Chronic inflammation is a pretty heavy topic in today’s health world. We are hearing about it more and more as it is being strongly linked to numerous chronic health dis-eases. My last weeks blog post touched base on the basics of inflammation and why it is so important that we are bringing this to the front of our attention as we conquer our personal health journeys.
If you are needing more background information on Chronic Inflammation, or are wondering if you are a sufferer, read last weeks blog “Do you have underlying or “Chronic” Inflammation?”
Then come back here for some tips on nutrition and diet modifications.
One of the first steps in tackling your journey to holistic healing is realizing what is going wrong in your body, and then seeking out the tools and education needed to cure yourself.
When first realizing that your health is being affected by your diet choices, it can be overwhelming and daunting to see the lists of foods that you no longer should be eating. Especially in today’s day and age where most of us consume the Standard American Diet, otherwise known as SAD.
For those of you who have not heard of the Standard American Diet, chances are more likely than not that you are eating it…
SAD is a diet consisting of:
High consumption of “Feedlot” Animal products (Non-organic red meat, non-organic chicken and eggs, non-organic dairy products, farm raised fish)
Highly processed and artificially sweetened foods
High consumption of table salt
High consumption of white refined sugar and carbohydrates
Minimal consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and whole grains
Knowing what is bad for us and what we should not be consuming, while daunting and overwhelming, is a very crucial part in changing our diets and working towards our optimal levels of health.
As a holistic health coach who has personally struggled with poor eating habits, I know how frustrating and emotionally challenging it can be to be told of all the things you can no longer have…
I can’t tell you how many times I have reached a point in my healing journey where I have asked the question…
“Well, what the heck can I eat then?!”
To conquer this challenge I realized I needed to change my thinking and approach to changing my diet… instead of focusing on what I can NOT be eating, I put all my focus and energy into what I can and should be eating…
Slowly but surely, by focusing on the healthy foods that I can be eating, my poor eating habits started disappearing without me even realizing it.
Below you will find the Do’s and Don’ts of using nutrition to combat chronic inflammation, and although I am sharing with you some foods to avoid… to really be successful in changing to an anti-inflammatory diet, I want your main focus to be on the foods that are what I call inflammation warriors!
These inflammation warriors I have compiled for you are the foundations of an anti-inflammatory diet. These should all be your “right hand man” as you begin taking your health back into your own hands.
Here are a few SIMPLE tips to help you begin incorporating these inflammatory warriors into your daily diet:
- Make it a goal for each meal you eat to consist of 50% vegetables and fruit (mostly veggies), aiming to reach 5-7 servings per day with a variety of colors. Once you start focusing your time and energy towards reaching this goal you will be amazed at how little time is left in your day and little space left in your belly you have to dedicate towards unhealthy inflammatory foods!
A simple daily affirmation to help incorporate a variety of veggies and fruit into your diet:
“Today I will eat the rainbow! A bright, colorful, energizing, nutritious rainbow! ”
- Prep your veggies ahead of time! It doesn’t take much time at all to cut up a variety of veggies and pop them in the oven for a quick roast. Make enough to last you for a few days so you are only having to prep a couple times a week. While you are at it, leave a selection of chopped raw veggies in the fridge for easy snacking.
- Pick a new veggie or new recipe once a week to add variety and an element of fun to your meals. Eating vegetables does not have to be boring, tasteless and mundane. There are so many fun and tasty recipes out there today with the vegan and vegetarian movement, and guess what folks… you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to eat them. Even if you eat meat, vegan and vegetarian dishes are a great way to incorporate more veggies and healthy plant based proteins into your diet.
- Smoothies!!!!!! Pretty self explanatory… smoothies are such a great way to incorporate greens into the diet without even knowing you are eating them! I consider smoothies my secret weapon for children who hate eating greens. You can sneak so much in them and it all is masked by a little bit of berries. You can also pack your smoothies full of healthy nuts and seeds for that added plant based protein punch!
Now below you will find a compilation of inflammatory foods that we should be avoiding, but I will say this once again…
I want you all to focus on the good foods and by doing so these bad foods will start disappearing from your diet without much effort at all!!
It is also important to understand the role that allergies and food sensitivities play in inflammation. Often times chronic inflammation is due to foods we are consuming, that we are allergic or sensitive to…
Many of us have no clue that we are having issues because symptoms (such as inflammation) are silent so it is hard for us to know what is going on first hand.
I highly encourage everyone to do an allergy test with your primary care physician or other qualified health person.
As hard as it may be to admit for some of you, the chances of you being sensitive to gluten and dairy are more likely than not! This is largely due to the process and contamination of these certain foods.
If you are having a hard time eliminating food sensitivities from your diet at least focus on consuming quality products, meaning non-GMO, organic, sustainably produced, unprocessed whole food versions of these foods.
There is a good chance that you are reacting to the chemicals and processing of these foods and not the food itself.
Your food sensitivities and in turn inflammation, can be drastically reduced by eating higher quality foods. For example an egg sensitivity could disappear once switched to organic farm fresh eggs, produced from sustainably and humanely raised chickens!
Another very important thing to remember is that each one of us has our own unique DNA make up and we all react to and process things differently.
What causes one person’s inflammation can have absolutely no adverse effects on another. This fact can make the journey of holistically combating inflammation a long one full of trial and error, but it really is the most effective way to take your health back into your own hands!
“If someone wishes for good health than one must first ask himself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness, only then is it possible to help him.” – Hippocrates
Stay tuned for more great tips and lifestyle modifications to aid you on your journey to optimal health!
Cheers to healthy living!!
Calimeris, D., & S. (2015). The Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Action Plans. Berkley, CA: Sonoma Press.
Malone, S. (2016). Inflammed. Charleston, SC: Augustin Publishing.