Monday, June 12, 2017

Let’s Go on an Anti-Inflammation Journey

So, last time I told you guys that I am dealing with chronic pain and wanted to start living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. According to all the research out there, inflammation causes a lot of health issues and many things we use and eat daily create an inflammatory response in the body (a “flight or fright” stress response). I made a few of the easier changes years ago that I have stuck with such as changing out most of my hair and beauty products, throwing out all my BPA plastic food storage containers, avoiding coffee, and limiting alcohol. While I have been able to sustain these changes, I haven’t been as strict as I would want to with the food I eat. It is seriously difficult to maintain a super-clean diet while working long hours. You will always opt for convenience – takeout and processed foods.

I have been hearing from my doctors and reading books and websites that eating an anti-inflammation diet and reducing stress is the way to go. [Disclaimer: What my doctors say is for me only and not for you to follow. I am not a doctor or any kind of health professional so anything written here is probably wrong and should not be taken as medical advice of any kind. I am just an out-of-work accountant trying to get healthy and talking about it here.]

OK, that’s great. I know it would help me improve my health, but how do I implement an anti-inflammation diet? I have so many questions about it. It also doesn't help that many of the resources online contradict each other. So, which one is right (or right for me)? 

“Eggs are bad because they are a common food allergen!” “Eggs are good because they are a source of inflammation-fighting omega-3s!” What?! Which is it??

Can you really have a smoothie for breakfast and stay full until lunch? 

What do I do if the other people I live with don’t want to eat this way? I am not cooking 2 dinners every day.

How do I do this without spending a whole day on Sunday meal-prepping? My back can’t handle standing there chopping veggies for 5 hours straight. 

Do I really need to try weird-to-me things like protein powder and kefir? What will they do to my digestive system? I am not in the mood for experiments. 

Again, so many questions. 
And so much resistance (from me). 

This is where I would get stuck. I continued to eat hamburgers on a bun with a side of zucchini (a little “bad,” and a little “good.”) I need to move past that and get rid of the bun, so to speak. 

And, that’s why I’m writing this post. It's the same concept as studying for the CPA Exam and posting the study plan I was using to keep me accountable. I’m hoping this writing exercise will help me go through all the info I have now to develop a plan I can follow. And hopefully, follow through with it. 

A lot of the anti-inflammation diet menus I have seen online and in books start you out with a detox phase (ex: the Whole30, the Endo diet, the Mediterranean diet). You stay away from certain foods that are common allergens and then you add them back gradually to see if they bother you. Some are more extreme, cutting out entire food groups, like dairy and grains. I am not sure I can do that, but it is something I need to research.  

The allowable food lists vary from program to program, but at least they offer me something to work with. The problem is that the meal plans and recipes don’t really appeal to me, so I want to get ideas from multiple programs and come up with my own meal plan that I will actually eat. The Anti-Inflammation book by Jessica Black (see below) and the Endo Diet book by Andrew Cook (see below) have some tips on how to get started, so I will try them first.

These are the Anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle books that I already had or purchased in order to figure out a plan [Disclaimer: The Cooking Accountant is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to]: 

-          More Anti-Inflammation Diet Tips and Recipes:Protect Yourself from Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies, Fatigueand Pain by Jessica K. Black [Plan, recipes and checklists written by a naturopathic doctor.]

-          The Mediterranean Prescription: Meal Plans andRecipes to Help You Stay Slim and Healthy for the Rest of Your Life by Angelo Acquista MD [Health info geared towards everyone and recipes. The author is a doctor.]

-          Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms YourLife, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You by Tia Mowry [Cookbook with health information at the beginning for women.]

-          The Endometriosis Health and Diet Program: GetYour Life Back by Dr. Andrew Cook MD FACOG and Danielle Cook MS RD CDE [For women; Reading now; good information about endometriosis and reducing inflammation.]

-          The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Rightby My Body, Without Giving Up My Life by Phoebe Lapine [For women; Reading now; a fun read with tips along the way. The author suffers from Hashimoto’s thyroid disease and back pain.]

-          It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of EggQuality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and ImproveYour Odds in IVF by Rebecca Fett [For women; great information on avoiding BPA and phthalates. The author has a background in biotechnology and was no-nonsense.]

These are some online resources I plan to use (I have no affiliation with these, just found them either by googling or in some of the books): 

Whole30 Shopping list and other downloads:

FODMAP foods list (high and low FODMAP foods for IBS):

The EWG’s Dirty Dozen guide to produce with the most pesticides:

Have you successfully reduced inflammation and did it help you reduce your chronic pain or other health issues? Please let me know in the comments!