Taking care of people in Boulder, I have a lot of patients who have gone gluten free or dairy free or something-else-free, not because they are allergic but because they just feel better. It makes sense…a lot of what causes disease, asthma, allergies, chronic pain, gastrointestinal disease, is related to an overactive inflammatory response, and calming that down promotes healing. There are a lot of different diets out there – the thyroid diet, adrenal diet, Whole 30, paleo diet, etc – that all seem to be based on the same principal that some foods increase inflammation, some decrease inflammation and we can eat accordingly to help ourselves feel better.
Recently I have had some chronic overuse injuries, that despite my best rest, ice, stretching and PT efforts have not been getting better, so I thought I would give the anti-inflammatory diet a try and see what all the excitement is about. I started off looking at some of what Dr. Terry Wahls, and Dr. Izabella Wentz have put together, but because I like data and have an interest in cooking and nutrition, decided I would do my own research to inform what I do, and keep track of what I learn here (with delicious recipes of course). The basics are pretty simple – plants are key, eat lots of colors, eat real food, avoid processed and refined. In my professional experience, dairy, wheat/gluten, and especially sugar seem to be the biggest culprits. Meat, eggs, and other grains can be as well. Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, fish, and more) are beneficial, as are many herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and oregano. Then there are differences between people as well, some may not actually have a problem with wheat or dairy, but be sensitive to corn, soy, nightshades or rice. Experimenting is key to figuring that out.