Chronic inflammation causes pain, discomfort and disease. I didn’t really understand how much it was affecting my existence until I was able to release it from my body and my whole world changed.
I was riding my bike and it didn’t actually hurt. Yes, there was burning in my thighs but my hands and seat and everything else actually didn’t hurt. I didn’t remember what it was like to ride without pain. I call it the Princess and the Pea syndrome. Everything hurts, even the seam in my underwear if I am lying on my side! Not a great way to live.
The medical community has a lot of labels for inflammation…fibromyalgia, arthritis, asthma, auto-immune disease, celiac disease, IBD, Diverticulitis, even depression.
Inflammation is not actually a malfunction of the body that needs to be cured. Inflammation is a healthy body’s response to harmful stimuli. It is the body’s way to initiate healing and repair. Therefore just masking the pain is not a good long term solution.
Inflammation is a healthy body’s response to harmful stimuli. Ok. What is the harmful stimuli?
For me that wasn’t an easy answer. In hindsight, it is a very simple answer: foods that don’t work for me. But it was not an easy answer. I considered myself a pretty healthy eater. I ate organic when I could. I didn’t eat much dairy or sugar I ate gluten free. I ate oatmeal and edamame and eggs from free roaming chickens. I bought meat from a local farmer who raises his animals well and let’s them eat grass and live with dignity. I dressed my salads with oil and vinegar dressings. I ate fruit and nuts. I was your typical Whole foods girl. And yet it became apparent as I was willing to experiment, that all those “healthy” choices were not working for my body!
Dairy doesn’t work for me. Even a minute bit can result in breast and under arm tenderness as well as major cramps and raging hormones.
Soy has the same result for me. It affects my hormones and not in a good way…even the fresh green organic edamame.
Eggs make my joints hurt, especially the hip where I have been diagnosed with arthritis. I don’t feel the arthritis if I don’t have inflammation! I don’t have inflammation if I don’t eat foods that are harmful to me.
Wheat makes everything hurt. Corn also makes everything hurt and gluten free goods become addictive in the same way sugar does because that’s basically what they are. And bonus, sugar makes me not feel good in a foggy, stressed out way in addition to everything hurting.
Chocolate , I am so sad to say, doesn’t work for me unless it is raw with no additives. And then I don't crave it and well...it's just not as much fun.
Oats don’t work for me in the same way other gluten free concoctions don’t work for me.
Oils don’t work for me...especially canola and not even the almighty coconut oil. Avocado and pure olive oil used sparingly does work. I was pretty disappointed when I realized the Newman’s Olive Oil dressing I used was only partially Olive oil and that all the prepared foods at Whole Foods are steeped in canola oil!
Nuts don’t work for me. None of them. I actually get cysts in response to eating them. So much for most of the vegan recipes!
Finally there is meat. Nope. I gave up meat in protest to the abominable way animals in the industry are treated. I was surprised when that turned out to be a big key to feeling better. Every so often I ate a small piece of grass fed meat…until I noticed I couldn’t sleep because my body had a dull ache.
Interestingly enough I found that the more harmful stimuli I eliminated the more I found. I have figured out that eggplant is also not my friend. Too bad I will not be eating it since I grew some beautiful specimens in my garden. I have 4 still on the plants right now. If they work for you and you are local, let me know and they are yours!
Let me clarify that I am not saying you should not eat these foods. I am saying you need to figure out what is harmful stimuli for you if you are experiencing chronic inflammation.
In general I think it is safe to say that the majority of “foods” that need ingredient lists are not great for us. Mainly because we don’t really know what they are and they probably contain harmful stimuli.
So what do I eat? Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, rice and quinoa. Not a lot you say? Au contraire! I eat really well. I start my day with juiced celery, which miraculously eliminated all remaining inflammation within a week. I follow that with a fabulous concoction of fresh fruits and vegetables whipped up in my high speed blender; usually wild blue berries, beet, cucumber, pineapple, Kiwi, cilantro, parsley and Kale. Yum. Then I will have papaya, or celery and hummus, or a fully loaded salad or my great Mexican vegetable soup garnished with lime and avocado. I graze on beautiful fresh food anytime I want it and when I want something hearty I cook up a brown rice and quinoa mixture and top it with beans and salsa, lime, cilantro and fresh avocado. That’s my fave.
Eliminating the harmful stimuli has been a huge part of reducing the inflammation in my body.
I also use minimal, natural and homemade products on myself and to clean my house.
The nourishment that I take in is just as important to strengthening and healing my body as eliminating harmful stimuli. Juicing a bunch of celery every morning has been a game changer. Even some inflammation I had in my ankle for years related to plantar fasciitis [aka inflammation] disappeared! Getting as many fruits and vegetables as I can ingest in me to heal my body is how I nourish my cells and give my body what it needs to heal.
Eliminate harmful stimuli and replace it with nourishment to heal. This holds true for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Happy Healing.