Going through an anti-inflammatory diet: Part one
admin 11 January, 2010
Diet can help in many cases, apparently it can help if one is suffering from a condition such as arthritis. When you become ill, many changes appear in your lifestyle. You have to deal with them, and there is chronic pain, fatigue, change in mood. It may seem like at war, you are on enemy territory. You want to do anything just to get back to your safe side. The place you’re at now is nowhere close to nice and comfortable. You’ll be trying all kinds of things just to come out of that place as a winner.
It is likely that one day, you’ll hear something about diet influencing inflammation. Be it from a doctor, or someone’s advice. However, you must be wary when listening to such stories. There is good and bad advice, you have to sort out which ones are the good ones. You probably know people say, „This thing here is good for your heart, this one does wonders with…” and so on. I learned not to take just any advice. I listen to people I know are trustworthy, or if it was proven to have a good effect. I tend to avoid people on the Internet who are trying to sell a product as well. Chances are that they just want to exploit the fact that you’re sick and will try anything to improve your state. You have to have you head on your shoulders when going into health food stores as well. Well, I don’t mean that they sell worthless products, I’m trying to say, you have to be calm when shopping. You might end walking out with a lot of things you actually don’t need and no money left in the wallet. You just have to prepare yourself, make a list of things you need and do not buy things, „Just in case.” When dealing with chronic pain, you may feel overwhelmed at first. There is no need to rush things, do one thing at a time. Try new things separately, not all at once.
Even with the pain accompanying you all the time, it’s hard getting all the knowledge on your illness. What things help and what do not. That’s why people like me, want to share the things we learned. We understand the pain you’re going through and wish to help you early on, as we would want to be helped when the illness appeared. Over 20 years of experience in the chronic pain business makes ma kind of an expert. I tried a lot of things, probably most of the ones available on the market. I learned one thing really quick, traditional medicine did not give me much insight on diet and its influence on inflammation. Doctors seem to take interest only in the newest medication types. There is a very likely that if you ask a doctor about diet effects on health, he will not know much.
The first thing I did to improve my knowledge on diet affecting illnesses was to read all of Dr. Andrew Weil books. He is a M.D. and has graduated Harvard. After that he has visited a lot of places around the world to gather knowledge on diet and illness. Another author worthy of reading is Dr. Dean Ornish. To make it all simple, we should have simple food as well. There are many cases of patients who have inflammatory disease, have food allergies as well. The most common food causing allergic reactions are: wheat, corn, dairy products, meant and some types of omega-6 oils (from sunflower seeds, corn and safflower). You could try changing your diet not to eat any of the mentioned things. If you want to do it, remember to change one thing at a time, suddenly stopping eating all those things might have equally bad results on your health. Remember as well that each of us is different. Things that work for others, might not necessarily work for you. It could happen that diet does not affect your illness at all.
I tried changing my diet. The first thing I changed, was adding more omega-6 fatty acids that are essential for our organisms. I took them in the form of evening primrose oil, borage oil or black currant oil. I started doing this even before reading about it all in one of Dr. Weil’s books. To be honest, I got the idea from a veterinarian. We used to have a St. Bernard with bad skin and arthritis. The dog got better after taking GLA, gamma linoleic acid. When I became sick, one of the first things that appeared was photosensitivity. I had a lot of rashes due to it, and I was really desperate. Now after 20 years, I look back at it with a smile on my face. But taking the same thing my dog took proved to be good for me. Even now I take GLA, usually in the form of evening primrose oil.
From what I learned, it is best to eat few animal products, such as dairy or meat. You should increase the amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet if you’re struggling with inflammation. It is possible that shade vegetables such as eggplant or tomatoes should be avoided in your diet as well. You have to keep in mind, simple is best. So choose wisely when deciding to buy processed food. You should start reading labels on your food products if you’re not doing it now. A lot of products have additives and chemicals. I think all the drugs you take are enough and chemicals in your food should be avoided. I use only vegetable based oils for my cooking. In my opinion the best is extra virgin olive oil, however canola oil is good too, especially if you need lots of it, as the former is quite expensive. You should cut on saturated animal fat as well. It will definitely not make you feel better. When buying meat, you should try to get it as low fat as possible, try also choosing the meat that is natural, without hormones. Caffeinated drinks should go off the shelf in your house as well. This means no colas or Mountain Dew. You should try milk substitutes as well. Soy milk is not really tasty in my opinion but rice milk and almond milk is much better in taste and better for your health. Butter should be exchanged with margarine, however over the years I haven’t found a margarine that has no chemicals inside. So if you stick with butter, remember not to eat too much of it. You should also consume omega-3 oils. They can be found in fish mainly, but also in flax seed. Fresh fish are good for the oils and a substitute for meat.
There were found three substances that could help some of the arthritis patients. The first one is turmeric, you can find it in pickles and mustard. The second is fresh ginger and the third is fresh garlic. When cooking, I try to add these three whenever I can, of course I don’t add them to everything, food still needs to taste decent. When cooking with garlic, it is best to peel in and let it rest for a few minutes before adding in to the dish. If you look at the farmer’s markets, you can find different kinds of garlic. Some types taste great on French bread, while others are perfect for pesto. I aim to eat as many different vegetables as I can to get vitamins form them. I try to use processed food only if I really have to. As for vegetables and fruits, try to check if the ones you want to buy have been sprayed, or are labeled organic. If I’m not sure about them, I just wash them in the sink with one drop of a detergent. Afterwards I make sure that all of them are washed with clean water again. You should pay attention to imported fruits. You just can’t be sure about the inspections when there are so many shipments coming into our country. And who knows what inspection standards are in the other countries.
I could say a lot more on this subject, there is just not enough space here. You should get your hands on one of the books I mentioned earlier and read it. Next time, I’ll give you specific recipes and talk about some really tasty foods. As for today, I’ll include a recipe for a fried chicken. My husband only likes chicken when it’s fried, so I adjusted the dish to my needs as well. This chicken fried in an oven, has only half the normal calories and 1/3 of the fat amount you can find in a regular fried chicken.
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