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Why to start looking into the anti-inflammatory diet?

Six years ago I was looking to make a change in my health and the health of my husband who had Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people, as defined by Mayo Clinic. 

Because of this, I started looking into anti-inflammatory diets when I was introduced to a restaurant (True Food Kitchen) that follows Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet principles. Following these guidelines, simple anti-inflammatory diet tips include but are not limited to: 

  • Aiming for a variety in food consumption
  • Including as much fresh foods as possible
  • Minimizing the consumption of processed foods and fast food
  • Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables

At the time we liked the idea of eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables and that is what we decided to focus on, so we became vegan for almost two years. Turns out this was not a sustainable lifestyle for us because we took it to an extreme versus finding balance within the anti-inflammatory system. This concept is the same when introducing any diet if you wish for it to become part of your lifestyle rather than a temporary thing.

While exploring eating vegan we did more research on how gluten affects the body, especially for folks with auto-immune diseases. We found that not only does gluten cause inflammation in the body for many people, but it fuels auto-immune disorders which means gluten was out! I am no longer married to my ex-husband, but his disease fueled me to learn about how nutrition impacts my energy levels, weight-loss, ability to fight disease in my body, my mood, and so much more. To this day I still eat a diet primarily of fruits and vegetables, whole grains or gluten-free options, and sustainably sourced fresh meats. Sure, I occasionally indulge in fast foods, but my body feels so much better when I am sticking to foods from these anti-inflammatory lists (see attached food lists). If you would like to read more about Dr. Weil’s methods, follow the link.

 

Dr. Steven Gundry’s Plant Paradox Approach to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Many things can be healed with an anti-inflammatory diet, Dr. Steven Gunfry’s focus started from the following: 

  • Healing the thyroid
  • Aiding in weight loss
  • Mitigating the effects of diabetes
  • Aiding in the reversal of many other diseases

Dr. Gundry’s approach includes many low-lectin plants. According to Healthline lectins are present in most plant foods but especially high in: 

  • Legumes such as beans, lentils, peas, soybeans, and peanuts
  • Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplant
  • Dairy products, including milk
  • Grains such as barley, quinoa, and rice

These are things that you should avoid according to Gundry. Woman’s World did an article on Dr. Gundry’s diet and broke it down into simplicity and discussed all the benefits that many clients who had tried his diet received. The simple breakdown of Dr. Gundry’s plan is this: To eat Dr. Gundry’s way, enjoy shakes, meals, and snacks made with low-lectin plants like greens, cruciferous and root veggies (except white potatoes), avocado, olives, cocoa, and nuts/seeds (except peanuts and cashews). Enjoy a daily serving of in-season fruit and 6–8 oz. of natural animal protein (goat dairy only). An exception to the high-lectin list is pressure-cooked beans and rice. Of course, you should avoid most sweeteners, which worsen lectin issues. Finally, eat until just satisfied. This is an important point in any diet because overeating healthy food is still overeating. 

This may not be ideal for everyone which is why you should always get a doctor’s okay to try a new diet. Below is an example of what a day following these guidelines would look like:

Breakfast: Blend 1 scoop stevia-sweetened hemp protein powder, 1 1⁄2 cups coconut milk, 1 Tbs. olive oil and ice to taste.

Lunch: Enjoy another shake or make a quick salad with greens and toppings like beets, goat cheese, chicken, nuts, and olive oil vinaigrette. 

Snack: Nibble cassava tortilla chips with a dip made from mashed avocado, lime juice, fresh chopped cilantro, and salt to taste. 

Dinner: Grill up a bunless burger and serve with sweet potato wedges roasted with olive oil and a side salad with greens and goat cheese. Follow this link to read more from this Woman’s World Article. If you are interested in a more in-depth look at how the low-lectin principles create Dr. Gundry’s anti-inflammatory diet and its benefits, Creative in My Kitchen has an easy to follow 18-Step Guide that includes excerpts from Dr. Gundry’s book.

Why or why not low-lectin?

The main difference between Dr. Weil and Dr. Gundry’s philosophies is the amount of lectin that we consume. Some argue that eliminating all low-lectin foods is limiting some foods that are potentially nutrient-dense and good for our bodies such as whole grains, tomatoes, and beans. These foods when cooked properly can provide great health benefits, but just like anything else, all of our bodies are different and therefore respond to foods differently. It is important to test what is right for you when trying any new diet or health recommendation.

Anti-inflammatory Tips that WORK FOR ME (for 6+ years)

Although I am no longer a vegan I supply my body DAILY with nutrient-dense superfoods that contain a proprietary plant-based protein blend, superfruit/antioxidant blend, green blend, adaptogenic herb blend, and pre and probiotic enzymes. I attempt to drink half my body weight daily in water. I eat leafy greens or drink a blend of greens and water with every meal. I stay away from gluten and or processed grains. My meat is locally sourced (we buy a cow from a friend’s ranch, have it butchered and freeze it for the year). I am aware that not everyone has access to a ranch to purchase their meat straight from the source, but Dr. Mamak Shakib taught me years ago when you are looking at food labels in the store, when it comes to meat, searching for USDA organic (Costco has a nice selection) is more assurance that your meat is cleanly and humanely sourced. 

I stay away from dairy and sugars as much as possible. I drink wine and occasionally beer, but I always notice a difference in my body when I drink these processed sugars and alcohol. The key to health I have noticed over the years is consistency. Because I am consistent in my healthy eating habits I am not as easily derailed when I have a weekend when I am more indulgent. It is much easier to get my mind and body back on track. 

Anti-inflammatory Recipes:

Turmeric Superfoods Smoothie

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Place almond milk, Shakeology, turmeric, and ice in a blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

Vegan Buddha Bowl with Vegetables (sub-seasonal vegetables)

Ingredients:

  • Parchment paper
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil, divided use
  • 2 cups 2-inch asparagus pieces
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (or cooked brown rice)
  • 2 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 2 cups raw baby spinach
  • 2 cups halved baby heirloom tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame (or black sesame) seeds
  • 1 cup fresh sprouts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. To make dressing, place tahini, lemon juice, water, turmeric, maple syrup, hot pepper sauce (if desired), salt, and pepper in the food processor (or blender); cover. Pulse to blend.
  4. Slowly add 2 Tbsp. oil as the food processor is running. Process until smooth and well blended. Set aside.
  5. Place asparagus and zucchini on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 tsp. oil; mix well. Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, or until tender-crisp. Cool.
  6. Divide quinoa, chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds evenly between four bowls.
  7. Drizzle evenly with dressing.
  8. Garnish with sprouts.

If you feel like you are wanting more recipes, tips, and tricks to living your healthiest life, I have lots more tips where those came from. All of my meal plans include access to hundreds of recipes and short, easy, all levels workouts. If you have any specific recipes you would like or fitness program questions, always feel free to reach out to me. Thanks for reading. I hope this information was useful and finds you in a space of the heart. I’m just me Sarah Roberts (Savino), MSW, RYT200, TBB Coach founder of team Indie Sols, figuring out what works for me and sharing it with you in hopes that it will make some positive changes for you as well! As always if you have any direct questions or want personal consultation for anything you can reach me at my email thefitphilanthropist@gmail.com or contact me through any of my social media: Facebook.com/sarah.savino IG- the_fit_philanthropist 

Love and Light 

Always

Sarah