Someone close and dear to me mentioned in an email that they (let's call this person GENE, so that i don't have to say s/he through the whole blog, mmkay? and no, it isn't me. honeslty) had met recently with their doc and the doc (he? prolly) suggested that he (Gene (again, not me)) follow a "low purine diet". I had an idea what that meant, but I have begun to try to look at things from the perspective of "i know nothing about healthcare, so i need to look everything up on the web." Let me tell you, this has been an interesting experiment. It has really opened my eyes, and has made me almost sick to my stomach. Allow me to use Gene's advice as an example:
I googled "low purine diet". I got quite the interesting list of options:
Not one to always follow the top of the list, i chose a link from www.myrtuemedical.org, indicated by the red circle. Remember, I am an 'average Joe' looking stuff up that my doctor told me about. SO i went there. Here are some highlights (the document is a .pdf file, and i don't know how to just copy and paste those files):
"WHAT IS IT? A low purine diet means eating foods that do not have many purines in them." (umm. seriously? wow. NOW i know what it means. how could i have been so NAIVE??? Next I suppose they'll tell me that a 'no smoking area' means an area with no smoking. Or that 'peanut butter' is butter made from peanuts. Or that baby oil is oil made from......wait! What IS baby oil made from? And has anyone ever SEEN a CANOLA? (not a canolli...i've seen plenty of those!)
ok. the paragraph goes on. are you ready to be edu-ma-kated? Gud.
"Purines are found in some foods." Such as? I still don't know wtf a purine is, but i know that it is found in some foods. So is HFCS. So is soy lecithin. So is...Prestone Anti-freeze. Seriously. It is. every see "polyethylene glycol" in the ingredients list? I have. In one of my favourite things. Now, I'm not so sure..... Thus far, i have not learned anything useful from this web site. Ever the optimist, i continue reading:
Turns out (which i really already knew, but again, play along here....) that uric acid is formed from the breakdown of purines. The body doesn't use uric acid, so your kidneys filter it out, and excrete it in your urine. (some people (Madonna is one of them, so it HAS to be true) say that peeing on your shower curtain will reduce the amount of moldy build up. Presumably the uric acid kills it. Hmm.... Anyway, Uric acid buildup in the body can cause pain and swelling known as GOUT. (not "the gout", as a lot of old-timers call it. kinda like "the twitter" and "the facebook". sheesh. Old timers are fun.) Build up of this acid can also cause kidney stones. Hmm....That i didn't know. I know kidney stones as "renal calculi", which get their name from Calcium....but hey. this site is 'myrtuemedical', so who am I to argue?
** RN NOTE: Uric acid is heavy. It takes quite a bit to move it along the blood stream. In relatively healthy people, this isn't usually a problem. As we drink water, the uric acid concentration goes down, and the kidneys can handle the processing, and we just pee it out. Yay, Pee!. However, in not so healthy individuals, or those with poor circulation (sub-set of not so healthy individuals), the uric acid may build up...and end up lodged in the more distal (far away) capillaries (tiniest of blood vessels) of the fingers and toes. This is why most people who suffer from GOUT are older or overweight. And if you look at their diet, they have a tendency to be people who drink a lot of COLA/SODA/POP. End RN NOTE**
Under the heading "CARE", the information goes on to state "Eat a diet that has at least 50% of calories as carbohydrates. Do this by eating 6 to 10 servings of bread or starchy foods, and 5 fruits and vegetables each day." WHAT?
"Drink plenty of non-alcohol containing beverages. 8-12 cups per day." (ok, i'm no English major, but.....)
Then they list some sections for low, medium, and high purine foods. Curious, aren't you? Heck, if you've read this far, you might as well keep reading, right?
"Low: Eat or drink the following things as often as you like while following an eating plan for staying at a good body weight:
breads: low fiber, white flour
cream style soups
eggs (limit 3 to 4 per week)
nuts and peanut butter (limit if trying to lose weight)
past and macaroni
"Medium: Eat only one serving per day...when gout is under control. Avoid when gout is flaring up:
dried beans, peas, lentils
oats and oatmeal
wheat germ and bran
whole grain foods"
"High: Avoid these foods all of the time:
broths bouillons, consommes
scallops and mussel
WILD (that's all it says, i swear! 'wild')"
Seems like they are advocating a diet high in unrefined carbs and low in fiber. Isn't this pretty much the OPPOSITE of what most of the rest of the world is saying?
I am hoping that your take-away from this is that you will consider your sources while seeking information, either on the web, in print, or in person. Just for example, and i was JUST DUPED, go back to the top and re-read the name of the website that I am talking about. Carefully.
Are you done? Did you learn anything? I thought it was myTRUEmedical, but really it is myRTUEmedical. ahhh....my eyes deceived me. Twice.
Anyway, here is the link to the document, if you'd like to actually read it. But please, don't pass it along as advice. It was last updated in 2008. Things have changed in the past 3 years in the medical field. Heck, they've probably changed since you sat down to read this.
DISCLAIMER:: though I am a Registered Nurse, this blog is purely MY COMMENTARY, and I am not diagnosing, suggesting treatment, or selling anything. I am simply expressing my thoughts as I try to navigate life. –gene-