Food for thought

I’ve spent many a lunch break sitting on a shady bench in the city gardens, gobbling my sandwich and, at the same time, frantically flapping my arms, shooing predatory wildlife.

Ibis, ducks and water dragons may look harmless and non-threatening but are quite intimidating when on a mission for picnic food.

I admit to jumping in fright when the water dragon I was ignoring at my feet growled like a petulant Chihuahua seeking attention.

I don’t think my scurrying to another picnic bench to finish my ham and salad sanger was quite what the dragon had in mind but I had its best interests at heart.

I’m pretty sure processed bread, cheese and meat, and salad vegies are not the best diet for critters that usually eat small insects.

Just like I probably shouldn’t eat a packet of Tim Tams or a sticky date pudding for dinner when I should make sure my diet is nutritious and balanced.

Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it’s doubly important to maintain a healthy weight because being overweight puts excess strain on dodgy joints.

But I figure if I stick to the program on weekdays and eat low-fat, high-fibre food, including green vegetables and fish, and do some exercise, I’m allowed a blow out occasionally.

People often ask if Arthur and I are on a special diet.

Many people have heard that avoiding eating acidic foods such as tomatoes and oranges prevents aches and pains.

Luckily for me, because tomatoes and citrus fruit are staples of my diet, this is an old wives’ tale.

While there’s no proof that any particular diet reduces the pain or symptoms of RA, everyone is different and a food that doesn’t affect me may make someone else feel blah.

So it’s important to do some research – check our Resources section for links to useful websites, ask Mr Google or consult a dietician – and use trial and error to determine what works for you.

I find eating in moderation, aiming for a nutritious diet, exercising and trying not to feel guilty about an occasional blow out helps keep my weight and outlook in the healthy range.