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Lupus sufferer says food can fight the disease

HEALTH: Salmon features heavily in lupus sufferer Jade Miles' diet

THE AUTOIMMUNE disease lupus affects around 50,000 people in the UK and around 90 per cent of sufferers are women.

Lupus is an incurable disease that can affect patients in a number of different ways. It’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissue in the body and causing inflammation.
There are different forms of lupus, the most dangerous being Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, as it has the ability to attack any part of the body.

The Voice spoke to Jade Miles, 26, from London, who was diagnosed with lupus 11 years ago. Chantelle Kimberley speaks with Miles about her journey battling the disease, through healthy eating, exercise and supplements alone.

Q: Tell us a bit about you...

A: Nearly a year ago, I started a food and health blog on Instagram called @raspberriesandbrownies to share my lupus journey and healthy meals. I aim to inspire individuals to take a healthier approach as well as showing those with lupus that they aren’t alone.

Q: How did you feel when you were diagnosed?

A: Absolutely devastated, I couldn’t believe what my doctor was telling me. To be told at such a young age that I have an incurable disease felt as though I didn’t know my own body. What was once a happy teenager turned into a very self conscious and anxious girl. Fortunately, that girl no longer exists, but it took time to get to the place I am now.

Q: What was it like receiving the news that your lupus blood tests came back normal?

A: I was ecstatic. I hadn’t been to the doctor to talk about my lupus in over four years. So, nothing was better than hearing the doctor tell me that if she hadn’t known I had lupus, she would have thought I was a normal healthy pescatarian. Those words validated all the changes I had been making in my diet. Although there isn’t a cure for lupus just yet, it gives me hope that I will be able to continue controlling my lupus and hope-fully one day cure it.

Q: How does it affect you?

A: Over the years I have had a number of flares, typical rash. I’ve experienced momentary blindness in my left eye, as well as the whites of my eyes swelling making it uncomfortable to blink. As well as the flares, I have experienced depression and anxiety.

Q: Why did you decide to come off of your meds?

A: The medication was not working. There was nothing positive for mea to say about the treatment for me to continue taking it. I’ve never been a fan of medication, so the choice was easy for me. Without consulting my doctor, I came off my medication. That isn’t something I would advise others to do as it can be very dangerous.

Q: When did you decide to change your diet?

A: I started to slowly change my diet six or seven years ago. After coming off my medication I realised that my diet and lifestyle had a big impact on my lupus. I started researching and listening to my body.

Over time, I’ve cut dairy, gluten, meat and nightshades out of my diet. I reduced my consumption of junk food, caffeine and drinks filled with refined sugars to practically nothing. I also added several supplements into my diet that help to boost and support my immune system.

I take curcumin, iron and vitamin C tablets and vitamin D capsules once a day, Ultimate Omega Capsules, evening primrose, as well as natural energy and immune strength capsules twice a day. I have found that my lupus reacts better to a high omega 3 anti-inflammatory diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet.

Q: What would a normal day look like for you, diet-wise?

A: I try to consume five or six meals a day, usually whatever I fancy. Although I have lupus, I’m still human and I like the occasional treat. It’s all about eating in moderation. I cook 90 per cent of my meals myself – this makes it easier to have full control of my lupus. My day starts with a glass of water 30 minutes before I have my first meal, which is normally porridge with fruit and seeds with a cup of tea and my morning supplements. I’ll have a slice of banana bread with peanut butter followed by salmon, rice, loads of vegetables and avocado. My fourth meal is a maca smoothie and then my fifth meal is a nightshade-free vegetable curry. I try to drink two litres of water as well as two herbal, caffeine-free teas a day.

Q: How do you stay positive?

A: That’s been a task and a half over the years. God keeps me positive, my faith in him is what has gotten me to this point. Without him, I have no idea where I would be as far as my journey with lupus is concerned. My positivity is based on being in a happier place in my lupus journey, being able to accept I have lupus, knowing that I can overcome what it throws at me. Of course, it helps a lot that I have such positive and supportive people around me. Especially my mum – she is my rock.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to follow in your footsteps>

A: How I handle my lupus may not be for everyone depending on how much medication they take. That is something that I want to make very clear. So, I would definitely advise anyone that wishes to take the natural route to do their research. Speak to your doctor about reducing your medication and introducing any new supplements. Remember, you’re not alone. Our lupus doesn’t define who we are and we have the strength to overcome anything it throws at us. We are all warriors, who posses unimaginable strength.

For more info, you can visit Jade's Instagram or head on over to her blog.

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