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THE GOUT DIET CHALLENGE (GDC) ROUND-UP
Learning to accommodate diet limitations of a low-purine diet
(Including previously posted recipes that are also gout-friendly)

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12 February 2008
My father is visiting from Guam and is coming to terms with the severity of his gout condition, which a doctor here on Oahu pronounced "out of control." This is evidenced by large deformities on his knuckles and knee called "tophi," which are actually deposits of uric acid crystals on the joints. Tophi take decades to accumulate and signal that the kidneys are not eliminating the uric acid the body produces as it breaks down a naturally occurring substance in the body and in foods we eat called purines. Uric acid is carried in the blood, and when it is not flushed out by the kidneys, it will accumulate as crystals in areas of the body with slow or poor circulation. Often this will be the feet, and the sharp crystals cause painful, even debilitating "attacks" that leave the affected areas so sensitive that even the touch of cloth triggers tears and woeful cries.

Left untreated or poorly managed (with diet, acupuncture, herbal remedy or medication), the crystals will also deposit on the joints (knees, elbows, knuckles) leaving them deformed and aching. The tophi can reach a point where the skin can no longer stretch and will break then heal poorly, inviting infection as well. But tophi can be dissolved with proper medication AND diet management, though it will be a long process.

But uric acid takes its greatest toll on parts of the body we don't readily see. Excess uric acid will also deposit crystals in the kidneys (leading to kidney stones) and in the heart (damaging the heart muscle and prompting disease).

The good news is that uric acid levels can be lowered with a diet low in purines and purine-causing foods and drinks, exercise (walking), and drinking adequate amounts of water to aid the kidneys in flushing out the toxic acid (8 8-oz. (250ml) per day is a good start). Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can support the functioning of the kidneys in efficiently eliminating uric acid and all other toxins. Finally, certain pharmaceuticals may be necessary to dissolve uric acid deposits so they can be eliminated by the kidneys. The key is active management by the patient and his/her doctors.

Although this site is promoting a specific cure we have not tried and therefore cannot endorse, we've found valuable information about balancing alkaline and acidic foods in managing gout at GoutCure.com. On the page about foods that harm or heal, there is an article in the second half of the page that lists foods according to their pH levels
higher levels mean they are more alkaline, and better for gout sufferers. If you have the dubious honor of helping someone else manage gout, the Q&A section also has good information to prepare yourself for the inevitable questions the newly-deprived and still-in-denial gout patient will have about what they can and can't eat.

I'm still new at all this, so I would love to learn from you, too. If you have stories, comments, recipes or other information to share about living with and managing gout, please
email me here. Mahalo!




I am not a trained nutritionist or dietician. These recipes were created using guidelines provided by my father's physician and my own research. These recipes are ones I feed my own family, according to our individual needs, and they are posted primarily as a reference for my father. Please consult your own physician for specific guidance for your condition.



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