I recently wrote this blog offering 8 natural ways to reduce chronic inflammation. Have you implemented some of them yet?
If not, click on the orange link above, have a read and then return to this blog later!
This blog is about inflammation related to food and how it might be impacting your health.
An example of acute inflammation is a bruise. Something that is visible, painful, superficial and temporary.
Chronic inflammation on the other hand is your immune system responding to threat. Threat from your environment, foods, stress etc.
However, you can’t see or feel it like a bruise and it can go unnoticed for years or even decades.
You might have an inkling that you have some low lying inflammation if you have low energy, poor sleep and you get ill often. And you have a pretty good idea that you have inflammation if you have any of these:
asthma, diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems (IBS), cancer, mental disorders, strokes, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, dental issues, migraines and allergies…this list goes on.
The Restore Your Body Programme (detailed description with support videos here) is about prevention of disease through exercise, healthy eating and stress relief.
“YOUR BODY IS AMAZING AND CAN HEAL IF YOU GIVE IT THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT”
Did you know, that your diet can become your medicine?
We can then avoid drastic diets or unnecessary medication.
Change isn’t easy but making wise choices now can support your future health.
If you implement a healthy lifestyle that includes, exercise, good nutrition, ample down time, and a toxic free environment then you can prevent these problems.
Also, you will start to lesson the symptoms (and potentially lesson associated medicines) of any current health concerns.
Time to clean up
Here are 5 reasons to eat healthy food:
- Get maximum results from any exercise routine or sport.
- Reach and maintain your optimal weight.
- Heal physical, mental and illness issues.
- Feel energised by day and sleep well at night.
- Be clear minded and in the flow of life.
So, what’s stopping you? Probably these 5 things:
- Conflicting views, leading to uncertainty of what healthy eating really entails.
- Unconscious eating habits that you aren’t aware of or think you can’t break.
- Addiction to and convenience of refined, processed food.
- Previous bad science.
- Media lead influences (especially true with kids TV).
In my spare time I have fun scouring the internet about healthy eating. I am only interested in the knowledge of experts who seek out the truth.
You could say food is my passion. In fact, if I wasn’t a fitness instructor I would train to be a nutritionist!
For this blog I have picked out some important jems about foods that cause/heal inflammation.
Let’s prevent illness and eat foods that nourish our body and not just our taste buds.
Note, it will be less of a shock to you and your body if you make changes gradually.
For more info please click on the links in orange or seek professional advice.
Although benefits can be immediate, it can take several months, even a few years to get really clean.
Unless your have a present serious health condition, just take your time.
Nutrition is individual, so some of the information in this blog maybe relevant and some not.
If you do have a serious health condition right now, see your doctor in conjunction with a nutritionist.
Here are 7 foods groups to re-consider
No. 1 – Bad fats/oils
Industrial plant and seed oils such as sunflower, peanut, corn, soy and canola (rapeseed), are high in omega 6 fatty acids which are very much linked to inflammation. These health damaging oils are unfortunately the base of many many foods.
Read more details about the dangers of bad oils/fats from Authority Nutrition.
Check your cupboards and read your food labels. If you find any of these, ditch them, and use alternatives below.
For specifics about canola oil, please read this blog from Natural News.
It maybe that cold pressed rapeseed oil from the UK is ok as and possibly doesn’t go through the same chemical process to produce, but I haven’t yet found solid evidence either way.
Also, these vegetable/seeds oils are cheap and so heavily used in restaurants and salad bars to save costs.
Minimise how often you get take out and eat out. And when you do go out, be bold enough to ask questions.
e.g. “Is your salad dressing made using canola (rape-seed) oil”? If they say yes, just ask for a side of olive oil and vinegar instead.
Check out this photo from a local restaurant in my home town:
Prioritise your time to prepare healthy food. Be efficient by making extra and storing left-overs in your fridge.
Alternatives to these bad oils – cook with butter, ghee, avocado oil, or coconut oil and make your own salad dressings.
You can also make your own healthy, tasty mayo using a blender, eggs and healthy oil – Here are 10 amazing recipes. Mayo is usually about 70% sunflower or canola oil.
“What about my favourite crisps”? (chips in america) I hear you say. Sorry, these too are very high in these cheap oils, so buy ones cooked with coconut oil or avocado oil.
Most shops don’t sell these, so best order online. Still, let them be an occasional treat as potatoes are a high carbohydrate food.
Also avoid all Trans Fats
Trans fats are used to make foods more solid and to help make them last longer. They are found in: microwave popcorn, fried foods, doughnuts, frozen pizzas, cakes, cookies, pies, margarines and spreads, crackers, biscuits and coffee creamers.
The problem, they are highly damaging to your health. Go through your kitchen cupboards and your fridge and look out for the words Partially Hydrogenated Oil on the label.
If you find it, do as Basil Faulty once said…”lucky old bin”!
I am repeating that list incase you skipped over any of them – microwave popcorn, fried foods, doughnuts, frozen pizzas, cakes, cookies, pies, margarines and spreads, crackers, biscuits and coffee creamers.
You can make many of these yourself, or go online and search for healthy options.
No. 2 – Wheat/Gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
If you’re sensitive to gluten (and many are without knowing) your body may provoke an immune response that can be a factor in joint pain and other symptoms of inflammation.
Dr Perlmutter’s list of gluten containing ingredients here.
Many gluten containing foods have little or no nutrients…they just fill you up. It’s time to change your food paradigm and move towards healthy choices.
Basically you are looking to reduce your consumption of stodgy food! Fill up on salad and veg.
It wasn’t that many years ago that I used to have cereal for breakfast, white bread with honey for lunch and then a large bowl of pasta for dinner. Oh, with a few chocolate bars in between.
I haven’t eaten a sandwich or a bowl of cereal for years. Now, if I have pasta it’s made with buckwheat or quinoa and I make my own chocolate everyday!
At first you have to adjust, but eventually you won’t even think about refined carbs.
You might say, “I don’t have any illness, so why can’t I eat eat bread, cookies and pasta”?
The truth is, you can. It’s your choice.
However, it is my belief that a gluten/carb rich diet will sooner of later add extra pounds of fat to your body.
Also, it’s not just weight gain, but future ill health to consider.
Have you seen the work of Dr Perlmutter? – ‘Grain Brain’ book link here
Let’s all reach our fighting weight so we can thrive and not just survive.
Note: Be careful of gluten ‘free-from’ foods as these can be full of other nasty ingredients and can be loaded with sugar and above nasty oils.
These days I am almost completely grain free (not just gluten free) and feel fabulous! I might have quinoa or rice once or twice a month but otherwise I don’t need or miss grain in my diet.
N0. 3 – Blackened/BBQ Foods
Cooking food at high temperatures (e.g. frying, grilling and particularly barbecuing) not only destroys many of the nutrients, but also leads to the formation of products known to cause inflammation.
If your food is blackened with smoke, it really isn’t good for you. Use a slow cooker (great if you eat meat, because you can buy a cheap (organic and local) cut and cook it over 4 – 8 hours and it comes out tender like expensive meat.
Its the same with vegetables, if they’re chargrilled, leave them alone.
You can cook meat, fish and chicken in your oven or with a stove without needing high temperatures.
It might have been a life long tradition to have bbq food (I know I used to love it) but we need to put health above tradition. No rush, but this year simply have less blackened foods.
You can be clever at summer parties and eat before you arrive. When you get there, opt for the salads. Also bring your own, ready cooked cold meat.
N0. 4 – Refined Sugars
Refined sugar and carbs maybe the single largest cause of inflammation.
Rather than repeat myself, here is my own previous blog about the dangers of carbohydrate rich foods and how to get healthy with goods fats instead.
Sugar can be addictive but it is vital that you reduce it. My above blog also has a list of foods where sugar is hidden.
For detailed information, here is a long article from Dr, Mercola about sugar (also trans fats) and chronic disease.
No. 5 – Processed Meat
There has been a lot of press in recent years about the dangers of eating meat. When you get to the details – it’s processed meat such as bacon, sausages, spam, ham, etc that is linked to a host of health issues.
Whole pieces of meat, especially organ meat have many health benefits. For the facts about eating meat, read this article.
Personally I have wild caught salmon once or twice a week and organic, pasture raised chicken/red meat occasionally in a month.
I am lucky to have a local, organic farm with all animals raised naturally on pasture. Seek out what’s is available in your area.
Oily fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids which are really healthy for you, unlike the omega 6 fatty acids mentioned above.
Salmon on a bed of grated raw veg and salad is my favourite lunch. In place of salmon I might enjoy a couple of eggs.
If you do eat meat it should be in small amounts as an accompaniment to salad/veg on your plate.
Organic is a must. Non organic meat is bad for the animal, your health and the planet.
No. 6 – Dairy products
The word dairy covers many different foods and how it affects you depends largely on the quality.
There does seem to be a lot of info online that milk and milk products increase systems of asthma, which is related to inflammation.
If you compare a glass of skimmed milk from a caged cow to a glass of milk kefir from an outdoor, pasture raised happy cow, you get opposite ends of the spectrum. One is a super food and one is an inflammatory nightmare.
Remember, never buy low fat foods of any sort (including semi skimmed/skimmed milk, yogurt etc). The fats are removed and by default, the sugars (lactose) increase. Oftentimes extra sugar is added, especially with flavoured yogurts….steer clear.
Low fat is not healthy. Sugars are not healthy.
Small amounts of organic unpasteurised cheese are ok for most people as an occasional treat. However, spread your cheese on a firm salad leaf and not a carb loaded cracker!
75% of adults are lactose intolerant – babies need milk, adults don’t. If you stop having milk in tea and coffee now, you wont even remember about it in a few months.
As for cereal, don’t eat it. You are setting your self up to chase carbohydrates all day long. Here is my previous blog about low carb breakfasts – including cookies!
From what I have read and from my own experience, my recommendation is to eliminate milk unless it’s organic, pasture raised, whole, preferably raw, and from a local farm. Still keep it minimal…maybe a pint a week.
Grass fed organic butter is full of vitamins.
You can make your own nut/seeds milks – Here is my favourite recipe (with homemade granola).
Alternatively just fast till lunchtime (fasting blog coming soon).
If your unsure, seek advice from a nutritionist.
See below bullet points for my instant ice-cream recipe.
Note – please don’t buy greek yogurt as it produces a huge amount of toxic waste. After two weeks on full fat plain yogurt you wont know there difference especially with the above recipe!
To avoid dairy, you can also make your own coconut yogurt. Recipe here.
No. 7 – Nightshade vegetables
Here is an interesting one. Vegetables being linked to inflammation?
Yes, the nightshade group of veg including potatoes, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes (and tobacco) are linked to muscle and arthritic type pain.
If your unsure if nightshades may be linked to your joint pain, try eliminating these from your diet and see if your symptoms reduce.
You can then re-introduce one at a time and notice your reaction. As always, best speak with a nutritionist.
More here from Natural News about nightshades.
* * * *
Remember previous blog? (8 non food based tips to reduce inflammation)
well, one of those was to reduce alcohol too.
Eat More Chocolate Truffles!
So, what else haven’t I mentioned that you should be eating to reduce inflammation and prevent illness?
Here is a list of foods that I eat pretty much everyday.
Remember, you don’t want to lose the amazing nutrients of your vegetables so be careful with over cooking. Ideally, most of your plate should be raw. Buy and use a spiraliser or grater!
- Enjoy lots of dark green lettuce leaves such as rocket (arugula), romaine, spinach.
- Eat lots of fibrous, cruciferous veg such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, greens etc.
- Include colourful veg such as carrots, beets red/orange peppers and cucumber. These can be grated, shredded or thinly sliced in your salads.
Danny recipe tip: Shred a selection of the above veg in a food processor. Then make an asian flavoured dressing of avocado oil, lime, tamari, tahini and apple cider vinegar. Make a large batch and store it in your fridge for a few days. When you’re ready for a delicious, healthy lunch, just add a bed of lettuce leaves, slices of avocado and a sprinkling of seeds.
- Foods rich in probiotics are the best at healing/balancing the bacteria in your intestines (gut). A vital consideration for reducing inflammation. Fermented foods include, raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh and drinks such as kombucha and kefir (even plain, yogurt (full fat organic) is a probiotic rich food.
Danny recipe tip: A favorite snack in our house is a fake yogurt ice cream. Simply slice/shave a couple of frozen strawberries or a little frozen banana. Mix it into some organic plain yogurt and 1 drop of ‘Sweet-leaf’ stevia. Top with a few frozen blueberries and a drizzle of raw yacon syrup. Yum!
- Sprouted seeds/beans offer a high level of vitamins and minerals and you can make them yourself or visit your local health food store. (See second photo of this blog).
- Keep up with healthy fats such as avocado, coconut, olive oil, cacao, nuts and seeds.
- Small amounts of fruit, especially fresh or frozen berries and maybe a banana blended with whey powder on training days.
Do you have ideas of your own? Please make a comment below.
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Want to know more and have a little time spare – Here is further reading from the experts
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