Weekly Obsession: Inflammation


Weekly Obsession: Inflammation

I’m dealing with aging in-laws, the reality of being in my 40s, and a husband halfway through his 50s. So yes, health and wellness is a topic that lives in my brain ALL the time.

Numbers on a scale aren’t my top priority. It’s important to stay at a healthy weight and I like fitting into my clothes, but if you are in that healthy range, there are still a number of factors to assess in order to truly be healthy.

Within the last couple of years I’ve started being able to feel when my body is inflamed. It’s not just the blaring ache in my joints, but it’s an uncomfortable feeling all over. You know when you can tell something is wrong even though you can’t articulate it? That’s how I feel when I’m inflamed.

***I am absolutely NOT a nutritionist, doctor, or any kind of medical practitioner. What I’m sharing is purely based on readings I’ve done on my own, research I’ve found, and personal experience. ALWAYS consult with your physician before making changes to your diet.


The Basics

I’m not completely opposed to eating grains, but there are valid arguments why they cause issues in humans. If you were a helpless little plant that couldn’t run away when staring danger in the face wouldn’t you hope God gave you some sort of defense mechanism. 

When you eat some grains their natural defense mechanisms kick in and cause issues in your body. For some that is gluten, others might be affected by phytates, and then there are the lectins that don’t love your intestines.

There may also be ways to consume grains that do offer benefits and minimize the negative impact. Whole grains versus refined grains are the way to go. Anything refined has been processed and that usually reduces any nutritional gains. Like legumes, some grains become more bio-available when soaked.

Vegetable oils have also picked up false information along the way. Having been touted as a healthier alternative to fats such as butter or coconut oil, we have learned that these claims are probably not true.


Inflammation as a Root Cause

The more research I do on my own and experiment with various foods, I am becoming more convinced that grains and vegetable oils are much more impactful than most of us realize.

Any perspective can be backed up with information from the internet. I’ve opposed many an internet-based argument with equally accessible information on the other side of the issue. Humans are smart and we do a lot of research; there are ways to prove just about anything so know that I am fully aware you could show me something that shows a different approach.

Dr. Hyman explains that just about “every modern disease is caused by or affected by hidden inflammation, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and dementia as well as arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive disorders.”

Balance is the key to the whole of our existence. Inflammation in and of itself isn’t evil. After a workout, you want inflammation to kick in and repair those muscle fibers so they get stronger. If you have an infection in your body inflammation is on the move to take over sick cells and make you better.

Chronic inflammation not related to an attack of a genuine threat in your body is where the issue lies. Dr. Hyman lists several things that cause chronic inflammation. These are areas I’m totally focused on, thus my obsession of the week.

  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Hidden or chronic infections
  • Hidden allergens from food or the environment
  • Toxins such as mercury and pesticides
  • Mold toxins and allergens

I don’t expect myself to eat perfectly all the time or put up barriers to every toxin because I would end up living in a sterile bubble and be the girl everyone talks about. NOT in a good way.

Being a female adds another dynamic because we have to be so aware of our hormones on a daily and weekly basis, but also throughout life because of the impact they have on aging.

What I AM doing to make small tweaks in my lifestyle so that I increase my chances of staying healthy to a much later age:

  • Limit alcohol
  • Avoid refined sugar
  • Maintain stable levels of blood sugar
  • Reduce caffeine
  • Avoid grains
  • Eliminate vegetable oils
  • Avoid non grass-fed red meat

Okay, you’re probably wondering what’s left in life if you cut all of that out. Honestly, when I am more selective about what I put in my body it encourages me to be more creative with food than if I just grabbed whatever was handy. I’m still not a cook and I don’t like being in the kitchen, but I will spend more time thinking through meals so that I don’t mindlessly eat the same thing every day for weeks on end.


Testing

I strongly encourage you to ask your doctor to run extra tests if you feel you are struggling in any area of your health. Naturopaths will spend the most time helping you dig a little deeper, but at least if you can get test results from your primary doctor you can begin research them on your own.

Anecdotally you may be able to feel a difference when you change your lifestyle, but I also suggest follow up testing to see the numbers. Numbers don’t lie.

And don’t back down. If you feel like something is not right with your health stay persistent and let your doctor know what’s going on. Become the best advocate for your life.

This is my week’s obsession, but this one has lasting effects. I’m not on a mission to live a long life; I want to live a strong life for however many days I am gifted.


Resources on Reducing Inflammation

Books

The Inflammation Syndrome

How Not to Die

The Inflammation Free Diet Plan

Blogs

Ben Greenfield on Inflammation

Dr. Hyman on Inflammation


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