Breaking a lifetime habit and restarting a food and diet plan can feel challenging. Believe me, I understand how you feel. My chronic pain, when I was diagnosed, was so severe that I could barely walk. However, the reward for my personal food plan efforts – truly living an anti-inflammatory diet – have been immense for me. I am now able to sleep better, walk three miles daily, and live with considerably less allergy and pain issues. This is all thanks to my nutritionist. She works with me to customize an anti-inflammatory food plan that makes sense for my body. Understanding and controlling your chronic inflammation can change your life for the better!
Integrative Functional Nutrition Can Help Reduce Chronic Pain
It is important to connect with a healthcare professional such as a doctor or nutritionist. Specifically find and expert who is accredited in and understands Integrative Functional Nutrition (IFN). Certainly, this expert can assist you by placing you on an IFN recommended food plan. That plan will include sound nutritional choices which can help restore physiological functioning of the body. (If you would like to reach out and find out more about my personal nutritionist, you can learn more HERE.)
Below is a specific anti-inflammatory diet guide listing the anti-inflammatory foods I use to reach lower inflammatory pain success. This food plan technique was recommended to me by my IFN. She did so in conjunction with my medical doctors who endorse daily walking and exercising in conjunction with my diet. You will, of course, need to modify these foods based on your own dietary and medical needs.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods are Often Whole Foods
Current scientific research continues to suggest that a fiber-filled diet rich in whole plant-based foods is the most healthful. It also happens to contribute greatly to an anti-inflammatory diet. A whole food is definitively a food that has not been heavily refined or processed. Most importantly, the food is free from preservatives, additives, and other artificial substances. In other words, processed food might be triggering your inflammation.
These foods are lower in fiber and nutrients. They have a heavier level of chemical ingredients. The foods are also typically higher in fat and sugar, all of which can trigger inflammation. Of course, we will still need to include some processed foods in a modern healthy anti-inflammatory dietary food plan. For example, non-dairy milks, vinegars, or cold-pressed oils. Eating packaged whole foods such as frozen vegetables adds fiber. Consuming whole grain pastas and breads is a definite positive if it conforms to your healthcare professional’s recommendations.
Becoming a vegan or vegetarian can be a smart way to live an anti-inflammatory food plan. Whole food plant-based living can help better inflammatory reactions.
An Anti-Inflammatory Food Guide: What to Eat and What Not to Eat
My personal food plan eliminates grains and dairy, because I continue to react to dairy in most forms. My healthcare professionals and I have decided to permanently eliminate dairy from my food plan because of these reactions. This has made a huge difference for my anti-inflammatory diet. Many people have eliminated dairy permanently from their diet as dairy can cause inflammatory reactions in the human body. Watch your physical reactions and follow the advice from your healthcare guides. You can determine what might need to be permanently eliminated from your food plan.
How Do You Stay on a Healthy Diet? FLAVOR is the answer!
The Eat This Food List below is a basic outline of healthy, mostly whole foods. These foods are a part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet and meal plan from my anti-inflammatory cookbook, Stacked with Flavor: An Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook with Dairy-free, Grain-Free, and Low-Sugar Recipes. My secret for staying on my food plan and consuming these foods every day is simple; ADD FLAVOR. Not just a little flavor, a lot of flavor!
More Flavor; More Success
Roasting vegetables, searing meats, and creating your own herb and spice combinations can take your bland meals to over-the-top exciting. Think of meal time as your medicine. By eating healthy, tasty, colorful foods, you are changing your health and changing your happiness level in life. I know how much better it can feel to live with less chronic pain, so I know this is true. I think experiencing real flavor is the way to stay hooked on healthy food.
When shopping for any foods, be sure to consider organic first; chemical- and additive-free is always best. A general rule to whole food eating is “the less ingredients the better”. Most specifically, in relationship to any packaged goods meant to be consumed. Reading labels for all products is critical. It will help you eliminate inflammatory chemical-filled ingredients and find products with healthier components.
PAUSE THIS FOOD Temporarily for an Anti-inflammatory Diet
Exclude these items for the first 30-60 days of the food plan:
- Gluten and grains found in pasta and bread products (ancient grains, buckwheat, corn, millet, oat, quinoa, wheat, wild rice, and all sprouted grains)
- Natural unrefined sugars – honey, maple syrup, and other natural sugars
- Nut – peanut and tree nut products (excluding coconut and nut milks)
- Soy and Soy-based product
After your first 30 – 60 days on the anti-inflammatory food plan, gradually reintroduce foods from the above pause list. This will help you to test your reactions as recommended by your nutritionist or doctor.
Reintroduce a new food once every four days. It will give your body enough time to absorb and react to each food. Some foods might be permanently eliminated. Some people have intense inflammatory reactions with ingredients such as soy and dairy. Still other ingredients can be reintroduced with no problems.
EAT THIS FOOD every day for an Anti-inflammatory Diet
The below food choices all play a healthy part in an everyday food plan and emphasize whole, minimally processed items:
- Broth – all organic bone, chicken, fish, game, and vegetable broth that has no artificial ingredients added
- Drinks – water is preferred, other drinks include black tea, green tea, herbal tea, coffee, non-dairy no added sugar milk, limit sparkling or soda water (it should not replace water as your primary drink)
- Healthy Fat – avocados, chia seeds, coconut meat, flax seed, hemp seed, tahini, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, seed butters, and olives
- Flours – all non-grain soy-free, grain-free flours
- Fruit – Try to consume low-sugar fruit such as berries, avocado, eggplant, olives, peppers, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon/lime for flavorings (dried fruit, pineapple, and other high-sugar fruit should be limited)
- Herbs and spices – all herbs and spices, including cacao and 100% cocoa, go light on the salt
- Oils – Cold-pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil, occasional use of ghee (or butter if your system handles it well), safflower oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil
- Protein – beans, legumes, seeds, seed butters, chicken/poultry, eggs, fish, fatty fish, game, pork, rabbit, and seafood (avoid red meat, nitrates, and other additives in processed deli- and sausage-meat)
- Vegetables – all fresh or frozen vegetables, particularly garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables, sprouts, pea tendrils, microgreens, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, root vegetable greens, and low-starch root vegetables (radish, jicama, beet, carrot, celeriac, rutabaga, and turnip), try to limit high starch vegetables
- Vinegar – any form
DO IT – Thirty to Sixty Days on the Food Plan
Enjoy a variety of these foods while you are on the first 30 – 60 days on the plan. I am still on the plan after 5 years. If any of the above foods give you an inflammatory reaction, simple eliminate the specific trigger food. Continue with the other pause food temporarily in order to confirm what is causing the problem.
Remember that produce truly makes the backbone of every meal. Plant-based foods such as fruit and vegetables can make a difference in your recovery. Work to eat a well-rounded variety of nutritious foods based on vitamin content, fiber, and the suggested portion recommendations.
STOP EATING ULTRA PROCESSED FOOD PRODUCTS for an Anti-inflammatory Diet
- Artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and additives
- GMO (genetically modified organism) foods
- Drinks – artificially sweetened drinks and sodas, high calorie/highly sweetened coffee drinks, as well as all processed sweetened juices, drinks, and sodas (limit beer, wine, and alcohol to only upon occasion)
- Foods made with saturated and trans-fat – unclarified butter, deep fried foods, fatty meat, lard, margarine, refined vegetable oils, shortening, and other hydrogenated oils, saturated fat oils, and poultry skin (limit red meat with grass fed beef as a preference)
- Non-whole grain product such as sugary cereals, chips, white bread, and crackers
- Sugars – cane and other refined sugars, syrups, and high fructose sweeteners
- Condiments – Most ketchups, mayonnaise, and salad dressings have been filled with soy, corn syrups, and other ultra-processed ingredients.
- Junk food in general – ultra processed junk food of all types such as snacks, chips, dips, candies, donuts, and high-chemical content should be permanently eliminated
Bottom line – ultra-processed foods are filled with chemicals and dozens of added ingredients. This junk might be triggering your inflammatory reactions. Reading labels for all products is critical so that you can eliminate inflammatory ingredients in your diet consistently.
One Size Anti-Inflammatory Diet Does Not Fit All
YOU CAN DO THIS – I have personally gone through this food change process. Building new habits can be unfamiliar and challenging. Yet, I believe in you. Building a wellness meal plan that works for you based on smart anti-inflammatory foods is possible. Once you pass the first 30 – 60 days of eating smartly, you will start to see a change in your habits and in your body.
Stick with Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan with No Cheating
It is important that for the first 30 to 60 days you really stick to the plan. Cheating never benefits you with your food plan. People can physically react to even a small amount of inflammatory food. Thinking “I’m just going to have dessert this one time or once on Saturdays!” can lead to a downward spiral of chronic pain. Once you begin to cheat, it becomes easier to stay “off the wagon” and eat foods that trigger intense inflammatory pain and inflammation regularly.
What Can Happen
If this happens, you have to start all over again at the beginning. Stick with an anti-inflammatory food plan for 30 – 60 days. It can help you keep those trigger foods out of your body. Then you can truly see the result of a low inflammation experience. Cheating with inflammatory foods is far more than “having a treat”. Eating trigger foods can set you back emotionally and physically with your chronic inflammatory condition.
It Changed My Life
As a result of being on my food plan for more than five years, my personal health changes have been incredible and noteworthy. Chronic inflammatory pain dramatically ruled my life. Now I am in control of my body through an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. I was able to reduce my inflammatory pain and change my quality of living significantly.
Get Professional Help with Your Anti-inflammatory Diet and Food Plan
Do some research. Discover what flavors you love. Most importantly, call a nutritionist or health professional to help you get started with an anti-inflammatory diet. This guide is meant as an informative start to a wellness lifestyle, and not specific medical advice. Learn what works best for you with your medical professional so that you can build your own anti-inflammatory plan.
Get the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Book!
If you want the complete food plan and some awesome anti-inflammatory cooking tips and recipes dropped in your mailbox, just order my cookbook; Stacked with Flavor: An Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook with Dairy-free, Grain-Free, and Low-Sugar Recipes. This cookbook is more than a cookbook. It is your opportunity to find your health and wellness through smart flavorful anti-inflammatory food choices; if I can do it then you can too!!
YOU GOT THIS – I BELIEVE IN YOU!