Anti-Inflammatory Basics

It seems many of the symptoms people feel that don’t really have a  diagnosis in western medicine – what many call thyroid problems, or adrenal fatigue or non-specific auto-immune conditions – basically symptoms that consist of fatigue, brain fog, achiness, joint pain, other chronic pain, digestive issues (heartburn, irritable bowel, constipation, etc) weight gain or difficulty losing weight, can often be attributed to inflammation. I believe calming down that inflammation comes in a couple stages.

First eliminate everything that is widely considered to be pro-inflammatory. This means no dairy, no grains (wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, amaranth, etc), and no added sugar (fruit is ok). Corn I am on the fence about, some sources say it is inflammatory, some research says it may actually be good. I’d guess the variety and quality has a lot to do with it. I’ll let you know what else I find out, but for at least the first 2-4 weeks I cut it out. Eggs and meat I am also on the fence about, and I think this is more personal. If you know you are sensitive, or if you want to be very careful, cut these out as well. I did not because I know my body does better with these sources of protein, but many of my recipes are vegan as well. Potatoes are ok, but non-white is better (think yams, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes).

Give it at least 4 weeks in the more restricted phase, longer depending how you feel and how you respond. Be sure to have lots of vegetables, both fresh and cooked with every meal, 2-3 servings of fruit per day, and a good amount of protein and healthy fat. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, nuts, nut pastes/butters (make sure sugar is not an ingredient) and nut oils, flax/flax oil, fish/fish oil. Coconut oil is another thing I am on the fence about. It is a saturated fat, which means it has the same potentially bad effect on cholesterol as fats from meat and dairy, but it has medium chain fatty acids which may be good for other things. I am still doing my research, for now I still use it some, but am not convinced it is the health miracle that seems to be all the rage right now.

Once you are feeling good, you can start adding things back in. Non-wheat grains such as corn, quinoa, amaranth, wild rice are good to start with because they are generally good for you. If you cut out meat and eggs, and want to add them back, those would be next. Save dairy and wheat/gluten for the end. Meat, eggs, dairy and wheat should all only be resumed one per week. That way if you start not feeling good again it is easy to tell the culprit. Sugar, and of course anything you are clearly sensitive to, is really the only thing you should plan not to add back with any regularity.

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