Andrea Milner, her husband Colin and two children, love to keep fit; the family prioritises exercise as an essential part of their excellent health. As well as running, Andrea plays basketball, boxes and more. Building strength and improving muscle tone helps to ease the intermittent pain she felt, especially in her hips.
Wanting to explore approaches to controlling inflammation, Andrea Milner consulted a naturopath
Three years ago, though, the pain became severe enough for Andrea to seek help. Having been screened and cleared for osteoporosis, an MRI detected psoriatic arthritis in her hip.
“I went to a rheumatologist and was given steroid injections and medication to treat pain and fluid in the area. Being only 36 at the time, I didn’t want to be on such medication long-term.”
Wanting to explore approaches to controlling inflammation, Andrea consulted a naturopath. He tested her for food sensitivity, and Andrea agreed to remove several foods from her diet. She focused on lots of veggies and unprocessed foods.
“I lead a finance team by day, and my husband, Colin, is a stay-at-home-dad – and a great cook!” says Andrea. “We discussed the changes to my diet and in came more salads, spinach and roasted veggies, out went gluten, dairy and red meat.”
Andrea was also advised to supplement her diet with vitamins including vitamin C, potassium and other minerals, a multivitamin, turmeric, and a probiotic.
Diet and supplements
“I had been focusing on my new diet and taking the supplements for six weeks, and at the six-week mark, I returned to see my rheumatologist. Amazingly, a blood test found that there were no inflammation markers observed in my blood,” Andrea says.
That was three years ago, and since then, Andrea has lost 10kg – which she describes as her baby weight – and kept it off.
“I haven’t eaten red meat since then and was concerned about my iron levels. But I make sure to eat plenty of spinach and broccoli, and blood tests have found that I have the highest levels of iron I have ever had,” says Andrea.
Andrea believes that gut health is at the essence of controlling inflammation and treats occasional bouts of pain with anti-inflammatories.
Keeping in sync
“Mentally, I find that if I am eating the right foods, everything is in sync too,” says Andrea.
Of course, there are times away from her usual diet – such an overseas holiday a while ago. The drastic change to her everyday diet resulted in pain. But on returning home, adopting her regular diet rich in vegetables and fruits got her back on track.
Andrea says: “I can read my body and know what works and what doesn’t. Last year, I had a team event with pizza and drinks. I had two pieces of pizza since I was having a drink and the result was an upset stomach that lasted for two days. The same thing happened after another event where there was a cheese platter.”
A family affair
The whole family has been affected by Andrea’s new and improved diet. Colin now calls himself “the occasional vegan,” breakfast and lunch are meat-free, and red meat has mostly been replaced with seafood, chicken, and plant-based meals.
“Colin has found that cutting out meat has had had some positive side effects. He does not sweat as much, he does not suffer from mouth ulcers as much, has plenty of energy, and he is much leaner! He also takes daily probiotics, vitamin B and magnesium,” explains Andrea.
Return to the naturopath
Recently, the couples’ son experienced some abdominal issues, and the family took him to see their naturopath who made some dietary suggestions.
“Our son, Spencer, was unhappy at the thought of excluding certain processed foods and sugar. So instead of following it for six weeks, we agreed he would do so for two weeks. After two weeks, we saw a huge change, he didn’t have any unpleasant gastro symptoms, and his mood had improved as well.”
Spencer eats less gluten and dairy now, he chooses gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta and prefers gelati over ice cream and. He does not go overboard on sugar, but if he is out at a party and party pies are on offer, he would have one or two.
“Spencer knows when he has had food that does not suit him as it upsets his gut, and he will return to plain food or stay clear of certain foods until he feels better again. He wants to stick with his new way of eating. Like his parents, he reads his body,” says Andrea.
“We think it’s fantastic that we have this knowledge and, that Spencer can read his body and that will take this throughout his life. As a family, we often talk about how our guts feel and what foods we should or should not have. We are conscious of managing a healthy balanced diet with occasional treats like take away or ice cream – gelati for Spencer!” ends Andrea.