When Jennifer Holder, community leader of Webmd’s Facebook RA group, has an RA flare up, she knows she’s missing out: on sleep, hydration and taking care of herself. Tending to her diet and exercise routine keep her on track and keep her flare ups at bay.  But that doesn’t stop her from taking fabulous vacations.

Video Transcript

JENNIFER HOLDER: For me, nutrition and exercise, those are the only things that really, truly work for me. I have to monitor what I eat. When I eat poorly, I notice a lot of inflammation. And when I eat more healthier options, I notice that I feel better. My joints are not inflamed. So for me, nutrition is big and exercise as well.

When I do get a flare-up, I’ve learned that usually, in my case, I am doing too much– not sleeping enough, not hydrating enough, and just not taking care of myself. I work a lot. So if I don’t watch my sleep and take care of my health diligently, I will get a flare-up every now and then.

I’ve been tested for celiac disease, and I was negative, but I’m told I may have a sensitivity. I do notice that when I eat too much, too many foods with gluten in them, I do notice joint swelling. I do notice my ankles are changed. They’re swollen. My knuckles are swollen.

When I go on vacation, I don’t really monitor what I eat. And so I do notice often that when I return from a vacation, I may have a mild flare-up simply because I probably took in too many gluten-filled foods or sugary foods. I tend to watch my sugar. I have to eliminate those gluten-filled, sugary-filled items from my diet. I may do some fasting and definitely some exercise. Exercise helps relieve my inflammation symptoms– the swollen joints and knuckles, achy knees.

I am a student of nutrition, and I kind of got into that because of my RA. I think people tend to see nutrition as mostly a weight management thing, but I think it’s also a health management thing. And so right now I’ve been reading a lot about magnesium. And so for me, that’s my home remedy.

Ginger. I’m big on ginger. Ginger and turmeric. I put that in pretty much everything. And these are things that help me. And I’ve heard other people say it helps them too, but for the most part this is what helps me.