I briefly touched on my new anti-inflammatory diet yesterday. I’ll share a bit more with you today. You may recall from yesterday that inflammatory diseases plague my family – all sides and in all forms. When you’re a kid or teenager, or even in your young 20s, unless you are personally afflicted with something, you don’t think much of it. Yes, I was personally affected by some health scares with family members when I was in my young 20s, but I wasn’t personally dealing with them so I didn’t know to ask “is this hereditary?” “is this life-threatening?” “will my family member ever recover 100%?” I didn’t know to ask those things, and I honestly didn’t know to ask them until recently. How could I?
Now I’m taking things into my own hands, starting with my diet. I was so good at my healthy eating habits for so long and everything fell by the wayside with the onslaught of kindergarten, a new (busy) schedule, homework, a new house and not knowing where all my cookware has been stored – just so much up in the air at once. Convenience won. Healthy eating lost. I’m picking up the pieces. Here are some of the changes I’m making to get back to my 100% healthy eating lifestyle.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. What I’m doing may not be right for you. Check with your doctor or registered dietician before making any drastic changes to your diet.
5 Inflammatory Foods to Nix From Your Diet
1. No more sugar. Sugar is legitimately the devil. You can read my post about it here. But it’s true. Sugar is responsible for countless inflammatory diseases afflicting Americans as we speak. In lieu of sugar, I’m looking for items that aren’t made with any added sugar. Fruit pectin is okay. But if it says “evaporated cane juice,” “cane sugar,” or anything else in that realm, it’s a no go. Instead, I’m opting to use maple syrup, applesauce (sugar-free, of course), dates, and even honey if I need a sweetener.
My new favorite sweet treat? Carob chips. They’re sweetened with beet sugar. I honestly don’t know if beet sugar’s any better than cane sugar, but it’s worth a shot. I use these sweet little morsels for my trail mix which I like to snack on every couple days to change things up from fruits and veggies.
2. I’m laying off the gluten. It’s a known fact gluten is responsible for the inflammatory nature of celiac disease and plays a large role in other digestive issues like IBS, Crohn’s, and colitis. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not cutting gluten out entirely because I don’t have celiac disease and I don’t want to feel ill if/when I do choose to eat gluten again. But instead of pastas, sandwiches, crackers, and bagels (all sugar-laden, by the way), I’m opting for fresh fruits and vegetables, gluten-free breads, and minimizing the amount of gluten in to my diet.
My new favorite bread is Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread. It’s spongy, thick, and delicious. I love it.
3. Focusing on oils (or lack thereof). I knew oils weren’t good for me, and I rarely cook with them anymore, but I didn’t realize just how bad oils really were for our bodies until I got deep into this nutrition piece. Extra virgin olive oil is okay. Coconut oil may be okay (there’s conflicting evidence on whether coconut oil actually contributes to inflammation when ingested or not). But canola, safflower, sunflower, and almost every other oil are incredibly bad for inflammatory diseases. Label-reading just got serious, folks.
My new favorite peanut butter? It’s oil, sugar, and salt-free. It’s just peanuts. “Favorite” is a stretch because it’s actually not all that satiating, but it is pretty yummy when paired with fresh fruits or in energy balls.
4. No more casein for me. I’ll let you in on a secret. Up until recently, I never used protein powders. If I had a recovery food or drink at all, it was chocolate milk (skim) and a banana. My husband really likes protein powders and I finally caved, found one I absolutely love, and have been hooked ever since. But guess what? Inflammation is highly reactive to casein — and casein was the first ingredient in my beloved protein powder! So now I’m back to square one. No more casein for this girl.
My new favorite post-workout beverage is a tie between soymilk and chocolate powder (yes, it does have some sugar) and a light version of my old smoothie using Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder. I’ll have that recipe for you soon!
5. I’m no longer eating dairy. That’s a lie. I am still eating dairy, but much differently these days. I’m not eating a) the amount of dairy I was eating and b) the same kind of dairy. Yogurt, for example. I used to eat sugar-laden, delicious, delectable, ice-cream style Greek yogurt. Now I’m opting for lactose-free, sugar-free, plain yogurt. It’s boring and nowhere near as awesome as what I was eating, but it’s better for me. Cheese, too. No more cheese for this girl. Giving up the dairy is the hardest, for sure. But I know how bad dairy is for me and I want to make a very concerted effort to be healthy.
My new favorite dairy substitute? The verdict’s out on this one. I’ll get back to you.
I have found some amazing new products in my quest to eat better and with more dedication. The tart cherry juice I mentioned yesterday is phenomenal. Beets are among my favorite vegetables, so I’m happy to have an excuse to eat beets all I want. We eat fish rarely but it’s a great inflammation-fighting food so I’m working it back in. I have a love-hate with almonds but I know those are good for me as well so I’m trying to eat more almonds as well. Berries, particularly blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (the darker the better when it comes to berries) have phenomenal anti-inflammatory properties. Thank goodness for farm share season!
Reverting back to my healthy-eating ways will take some serious effort, and I’ll have to endure the annoying whining of my kids when they’re displeased with our dinner menu, but it has to be done and I’m willing to suck it up for the betterment of our overall familial health!
TALK TO ME!
What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable?
What’s one thing you have to have, even if you know it’s bad for you? …chocolate for me!!!
For further reading, check out these posts: