Rhonda’s Cooking


Posts Tagged ‘arthritis’

Discovering Arthritis

Posted by rhondascooking on May 25, 2012

Image source Medicinenet, Inc.

Throughout the month of the May, the Arthritis Foundation has been raising awareness about arthritis a through its movement called Arthritis Action Month. The organization is encouraging people to take action in a number of ways to help raise awareness. One way that the Arthritis Foundation is raising awareness is through its Tip Share application (app), which encourages people by share tips and advice. The app is now available on multiple devices.

The following are some key facts about arthritis:

What is Arthritis?
Simply put, arthritis is inflammation in the joint. Though many times the word arthritis is used as if it is one disease, there are over 100 types of arthritis that have been identified to date[1]. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout. There are over 46 million Americans who have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis[2].

What are the signs and symptoms?
The most common signs or symptoms are joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. Depending on the arthritis type, a person could experience these symptoms in the following areas: wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, toes, hips, shoulders and elbows.

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
These two types of arthritis are the most common types.

    Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down. The cartilage is the smooth, tissue that covers the ends of the bones where they meet, preventing them from rubbing each other. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, and usually effects people over age 45.
    Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. RA can affect anyone at any age.

What is gout?
Gout occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid, a waste product of the urine cycle, which deposits razor-sharp crystals in the joint spaces between bones[3].

What tests can be performed to diagnose arthritis?
There is not just one test to diagnose arthritis. Depending on your health care provider and the patient’s symptoms the tests will vary. For instance, conventional medical physicians tend to start with blood tests and X-rays. On the other hand, alternative holistic physicians tend to do a variety of tests understand the cause, some of which include, allergy tests, hormone tests, digestive function tests, tests for parasites, and heavy metal toxicity.[4]

What causes arthritis?
The causes will vary depending on the type of arthritis. For osteoarthritis, some of the causes occurs from wear and tear on the joints over one’s lifetime, obesity, hormone imbalance, or food allergies. On the other hand for rheumatoid arthritis, some of the causes that drive inflammation include, but not limited to food allergies, toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal permeability and microorganisms.

How can arthritis be treated?
Depending on the type of arthritis, the treatment plan will vary. Conventional treatments (ordered by traditional medical physician) tend to start with NSAIDs (Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleeve) and then transitions to a treatment that include COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, Celebrex or Enbrel. Many of these conventional drugs have been known to increase the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac death! Sometimes if NSAIDs aren’t effective, some patients turn to injections of cortisone (corticosteroids) or methotrexate.

Are there any alternative treatment therapies for arthritis?
There are a number of treatment options such as dietary changes (food, vitamin supplements), detoxification, exercise, and stress reduction. However, food is a major factor in triggering inflammation in the joints and by reducing one’s daily intake of foods that are pro-inflammatory, can minimize and stop the pain! To see a list of foods that trigger inflammation, click here.

Even if you do not have arthritis, do your part in raising awareness about arthritis and share this with your loved ones and your social network! Don’t forget to download the Tip Share app!

[1][3][4]Kamhi, Ellen and Zampieron, Eugene. Arthritis. Celestial Arts: California, 2006.
[2]”Link Between Arthritis and Heart Disease.” Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/heart-disease-connection.php


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What’s cooking for Easter?

Posted by rhondascooking on April 23, 2011

Easter holiday is a special time for many people around the world, especially for Christians; it’s a time for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Easter holiday marks the end of Lent, which is a time of fasting and praying.  Easter is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world and even within the United States, but the one common thread is FOOD!  Most people celebrate this holiday with a big feast!   I can remember growing up in Angie, Louisiana, my mom would cook a huge meal which included cornbread dressing, collard greens or cabbage, turkey, cream cheese pound cake and pecan pie or sweet potato pie!  In my home town, this was the traditional celebration feast, but it varies throughout Louisiana, because in southwest Louisiana  it was about crawfish boils and boudin!  What type of dinner do you typically cook for Easter?

As time progressed, dinners like the one I grew up eating have become a little different, as a result of my rheumatoid arthritis.  Corn, which is the main ingredient of cornbread dressing,  is on the list of potential inflammatory foods, as well as other foods such as wheat, dairy, eggs, coffee, poultry, pork, potatoes, tomatoes, egg plants, bell peppers, etc, which makes it not a good choice for those dealing with some form of arthritis.  Needless to say, I no longer cook my mom’s infamous cornbread dressing, instead I’ve created my own version—a twist on the old—that I call “Cornless Cornbread Dressing”!  This recipe is perfect for me and those who struggle with joint problems or food allergies to corn or wheat.  My recipe is not only corn free, but it also does not contain, dairy, eggs, soy or wheat!  I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong!  This recipe is absolutely delicious!  In fact, it is so delicious that I decided to put it in my cookbook, So, What Can I Eat Now?!, which  is available for purchase now on my website or on Amazon.com.  To prove that this is really a tasty dish, one customer who purchased the book said that she cooked this recipe for Thanksgiving and her husband and other people who came for dinner loved it!  This recipe is not lacking flavor at all and the best part about it is that it is healthy!  My mouth is watering as I write this post!  I wasn’t planning on cooking Sunday, but after this post, I think I’m heading to the store to purchase the ingredients to cook some “Cornless Cornbread Dressing” (or stuffing)!

So, my Easter dinner menu will indeed be a remix on my momma’s traditional dinner for sure!  My menu will include the following:

  • Cornless Cornbread dressing (free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs)
  • Southern style petite green beans
  • Candied butternut squash
  • Decadent Apple cinnamon cake (free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs)

If you’re celebrating Easter, I would love to know how you and your family celebrate.  Are you planning to throw down in the kitchen and prepare a huge feast or will you just go to someone’s home and enjoy their delicious dinner?    I’d love to read about it!

Happy Easter or Resurrection Day!

Posted in Arthritis, Diet, Food, Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Resources to help understand Arthritis

Posted by rhondascooking on March 31, 2011

(photo source: Rhonda's Cooking)

How did I learn how to live a drug free life after being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis?  That’s the question that I always get whenever I meet people who struggle with this or have family members who do.  For the record, when I say drug free, I mean free from the prescription medications like Plaquenil, Prednisone, Vioxx, Celebrex, Arava, Methotrexate injections (weekly), and cortisone injections, etc.  I took ALL of of those drugs for several years thinking that they would help cure me.  Needless to say, I was wrong!!  Besides a miracle from God, there is no cure for arthritis today.  Did you know this?  I really had no clue, at that time, I was only 25 and I did whatever the doctor told me to do.  So for TEN long years, I just learned how to deal with this dreadful pain that felt so bad that I could not even hold a toothbrush or put on my clothes.  The inflammation in my wrist was so intense that it felt like someone was squeezing my wrists so hard until there was no blood flowing to the fingers!

Thank goodness in 2005, I met Dr. Colbert!  He talked about healthy eating being the natural cure to heal various diseases.  I purchased his books, followed his recommendations and over a period of time, I no longer consumed prescription medication for the arthritis!  Can you belive it???  I couldn’t, but I felt great!  So I continued to study and research, more and more to understand the healing properties of certain foods and I never looked back.!

Listed below are the books that freed me from the dreadful pain and inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis. As I read more, I’ll add to this list.

  • The Bible Cure for Arthritis, Dr. Don Colbert
  • The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, Monica Reinagel
  • Arthritis, Ellen Kamhi and Eugene R. Zampieron
  • The Glycemic Index Diet, Rick Gallop

Do you have any books or resources that you have read that has helped you overcome your pain with arthritis?

Follow Me on Twitter: @rhondapeters

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Gluten-free food finds: Blue Bottle Coffee – San Francisco

Posted by rhondascooking on March 7, 2011

Since learning that coffee is an inflammatory food, I have not been able to drink coffee on a regular basis due to my challenges with arthritis.  However, it was very difficult for me not to experience coffee during a trip to San Francisco.  So, I decided to cheat for the day and to indulge in the caramel, nutty, lightly roasted, and rich taste of a delicious cup of coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee.  Tucked in the corner of Mint Plaza in downtown San Francisco, Blue Bottle Coffee is the perfect place for a coffee connoisseur.  In fact this unique coffee bistro, is so popular that the line is oftentimes wrapped around the building!  Upon entering the building, there is so much to hold ones attention. Some customers were enjoying conversations with each other and others working on their computers in between eating the popular Acme toast or local poached eggs.   All of this activity, definitely made me even more eager to get inside and experience the Blue Bottle Coffee!

As I stood patiently waiting, I admired all of the unique coffee gadgets and accessories.  I also was captivated by the coffee making process; it was like being in a physics lab.  There was an interesting glass apparatus with two parts—the bottom filled with water and the top filled with ground coffee—sitting over a bunsen burner.  As the water reached the boiling point, it flowed to the top container holding the ground coffee.  The barista (coffee maker) stirred the coffee slowly with a wooden stick.  After a couple of minutes, the barista slowly inserted a probe into the coffee to check the temperature to insure that the coffee reached the optimal temperature.  Once the ideal temperature was achieved, the coffee flowed to the bottom glass container.  I later learned that this process is called siphon or syphon (also known as siphon coffee).

To my surprise, Blue Bottle Coffee did offer gluten-free menu items such as a gluten-free muffin.  Even though I was unable to eat there due to the lack of vegan and gluten-free options, I still recommend Blue Bottle Coffee as a must try!  Blue Bottle Coffee is located throughout the San Francisco bay area; visit the website to find a location.  In 2010, the company has expanded to Brooklyn, New York.  People can also purchase this delicious light roasted coffee online.

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What in the World is Gluten-Free?

Posted by rhondascooking on August 9, 2008

Perhaps you have seen these words or even heard your friends or associates say that they are on a gluten-free diet.  Do you know what gluten is or where does gluten come from?  Is it just another fad or marketing scheme? 


Gluten is a by-product of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, that are found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley.  In bread baking when water is mixed with wheat based flours and yeast and then kneaded several times, gluten is formed and causes the dough to rise.  Gluten is an important component in cooking, especially for baking.


So, if gluten has purpose in cooking, then why in the world would anyone want to eat gluten-free?  I’m glad that you asked!  The most common reason why a person might eat a gluten-free diet is because he/she may have Celiac (See lee ak) Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestines whenever a person eats anything with gluten. Table 1 shows some of the signs/symptoms of Celiac Disease.  Some of these can also imitate other bowel disorders, so to be certain, please consult with your doctor and get tested if you have experienced any of these.


Symptoms of Celiac Disease (one or more)

Recurring bloating, gas or abdominal pain

Infertility male & female

Chronic diarrhea or constipation

Spontaneous miscarriages

pale, foul-smelling stool

Canker sores inside mouth

Unexplained anemia

Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel

Bone or joint pain

Vitamin K Deficiency

Behavior changes/depression

Failure to thrive (infants)

Missed menstrual periods


Hereditary (2nd degree relatives–aunts, uncles, cousins)

Table 1.Some symptoms of Celiac Disease (source celiac.org)


Another reason why people may choose to eat gluten-free is if they have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorders) or autism.  Many claims have been made that when people with these disorders have eliminated gluten (as well as dairy), they have improved tremendously!  Also people who suffer with arthritis can benefit from a gluten-free diet (see past article “Can Food Help Arthritis?”). 


Now that you understand the basics about gluten, are you curious about what foods to eat that are gluten-free?  There are several foods that are available on the market that you can eat which do not contain gluten.  Just look for “gluten-free” on the package and the food ingredients label.  Make certain to beware of foods that are labeled as “no wheat” because sometimes that item may contain gluten!  So, the best way to determine if a product is truly gluten-free is to carefully read the food ingredients label.  Table 2 shows a list of foods to eat and avoid for a gluten-free diet and Table 3 indicates what foods that may contain gluten.


Grains to Eat

Grains to Avoid

brown rice









drum wheat








wheat starch


wheat/rye/barley hybrids



Table 2 Grains for a gluten-free diet (source: livingwithout.com)


Foods that May Contain Gluten


imitation seafood


malt, malt flavorings



coating mixes



processed meats

communion wafers



soy sauce

energy bars

soup bases

cereal/cereal products


imitation bacon


Table 3 Foods that may contain gluten (source: livingwithout.com)


I know that this may be a little overwhelming; Rhonda’s Cooking is here to help you through the challenge!  Because I am on a gluten-free, dairy-free and anything-artificial-free diet, I have a number of recipes in my upcoming cookbook that will be beneficial for you.  So, just send an email to info@rhondascooking.com to put your name on the list.  

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Can Food Really Help Arthritis?

Posted by rhondascooking on July 19, 2008

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is something that I have been challenged with

Normal & Arthritic Joints

(picture from medicinenet.com)

since 1995. RA is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues.1 I spent many years in excruciated pain in my hands; so much pain that I couldn’t even hold my toothbrush or button my pants/shirts. The pain would last for an entire day before calming down and then it would take 3 days before the swelling and soreness would go away. When these situations occurred, this was called a “flare-up” (inflammation). Initially, I would get these about 3 to 4 times per year. I tried every home remedy and drug, (Celebrex, Vioxx, Arava, cortisone drugs/steroids (such as prednisone), hydroxychloroquine, and methotrexate injections, but nothing worked permanently; these were all short term fixes and the pain would always return.

So after many years of dealing with yearly flare-ups, in 2005 after meeting Dr. Don Colbert, I learned that there were many different foods that could trigger one to have inflammation when diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. After reading his books as well as other studies on arthritis, I decided to put all of that information to the test. I decided to stop eating foods that would make me have a flare-up. The following is a list of foods that could trigger rheumatoid arthritic reactions:

Foods that Trigger Inflammation (“flare-ups”)
Corn Wheat
Pork Oats
Rye Eggs
Beef Coffee
Chicken Oranges
Turkey Grapefruit
Shellfish Milk & dairy products
Night shade plants (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants & bell peppers)

By now, I know that you are in shock! You are asking yourself what are going to eat if you take away these foods. Well, I am here to let you know that you can do it with time and with the right recipes. In my upcoming cookbook (available this fall), I will have a lot of recipes for people with arthritis.  Here are some of the foods that I typically eat:

Foods that Won’t Cause Inflammation
Cold Water Fish Dark Leafy Greens
Ground Flaxseeds Pineapples
Turmeric Sardines
Garlic Whole Grains (no wheat)
Ginger Fresh fruits (no oranges)
Natural Nuts/seeds Olive oil
Flax oil Fresh/Frozen Vegetables




I can tell you that right now in my life, I finally feel better than ever since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis! I can now wake up EVERY morning able to hold my toothbrush and get dressed without a problem! So for me, not eating a piece of chicken or having my favorite coffee was okay.

So how do you get started? Start slow and remember that not all of these foods listed will impact everyone the same. In order to find out if it causes inflammation in your body, you must remove all of the items from your diet for 2 weeks and then slowly introduce them back one by one. If you still can’t tell and are still having pain, shoot me an email because there are a few other things/strategies that you can do to help you live pain free! I am telling you the truth, it really does work!!! I no longer take any medications for rheumatoid arthritis!

1Kamhi, Ellen, and Zampieron, Eugene. Arthritis. California: Celelestial Arts, 2006.

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