Have you ever wondered if your chronic joint pain is being aggravated by foods that you eat in your diet?
Do you find that your recovery from general exercise or focused training is not as quick as before and you often feel more tired?
Are you having difficulty losing weight even though you are eating the right “macros” and exercising regularly?
Have you ever said to yourself, “I must be getting old” because you have these annoying symptoms, like muscles aches, digestive issues or random skin irritations?
Let’s not blame our age and give up. A lot of this is within our control. Now some inflammation is normal, such as shortly after an injury…but what does it mean to be “chronically inflamed”?
Well, it means the immune system is ramping up in some way, but in the wrong way, and this type of inflammation typically begins in the gut.
Take my patient, Sandy, for example (not her real name :)). Lawyer and marathon runner. When she started university and then law school, she began to eat out a lot more. She also began to have some difficulty sleeping because her brain was always thinking and she would survive on 4 hours a night. During her final board exams in law school, she developed psoriasis on the palms of her hands and her eyelids.
Now in her 40’s, she still follows a training schedule and runs 2-3 full marathons every year. She’s a busy mom and works as an in-house lawyer for an insurance company. But wow, is she ever starting to feel tired and achy after her training sessions, and can’t seem to reduce her belly fat even though she exercises so much. Gas and bloating after meals is pretty normal these days. Her psoriasis comes and goes, but definitely flares up if she’s had a stressful week and very little sleep.
So what’s going on with Sandy? Is this inflammation? You bet it is. And because 60-80% of the immune system is found within the lining of the gut, prolonged stress combined with poor food choices initiated a cascade of physiological reactions in her gut that lead to Sandy’s health problems.
If this sounds like something you’re going through, keep reading.
For Sandy, the first priority is to identify if there are any foods that her body has become intolerant, or “sensitive” to. This can be done two ways:
1. Through a blood test called the “IgG Food Sensitivity Test”, which tests for a delayed hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction with 120 foods. A delayed hypersensitivity reaction means that once you eat a food, you can show symptoms up to 2 days later, so it is difficult to pinpoint the inflammatory foods. The results show if you have a low, moderate or elevated reaction to these 120 foods. The foods that caused an elevated test results should be completely avoided for 3-6 months. Check here for a look at a sample test report.
2. The other way to identify foods is though an “Elimination Diet” such as the one here. I got this diet from the “Clear Change Program Guide”, which is a group anti-inflammatory detoxification program that starts at Meridian on April 18 (more about this further down ). For a minimum of 14 days, you remove the foods from the “Avoid” list, and then monitor your symptoms. You can continue even longer, for 4 weeks, until you see a significant change in your symptoms. At that time, you start introducing foods, one at a time, every 2 days. You will quickly be able to tell which foods are inflammatory for you body, as your symptoms return.
The next step is for Sandy to pay attention to how she reacts to stressful situations in her life. Routine is the best thing for this…going to bed at the same time each night, eating at the same times, eating in a calm environment (not in the car or in front of the computer).
Frequent eating or “grazing” is also not great for Sandy. She should allow her gut to take breaks between meals, and she should eat foods that are easy to digest and absorb for a little while, like cooked veggies and soups (think baby food :)). A palm-sized serving of protein with each meal is a must. Probiotics will also help Sandy’s small intestine absorb nutrients better.
Finally, Sandy needs to begin the healing process by helping her organ systems, especially the liver, do its job of removing inflammatory compounds from the body.
The best way to do this is through clean eating (you don’t want to add more toxins like coffee and alcohol and sugar to an already inflamed system) and supplements that speed up the process of eliminating this inflammatory “junk” from the body. The 10-Day Clear Change Metabolic Detoxification Program will do just that. (Our next Clear Change Program is starting April 18! :))
This program includes an eating guide, recipes and all the supplements you need to begin reducing the inflammation in your body and getting some energy back. And because it’s done as a group, you get the support of other members who are going similar health issues that you are. And I’ll be doing it with you too! You can email me as often as you like during the 10 days (during day time hours, I need to work on getting more sleep too ) so that you will be 100% monitored during the whole process.
By the way, Sandy’s feeling so much better. Her inflammation started over 15 years ago, so it will take some time to heal, but she is well on her way. The biggest things she’s noticed so far is that her joint pain and bloating are gone, and she’s waking up a bit more refreshed in the mornings.
I hope this article has given you some ways to tackle your own inflammation. And if you need support figuring out what foods are causing your symptoms, I’d be happy to help.
Don’t forget to call or email me for more information about our upcoming 10-Day Clear Change Program, which starts April 18. The cost is $190 (no tax) per person and you can use your Naturopathic benefits for the entire program.
Registration closes April 14th…call soon so we can reserve a spot for you.