Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eating with picky kids and gout-man

Before kids, Monkeyrotica and I did go to more exotic restaurants and consume with more abandon than we do now, but with young ones in tow, we started limiting our outings to eateries with childrens' menus. Dash is willing to try several more sophisticated meals that require multiple utensils and have spices added, but Rosie is still very flavor- and texture-averse when it comes to dining. Now that Monk is living with gout, even he has been forced to limit his palette. Since his first attack around the summer of 2011, we've learned quite a lot about what foods trigger his gout.

Gout is similar to arthritis and attacks joints, most often at the base of the big toe. It causes intense pain and swelling; when Monk's first attack happened, he thought he'd broken his foot.

What Causes Gout? From

"Gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all of your body’s tissues. They are also in many foods, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. But uric acid can build up in the blood when:
  • The body increases the amount of uric acid it makes.
  • The kidneys do not get rid of enough uric acid.
  • A person eats too many foods high in purines."
For Monk, the gout-friendly foods he's learned to eat more of are:
  • fresh, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soy, beans, seeds, nuts, olive oil, and cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, and halibut)
  • unsweetened cherries (canned, fresh, or frozen); cherries lower uric acid levels and can prevent gout attack
  • blueberries, blackberries, and other deeply pigmented berries are also helpful as is pineapple
  • lemon water, apple cider vinegar
Gout-aggravating, high-purine trigger foods that he needs to avoid:
  • organ meats like kidneys, liver, and sweetbreads
  • red meat
  • oily fish like sardines, anchovies, and herring
  • certain vegetables, including asparagus, artichokes, spinach, and cauliflower
  • lentils
  • mushrooms
Some foods have medium-to-low levels of purines in them, but because they are foods that we tend to eat in larger quantities, Monk needs to severely curb his intake when he eats shrimp (only 2-3 shrimp, then full stop) or chicken breast meat (only 1 small breast, no more). I'm sure there's more that I've forgotten, but that's quite a bit for us to handle! Good thing there are cherries and medication that he can take.

He's been managing his symptoms very well, despite a few occasions where he knew he wanted to eat trigger foods despite the consequences and he planned ahead by taking preventative measures for it. Life's no fun if you can't break the rules once in a while.

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