Watching What You Eat May Help Ease Arthritis Pain

What follows is not a substitute for treatment. It’s about supporting self-management in conjunction with your health-care provider and being informed so lives can be improved.


… that any human being can possess, yet there are countless ills that plague mankind. I am not a faith healer, but I am a person of faith. I am not a doctor of any kind, but I have a family doctor. I do however, like to be my own naturopathic physician, therapist and nutritionist as much as possible.


… with some form of arthritis? I certainly do! Having said that, I’m devoting most of this column to tell a bit about Dr. P. W. who graduated from dentistry a way back in 1917. He soon found himself developing a precarious physical condition. Not one to give up without a fight, he formulated his own drugless, nutrition-oriented plan for combatting his personal arthritis in 1923. Meantime, Dr. P. W. continued to practise dentistry and did so for half a century.

Early on, many physicians often blamed bad teeth as a cause of arthritis. Patients were sent to the dentist and teeth sometimes needlessly extracted. Fortunately, Dr. P. W. disputed that approach and refused to pull good teeth. A few years later, Dr. P. W. received his degree of N. D. (i. e. Doctor of Naturopathy) in 1926.

The task of recording 50 years’ work and research of this far-thinking doctor in a single article is impossible. At best, it’s like skimming a bit of cream off a great volume of whole milk. I can only condense and provide some highlights.


… and “itis” means “inflammation of.” Dr. P. W.’s aim was not only to manage his own arthritis, but also to help make sick people healthier than they’ve been for a long time.

Dr. P. W. strongly proposed the cleansing process by clearing the bowels with a lukewarm water enema every morning and evening for a week. He said: “most people don’t know the proper way to administer an enema.” It would take up the better part of a page to provide detailed instructions.

He also pointed out: “As little as one wrong food item can interfere with recovery from arthritis.” For example, anything with salt or acidic foods such as red, ripe tomatoes can flare up arthritis, especially in the hands. It may take up to two weeks after no tomatoes nor tomato-based foods in the diet before a reduction in pain is noticed. Many arthritics can get away with eating low-acid pink-, orange-or yellow-skinned tomatoes without any flare-up but again — with no salt.

Dr. P. W. further stated: “Three bad whites are the most common cause of arthritis — white sugar, white flour, salt.” As substitutes he recommends: honey instead of sugar, whole grain flours instead of white flour and a good salt substitute such as the following: Combine ground celery seeds with a salt-free vegetable powder and put it in your shaker. When you give up salt, also try to make use of herbs such as oregano, thyme and rosemary as well as fresh garlic and onions, or garlic and onion powder.


What one eats depends on time of year and food availability.

Weather often has a bearing on aches and pains too, but that’s another story.

Later, his wife also became stricken with arthritis; a double whammy. He put her on sweet seedless grapes that she ate exclusively for the first four days. The results were dramatic and most of her pain disappeared. (I, Ted believe that grapes grown by many of us here in the west are every bit as health promoting.)

On the fifth day, sweet ripe watermelon was added to her diet at which time she was permitted to eat all the sweet grapes and watermelon she desired. After one week on the grapes and watermelon diet, fresh corn on the cob was added.


Fresh corn on the cob has got to be one of the best. Use a large stainless steel pot with a good-fitting lid. Add water and bring to the boiling point. Drop in three or four ears of corn, preferably lying flat and turn off the burner immediately. Cover the pot and allow corn to steep in the heated water for five minutes without any further cooking. A little sweet, unsalted butter and a salt-free vegetable seasoning are permitted. A complete meal of corn alone is allowed but ordinary salted butter is not permitted. Dr. P. W. calls corn the king of vegetables.


… are acceptable, preferably organically grown. Vegetables are storehouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that help the body ward off and prevent disease. Citrus fruits and some berries should be added cautiously as they may create a problem.

The liberal use of apples is strongly recommended, preferably organically homegrown. It’s important they are pesticide free. When in doubt, peel apples to avoid possible residue and waxes on the skin. Don’t be afraid to eat avocado. Dr. P. W. says “one pound/454 grams of avocado will add less weight than one ounce of butter.”

Several recent studies have linked cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower with cancer prevention. It appears these veggies are rich in sulforaphane and provide other useful benefits such as easing severe pain associated with debilitating joint problems. Eating them, say scientists, causes blood levels of sulforaphane to increase, which may enter joint tissue and block an enzyme that triggers pain and inflammation. Preliminary trials continue and are part of a long-term investigation into the methods by which sulforaphane benefits the body.


Many cheeses on the market are highly salted. Dr. P. W. recommends a delicious, easy-made cottage cheese. Use a large Pyrex glass or earthenware bowl. Add the juice of one fresh lemon to 2 litres (8 cups) of buttermilk. If citrus juice isn’t well tolerated, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice. Stir and place the mixture in the oven at a very low heat; the lowest possible. In four or five hours the buttermilk will form a thick clabber and separate from the whey. Pour the entire mixture into a cheesecloth bag or other cloth material that’s hanging over a bowl and allow the whey to drain off. Dr. P. W. emphasizes the delicate cheese remaining inside the bag is delicious “and better than any you can buy.” Don’t throw out the whey. It can be used as a nourishing drink or in soups.


… recommended by Dr. P. W. include soybean coffee, black mission fig drink, blackstrap molasses drink, hot low-fat milk, honey and hot water drink, herb teas, black and green teas, fresh carrot and celery juice, pure fruit juices with no sugar added and of course lots of good-quality plain water.

Among other acceptable foods are sunflower and hulless pumpkin seeds, walnuts and blanched almonds, all unsalted of course and recipes containing oatmeal and barley flour. The potato, according to Dr. P. W. is one of the best foods for combating arthritis and may be baked, boiled in a stew or oven toasted; but again without salt added. Mealtimes at home are a sacred space of the day. It is then that we are building the human temple.


The author of this prayer is unknown. It is from a manuscript of about 1650.

Some have food but cannot eat; Some could eat but have no food; We have food and can all eat; Blest, therefore be God for our meat.


In the so-called old days, corn silk tea made from the silky threads (Stigmata maidis) of an ear of corn was a popular folk remedy for complaints of the bladder. As far back as 1881, physicians soon began incorporating it into their practice as a diuretic and found the remedy both gentle and effective. Dr. John Davis stated that a decoction brewed from corn silk and dried bean pods was the most active and effective of all diuretics he had ever employed.


Jenny Palmer of Calgary would like the recipe I gave previously using rhubarb leaves to keep maggots and other soil predators out of radishes and carrots. Jenny says, “I am trying to be as organic as I can in my city garden. I enjoy your column very much and look forward to it each timeGrainews comes in the mail.”

Ted’s Response: Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and are boiled in water, then cooled and strained. An English recipe calls for 3 pounds (about 1.4 kilos) of rhubarb leaves simmered for a half-hour in 3 quarts (12 cups) water. When cool, strain and add 6 more cups of cold water and stir in one teaspoonful of household liquid soap or insecticidal soap.

(I suggest gardeners save this recipe for future reference.)

Wet the seed row with the resulting liquid prior to planting radish and carrot seeds. Rhubarb leaf brew can also help prevent club root in cabbages. Pour some into each transplant hole. As well, it may deter cabbage butterfly and flea beetles when sprayed on other cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Also spray rhubarb leaf brew on rose bushes to repel insect pests and prevent black spot on rose leaves.

Root maggots may also be repelled by applying a surface mulch of whole dried oak leaves on the soil along plants, but do not work them in. Gather some oak leaves this fall and keep them dry over winter for next season.

ThisisTedMeseytontheSingingGardener andGrow-ItPoetfromPortagelaPrairie, Man.MotherNaturebestowsonhumankind anabundantvarietyofwholesomefoods. Thehumanhandprocessesit,combinesit withunnaturalmaterials,andaddsflavours, colouringandwhoknowswhat,thengivesit anewnameunderthetitleofpurefood.”My emailaddressis [email protected]

About the author


Ted Meseyton

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.



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