There are so many different coined terms for “healthy foods” these days, but anti inflammatory is the one to pay attention to for sure.
It was not until I personally began eating anti inflammatory foods that I fully understood that food is designed to be the body’s primary energy source.
Not to mention that anti inflammatory heals bloating, inflammation, digestive conditions – and oh yeah, works to restore your gut health!
The benefits are endless, but what the heck does anti inflammatory even mean?
And where does one even begin?
Hang with me, I’ve got you. I’ll take it from here!
Inflammation In Your Body: The Good, Bad + Ugly
When somebody says that something is inflamed, one would likely coin the relative terms of “puffy” or “hurt.”
And those words are actually spot on for the purpose that inflammation serves within our bodies.
See, the immune system will react to any sort of injury or infection within the body.
Think of the time when you were a child and fell (maybe off your bike) and scraped your knee. There’s swelling (that puffiness) until there’s not anymore and it’s all healed up.
The immune system sent a response (increased blood flow) to the injured region (resulting in inflammation) that worked to heal the body back to its original health. And once it has, the inflammation subsides.
When we eat, our digestive systems can also become inflamed based on the types of food we choose to ingest.
And since many of the common foods in the Westernized diet are inflammatory in nature (meaning they disrupt the gut’s processes as opposed to healing and supporting them), then this chronic inflammation over a duration of time can actually result in a diverse range of heath issues.
Including, but not limiting:
- Metabolic disruption
- Heart/Cardiovascular diseases
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS/IBD)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Even some cancers (colorectal, gastric, esophageal, pancreatic, breast, endometrial, and ovarian)
And I mention this not to scare you, but to show you how our bodies handle inflammation being part of our every day digestive routines.
Good thing is, there are simple, tasty, easy solutions that counter this inflammation and keep your gut healthy and happy!
Anti Inflammatory Diet: What Do I Eat?
The reason why I love the anti inflammatory diet most is because it truly does not seem like a diet by any means.
There are healthy substitutes for nearly everything so you can continue to eat your favorite foods, and everything is focused on a holistic approach to eating.
A lot of people, in my opinion, tend to overcomplicate eating. Over time it has become “do I eat like a rabbit and stay skinny?” or “do I eat whatever I want to actually eat and bare the consequences?”
Which thanks to the anti inflammatory guidelines (a much better term I feel that fits better), you fully understand what you should be nourishing your body with anyways – and the results are incredible.
I’m talking better energy, clearer skin, weight loss, faster metabolisms, feeling “cleaner” and of course, reducing that puffiness that we hold.
What’s interesting to me is that I looked like an entire new person once I realized how much my face was inflamed, and I healed my gut with anti inflammatory foods.
My body was no longer reacting to everything I was putting into it, but instead, was using everything I was putting into it for nourishment, vitamins, minerals, ENERGY – the whole deal.
And this diet focuses on moderate amounts of whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This is not an elimination diet by any means, but instead, is rather all about incorporating everything our bodies WANT and NEED.
The Must Know Guidelines:
The number one key before we get into the nitty gritty guidelines is to focus on creating healthy meals that you enjoy.
If you genuinely look forward to eating something, you will stick to the anti inflammatory diet much easier, and feel less tempted.
I also highly recommend filling up each meal with nourishing foods that leave you full for a longer duration of time. For me, I had switched from having a snack bar every morning to two slices of gluten free oat toast with avocado and egg whites.
Sure, it was higher calorie. But that’s not is what to fear here. Calories are just a measure of energy, and as long as your calories come from healthy, nourishing food sources – the far less you’ll find yourself paying attention to those crunching numbers.
And with meals that leave you body filled up, you’ll find yourself not thinking about foods all the time and snacking much less. (Of course, keep it in moderation, but what I’m saying is don’t under eat).
Love your foods. Look forward to how your food makes you feel. And embrace the change.
Guideline #1: Choose Healthy Energy
In today’s society, it seems like the far dreaded antagonist are carbohydrates. But the truth is, carbs aren’t bad. Carbs actually can be wonderful sources of energy.
However, you want to make sure that you focus on whole and ancient grains. These are foods like oats, barley, chia, brown rice, quinoa, and those rich in anti oxidants.
I highly recommend gluten free breads, but ensuring that it’s not just a bunch of starch (a simple replacement for gluten, but arguably worse for your health).
I find my gluten free breads in the freezer section and I’m currently hooked on Three Bakers Golden Flax – a prime example of how breads can still be nutrient rich and anti inflammatory.
Now, the fats argument – fats are NOT bad for you, as long as they are HEALTHY fats. (Avocados, salmon, olive oil, fish, walnuts, and those rich in omega 3 fatty acids). These have been directly linked to greatly reduce inflammation.
So while our bodies can use both carbs and fats as energy sources (carbs are seen as short term, fats are seen as long term energy), what we really want to focus on is balancing both within our diets in a moderate quantity.
Guideline #2: Embrace the Fiber
Foods that are rich in fiber, like fruits and vegetables, are incredible sources of antioxidants. They work to support digestion, a healthy weight, and reduce inflammation.
A good way to think of this part of your diet would be like oil-ing up your car. You need it for your car to drive smoothly, and similarly, you need the fiber in your diet to help your digestive tract operate routinely.
These foods are great for those mid day snacks (if you have sugar cravings – fruits will be your friend) and to continue to keep hunger at bay.
Remember, the goal is nourishment – and when our body tells us we need food (our stomach growls and we feel hungry), it’s asking for the right kind of oil to fill its tank.
Guideline #3: Reduce Processed Foods
This “diet” rocks because it’s comprised of real ingredients that come together to make real foods.
So much of what we are taught is normal to eat nowadays has been processed and contains an ingredient list with so many unpronounceable terms. If we can’t even pronounce it, how are we ever going to know if it’s good for us?
Well, bank on the fact that it’s likely not. See, the term processed foods means that humans have had a hand in making it. Which seems normal, but when it’s being created in a factory, our bodies have not yet evolved to the point where our digestive systems understand what it really is.
Where these anti inflammatory foods are foods that our bodies have been eating for years and years and years. We can recognize what it is, how to eat it, and know it will be good for us.
Not to mention that processed foods are the ones that are high in refined grains, added sugars, sodium (causes you to hold on to water), and unhealthy fats – all things of which we are looking to avoid since their nutritional content is far more damaging than ever beneficial.
Guideline #4: Just Because It Makes You Full Doesn't Make You Fueled
The point is not to stay within a 2,000 caloric intake each day. The goal is to be able to maximize your nutrient intake using foods that fall into that given number.
You want to pay attention to how you FEEL after you eat something. Does your stomach bloat? Do you feel sluggish? Do you feel cranky?
These are all crucial signs that the food from the last meal was without nourishment (how many times do you guys think I can fit that word in throughout this? Quite a lot I assume!).
Guideline #5: Understand the Detox Phase
Now when I say that foods are supposed to make you feel energized, filled up/fueled up, and leave you with a flatter stomach – you want to go in knowing that there is always a detox phase when you change your diet.
This knowledge keeps you from dropping off the diet and copping it up to “it doesn’t work for me.”
The detox phase isn’t always the most fun, I won’t lie to you – but the way you feel AFTER the detox is incredible.
Possible side effects of detoxing are bloating (ironic, right?), tiredness, low energy, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and nausea.
And while that doesn’t sound super fun, the benefits of detoxing is well worth it since it sets you up on the right track for success.
Keep in mind too this one rule – the longer the detox phase lasts, the more your body needs it.
But you can do this – this is just your body ridding itself of harmful, inflammatory toxins. Be easy on your body during this time. Don’t push working out, sleep when you can, and go for simple walks.
Guideline #6: Support Your Microbiome
Your gut is made up of trillions of strains of bacteria that can either work for or against you.
The good gut bacteria comes from the healthy, anti inflammatory foods. The bad gut bacteria comes from the unhealthy, processed foods. Pretty easy breakdown there.
But you can also support your gut with fermented foods, probiotics, superfoods, etc. but for a full, straightforward guide be sure to check out the Ultimate Gut Health Guide: How to Improve Gut Health Instantly!
Guideline #7: Focus on What You Can Eat, Not Can't
Changing up your normal routines can always be intimidating, and the comfort zones will always be what we are accustomed to doing.
But what we need to remember is what we have done in our past does not mean that it is what is best for our bodies.
Keeping a cognizant mind is key during this time because we can outsmart our bodies, despite any cravings encountered.
You are far better and more capable than you’d ever believe, so start believing and then you’ll be doing.
Where To Go From Here...
While I genuinely hope this information helps you get started on your anti inflammatory diet, it would be rude of me to just leave you hanging there.
What exact foods do I eat??
What meal plan can I follow??
How do I fix my gut if it’s bad??
Fear not, my friend.
I found this AMAZING book that is far more than just simple information.
In it contains every single guideline you could ever imagine or need, a complete list of eat this, not that foods (and foods to be cautious about but can still have in small quantities) AND best of all, gives you a complete 14 day guideline of every meal to make (breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, sweets, etc.).
I’m talking grocery lists, recipes, tips and pointers, the whole deal. Then there are six chapters of recipes to keep you going – everything from breakfast and brunch, vegetarian and vegan, fish and shellfish, poultry and meat, snacks and sweets, to sauces, condiments and dressing.
I take my recommendations super seriously to my readers because having struggled with real digestive issues, I don’t have time to waste and I need real information that genuinely works. So I cannot recommend this book more to you guys.
Check it out and let me know if you loved it as much as I did! (Linked below 🠗🠗🠗)
If you are interested for more of my anti inflammatory, gut healthy content, be sure to check out the…
Thank you for reading and I would love to hear your story in the comments!!