Feb 28, 2018

Rheumatoid arthritis and diet

When I was first diagnosed  years ago, I was not put on any specific diet and started right away with Plaquinal. I will not  be talking about the various treatments I have had, as those who suffer from it, know them by heart. The treatments given across countries is almost the same and except for Humira, I tried the rest and finally gave up.

When these medications were working no more, my husband was like...where you have dedicated 3 years of your life to this treatment, why don't you give Ayurvedic treatment a chance. So that we know we have tried everything that's out there and nothing worked. Whenever I even mentioned Ayurveda treatment, my Doctor would just snap and say that line of medicine is all hocus pocus and don't even mention it here in my office.

I don't see the hatred here. My life in 3 years was non existent. I wasn't able to walk. I broke up with every friend because I as angry. Angry with my disease, angry with my life, Angry with God. I was angry, depressed and  I could barely move, I just wanted to die. That could not be called living. That felt like wrath.....

Moving on, I went to India , consulted an ayurvedic doctor. She explained there is no treatment to stop or end this disease but we can slow down and with proper strict diet, maybe you could salvage a few joints and prevent further damage. Again I will not be discussing the medications, as its best inspected and treated by one. Some places they will try to loot you, some places they will just give you the medications.

The most important  thing about ayurvedic treatment is the diet. She told me if i abide by the strict diet , I could help in reducing the symptoms. She told me it will take a year to actually work but since there are no side effects to it or not as much as western medications.....

The first thing to stop is Yogurt / curds. She said any yogurt products like in the middle east we have Laban, and greek yogurt and lassi and what not...she said just stop it. She said I could drink only butter milk. When they churn to make butter, the liquid that's left when making the butter... that has superb cooling effects and that I could drink that as much as I wanted. But no whey , no lassi.

The thing with yogurt is, and this is not a scientific explanation, yogurt is very cooling. Plus with the prebiotics, its one healthy natural dosage of nature you can eat to add to your health. Ayurvedic medications are heaty. As in they make the body warm inside....and like me if you live in a country where 55 Celsius is the normal temperature... you are literally being cooked inside and out. Buttermilk is not available outside Asia I think. AT least in the middle east, its not available.

Second thing she asked me to cut out from my diet was red meat. I'm guessing it includes lamb, mutton, beef ,organ meat,etc etc. She was like it would help you immensely if you quit this totally. But just in case, you dont have the power of will, you can have just a small portion once a week. Now with RA, most become anemic. I'm anemic too. Iron deficiency Anemia. Even though I have been taking folic acid with iron mix, I'm forever anemic. I'm in my menopause right now and still am anemic. Red meat provides that yummy portion of Iron but she was like look for vegetarian substitutes as well or just pop a pill to make up for it. We cant have it all right ! So now I eat meat once in  weeks or when I feel the Vampire in me will turn me and force me to feed on someone. Also....it all comes with experience. Like I might have to indulge in a few brands and have flares before I realize I cannot eat that brand anymore. As in frozen chicken or sometimes even fresh meat or chicken. I'm guessing it has to do with the feed. Sometimes I don't have flare ups at all. and sometimes, just one bite will lead to me blowing up like an air balloon.  This goes for chicken too. She asked me to eat just a portion of chicken as well. And the same math applies with chicken. Some brands I can eat without an issue and some I just cant.

Now She asked me to strictly rule out canned and preserved stuff. No spam , no sausages or links, no hams or mortadella, nothing smoked, nothing cured. She told me that this I had to give up. Luckily I had this one spam I liked and wasn't eating the other things at all. SO giving up on that one product was easy for me. Sometimes, I do feel this urge to eat a bite of sausage or a rasher ...but then the pain has always been unbearable. No canned fruits or lets simply put it...if its in a can..its a no no.

NOW lets come to the part that shocked me She said should cut cheeses and dairy products. She said go for skimmed milk, which I presume she said looking at my curves ahem ahem......But she asked me to skip cheeses. I eat a bit of cream cheese in my breakfast and right now slice cheese once a week. 

Vegetables that are gassy... there was a list alright... I don't remember half of it...But it was any kind of beans. Kidney beans, chick peas, garbanzo beans mean the same, green beans,yard long beans....All these beans are gassy. Anything that's gassy should be avoided and not eaten. Even lentils like urad dal , chana dal should be avoided. But since I already follow a list of food that includes nothing, I do eat a few dals that I truly love like mung beans or moong dal, horse gram, and masoor dal or pink dal as I call it. When I prepare tempering for these dals I include - Ajwain or caraway seeds( this I boil with the dal) , Cumin seeds or jeera seeds , black mustard seeds or rai, And among a few other things Hing or Asafoetida. These  3 things will get rid of the gassiness within you when you eat these things.  I even add jeera or cumin seeds in my boiling rice water and you can munch on fennel seeds or saunf or drink ajwain  or caraway seeds steeped in hot water. It will help in easing up the gas issues.

Of course, i9t goes without saying, that any kind of soft drinks like Pepsi and the likes of it... should be completely avoided. Even if you don't have RA, its not a healthy drink anyways. But if you are addicted to having those, cut them down slowly... like you would taper your prednisolone doses. Once in a blue moon ok....but cut down on junk food and other things. 

This advice I follow as strictly as my mind allows. Sometimes I indulge. I'm a human being after all and being a foodie doesn't help even a bit. But I don't deny myself anything. Once in 4 or 6 months, I will eat KFC. Or maybe a burger instead. So I try to buy things by reading their ingredients. Thanks to Oprah, in one of her episodes, she mentioned things you should simply not buy. Look for those few ingredient names like hydrogenated anything or artificial flavourings or fake butter or what not, I read my ingredient list and buy products which don't have them. even the burgers that I buy , I make sure have only natural spices and stuff and without preservatives. Again...I have tried quite a few brands before I declared these are RA friendly for me.

Its not the end of the world, and my heart goes out for those who are going through severe symptoms. i have been there like I mentioned initially. To the point of wanting to commit suicide to end it all and Im the kind of person who can take a lot of pain. Im not the kind who will easily complain of illness even to my husband so skip out on chores. This ayurvedic treatment start actually producing results after a year and half. I have to get these medications from India on regular basis which is pretty difficult for me but Thankfully being an Indian helps. My wonderful friends always get me my supply when they visit. This way I can take them regularly. There are more syrups or kashayams as they say it to be taken, but there is a limit to how much medications can be brought in your luggage here. So I stick to the 3 meds which I take without fail. 

After a year and half, I finally started walking again. I finally could eat with my right hand regularly, my mouth could open wide enough. Im thankful to God, Alhamdullilah, for being there for me when I lost all hope. Im even thankful for my wonderful husband, Mehmood. The man has been my rock. He never ever complained when I lay immobile for months. he supported me and loved me without bias through it all. He is always checking my shopping cart and making sure I dont buy junk. He makes sure I go all vegan when I have my flares. He cut down on meat and stuff so that I wouldn't lose control. 

Feb 18, 2018

Series and dramas

We all have those shows we love to watch. We love the way they make us laugh or reminisce  or the morals they teach or the fact we need something to get through the day.

My first series is a Kuwaiti series. Its not very new and if you can understand arabic..it is a must watch. The series talks about people and their relationships. Each one with their own take on what they feel life should be. One being about a couple who haven't got pregnant over a long time but are content and so much in love. I loved her character . She is a wonderful woman, classy, puts her husband and his family above herself and has so much love and attention to shower among the relationships around her. 

I want to be so much like her. Poised and well spoken, soft and dispersing of beautiful love every now and then in doses. In the series, an old flame takes over their marital bliss and destroys everything to get her ex flame back. The man gets weak in an instance over a woman thrusting her good looks and beautiful empty words of love and he gives up on wife and he tumbles onto a cross path when he , being a writer and poet, cannot distinguish between true love and infatuation. 

I couldn't imagine being left by my husband over another woman. Its a nightmare. Especially if you don't have anything else in the relationship like children. Its so easy to get bored and move on. She too faces this very fear and life gives her another shot at it and what a wonderful change it turns out to be.

The one thing I always tell myself is, love yourself. Admire yourself for the truth you have in you. Focus on doing good deeds and on the deeds and goodness of others. We strangles our mental existence with what rubbish jealous people pour into our lives. Instead of letting it go and keeping our calm, we tread on wards to spin the tempest of lives. But what is life if not testing us during storms. How are we to know what our strengths are if we have not searched for it during that harsh 10 seconds of brutal rage that is life struggles. 

The series showcases another stubborn and hard man to love, who is a dad to 4 kids but thinks showing his love is a form of weakness of a man.

 It shows a couple, wherein a wife simply doesn't respect her husband and appreciate the love he has for her and every time he professes his love or excitement with a new venture, she ignores him, shuns him and utters not a single word of courage or positivity. A woman who doesn't value the love she gets from a faithful man. 

It showcases another woman, who is greedy and jealous and envious of other women. Simply because her purpose in life seems to be only to bicker, ruin the lives of others around her rather than working on her own family. In the end she loses it all...and her demons take hold the better of her.

The series is simply 30 episodes and is a beautiful. It gives one a glimpse of the kuwaiti lifestyle. I must the one thing that the series didn't portray the number of maids. hehehhehhe... Its the truth. 

I putting the url below... incase if anyone is interested..to watch it. Its in arabic.


Dhikrayat la tamoot. 

Means Memories never die.

Jan 26, 2018

What is Missing !

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There are a few things I have been missing lately. Its been ages since I have experienced them and I miss those times so much. 

So much of nostalgia ....
There was bliss in those moments...
Unrequited love in those moments... 
Moments I thought would keep happening every now and then...
Moments I took for granted...
Times when I wish I had made note of...

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I miss -

The times my mom ran her hand through my hair and stroked it.

The times my dad carried me in his arms when I was even a bit ill.

The times I sat on my parents lap for the heck of it and they cuddled me unknowingly.

The times my mom applied rouge and lipstick on my face, with her ring finger, when attending a party.

The times my dad held my hand firmly while crossing the bridge or at a crowded market.

The times my mom oiled my hair and ears while placing my head on her lap.

The times my mom taught me a few dance moves while cooking in the kitchen.

The time I saw my baby brother after he was born at the hospital, packed like a bullet.

The times when my mom made dress fitting an event with her sisters.

The time my dad woke me up first thing in the morning , every single day, to drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for years.

The times when my dad let me hold his pinkie finger , whenever we were out.

The times my mom set my hair for half an hour because it wouldn't stay proper.

The times I played police robber with my siblings.

The times we siblings sat down and counted and divided every piece of chocolates and sweets equally.

The times when we licked the food we didn't want to share on purpose but then landed eating it anyways.

The times when we siblings beat each other up and cried and then looked at each other and made up again.

The times when mom announced today she would cook my favorite dish .

The times when my aunt told us stories at night when my parents were working nights.

The times I twirled in my favorite frilled skirt and saw it rise high and felt like a flower.

The times when I sat by the river at my granny's for hours and looked at sunlight dancing on the water making it look like gold.

The times when saw sheaf of light trickling through the trees in the forest.

The times when I soaked my feet in a running stream of cool fresh water in the forest.

The times when I watched endless sunsets.

The times when I dug my feet deep into the sand by the ocean.

The times when I would cut grass with a girl from my neighborhood to feed our cow at home.

The times I made dung cakes and dried it on the wall, 

The times when I tried to explore a jungle with a neighbor .

The time when I caught a snake and brought it home to my grandmother.

The times I woke up to the scent of roses in our garden everyday during vacation.

The times I stared at my dad's tummy while he was sleeping as it puffed up and went down.

The times when I bit my dad's nose while I was on his lap.

The times when I danced in the rain.

The times when I walked daily through a row of large old green trees.

The times I saw oranges on trees for the first time.

The times when I climbed trees and sat on them.

 The times when I unsuccessfully tried to milk our cow.

The times I drank goat milk squeezed out directly underneath it.

The times I ran with my long hair open around the house.

The times I spent living with my siblings alone in the flat.

The times when we attended weddings.

The times I experienced true love, my first love.

The times when I was kissed with whole heart and soul and passion.

The times when I changed diapers and burped a baby.

The times when a baby held my finger looking into my eyes.

The times when I held my baby Anna and cried alone Coz I knew this could never be mine.

The times I spoke to my parrots.

The times I partied with my besties.

The times I had long wonderful motherly chats with my besties. 

The times I spent with my friends doing things we all loved.

The lipstick half day Saturdays in college.

The times I watched Titanic with my bestie more than 3 times.

The nights I spent listening to Mariah Carey's Butterfly and Kenny Gs Breathless night after night.

The long romantic chats.

The day I got 100s of roses for valentine.

The day my roommates gave me a surprise birthday party, my 17th.

The times I listened to churake dil mera with 15 of my best roommates lying on the floor late at night at the hostel.

The times when my hostel warden praised me for being the best student.

The time when I saw the birth of my nephew and held him in my arms.

The time when I enter a room and my nephews rush to hug and kiss me.

The times I sang lullaby to my niece, my baby Anna, every day during my holiday in India.

The times when my girlfriend stood by me through thick and thin , during my worst nightmare of my life.

The times when I partied without fear like a true adult , without giving a fuck to the world.

Well, I might continue to update them as and when the mood strikes. The thing is we remember the things and events that hurt us more clearly , than the events that brought us joy.

Jan 24, 2018

Writing !!

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Writing... is there anyone still writing? 

There's a stationary shop at the market and it is one of my favorite places. The beautiful colorful assortment of pens and pencils and paints. All the typical items one would require to write their school notes and homework and projects. 
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Once you are done with your studies, very few I guess get to write anything or work on a paper. Computers have replaced them all. We are basically typing our messages on our chats and phones and PCs and laptop. Everyone is clicking pictures of the things they want to remember and no takes down notes anymore. 

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Even though I'm a child of the 70s, and have every possible access to gadgets around me, I miss the time when I wrote my diaries. When I missed my friend and I decided to pen a letter , one page after another. 

Now it feels all so mechanical and not even intimate on any level. We have taken for granted this skill , or rather art of writing. I buy loose papers and books and keep them in my bag and home and write small things or doodle on them or work out puzzles. It feels so good to look at my own beautiful handwriting every now and then. 

I hope people never let go of something this basic and  beautiful ever. No machine can replace the pen and paper.

(Pictures borrowed online)

Jan 23, 2018

A Beauty Vitamin

Vitamins are essential nourishment for the smooth functioning of our bodies. Amongst the many, Vitamin E is one which constantly is included in beauty tips involving hair and skin and beauty.It has other important uses too namely, its good for various organs, helps in hardened arteries and  is good for the heart and other heart ailments. Besides it being an anti-oxidant, its also good for the nerves, in simple terms.

Its found only in plants and fish, so we can eat our daily requirements through various foods rich in it or consume a supplement to make things easier. It would be a better option to consume foods rich in it and reap its benefits but in this day and age, when people skip meals or are diet conscious or practice a certain kind of diet, its difficult to make up for the daily intake of this vitamin.

Lets just go through a few pointers as to how this vitamin contributes to our healthiness:-

  1. Balances cholesterol. 
  2. It fights harmful foreign bodies within the cellular level that causes diseases.
  3. It slows down aging.
  4. It maintains moisture content and elasticity within the skin.
  5. Helps fight skin cancer.
  6. Treats scars and sunburns.
  7. Helps in maintaining healthy hair.
  8. Balances hormones and maintains the endocrine and nervous system.
  9. And can help with relieving PMS , if taken a few days before the menstruation begins.
  10. Improves vision too.
  11. Improves physical endurance and muscle strength.
  12. Vital during pregnancy for the development of neurological and brain.

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So you see there are a wide variety of uses of vitamin E and we can see How important taking this vitamin could help us with our health.

All you have to do is break a capsule and use its content directly as in sunburn or mix it with a medium like body moisturizer or olive oil and apply on skin to lighten dark spots or use in hair oil.

There are many local companies selling these vitamin E capsules. Evion selling 400mg of Vitamin E in the range of Rs. 14.46 per 10 capsules.Its not a bad bargain.

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Foods rich in Vitamin E are- Spinach , Wheatgerm , Almonds, Butternut squash, Trout fish, avocado, Olive oil,  sunflower seeds, Palm oil, sweet potato , hazelnut, mango, broccoli, kiwi fruit, papaya, cucumber, tomatoes are some solid examples of food that can be consumed to make up for the daily need of this essential vitamin within our body. A cup of most of these foods provide a daily intake.

I take Vitamin E tablets myself and it has proven beneficial in terms of skin and hair and overall health. But my advice would always be to consult a doctor before buying a bottle of it. It would be better to know if you truly had a deficiency than simply popping it in. As too much anything can never be good. Our bodies are or should be our temples, we clean it, we maintain it and make sure good things are out in , so that we reap its befits and feel good during this one existence we have on earth.

Human body is very complicated and we should try our best to care for it with all the means available to us by learning about it. Being intelligent and aware should be the way to go.

Sep 14, 2017

Booking flight know hows and Travelling tips

Booking tickets......whoever said that was easy. Especially if you are looking for the best and cheapest prices online. Its nothing short of a nightmare....If you haven't done it before.

I realized finding the best price meant going through 6 to 7 sites twice a day and rechecking it every now and then, especially when you have to discuss the details between a bunch of fellow travelers. Its like you are repeating the same thing twice or thrice.My husband tends to have amnesia whenever Iam speaking. Its like the man wasn't listening at all. I might be talking for an hour and he wont remember anything I said. I think in the perpetual habit of zoning out when your wife talks....he zones out the minute he sees my face I guess. Because Im repeating the very same thing a hundred different times. Yes...that is married life.

So where were we ! 

Yes...so some tips when booking tickets for that amazing holiday .

1. YouTube ki Jai ho ! Always check out your holiday spot on YouTube. Everyone is putting everything on YouTube nowadays. From drunken endeavors to flashing themselves to sick stuff to joyous things. Everything is there on YouTube. So take the time to research for your dream destination and watch all videos concerning it. Like the scams to look out for...the stuff you need to pack...the essentials pertaining to that destination which is a must, the things you just dont need to or shouldn't pack, even whats there to see out there...the packages , the tours, the prices....etc etc. I have found out about places by mistake and planned my holiday around it.

2. When searching for cheap flights, go to various flight aggregators.
Farecompare, Flybooking, Kayak, Expedia, Momondo, Wego. These are to name a few but these are legit sites. I came across very cheap tickets....like pop corn price tickets of an exotic location only to find out that it was a scam site. So please do your research. You can type in the site name and check out customer reviews online and know how legit or good they truly are. Also remember, some sites, they give you the base fare price and the luggage prices and small stuff like that are not included. Thats when you ruin your holiday at the airport, when you are told you have to pay an additional cost for this and that. So check if the ticket includes all taxes and fees and baggage details.

3. Fares arent the same everyday. I have seen fares change in a single day. Some say the best time to book is 6 weeks before travel and In my case, I found out 3 weeks before travel was a good time too. I guess it also depends on the destination and the high and low season of that place. So you are basically stuck checking fares everyday, the whole day at times especially if its a group involved.

4. Also, the tickets and hotels and tours are differently priced during the high and low season. You want to check what exactly the low and high season of the place's. Sometimes its just hot throughout the year in a place and high season would just mean , you and your kids are free during Christmas and thats when you will be paying thrice the price because you visited it on a world holiday. 

What else? 

5. There is something called the red eye flight. These flights are during that time of the night or early morning, when you rather sleep in bed with your butt in the air. These red eye flights are usually cheap as people , the ones with family, wouldnt want to drag their kids at odd times in the night to travel.

6. Always check for package deals as well online. Its better to know that if there is a service that is ready to do all the legwork and give you a all things and tours included trimmed package which includes airport transfers and shuttles and pick ups from your hotel . Some people hate the fact they have to run around during their holidays searching for deals on things abroad and rather pay a small ( No, it isnt small definitely) extra fee to have it done. So check those deals as well. If you like that,opt for it. If tailor made holidays isnt your thing, then prepare to be excited and disappointed and have fun planning every small detail of your trip.

7. Learn the local lingo or language of the place you are travelling to. At least learn basic stuff like greetings, Phrases concerning basic information you would need to travel in a taxi or boat or train or tuk tuk or bus or hotel or shopping. It never hurts to learn the customs and traditions expected of a foreigner. Politeness goes a long way and I for one enjoy learning new stuff and talk in new languages even though people would make fun of me. Doesnt matter, I like trying. I remember when I travelled home, I walked into this shop. I dont know the local language that well but decided to give it a shot. I spoke for a minute or two in broken kannada, explaining I wanted to see earrings which hung like this and pointing out at colors....to which they laughed at me and said, Madamji, Aap hindi me bole. (Mam, you can speak in hindi|). I was so relieved and we had a good but expensive time buying stuff. Not knowing the local lingo meant, Im not from around there and the prices will not be cheap. Can you believe it, they were rajasthani boys who spoke fluent kannada and tulu. Absolutely mind blown. 
So knowing the local phrases will just mean you are honoring them by trying to be polite and loving their country.

What else? 

8. Take into consideration the flight times and transit hours and the stays in the various airports. When you are in your 20s, staying awake for 2 days doesnt interfere with your body or life. But when you are older, have kids and are travelling, not getting the proper sleep can have a major impact. I could stay awake for 48 hours up to the age of 27 or 34.....but then it was like a landslide of life. If I dont get enough sleep now..besides falling asleep wherever I sit with my damn mouth wide open and drool seeping out , like a toddler I guess, my eyelids swell up,,I get nasty cranky...I get these murderous instincts....You dont need to play night crawler...I become one. And without my caffeine shots in the name of strong black tea...Im unmanageable. You dont want to land at your destination and spend a solid whole day sleeping in , trying to fight off the side effects of age and ruin an entire day. So make sure you sleep wherever you can. Like in Dubai, you have these wonderful chairs where you can sleep in. Use it...dont be ashamed... Make yourself comfortable and sleep when you can if time allows. I never sleep in a plane unless my mind yanks my brain socket out and I just go unconscious. Im distracted by movies and series. Listen to easy music and just sleep. 


9. Carry your medications for the duration of your trip. Dont miscalculate the number of tablets. I have too many, so this step is for those few. I would suggest carrying a tummy upset medication as well and panadols handy. What if you ate something in your flight and it went downhill after that. If you have dry eyes , carry eye drops and eye packs. Dont know what exactly they are called...the cooling pads ,travel friendly ones that you just pull over your eyes.I have had dry eyes issues and tummy upset issues and this nasty man who coughed and spewed his germs on the both of us. We literally were severely sick from a never ending cold for 2 weeks. God knows what that man bought in his nostrils from Europe but it was nasty. I had the worst vacation ever. 

10. Dont wear makeup and lens while travelling unless its just half an hour to one hour flight. I have seen women decked up from head to toe in a 5 hour long flight. They are massaging their feet coz their heels are killing them....their face looks all caked up....Its hilarious actually. I have seen women pull out their makeup bag just before landing and apply full on makeup over their old makeup....combing their hair to perfection..putting on nail polish and jewelry at the last moment. WTF ! Unless you were meeting your better half or lustful half after a long hiatus at the airport....

11. Converting currency. Check that exchange rate as to where it would be cheaper and better to convert your money into foreign goodness. In some places, they take local currency at the airport. I starved once in Mumbai because I had dinars and they didnt want to accept it. Nightmare during red eye flights.But this was ages and eons ago. But its true....some places they accept most currencies...some places they just dont.

12. Using toilets when you can. Of course in long flights, its unavoidable. But during short journeys, use the good old airport toilets when you can. The toilets on the plane... lets just take a second and not more than that to talk about those. Maybe its the bane of travelling economy flights....so many people just dont know how to use a toilet. How can water be sprayed all over? Why cant you dispose off your pads and tissues properly into the bins? Whats stopping you from pushing your hand a bit further into the bin, than eyeballing it from a distance and hoping it will pop in. What is wrong with you? Why cant you wipe the place dry after you finish? Do you have to act like a neanderthal , as if you dont know how to wash yourself after you do your deeds? Idiots and there is no shortage of them. Its because of nincompoops like them, I literally avoid flight loos and control my soul and pee till I land. Its because of you, I curse the human who went before me...coz Now Im standing there, wiping the place dry, so that I can use it without fearing death from some flesh eating bacteria. Ughhh the memories....

13. If you know the food served on flight wont be good as some economy flights are, eat before you leave home. I dont want to sit in a plane dying of hunger coz they served crap or they served way too little. Eat a light meal or large meal, whatever your body needs before you travel. If you are travelling first class or business...these info is not for you.

So Thats what I can remember right now...I just about covered the main points . If I think of anymore...I will add it here. If you have anything important you think needs mentioning...comment and I will add it. 

I hope it was helpful.

Rheumatoid arthritis and diet