The gout update

A little health update, since I don’t want to be one of those “oh woe is me, I am sick/ill/crazy” and leave it at that. It’s taken several weeks, but the foot is feeling a lot better. Gout is not the kind of thing that goes away immediately, or even altogether; it’s the kind of thing I’ll have to manage. But I can do a lot to minimize the problems from it, and I’ve made some changes to my diet that, along with some druuuuuuuuuuugs, have helped me over the last few weeks.

No red meat. Over the last four weeks, I had red meat only three times — stunning considering my eating habits, and that one of my high points during my short Vegas vacation was to go to a gourmet burger restaurant. Of those three instances, one of those was super-lean buffalo, so that’s not too bad. The second was a little bit of ground beef in chili, but it was mixed with ground turkey too. The third time was this weekend, with a barbacoa burrito at Chipotle, when I finally felt pain-free enough to eat beef “on purpose” and see what happened. The rest of the time — including the burger place in Vegas — I went with chicken or turkey. I also had to watch fish, since the real gout-related problem with beef and gout is purines, and purines are in “some kinds of fish.” Until I know what kinds, I’m not going to go for it as a main option. Then again, it seems chicken and turkey are on the purine list, too, so maybe I have to reroute again. But I like oddball beef substitutes, like Boca burgers (which are great as long as you do not try to tell yourself you are eating anything but a Boca burger) and exotic stuff like ostrich and buffalo, both of which can be tracked down at Whole Foods and other alterna-markets. Combine that with the fact that I like black beans and garbanzo beans and I won’t have to worry about protein.

No alcohol. I am in no way a heavy drinker; I don’t like beer (and that’s good, since yeast aggravates gout) and even when I do drink, it’s usually one-and-done with some top-shelf tequila. But…did I mention I went to Vegas? That was the only time I felt tempted, but I stayed dry — again, not really all that hard for me — until this weekend, when I had a little Cabo Wabo after a hard Friday at work.

More water. I’ve always been a soda abuser. But Crystal Light packets in a water bottle works really well; I have at least one a day. Still not the recommended dosage but certainly better than a Coke. And since it’s about a build-up of acid in the bloodstream, good ol’ water does help gout.

Veggies. I don’t like them, but I need them. I’m finding forms that are palatable. Paul Curthoys introduced me to edamame, which I found surprisingly tasty. (Yes, salty, but tasty.) I have secretly enjoyed caesar salad for some years now (even after that one time at E3 when I got food poisoning from the dressing) and I’ve had that a few times for lunch. I’m also finding a glass of V8 doesn’t kill me now and then, though it’s not exactly tasty. But it does get a serving of vegetables into me with a texture I do not object to. Along those lines, Kat has come up with some “green smoothie” recipes — raw fruits and veggies, blended and liquified. Again, not delicious, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it might be, and a really good way to get a lot of good stuff into my system. It’s better than zucchini. But what isn’t?

Trickery. That is, tricking myself with “I can’t believe it’s good for me” foods. V8’s Fusion juices are pretty good, certainly better than normal V8. I found these awesome chocolate chip cookies at Trader Joe’s called Righteous Rounds that secretly contain vegetable and fruit concentrate but taste fantastic.

Basically, I feel like all the adjustments I’ve made are just that — adjustments. Not overhauls, not enforced changes, not dramatic upheavals. Just decisions to be made, and even when I go with the opposite of “the best” choice, it doesn’t feel like the end of the world; I just know I need to make those decisions with a balance. Lunch is salad? Cool; maybe tomorrow’s lunch won’t be. Unless, you know, salad sounds good.

So life goes on, with less limping. Pass the edamame!

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