You are what you Eat: Eat Healthy

With Columbus Day behind us and Halloween just around the corner, autumn seems to be flying by. With a decrease in temperature and an increase in holidays, memories and traditional recipes, keeping a healthy diet can grow difficult. Whether you crave Grandma’s pumpkin pie or are guilty of dousing every corner of your plate in gravy, the holidays seem to be full of fats, sodium and sugar. Not exactly the healthiest combination when you’re battling a chronic disease. However, with a few adjustments, most of your favorite dishes can be designed to be both tasty and healthy.           The key to healthy cooking is keeping a close eye on ingredients. Many holiday staples begin with nutritious items; sweet potatoes contain antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals to fight inflammation. By adding butter, sugar and marshmallows, it quickly becomes a fattening dish.

An easy way to monitor your fat, sodium and sugar intake during the holidays would be to make subtle changes in your recipes. Reduce sugar, fats and salt by one-third, or replace sugar with vanilla to maintain sweetness. It’s also important to choose lean proteins such as leg and loin cuts of beef, pork and lamb and use fresh ingredients instead of high-in-sodium canned goods whenever possible. Most importantly, don’t forget to fill your plate up with high fiber vegetables such as dark, leafy greens or anything from the cabbage family.

For more information on altering recipes, please visit:

For excellent recipes to try at home, check out:


The Empire State Building Lights Purple for an Evening of Hope

On Wednesday, October 8, at Gotham Hall in New York City, patients, researchers, care givers, supporters and celebrities gathered for the Lupus Foundation of Ame10409637_10152306843971044_6530663645821670618_nrica’s Evening of Hope National Gala. In addition to raising funds to aid the LFA mission and its broad programs dedicated to ending the brutal impact of lupus, the evening promoted advocacy and awareness. Earlier on Wednesday, Julian Lennon, the Global Ambassador of the Lupus Foundation of America, flipped the switch to illuminate the Empire State Building tower lights purple! Not only was the purple in honor of the Gala that evening, but to call attention to the need for increased awareness and investment in lupus research.

“The Empire State Building shining purple for lupus awareness is a beacon of hope for the millions of people around the world affected by this disease. We know that with greater awareness, comes greater support for lupus research,” said Julian Lennon, Lupus Foundation of America Global Ambassador.

At the Evening of Hope National Gala, Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon and Jed Whedon, the co-creators and executive producers of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., were honored with the Barlin Family Awa10672102_10152306270616044_1700562234088002456_nrd for their ongoing support and efforts to increase public awareness of lupus and the lives that it affects. Additionally, Prof. Dr. Iris Loew-Friedrich, Executive Vice President, Biopharma Development Solutions & Chief Medical Officer, UCB received the Corporate Leadership Award for the company’s innovative research in the development of new treatments for lupus and their commitment to improving the quality of life for those living with the chronic disease.

Notable Gala guests include, Whoopi Goldberg, recording artist and Season 5 winner of NBC’s The Voice, Tessanne Chin and ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars’ Ian Harding. Photos of the evening and a video of Julian Lennon flipping the switch is in the links below.

The following day, Thursday October 9, entertainer Nick Cannon spoke with Evening of Hope National Gala guest, Whoopi Goldberg on The View regarding lupus and his health overall. The link for the full interview is listed below.

Evening of Hope National Gala:

The View: Nick Cannon, Whoopi Goldberg

West Haven Walk to End Lupus Now: We’ve Almost Reached Our Goal!

Autumn is in full swing! Typical October behavior mandates carving pumpkins, picking apples and crunching through leaves, however, we at the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter are busy with walk season. We haFeatured imageve been counting down the days until our Fairfield County Walk to End Lupus Now on November 2 in the Westfield Trumbull Mall and our Huffing Off Stuffing 5k on November 30.

Additionally, we successfully hosted our West Haven Walk to End Lupus Now on September 14 at Savin Rock Beach. Walkers fundraised over $26,000, getting us so close to reaching our goal of $30,000. Remember: any donations for the West Haven Walk to End Lupus Now will be accepted through October 15. Don’t forget to submit any last minute online donations and help us reach our goal!

At our West Haven Walk we were fortunate enough to receive support from Walgreens, Sugar Cupcake Truck, Rita’s Italian Ice, The Meat Truck, and Lifetime: Care at Home in addition to numerous volunteers. Not to mention, our LFACT Jail n’ Bail, Locked Up For Lupus, was a huge success! Walkers and volunteers loved locking up family members, friends and loved ones to support the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter.

For those interested in attending our Fairfield County Walk to End Lupus Now or our Huffing Off Stuffing 5k, can refer to our events page for more information:

Only 26 more days until our Fairfield County Walk to End Lupus Now! Are you ready?!

Positive Attitude, Positive Mind

A lupus diagnosis can cause both physical and mental strains. Not only does lupus affect you, but it also affects your loved ones. While managing such a serious disease, it is extremely important to keep a positive attitude. Do not let lupus ruin the beautiful person you are. You can control the emotional effects of lupus instead of letting the disease control you.

Keeping your mind occupied helps you maintain positivity. If interested in physical activity, ask your doctor or physician for suggestions. If your doctor permits exercise, it is important to remember to stick to a low-impact exercise regimen as to not irritate joints or cause a flare up. Additionally, pay attention to how your body reacts to physical activities. Some movements can be painful when you have swollen joints or muscle pain. Again, consult with your doctor or physician for suggestions or cautions regarding low-impact exercises before beginning.

When managing lupus, try your best to avoid stress. A common side effect with lupus is memory loss which could potentially fluster your stress levels. According to “Lupus International”, establishing a daily routine should eliminate stress. Making a list of other activities or goals to be accomplished that day can also be helpful. For many people, the ability to cross items off of a to-do list is very rewarding.

These are just a few suggestions on ways to keep a positive attitude during your fight. Always remember, with a positive attitude comes a positive mind.

Have you Heard the News?

Recently the Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter Awardwas awarded the Bright Idea Leadership Award for our documentary “40 Years, 40 lives.” The documentary was released earlier this year, and follows the lives of people who are living with lupus in the state of Connecticut.

Lupus Foundation of America, Connecticut Chapter, was awarded this at the recent annual meeting held in Washington DC. This meeting is for all of the LFA chapters to come together and talk about where they have been and what the future will bring for their individual chapter.

If you have not seen the “40 Years, 40 Lives” documentary, click the link below to check it out!


Five Themes of Lupus that can Help Doctor’s with Patient Care

Many people who have to deal with lupus often find themselves having the same experiences that others are having with the disease. The autoimmune disease often interferes with people’s lifestyles and causes them to not be able to live their life to full potential.

Recently, Doctor Allison Tong of the University of Sydney in Australia and her associates put the responses of about 1,400 people from 46 different studies into five concepts. These concepts and themes can help doctors deal with patient care and help them to improve the level of care and treatment outcomes.

The following five reoccurring themes were found in Dr. Tong’s study:

1. restricted lifestyle

2. disrupted identity

3. societal stigma and indifference

4. gaining resilience

5. treatment adherence

Doctor’s can use these five themes to develop and expand patient care to make it more centralized.

Each of the themes that Dr. Tong discovered has similar common experiences or perspectives of people living with lupus. People with the disease experiencing a restricted lifestyle had an interference with their mood and daily activities. This was caused by: pervasive pain, debilitating fatigue, mental disorientation, disruptive symptoms that develop over time, and having to postpone pregnancy due to anxiety over the risks of complications. People who experienced the disrupted identity factor had uncertainty and an emotional burden of dealing with lupus. The factors of this theme are: challenges of obtaining a clear diagnosis, uncertainty of their future and progressiveness of the disease, feelings of being a burden to family and friends, hopelessness, heightened self-consciousness due to appearance changes, fear of rejection, and guilt or belief that illness is punishment for an unhealthy lifestyle. People who experienced the societal stigma and indifference theme developed this when others trivialized the illness and when they were socially ostracized. They also experienced this theme when they were overprotected or intruded on by family members.

Two themes showed positive affects. Gaining resilience was obtained when patients accepted their disease and developed positive attitudes when dealing with lupus. They accepted lupus and coped with their new reality when they were diagnosed. Emotional and physical support given by family, friend, and doctors also helped them to accept the disease and live a normal life. Patients felt more in control and empowered when they were actively engaged in their lupus treatment. Being involved with lupus is an integral part of dealing with the disease because it allows you to see how other deal with the disease and gives a mutual understanding of others experiences with lupus. Treatment adherence was also a positive theme. People’s health improved when they believed that their medication was helping their disease and was having a positive impact on their health. Getting along with doctors and trusting them also helped treatment adherence. Staying on medications was a factor when patients did not think they were working, or went off of them for financial reasons.

Overall, People’s education, psychosocial (offering social and emotional support), and self-care programs helped to improve mental resilience of adults with lupus. It did this by developing better methods of coping with the disease. These factors will help people with lupus achieve better treatment and obtain the best quality of life.



New “Treat to Target” Plan Being Studied as New Treatment Method for Lupus

Lupus is a disease of many faces that requires closely monitored medical guidance. Throughout a lupus patient’s lifetime, they should feel comfortable with their medical care. Doctors and patients should come up with a concrete plan on how to approach treating symptoms and problems that arise with lupus. To maintain lupus, it does not hurt a patient to work as a team with their doctors in order to figure out a plan of action against this cruel disease.

A treatment approach called Treat to Target is a good way to go about dealing with problems that arise with lupus. This treatment approach has been used in other diseases to help patients live the best that they can. Patients who have diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes have benefited from using this plan of attack.

The Details

This treatment strategy is when a doctor and patient come up with a strategic plan to achieve goals with their medical care. They do this by developing goals, methods of how to reach their goals, and deadlines on when they have to reach them by. If their strategy is not working, it is changed to a more suitable treatment plan. The goal of Treat to Target is to improve the quality of life for lupus patients so they can live their life to their fullest potential.

What are specialists doing to make sure this treatment strategy is effective?

Since this treatment strategy has worked previously in other diseases, twelve lupus experts set out to get the facts straight and study if this plan actually worked or not. Beginning in 2012, a group of international specialists got together to study Treat to Target. The group of specialists consisted of doctors in these fields: Rheumatology (muscles and joints), Nephrology (Kidney problems), Dermatology (skin), Clinical Immunology (Immune Disorders), Internal Medicine (adult diagnosis and prevention of diseases), and a lupus patient representative.

The group leader and professor of Clinical Therapy Research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden, Ronald Van Vollenhoven, described what exactly Treat to Target does. “The Treat to Target concept has actually several elements. It has the target, which you decide you want to achieve; how you are going to measure the targets, how you are going to determine that you did in fact achieved it or not; and then the implementation of one or more therapeutic steps that hopefully are going to make it possible to achieve that target.”

The group of specialists developed four principles and a set of 11 recommendations for this strategy to work with the disease of lupus. Most of the recommendations and principals deal with remission, improving the quality of life with lupus, and preventing damage to part of the body.

Dr. Vollenhoven described what the group of specialists came up with in order to improve quality of life. “That’s the whole idea of treating the patient [making them better], but I do think it makes a difference if you, first of all, identify specific targets, so you’re very clear about what you want to achieve. You also identify the correct way of measuring it. You develop a timeline for this, so something can be achieved in a relatively short period of time and other things taken over time. Finally, you also make the agreement with the patient and also with yourself [as the physician], that if you do not achieve this target at the right point in time, then you will do something else.”

What’s the next step for Treat to Target?

The next step for Treat to Target is to have controlled clinical trials to see if this treatment method can be as successful as it has been with other disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Whether this treatment plan will end up being a home run or strike out for lupus patients, the specialists involved in this study are hopeful and confident that Treat to Target will be a hit.

Read the full journal article on Treat to Target here.