Living with Gout. How to manage it and what to take.

I showed signs of Gout about seven years ago but struck me a year later. Looking back, I could see the symptoms of gout prior but thought it was just my body aching and hurting. I had thought I may have sprained my ankle or something.

It wasn’t until I took a trip down to Mexico with my girlfriend and her family. That my foot swelled up like a balloon and I couldn’t walk, at all. I was hobbling down to the beach and any slight movement killed. Not a fun vacation.

Someone there had pain medication, and I took what I could handle, but most pain pills make me very sick to my stomach. It helped slightly, although downing those pills with beer did not help at all. I honestly thought I had been stung by a scorpion.

It was until a few weeks later that someone mentioned I might have Gout. I had never heard of it before, and when researching it, there wasn’t much to go on. The medical jargon nor the doctor did not explain gout well enough to me to understand it. Furthermore, he said it was incurable. The doctor only wanted to prescribe me medication and stop eating red meat. After researching the medications for Gout, I wasn’t willing to take a pill that would cause me more side effects than needed.

I will tell you. Gout doesn’t go away, but you can manage Gout quite easily through your diet, and a healthy regiment. Telling you that it’s incurable and take these pills only covers up the issue and does not resolve it. It is all about your diet and continued fitness.

Today I no longer have Gout attacks, and if I feel a flare-up coming on, I know how to make it go away before it gets out of hand. Incidentally, it has only taken me over six years, trying every method I could find. From wives tales, homeopathic remedies and innovated ideas. 

Gout is excruciating and debilitating. I have been stung by a scorpion and would choose to be stung than forgo some of the attacks I have endured. One attack lasted two weeks, where I could not move, sleep, or walk. The slightest breeze or movement felt as if my foot/toe was being ripped off.

 

Now, what is gout?

 

It’s the number one question people ask, and it is a somewhat complicated answer.

Gout is a complex form of arthritis. Gout often attacks the joint at the base of the big toe but can occur like me, in your knee, top or bottom of the foot or the ankle.

Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in joints, causing inflammation and intense pain. Urate crystals form when high levels of uric acid are present in your blood.

Uric acid builds up in your body when it breaks down purines.

Purines are found in foods, like steak, organ meats, seafood,  alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks with High fructose sugar. Uric acid usually is processed through your kidneys and out through your urine. In short, when you have Gout, your body produces too much uric acid or vice-versa, your kidneys produce too little uric acid. Uric acid build-ups, forming sharp, needle-like crystals, those crystal traps itself into joints and causes severe pain, inflammation, and swelling.

 

How do you manage gout?

I have personally tried every wives tale, home remedy, and supplement I could find. From cayenne pepper pastes that burn like hell, baking soda concoctions that upset my stomach, and different foot soaking methods. None really worked for me. Subsequently, I found some remedies help a little but most didn’t help me if an attack occurs. Preventive care is the best medicine and a good overall cure for Gout attacks. Becuase when an attack does happen those crystals have to travel threw your body in order to pass it just like its cousin, kidney stones. So one day it may feel like you are getting better, then in the middle of the night, you feel as if someone is sawing off your big toe. So passing these “gout crystrals” is sort of like passing a kidney stone but in your foot.

 

what is gout

What foods should you avoid?

Here are some of the biggest culprits for starting a Gout attack. By knowing what foods to avoid or moderate is the start of understanding why you may be having Gout attacks.

  • Beer and Alcohol (clear alcohols, like vodka, seems to be the best if you do have a cocktail)
  • Red Meat or organ meats (heart, kidney, liver,etc.)
  • Scallops, shrimp, herring, mackerel, sardines, tuna and anchovies (Salmon good but no more than twice a week)
  • wild game meats, like rabbit, venison, quail, pheasant, duck or goose
  • Sugary Drinks
  • asparagus, mushrooms, peas, spinach, garbanzo beans, and cauliflower.
  • (In moderation) Dates, prunes, lychees, plums, cherries, and pears due to high fructose
  • (Also in moderation) High-Fat Dairy products like milk or ice cream. (Some studies show that an increase in cheeses, and yogurt may decrease the risk of gout)

Also stress is a big contributor to starting attacks. Be mindful of your stress levels and learn to keep calm.

What should you do to prevent having a gout attack?

Exercise, but use low impact exercises with lots of stretching exercises like yoga or isometrics.

Gout is a form of arthritis, so if you exercise with heavy weights and high impact training. You are doing a more substantial injustice to your joints because of this. 

Use low impact, meaning, no long-distance running, jumping high, squats, or heavy lifting. I used to train this way and would experience light attacks due to the overproduction of uric acid, which happens when you work out that way.

A more intelligent approach is to do yoga, Tai Chi, Jiu-Jitsu, any Martial art, or isometrics exercises. These workouts strengthen your body and create more flexibility, which is the most important. 

I stretch every day while watching tv and do isometric exercises, like planking. To develop strong muscles and release toxins in my body.

Try this yoga to get you started in the morning

or try a harder approach like this one I do.

What should you be taking to prevent an attack or flare up?

Number one thing to help your body deal with uric acid is apple cider vinegar. I make my own, which is very easy but takes a few weeks to create. It is much easier to drink than the bottled stuff from the store, but if you don’t have the time or patience. Bragg is the most accessible, do not buy cheap apple cider vinegar. You will regret that decision later. Here is a link to a straightforward recipe I used and tastes excellent. 

How to make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar 

Below are the products I used daily and bought through Amazon. Amazon allows you to subscriptions to some products, so you never run out. As everyone’s body reacts differently to how much uric acid builds up, not every item needs to be consumed daily. Although I find these items give me more energy and I feel healthier all around. I will write another blog that dives deeper into more detail on what each item does and helps the body.

Kombucha is all the rage these days and does wonders for your gut and helps your body eliminate uric acid build-up due to the probiotics and other helpful ingredients that work with the kidney to filter your urine. 

The Best Kombucha I have ever tasted is below, and it does take a few times to get used to the taste.  They are available almost everywhere, and Target carries a big jug to buy, which is the best price.  Sprouts also usually have them on sale for 2 for $6. I drink at least two a week, plus it is perfect for your gut and weight loss by cutting sugar cravings. So If you are cutting sugar, as you should out of your diet, Kombucha is a great way to help those cravings go away.

If you don’t like the taste of Kombucha, try Bragg Drinkable apple cider as apple cider needs to be diluted in water. This products cuts the time and gives convenience.

These other products I have tested and also work. I don’t use them that often. As everyone is different, try and see what works for you. But everything I recommend does work and will help ease your attack and prevent it from happening.

Circulation is the main preventer

Circulation is critical to rid and break up those uric crystals that get stuck in your joints. If you have someone kind enough to massage your foot, it does help. You should massage your foot daily though. Either by using a foot compression device, stretching or by rubbing by your own hands. You will feel pops sometimes, breaking yup those “gout crystals.”

Wear compression socks at work or prolong sitting.

If you don’t have the luxury of receiving a hand foot massage, I  recommend using one of these products to help, and they work very well. Plus it is a great way to relax your tired feet after a long day working.

Extra find

I found this impressive cold pack for your foot. I have not used this product; I use a simple gel pack like it. But found this one very interesting and will be buying to try it out.

This one looked very interesting as it can be cold or hot. Which cold works with inflammation but heat helps with circulation to pass a uric crystal.

In Conclusion

If you have gout or may think you may have gout. The best way to keep yourself from having horrible pain is to change your diet, avoid high purine foods, make sure you have proper circulation of blood and increase your flexibility .

Also to help check your uric acid levels to see if you can indulge in certain food use uric acid testing strips to monitor your levels. They are easily to use and I one test strip at least once a week to check my uric acid level to keep my gout in check.

I hope this information is useful and informative. I also forgot to mention that I also stagger my foods only eating red meat once a week, seafood once a week and try to have at least two meals that are vegetarian in between those days to spread it out. I would love to hear your comments, as well. Also if you are living with gout and have a remedy, I haven’t mentioned that works for you please comment.