Anti-inflammatory diet So, what is an anti-inflammatory diet? An anti-inflammatory food is one that is not alien to the body; the body is familiar with this food because it has been in our diet for tens of thousands of years. It is a diet consisting of natural whole foods. These foods are found in nature, are in their original state, are without any added chemicals or substances, preservatives, and without anything taken out of it such as fiber. Therefore, these foods look like what they did in nature, and are not processed, refined, or altered. In general, these unprocessed foods are low in sugar, high in fiber, and do not have any added processed industrial vegetable oils or trans-fats. Basically, they are intact. Is bread a whole food? No, it is not. The flour in bread is extremely processed and refined. Even if the package states it is whole grain or whole wheat, there is usually a large amount of processed flour in it. Because of this alteration, the refined nature of the flour results in a very fast absorption in the GI tract which is unfavorable. It also leads to an increased rise in insulin, which then leads to a highly inflammatory response. Food is meant to be absorbed slowly and methodically in the body. It is a process that evolved over 10,000 years ago. Since the dawn of the agricultural revolution, the human race has seen a drastic increase in dental problems, shorter stature, higher blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and dementia. Furthermore, the refinement of flour which happened after the invention of the steel mill, around 1880, was followed by a dramatic increase in chronic diseases. It appears that wheat and corn flour are particularly harmful. There are more and more gluten intolerances arising every day, which is a result of our increased flour consumption.
The inflammatory reaction to gluten that occurs in the stomach can lead to a multitude of other autoimmune diseases and co-morbidities. Breads, bagels, cakes, pastries, doughnuts, and crackers should all be avoided. If you absolutely must have some bread, then you can try whole kernel pumpernickel bread What about cereals for breakfast? Most cereals should be avoided because they are processed, high in sugar, and lack fiber. If you must have something similar to cereal for breakfast, you can try steel cut oatmeal or fiber-one cereal, unsweetened. What about whole grain pasta/tortillas? These are difficult to find but preferable to regular pasta, spaghetti, or tortillas. A brand I recommend is Siete tortillas, which are minimally processed, grain-free and made from things like almonds, cassava, and chickpeas. Also, for pizzas you may use cauliflower crust. What about yogurt? If you are going to consume yogurt, it must be eaten plain and have absolutely no added sugar. You must learn how to read label. It has to be plain, no added sugars or flavorings to it, and must be whole-fat. Do not eat low-fat items. The fat content increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, K. In addition, it has a high satiety index so you feel full, and do not overeat. Kefir is a probiotic lactose-free, sugar-free yogurt that has a thinner consistency which allows you to drink it. It is very healthful and beneficial to your healthy gut bacteria.
Is Rice considered processed? In general, yes. White rice has been stripped of its nutrients, and therefore is processed, low in fiber, and very high in carbohydrate. Please avoid rice at all costs. Which oils should I be using? When cooking, you should use avocado oil and coconut oil. You can also use small amounts of butter or ghee to cook with. You must avoid using highly processed industrial oils when cooking. They are full of omega-6 which is very inflammatory. Examples of oils you must avoid include canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower seed oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, and safflower seed oil. For salads, you should use extra virgin olive oil. You can make your own salad dressing by adding spices and red wine vinegar. ALWAYS avoid already-made salad dressings. The ratio of your omega 6 to omega 3 levels is exceedingly important, and unfortunately, today’s processed foods are loaded with vegetable seed oils because they increase the shelf life of the products.
Which nuts can be consumed? Nuts are a whole food and they have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease. However, you must not overconsume nuts as it can lead to excess fat intake and obesity. Peanuts and cashews must be avoided because they are not a true nut. True nuts include walnuts, pecans, almonds and macadamia. You must make sure they are raw, NOT roasted. These are often roasted in vegetable seed oils that are harmful as discussed above. Eating a handful nuts before dinner results in earlier satiety. Nuts are also a natural source of Vitamin E which is good.
Can I eat beef, pork, chicken and fish? Yes, but you must not eat processed meats. Eat grass-fed and grass-finished beef, lamb, free range chicken, and eat oily fish twice a week. Avoid burgers, (except vegetable burgers), since they are processed. I like to put vegetables in my smoothies like celery. This is just as healthy as eating them, right? WRONG. Both juices AND smoothies alter the food by disrupting the fibrous cells that make them up, often lysing them. This leads to breaking the fiber and increasing the rate that glucose gets released into the body. Consequently, there is a huge spike in insulin levels when you consume a smoothie rather than masticating it yourself. Spikes in insulin levels like this can potentially worsen insulin resistance and lead to higher glucose levels in the body. Vegetables are to be chewed, not drank. Eat your vegetables, do not drink them. What about the smoothies I make with fruit in them? Surely, these are healthy! No, they are not! Fruits should be eaten like vegetables, so you must not drink them. The food processor, processes the food! Once again, the disruption of the fiber, cellular integrity, rapid release of intracellular products, cause an unnatural gastrointestinal hormonal response, resulting in an imbalanced metabolism.
What about fruit and vegetable juices? No! All juices are processed, unnatural, and I strongly discourage them. Eat the fruit instead. Nature provides the fiber in the right amount with the fruit. A fruit juice without the fiber, is basically sugar water, and is just as bad as a soda. Sweetened tea/coffee/Frappuccino? You may drink UNSWEETENED coffee and tea. Do not add sugar to any drinks. If you can not tolerate drinking coffee black, you may add a small amount of full fat, organic half and half or heavy whipping cream as these do not have any sugar in them. A Starbucks Frappuccino has 61 GRAMS OF SUGAR. This is unacceptable. You MUST avoid sugary drinks such as this. What are the most healthy vegetables? All cruciferous vegetables are extremely healthy for example: cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables are healthy. Potatoes are a whole food, but they are very high in starch, so they are discouraged. What about condiments? These are all processed and should be avoided. These include ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, barbecue sauce, all commercial grade salad dressings, etc.