tips for bad days // Rheumatoid Arthritis

My rheumatoid arthritis isn’t as bad as it could be. I’m able to work a retail job part-time and do yoga on occasion. For the first few months before my diagnosis, though, I could barely walk around, I had trouble getting in the shower, and I dropped a lot of things. On most days the fatigue was hard to handle and getting out of bed was a challenge. All I wanted to do was sleep.

I’m on proper medications now, but I still have my bad days. I am grateful they aren’t as often, but they hit me hard and make it difficult to function throughout the day.

Here are some of the things I do to make those days more bearable.

Rest and relax.

This one is pretty simple, but I try not to stress when I have bad days. I use that day as a mental health day and to try to get my body back to normal (as normal as it can be at least). I’ll take a nap if needed and just watch movies or play video games.

Take a warm shower.

If I have nothing going on that day it’s sometimes hard to get out of bed. Taking that step to shower, especially a warm one, makes all the difference. It helps my body relax and alleviates some of the swelling, if only for a little while.

Only eat plant-based meals and anti-inflammatory foods.

This one is hard. Sometimes you want to treat yourself on bad days, or make dinner easy and order a pizza or takeout. That doesn’t make me feel any better, though. Giant smoothies and homemade sushi bowls and salads make me feel better. I wrote two posts in the past on meals I make on bad days. Check them out:

Top 7 Meals For Bad Days // Easy Vegan Meals

Do something that makes you happy, no matter how small it is.

Sometimes I still have to go into work on my bad days. I make sure when I get home I do at least one thing that makes me happy. For me, it’s something as simple as making a snack or some tea, listening to my favorite albums, watching YouTube videos from my favorite content creators, or taking my makeup off and laying in bed with a bunch of blankets and reading. No matter how small it is, do something that makes you happy.

Talk to people that understand.

I am a huge lurker in the rheumatoid arthritis subreddit on reddit (r/rheumatoid). Some people don’t understand that even if I look young or okay on the outside, my body is constantly fatigued and screaming at me every time I move. For me it has helped a lot to read other people’s thoughts and feelings, which is one of the reasons I started this blog. Especially when I am at work on my lunch break in pain, it helps me to scroll through and read people’s posts.

Those are some of the things I try to do on bad days. Sometimes it’s hard, but I always try my best to not let my diagnosis get me down. Always know I am here to talk if anyone needs someone to listen.

Easy Vegan Meals // #2

Part 1: top 7 meals for bad days

An edit to the hummus pasta from the previous post: Add some vegan cheese to the sauce and melt it in! This makes it super cheesy. I’ve been loving the new Daiya cutting board style shreds.

These are some more of my go-to lazy meals that I’ve been making. Like I said in my last post, I haven’t been in the mood to cook a bunch and make crazy recipes. Here are a few meals I’ve been eating recently that are cheap, quick, and easy.

Smoothies and nice cream. 

I know this isn’t anything special, but it’s been my go-to breakfast recently. It’s quick and easy to make, plus it’s packed with nutrients:

  • 2-3 cups of spinach (honestly, as much as I can fit into the blender cup.)
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen mangoes
  • 1-2 scoops of protein powder
  • Lots of cinnamon.

Blend the spinach, milk, and water first, then add the other ingredients once the spinach is creamy.

Also, use less water and milk and turn it into nice cream and add some toppings.

One of my favorite nice cream recipes lately has been:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (we’ve been using the brand Aloha in the vanilla flavor)
  • lots of cinnamon
  • and a splash of vanilla extract.

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I like to leave the bananas out for 15 minutes before blending because I think it makes the ice cream easier to blend and makes it creamier.

My body feels so much better on days when I make smoothies. My inflammation goes down and my energy levels go up (it is a slight, but noticeable change). I highly recommend adding smoothies to your daily routine.

Taquitos.

We made these one night when we didn’t want to make dinner but didn’t want to get takeout either. For our filling we mixed together some Boca veggie crumbles, refried black beans, taco seasoning, and chipotle tabasco sauce. We rolled them up in little tortillas with some Daiya cheddar cheese, baked them in the oven until the tortilla was crispy, then topped them with a little hummus. We also found some vegan sour cream at the store and had that on the side too.

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I topped these with hummus, but I love making a vegan cheese sauce (like the one I mentioned above with hummus and daiya) and dipping it in the fake nacho cheese. These are so easy and so filling. You can also add in some spinach or avocado, pretty much whatever you want.

Potatoes. 

We cut them up and bake them in the oven and eat them with some veggies, ketchup, and hummus. I find the little yellow potatoes easiest for me to cut. This one isn’t novel but it’s one of our go-to meals.

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Those are some meals we’ve been enjoying recently. They’ve been easy for me to cook especially on days when I don’t feel like cooking. Let me know what some of your go-to easy meals are in the comments!

what I eat in a day when I’m sick // vegan

Today I woke up feeling really sick with a fever. I wanted to make some delicious meals that were packed with nutrients to help me feel better. I also wanted to spend more time in the kitchen since I don’t feel like I’ve made a proper meal in a long time. For the past few weeks my meals have been quick and easy, but today I wanted to treat myself with some recipes that would fuel me and make me feel better.

We went grocery shopping this morning to pick up a few things to cook today, plus a kombucha hoping it would help my stomach.

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When we got back home I wanted to have a savory breakfast. I made some protein pancakes based off this recipe. They weren’t the prettiest, but they were really filling and full of protein. Plus they were gluten-free, which I think helps my body when I’m sick and achy with flareups.

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While we were picking up groceries from Sprouts we found some vegan ravioli, which I had to try. I haven’t had ravioli in so long, plus we’ve tried products from LightLife before and have never been disappointed. These are the vegan sausage ravioli and they were so delicious! This was definitely a treat for today.

For dinner I wanted to make a quick and easy soup. I modified this recipe by using low fat coconut milk, green lentils instead of red (we couldn’t find red lentils while we were out), lots of curry powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and spinach. I highly recommend trying this recipe out, it turned out really good and it’s easy to customize to your taste. I decided halfway through cooking I wanted a spicy curry and it was still really good, but you could make it into a soup or make it thick like mine was. I also added lots of ginger so it had some extra zest.

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That’s everything I ate today while I was home sick. Let me know what you guys like to eat when you’re sick and what your favorite comfort foods are in the comments.

top 7 meals for bad days // vegan

Most times when I have bad rheumatoid arthritis flareups I don’t want to cook. I’d much rather not eat at all or have takeout food, but that obviously makes my body feel much worse. Here are some examples of lazy meals I make when I don’t want to cook but need to eat something relatively healthy.

Tortilla pizza

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This one is super easy to make. I took a tortilla (this one’s a spinach wrap) and topped it with with leftover marinara sauce, Daiya mozzarella style shreds, and Yves veggie pepperoni. I popped it in the oven and baked it at around 300° until the tortilla was crispy and the cheese was melted. Some additional topping ideas: leftover veggies, spinach, basil, nutritional yeast, and tofu scramble.

Creamy hummus pasta

I’ve been making this a lot for dinner since it is so quick, easy, and delicious. First, I boil some pasta and microwave some leftover veggies. (I also like having just noodles and spinach). While the pasta is boiling I scoop out 2-3 tbsp of hummus into a cup (we usually have red pepper or garlic hummus at the house), add a splash of water, and mix it together to make a simple sauce. It’s tasty like this but sometimes I’ll add some black pepper, nutritional yeast, or paprika to spice it up.

White rice, avocado, spinach, and nori with hummus (sushi bowl)

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This one is especially easy if you have cooked white rice leftover. I’ll put some white rice in a bowl, microwave or sauté some spinach, cut up half of an avocado, and place some nori sheets on the side. I also top the bowl with hummus and sesame seeds. When I eat this I’ll take a spoonful of a little bit of everything and lazily roll it into a nori sheet like a little sushi burrito. Optional: Gardein chik’n, leftover tofu, or any other veggies you want to add.

Avocado toast

Avocado + toast. I usually like to have it on mini bagels or Dave’s Killer Bread and topped with any combination of lots of nutritional yeast, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, or garlic powder. Pairing it with a chickpea salad and tomatoes is really good too.

Peanut butter on toast with bananas and cinnamon

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Peanut butter + toast + bananas + cinnamon.

Sandwiches and wraps

Whenever I make a sandwich I’ll throw whatever we have in the fridge together and hope for the best.

One of my new favorite combinations that resulted from random ingredients is a spinach wrap, purple hull peas, spinach, pumpkin seeds, almond slices, and sriracha.

Stuffed sweet potato

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I had this for breakfast one morning with a smoothie and I felt energized and full for most of the day. I baked a sweet potato and put some peanut butter and dried cranberries in it.

Those are some of my go-to meal ideas when I’m having a bad day or having a bad flareup. I hope this helps and inspires, and if you want more easy meal ideas check out my Instagram.

what I eat in a day // healthy and quick vegan meals

I wanted to make a quick What I Eat in a Day post and a quick update since I haven’t written anything here in almost a month. Last month I wanted to eat out less and eat a whole food plant-based diet (meaning no more vegan ice cream and takeout food for a week or two). I couldn’t believe how much better I felt almost instantly from not only not eating junk food, but also eating a larger volume of food. My rheumatoid flareups were few, and I also tried cutting out gluten to see if that would help (it seemed to help a bit!). The last week of the month I was lazy with my meals, so now I’m getting back on track and eating healthy again. Here’s what I eat in a day on a work day.

I didn’t feel like any breakfast food for breakfast so I made a bunch of food we had in our freezer.

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This was lots of veggies (spinach, carrots, green beans, peas, and corn), purple hull peas, and Gardein Porkless Bites without the sauce. I mixed some hummus and sriracha together and topped it with that and sesame seeds. This was super easy and nutritious to have before work.

Also for a quick snack before work I had two dates and a tablespoon of peanut butter.

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For lunch I ate some leftover gnocchi with spinach, diced tomatoes, and soyrizo. This was a quick and easy meal we had a few nights ago for dinner: We sautéed some yellow onions with soyrizo, then added to the pan a can of diced tomatoes. After the gnocchi boiled we added that to the pan with some spinach and nutritional yeast and dinner was done!

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It was hard to make this look pretty in the Tupperware, but it was way more delicious than it looked.

Finally for dinner I made a grilled cheese sandwich. I didn’t get home from work until 10pm, so I wanted something really quick and easy to make. I added some daiya mozzarella style shreds, pepperjack style shreds, and a couple pieces of Tofurky deli slices to some rye and pumpernickel bread and let the oven do all the work.

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On work days I try to get lots of protein and carbs in my diet since I’m on my feet for a few hours at a time and eating a ton of veggies helps to keep my energy and motivation up, even on bad days when I have flareups. Let me know what your go-to easy and healthy meals are in the comments, or on my instagram (healthy_ghost)!

what I ate today // rheumatoid flare-up #2

Today is a day of eating trying to be healthy but not having the energy to make anything crazy.

Breakfast: Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 large bananas
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • lots of cinnamon

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My main tip for super creamy and smooth smoothies is to blend the spinach with the milk and water before adding the bananas or anything else you want to add. This prevents chunks of spinach and makes the smoothie nice and creamy.

Snack before work:

Rice bowl with spinach, avocado sauce, and two sheets of nori on the side. I would usually use an avocado and not a store-bought sauce but the avocado I had went bad.

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Lunch:

More rice with lots of veggies (broccoli, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and onions) topped with sesame seeds with a peanut butter and sriracha sauce.

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We went grocery shopping when I got off worked and picked up some food for dinner. I snacked on some black bean Harvest Snaps on the car ride home.

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Dinner:

We didn’t get home until 10:30pm so we just picked up some frozen meals for dinner. I tried the Morning Star soba noodle veggie bowl, which honestly wasn’t that great. We tried their vegan ribs the other day and those were pretty good though.

And that’s everything I ate that day. It got lazy towards the end, but all-in-all was alright for how bad I felt. I like having smoothies and rice bowls with lots of veggies on these kinds of days because they make my body feel better.