Some might think "how gross," but for Sjoggies, like me, for whom dry mouth is a primary symptom, the idea of drooling is a completely foreign experience. When I first started to explore the possibility of Sjogren's Syndrome as the cause of the symptoms I was experiencing, dry mouth was the most severe symptom. I often woke up in the middle of the night with my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, swallowing a pill was a chore and I got my first cavity in decades. My mouth was so dry, it was not uncommon to finish off an entire glass of water that I still keep religiously by my bedside. And it was not uncommon to be unable to get back to sleep, thus contributing to severe fatigue. But last night I woke up because I drooled. How refreshing!!
After years of dry mouth, I began to see things turn around about five months ago--a couple of months after I began my "anti-inflammatory diet" journey. By mid-May, as part of a diagnostic study at the Sjogren's Center in Philadelphia, the dentist testing my saliva production found it difficult to get the suction cup to adhere because my saliva production had improved so significantly. It has continued to improve over time until now I take a sip of water when I awake at night as a preventive measure. Dry mouth is not the cause of my waking--a full bladder and dry eyes are!
This has not been a scientific study and I cannot be certain that my diet is the reason for this symptom all but disappearing. Truth is my eyes, although improved, are still driving me crazy. But this has been just one of many benefits resulting in this new way of eating. Others include:
- losing 25 pounds--averaging about one pound of weight loss per week
- a drop in blood pressure from a high in the 140s/80s to currently often under 110/70
- a cholesterol count that was at 242 several years ago and more recently at 220, now down to 202
So count me among the converted. I will continue to follow this diet regimen in large part to maintain the status quo, but also because I have never enjoyed food more. I love to eat--always have. I could down a large portion of M&Ms or jelly beans in a heartbeat, or eat a mega-size Mrs. Field's cookie before I even had a chance to feel guilty. Put food in front of me and my appetite knows no bounds. No more. The taste of healthy, whole foods as opposed to processed foods has been a real eye-opening experience for me. I was unaware of the extent to which added sugars and chemicals impacts the taste of the food I was eating--masking the real flavors and adding no nutritional value. So no more processed foods for me. I have almost completely eliminated the foods on the "Foods to Avoid" list from my diet and it has served me well.
In my next post I'll explore our fascination with sugar and the importance of making that the first item to exclude from your diet.
In good health...