“Keep try­ing, even­tu­ally you will get change” Chris Beard­shaw

Gardeners' World - - Gardening For All -

Award-win­ning gar­den de­signer and TV pre­sen­ter Chris Beard­shaw faced life in a wheel­chair due to prob­lems with his toe joints as a teenager. He couldn’t stand with­out pain: “Get­ting shoes on and off was im­pos­si­ble,” he says. After var­i­ous treat­ments and pain re­lief for rheuma­toid arthri­tis ( RA), but no con­clu­sive di­ag­no­sis, the threat of a wheel­chair was “gal­vanis­ing” and he de­cided to change the way he lived. After ex­ten­sive read­ing (now he’d ad­vise us­ing arthri­tis­re­searchuk.org) his so­lu­tion was to swap high-im­pact ex­er­cise for cy­cling and changes to his diet.“You have to be me­thod­i­cal; go through and see what it is that’s ag­gra­vat­ing the con­di­tion,” he says. With more than 100 dif­fer­ent forms of arthri­tis, an ex­act di­ag­no­sis is not easy, but by cut­ting out food groups then rein­tro­duc­ing them to his diet Chris found that cit­rus fruit and any­thing from the potato fam­ily, in­clud­ing aubergine and toma­toes, made his symp­toms worse. Now he takes a glu­cosamine and chon­droitin sup­ple­ment and mul­ti­vi­ta­mins: “I found the prod­uct that suits me and I’ve mod­i­fied quan­ti­ties to take the min­i­mum,” he says. He also takes ex­tract of devil’s claw as an an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory for flare-ups: “high doses for short pe­ri­ods work for me.” An­other big help is get­ting the best­fit­ting com­fort­able shoes pos­si­ble, wear­ing thick hiking socks to pro­tect his feet and us­ing or­thopaedic in­soles. “Keep try­ing out things for a rea­son­able amount of time,” he says. “You don’t get change in a mat­ter of days, but even­tu­ally you will.”

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