day.
- Anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, magnesium, MSM, garlic. Note that turmeric is fat-soluble so it must be taken with a fatty food or fish oil supplement (which is another good one.)
- Apply Essential Oils to the affected area. I usually did this before bed and it helped reduce the swelling & pain. I wrapped my wrist in a kerchief to keep the oils in place.
- Rest the affected area and try not to use it too much. I had to keep my right hand behind my back at church so I wouldn’t shake peoples’ hands. I presented my left hand.
How long does it take to get rid of gout once I’m off the Keto Diet?
For me, it took longer than what it might take for someone else, because I didn’t give up soy, tofu, legumes and eggs.
It wasn’t till early July that I could say the gout was gone. I took the uric acid blood test and it was negative. Finally!
At one point I went on a liquid diet (smoothies, juices, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, tea and lots of water) and that helped. I even made my own “V8” — I was trying to make gazpacho, but my blender liquified it too much so it came out homemade “V8”.
- Half a can of chilled, diced tomatoes — I like the one with garlic.
- Diced cucumber
- Julienned carrots
- A dash of salt, pepper, basil or other herb or spice
- A cup of chilled vegetable broth
Liquify and enjoy!
Keto Diet Warning:
If you are on the Keto Diet and have been for a while, get tested for gout. It’s a simple and inexpensive blood test. Some people can stay on the Keto Diet longer than others and won’t get gout and some might. You might.
Lorrie told me that she doesn’t recommend staying on the Ketogenic Diet forever. I asked her, how long someone should stay on the Keto Diet? She replied…
“Everybody is different.”
Testing the Eliminated Foods
Now that the gout is gone, I’m afraid to start adding back the foods I stopped eating. That pain was sooooooo bad that I really don’t want to EVER feel it again. I empathize with anyone who’s ever suffered from gout.
Lorrie advised me to eat one of the foods on the no-no list and wait a week before eating another. It takes more time for uric acid to form than regular osteoarthritis inflammation. Moreover, I plan to counteract any of the foods with cherries or the tart cherry supplement. That’s what I usually do with gluten or dairy — I counteract it with ginger tea or turmeric. I will always keep some Uric Acid Flush on hand.
Lorrie’s recommended that I go to the Mediterranean Diet Plan now to lose the weight I regained.
Disclaimer: I am not a weight-loss professional nor a doctor nor a nutritionist. Furthermore, I’ve been a patient at Holistic Health Solutions for long time and Dr. French has helped me tremendously. DO NOT attempt to diagnose any symptoms on your own. Dr. Google is misleading!
Believe me, you’ll feel better.