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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. For more information on the role that diet can play in arthritis, please see Dietary Osteoarthritis Treatment. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • Lucyna Jacobs

      Hello Dr. Greger,
      It surpasses my belief that I am finally discovering this astounding portal. Thank you for your amazing work! I watch your videos on plenty of different topics yet my search began here at “Arthritis”.

      A year ago my 15 year old daughter fell victim to juvenile arthritis. In a blink of an eye of every doctor we visited methotrexate drug was prescribed. Any of my attempts to discuss the healthy diet were either dismissed, denied, or treated with anger, at one point even mocked :( Hence it has been a very scarry and lonely journey in search of sources articulating my own belief in natural healing processes.

      I have read China Study, and many more books about alternative treatment for arthritis, yet the professional research seems thrifty comparing to other medical studies.
      The staple argument of rheumatologists for using the toxic drugs is to stop inflamation to prevent deterioration of cartilage and deformity of joints.

      Why there is no research about drugs vs diet among the arthretic children. Is it because they are the best silent golden goose in the history of the disease? Methotrexate facilitators pronounce to us a life sentence of pain and deformation and say that diet has no meaning in curing this ailment. What segment of society is more vulnerable to such a threat if not that of little girls and their frightened mothers?

      Within our extremally small community of immigrant friends, I know 3 teenage girls who suffer from arthritis. Is being an immigrant even better an oportunity to the health care providers to say that we have no other choice but DNA altering drug?

      I was full of hope when I first brought my daughter to the world leading rheumatology unit in children’s central hospital in the nearby metropolitan city. “She will never get out of it” said the doctor to my teenage daughter – an acro- and hip-hop competitive dancer.

      The book “Blindness” by Jose Saramago, a Literary Nobel Price winner comes to my mind.

      I am willing to do anything to contribute to a survey/research/anything to help the arthretic youngsters.

      Thank you again Dr. Greger.

      • Michael Greger M.D.

        Thank you for sharing your story Lucyna. Methotrexate is indeed a pretty harsh drug, but as you know more than most, juvenile arthritis can be a pretty harsh disease. Though typically reserved as a second-line treatment reserved for those that don’t respond to less toxic drugs, methotrexate may be prescribed right up front if there is serious multiple joint involvement. In both these cases the benefits are expected to outweigh the risks. The nice thing about healthy dietary interventions is that there are no risks–just benefits–and perhaps particularly in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis patients who tend to suffer from inadequate nutrition. So it’s not either/or. Hopefully you can find a physician who respects your family enough to talk to about improving your daughter’s diet in addition to other medical interventions they have in mind. Two of the first things I would suggest is cutting out dairy (as there is a report in the medical literature of complete remission of the disease “after the elimination of all cow’s milk protein from her diet.”) and gluten-free trial, since (rarely) celiac disease can manifest with strictly joint symptoms.

        • Lucyna Jacobs

          Thank you for your reply Dr. Greger.

          One of my best friends, now 50, used to have arthritis as a child. Her father happened to be a farmacist and she remembers vividly his refusal to treat her with any toxic drugs. Her memory stops there and she does not know how her parents treated her, but she lived arthritis free up until now. When I mentioned my daughter’s condition to her she gave me a book by Patric Holford “Say no to Arthritis- the proven drug-free guide to preventing and relieving arthritis”. I am wondering if you know of this author and his book.

          I cook dairy and gluten free since January as a result of my own studies regarding arthritis, and my daughter is experiencing similar trial to the one experienced by a girl from medical report you had sent to me (“report”). She is fine and asymptomatic (while on methotrexate) until coming back from vacations with relatives who do not cook dairy free and eat with no reservations excluding junkfood.

          As to inadequate nutrition, I have three children. My first two are 6′ tall and exceptionally healthy at normal weight. My daughter with JRA is 4’11 and weighs 86 lbs. I am comming from heritage of pure, healthy european eating and lousy food was never in my kitchen. Yet we ate dairy, poultry and breads. (As a matter of fact, in the past, I could not imagine life without milk or rye bread). I seem to be healthy but with the dairy-, gluten- and meat-free diet since JRA entered our home, ironically I feel and look better than ever before even though it should be the other way around considering the tremendous stress I am going through with regards to my daughter’s health. Disease was an abstract term for me until now.
          If arthritis is a result of malnutrition, could it be because of internal malabsorbtion?

          Here is a picture of Methotrexate that I can not find peace with.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkY7dWtPvus

          It alters our DNA. Without it my friend got healed from juvenile arthritis 40 years ago in Europe. With it my daughter seems worse just like most of other kids in North America.

          Your help means a lot to me Dr. Greger. If you know more as to methotrexate and alike vs. nutrition please let me know.
          Thank you again.

          • DrDons

            To add to Dr. Greger’s comments you may benefit from information on the John McDougall MD website. If you check on “Hot Topics read more” and then click on Arthritis you can view the 10 miinute video on Juliea Baker a patient with JRA or one of the three newsletter articles he has written about inflammatory arthritis. There are patients with arthritis who have triggers in plant foods. Hopefully the information on NutritionFacts.org and the McDougall website will help you and family members work with your physicians to remain healthy and on no medications.

      • Angi

        Lucyna, I changed our diet and within a week already felt the difference, after 1 month I was getting off all medication and have not needed it in 4+ years now! I used myself and my son as a living experiment. I figured I could not make us worse! I knew something foreign was causing the allergic reaction (that is what most inflammation is, the body trying to fix foreign attacks).. so it was simply a matter of eliminating everything and starting over. I juice fasted for 90 days (which might seem extreme to some, but I could not function in life and needed extreme to reset my system)… then I started over with my system like a toddler being introduced week by week to new foods.

  • Hi there. Do you have any information that can put to rest the theory that grain consumption causes inflammation which can sometimes lead to arthritis and joint pain. I’ve heard ideas like “cooked grains cause acid toxemia and contain opioids” to “grains and the synovial tissue in our bodies are similar chemically so our body attacks the grains, and they attack the joints”. Any aspect of this true to any degree?

  • msatomicpen

    at 35 and longstanding semi vegan, i had a ischaemic stroke of unknown etilogy. i´m now on crestor 5mg (for antiinflammatory purposes) and plavix 75mg. with history of lupus in my family. i want to get off of the pills.what foods do i eat tolower the inflammation.

  • Lucyna Jacobs

    Thank you Dr Dons,
    I have found the suggested links easily. I have come across Dr. McDoougall’s website during my research before, yet the arthritis section was quite hidden, so I missed it that time. I only knew he was teaching what I believed. Juliea’s story is very encouraging to both young girls suffering from JRA, and their mothers. Hope others will find it in this blog as well. Girls have been deeply affected by JRA symptoms, toxic treatment and prognosis coming from doctors belonging to “earth is flat” segment of people. Thank you for speaking up.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also check out my blog post, Watermelon for Erectile Dysfunction!

  • Scott

    I don’t see anything on this site about Fibromyalgia. My sister-in-law suffers from it and although I don’t hold out much hope that she will make a significant lifestyle change, I would like to be armed with some data when I suggest she incrementally move toward more of a plant-based diet.

  • Cypuppy46

    Dr. Greger, you are my new hero!  I have learned so much from your mini lectures- very well-researched and spin free!!!  Thank you so much- please keep it going!

  • Angela

    Thank you for such insightful information. I was diagnosed 3 years ago at 28yrs old. Started taking NSAID’s, steroids, methotrexate and now on Tocilizumab. but Since I quit dairy and gluten 2yrs ago my body feels better and I now only take Tocilizumab. I instany know if theres been dairy/whet in my food the night before because i’ll be to stiff to get dressed. i already eat very little meat, and I’m always aware of my food intake but I’m going vegan now after watching this video.
    I’m very thankful for this information.

  • Nancy H

    Linda, I have something that I think will help you. Message me back at nancyhelmold@gmail.com and we can talk.

  • bkp

    I have had RA since 1996 and am still taking methotrexate and placquinel. I have been following Dr. Esselstyn’s program (Whole Food Plant-Based, no oil, no dairy) for 3 1/2 months. I see no change in my RA symptoms. I tried to decrease my methotrexate from 10 2.5 mg per week to 8 2.5 mg per week (for 6 weeks) and my RA symptoms increased. Is there hope for me to get off of my medications?

  • veganwithlupus

    I have been vegan for 24 years, considering it the best thing I’ve done for my health and my conscience, but was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 15 years ago after the birth of my son, later also being told I had lupus and Sjogren’s. I’m now 45, after living with relatively mild symptoms for years (taking naproxen and plaquenil most of that time) I now clearly have joint damage in my hands and difficulty walking with a swollen knee. I don’t know if there’s anything further I can do to help myself with diet or any supplements. I’ve tried such a lot of things already (perhaps mostly a waste of money) and I think I eat generally very well anyway, with a lot of very varied fresh (mainly raw) fruits and vegetables, lentils, beans, seeds etc, very little refined wheat flour or sugar. I used to be very active and walked a lot, but the recent increase in joint pain is now making it harder to exercise, though I’m still able to comfortably peddle a stationary exercise bike, though I hope that’s not going to do further damage to the inflamed knee? Unfortunately my rheumatologists don’t think there’s any connection between diet and RA, some other people have told me that I have caused or worsened my symptoms by being vegan. Any advice or suggestions would be very welcome. Thank you.

    • Rease

      Hi there — I, too, have lupus — 30 years! I began a vegan diet as well, but didn’t notice any significant change in my pain levels decreasing until I omitted all forms of oil and fat from my diet (with the exception of nuts, seeds and avocado.) As soon as I eat something with oil, I immediately feel it. Just wanted to pass that info on to you in case it’s of some help. I got used to sauteing foods in broth, wine, or just plain water, and I have a bunch of salad dressings without oil that are just delicious. So possibly try that…see if it makes a difference? Regards!

      • veganwithlupus

        Thanks for that, glad it’s working for you, I’ll give it a try.

        • Kate

          If u have a look at dr John mcdougalls diet it is not just being Vegan but whole foods and low fat, so no added oils or processed food. Follow his elimination diet if you have trouble still to work out the causes of inflammation as you will read in his success stories some havemto stop gluten, corn etc too.

  • Ande

    I have tried glucosamine and chondroitin for years for joint and knee pain and now my doctor say its Arthritis and prescript ‘Regenerix’ which is pretty expensive. I would want to try natural remedy, what would you recommend.

  • Anita Street Holton

    I had active RA from age 9 until age 20 that affected my ankles, wrists and elbows. I also had two joint reconstructions during that time because my elbows had almost seized up. Plus, I had very limited mobility and was confined to a wheel chair.

    At age 20 my RA went into remission but I continued to have pain and limited mobility although I was able to walk. If I walked for too long I would end up in severe pain and unable to walk at all until the pain subsided after a day or so.

    At age 43 (2 years ago) I changed to a plant based diet and not only lost 60 lbs (bringing my weight back down to a healthy weight) but I no longer had joint pain and was able to begin a much more active life style. I’m now able to hike for several hours a day without pain. I do believe that the change in my diet (no animal products at all, little or no oil, no processed foods, no sugar etc…) made the difference in my health.

  • Marsha

    Hello Dr. Greger,

    I have a problem that I was hoping you could help me with. I have been a vegetarian for a year and a vegan for 6 months. For the past 2 or 3 months I have been noticing increasingly sore joints. It started with sore knees and now it has moved to my hips. Having done some research I have come up with a few possible reasons, but I am not a doctor so I could be completely wrong. Is it possible it has to do with a vitamin D deficiency? I haven’t taken any supplements (wrong I know) and even before I was vegetarian did’t consume a lot of vitamin D rich foods. Another reason I have found is soy, but that could just be the soy scaremongering campaign… I would really appreciate any input, as the discomfort is increasing and I am at a loss.

    Thank you!

  • Jamie Ward

    I am a 28 year old female with RA. I have been a vegetarian throughout the course of my disease and definitely feel better eating a plant-intense vegan diet. I am a MPH student and I try to educate myself as much as possible, but I still feel overwhelmed with all the opposing views expressed by the medical community. Can you advise me on dietary lectins (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884708)? A close friend said I should stop eating legumes to improve my RA symptoms. The thought of not being able to eat hummus, lentils, and beans makes me want to cry. I would appreciate your insight on this subject.

    • Been There

      I am a 60 y/o female with a 15 year hx of RA. I have a brother two yrs senior with a 30 hx and an Aunt that had it for 60 years so clearly a genetic component. Each of us tried dietary approaches to the treatment of the disease without benefit. For me my condition significantly worsened. I should point out I followed a mostly vegetarian diet for 20 years before I was diagnosed. My brother is currently back on a vegan / microbiotic diet and his symptoms have significantly worsened. He is very twisted and crippled. While I am on methotrexate and rituxan infusions and doing better than I ever have. You make me feel terrible about my choice to take these “toxic” drugs but I am living a much more active life now. I would say to that concerned mother of the teen girl, be careful before dismissing all the Rheumy’s. You cannot feel your daughter’s pain or know the guilt you create in her for wanting other options to help end it. Keep an open mind.

  • Toby

    Hi Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for the work that you do. I popped over to pubmed to look at the abstract on the last journal article cited in this video. Can you clarify the conclusion? I realize that just reading the abstract doesn’t give the entire picture of the findings or the experiment. What I read and interpreted in the summary was that cumulatively strong (11%) and moderately strong (22%) = 33% of the patients had mucosal reactivity to cow’s milk protein, yet the very last statement made was that “mucosal reactivity to CM and gluten is seen in a minor fraction of RA patients and isn’t related to the frequently perceived intolerance to these proteins.” I may not be interpreting this correctly, but the fact that 33% had mucosal reactivity, followed by the statement that mucosal reactivity to CM is seen in a minor fraction of RA patients…, doesn’t seem to agree in terms of what they are saying as a conclusion. (I don’t know what the definition of mucosal reactivity is). But my main thought is, that I would doubt that many rheumatologists would even test for CM (cow’s milk protein sensitivity) for the authors to be able to make this blanket statement. Do they have data for that somehow regarding RA patients in general and their CM? From reading the abstract, that’s all that I can make of what they are saying, anyway. The gist of my question, is that I’m confused by their some of the conclusion in the abstract. Here’s the article: Scan J Rheumatol. 2010 aug;39(4):292-8 Self-reported food intolerance and mucosal reactivity after rectal food protein challenge in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Steven Crisp

    Dr. Greger,

    First let me say how thankful we are you provide these videos and this service to all of us. It’s like David against the Industrial Food Conglomerate Goliaths, and we are really happy to get these layman-understandable reviews of relevant scientific literature. THANK YOU!

    So here is my story/question: My wife (and I) went vegan after she was diagnosed with RA about 4 years ago. Her anti-CCP test was apparently “off the charts”. She was put on Methotrexate, which she decided to continue in parallel with the dietary change, since the goal was to minimize joint damage ASAP.

    We both loved the change to the vegan lifestyle. Upon moving back to the US from Europe a few months ago, and into a new health care system, my wife was tested again for RA … and the Rheumatologist found none, and her anti-CCP levels were normal. Great news of course.

    She’s now off all of her meds (more great news). But here is the lingering issue — while her lab tests (and X-rays) show no RA (or damage), her joints (fingers and ankles mostly) are still somewhat swollen and quite sore (more than they were when she was taking the Methotrexate). We’re wondering if we are missing something in the diet that may still be a source of the inflammation or auto-immune response.

    Do you have a suggestion of what to try? While we are 100% vegan when we eat at home, we will make exceptions when we eat out. We are always strict vegetarians, but sometimes the only options include eggs or dairy in the restaurant recipes. We don’t eat out that often, but is that the likely issue?

    Or might you suspect something else, like wheat or gluten sensitivities? Or maybe elimination of oil? Just looking for rational theories that fit her situation, so we know if we should be trying elimination diets, and if so, how long must they be adhered to before we should expect to see symptom relief.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions or insights. Your work has already made such a difference, but we’d like to get her totally symptom free if at all possible.

    Steven

    p.s., we are loving your Hibiscus tea (started about 2 weeks ago)

    • Veganrunner

      Hi Steven,
      I also have an autoimmune disease. (Couple actually) but I no longer have symptoms. I would recommend that your wife give up the gluten-at least for 4-6 weeks and see if she notices a difference. Also when I first went vegan I ate a lot of tofu and tempeh. I woke up every morning with every joint in my feet hurting. It took me awhile to figure it out but once I decreased the tofu/tempeh the pain cleared up.

      So although it is difficult to say exactly what cured me I have a feeling it was just eliminating all the inflammatory foods. (Soy and gluten and animal) at this point I am not willing to add them back.

      Good luck! And good news about the RA resolving.

    • I would definitely stay away from dairy as I have come across patients with RA who have noticed flares with minimal intake of dairy. As a clinician who has had the good fortune of working with Dr. McDougall I have encountered patients who still have some problems after going to a whole food plant based diets due to certain plant foods. The difficulty is finding the culprits as skin testing and blood testing for allergies often confuse the issue. I favor a more practical approach that you and your physicians can consider. I would read Dr. McDougall’s article, Diet for the Desperate in his December 2002 newsletter. He discusses the plant foods that are often the culprit and an approach for helping ferret out the offending agents. Bon chance!

  • E

    My mother in law has progressing scleroderma with raynolds disease. I am trying to find a nutrition regime for her that will alleviate symptoms. Could a vegitarian diet help? What about gluten and dairy?

  • Donna

    I was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis even though I’m pretty certain I’ve had the onset for over a year. Even though I have the prescription, I haven’t started any medication such as methotrexate (spelling?) due to the possible side effects. Instead, I’m 5 weeks into a plant based diet, but have yet to see any noticeable change in swelling and pain in my hands and feet. Regardless, I will continue eating this way to reduce factors of illness, but how long should I wait before taking (if at all) the medication? How long should it take for my NEW way of eating to help? I’m in a quandary!

  • em308

    Hello Dr Greger, I understand Rheumatoid Arthritis is a case of an overactive immune system (please correct me, if I am wrong) If so, should a RA patient still take food or supplements that would improve or stimulate or strengthen the immune system? Food like beets are said to boost immune system. Should RA patient avoid such food? Fish Oil Omega3 supplements for example are reportedly strengthening the immune system, yet they are popularly recommended for RA patients to take. Please kindly advise what is best. Thanks very much!

  • Mukundan Cv

    Dr.Greger,

    I am 62 years. I have been a lacto-vegetarian all my life. Since I am a native of India, my food always has a variety of spices in everyday food. I had some pain in my left shoulder and from the x-ray the orthopedician said it was glenohumeral arthritis and that I have to live with it, as it was due to wear and tear. I so mild exercises, which sometimes seem to reduce the pain; however the stiffness when I wake up in the morning is sometimes painful. Will going Vegan help? What kind of food will give a quantum jump to pain minimization?

  • Jo

    Hi Dr Greger.

    I was diagnosed with psoriatic or undifferentiated arthritis as my NZ Rheumatologist calls it, coming up six years. What advice can you give with regards to diet?

    Thank you Jo

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hi Jo. Hard to say. Diet can play a role in arthritis, but I am unfamiliar with those specific types. I would assume they could be treated similarly. Ask your doctor about using food as “medicine”. I suggests browsing through some of the videos on arthritis for more info. Let me know if you have additional questions.

      Best,
      Joseph

  • Dan

    RA, OA and the other 100++ forms should be treated with egg’s, collagen and UC-II, they need to be tested for mycoplasma autoimmune attack’s, get treatments asap, vegan’s will experience a honeymoon period of suppressed Inflammation but this is easy to see in the camps in ww2 from starvation as well, dealing with vegan’s for 35 years ever time some guru comes out with a fad diet you can watch them literally Disintegrate
    into nothing ! so yes vegan and starvation diet does reduce and work but it also kills, here is a tid bit of research on egg’s (wife and I eats 8 whole raw egg’s full shell and all to get the Non oxidized cholesterol and egg shell membrane collagen in living form ) http://www.thealternativedaily.com/powerful-benefits-eggshell-membranes/ get tested ASAP for this http://www.life-sources.com/pages/Mycoplasmas-%26-Cell-Wall-Deficient-Forms.html http://forums.prohealth.com/forums/index.php?threads/arthritis-autoimmune-treatment-discussion-collagen-oral-tolerance.266895/#post-1789445

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Dan. The research still supports the safety and healthfulness of a plant-based diet in any stage of life, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

      • Dan

        http://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-health-benefits-of-eggs/ You eat vegan, my body is made from protein’s, it needs healthy collagen and non oxidized cholesterol ! 4 whole raw egg’s a day ! minimum

      • Dan

        Nope, Dealt with vegan’s my entire life and have watched countless come in my store to purchase protein powders and supplements to keep them on a vegan diet, perfectly healthy women you would Kill to take out on a date in 2 years or so waste away to dried up prunes and Beans are not even to be considered a source of proteins, they contain lectin and are beyond worthless destroy your gut, and create malnutrition ! so we don’t need to even discuss a frigging vegan bs diet ! totally worthless (other than a 2 week clean out ) that is it, and if you stick on it for health reasons you will develop them, when you have destroyed you gut, you will get systemic candida which vegan diet’s feed with ever bite you take (everthing in vegan diet’s rot’s ) meats, and eggs are digested by enzymes so don’t lie about healthy benefits of vegan BS

  • Dan
  • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

    Someone asked about Stiff Persons Disease. I had never heard of it and there is not much literature on diet the the disease. If anyone finds more information please share. Gluten may be a concern and could be avoided to see if it’s helpful, along with other elimination diets, since there are autoimmune components involved.

  • Nancy Nowak

    What can I do for Sjogrens Syndrome? I eat plant based, but it doesn’t seem to help my dry mouth, dry eyes and leg pain. Thank you!

  • Angi

    For me it had to do with how the meat is grown. I am allergic to GMO corn, soy, canola, cottonseed oil and the others. Animals that have been raised on this unnatural diet are have the same foreign proteins in them that these foods do. As soon as I switched back to organic and found grass fed local meals and raw dairy, my RA and 4+ other autoimmune diseases went away! We also cut out consumption to less than 1/4 of our diet. I have recently read a study that chicken definitely is a cause, so I have cut my chicken back and gone to beef and small amounts of fish. But honestly after switching to free range chicken that have never eaten any of these genetically engineered foods I did not notice chicken being an issue!

    The bonus of going back organic and getting off GMOs is that it healed me and my 9 yr old son of RA and other diseases.. but we also have not had so much as a cold in 4 yrs. And the only allergy issues we have now is during corn and soy harvest… which used to make us very sick, now it is just pressure in our sinuses!

  • Diamond

    Hi, I have been plant based for about 3 weeks and in that timeframe I have been suffering from really bad back pain that weakens my legs and interferes with my bowel function and it’s beginning to scare me frankly? I have tried just fruit and just carbs then raw till 4pm then vegan meal that’s high carb lowfat while keeping my sodium low. I have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s phenomenon from a cold weather injury during my military service. Since this injury my circulation oils get worse and my weight fluctuate, I’m currently 5″10 female 239lbs. I know I need to lose weight but it’s hard to know what to eat. I have been walking every other day and yoga on off days but I find myself pushing thru the pain and depression sets in and sleepless nights because of it. I could go on, I don’t know what to do. I have not had any blood test done in over a year. I will have some done on the 11th. Please help me with a starting point. I’ve already let go of all dairy products and meat usually steer clear of fat and high sodium food and I don’t really eat supplemented meat products like tofu. What am I missing???

    • Thea

      Diamond: Your diet sounds about as healthy as is possible to get. It seems like you are doing all you could do if your plan is to go cold turkey. I’m not an expert, but you should not be feeling that pain. I have a thought for you: Some people’s bodies need time to adjust. Some people can go cold turkey. Others need to ease into a plant based diet because their bodies had so fully compensated dealing with years and years of excessive animal products.
      .
      I got this idea from Dr. Klaper. He suggests that one reason why some people “fail at being vegan” is because they try to do it too fast. So, you might consider adding some meat back into your otherwise low fat whole plant food diet. Add back just enough to get you by. Treat the meat as medicinal. So, keep the portion small and see if you can go every other day with that bit of meat and be OK. If that works, then maybe after a week or so, try going every two days without meat. Etc. Even if it takes literally months (maybe even 12-18) to fully wean yourself off the meat, you should find yourself one day realizing that you just don’t need it any more.
      .
      I don’t know if this will work for you or not. It just seems like something you could try. Since you should not be feeling that pain and based on your brief description, it sounds like you already have the theory of how to eat healthy down pat. (Maybe see if you can find a knowledgable plant based doctor to work with might also be a good idea.) I wish you all the luck in the world for figuring this out.

      • VegEater

        Diamond, you could try tempeh, found at a health food store. It’s kind of like a patty made of fermented soybeans, with a little brown rice or other grains added, but it’s firm and more meat-like in texture than tofu. You can simmer it in reduced-sodium veggie broth, or with some chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic to make your own no-sodium veggie broth. It has some fat, but it makes a nice change once in a while.

        Don’t be discouraged. Everyone is different. My husband and I just started this diet at Christmas, and we’ve both lost about 10 lbs, but not really quickly, since we were already avoiding most animal foods and processed foods. One thing that’s made a difference for us was getting rid of the olive oil, once I realized that it was not a whole food. We are eating so many fruits and vegetables that we don’t need olive oil to increase our absorption of nutrients. Now that we’re used to it, we don’t miss it. We do eat a couple of walnuts with our veggie salads, along with fruit and beans. I also used to add it routinely when I made soups, but I just stopped, and now they taste fine with just spices, parsley or cilantro and chopped kale.

        Dr. Greger doesn’t think much of eating wheat bran, but for me, because I have reduced sensation throughout my digestive tract due to MS, it’s a necessity, because transit through my system is slowed, even with my very high-fiber diet and hard stair-climbing for an hour every day, plus long walks with the dogs. I still have to eat organic wheat bran (not a whole food) to speed it up, and also use glycerin suppositories.

        I have Raynaud’s too, and it’s a nuisance, since I spend time outdoors at high elevations. I have a finger injured in a fall that is more affected by cold than the rest of me, but I really can’t ever do much with my hands in the cold. Like, no dish-washing, darn it!

        Just give yourself time to find what works for you. Good luck!

  • Angie D

    Hello Dr. Greger,

    What about the complete opposite problem where someone has joint deterioration not from inflammation only rising after eating a whole food plant-based diet for over 5 years? Does anyone know what is going on there? My husband’s joints (knee, shoulder, hip and elbow now) are popping and we’ve been eating a whole food low fat vegan diet. He is only nearing 37. He has had his blood work done and health checked. Everything looks good, but no one knows what is going on. He has digestive issues ever since going vegan, and we can’t help but think his joint problems has resulted from his digestive issues. I know this kind of problem should be better when on a vegan diet, but this is the opposite for him. These problems only resulted after eating a vegan diet and we know it’s the healthiest diet and would prefer to stick with it, but we are at a lost on who to see and what to do. We are desperate at this point, as he is literally walking like an old person. He can no longer workout. We’ve always been passionate about health, which is why we made the switch to a whole food plant-based diet. We see the benefits for sure. I have no problems at all, but we’re really concern about what is going on with him since the problems have resulted only after a couple years after eating vegan. At this point, we’d do anything to see someone who can help him with this issue.