The Anti Inflammation Diet combines healthy foods, herbs for inflammation, and the change to a healthy lifestyle with elimination of all inflammatory foods to heal quickly. This is the story of how I cured my back pain permanently and made my life richer and happier.
It is becoming more and more apparent over time that the “diseases of affluence”- the diseases that continuously afflict populations in First World countries- are being caused by chronic inflammation in the body that isn’t relieved.
Examples include heart disease, cancer, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia.
When temporary, inflammation is meant to be helpful for the body. It will surround a certain area that is in need and protect it with extra padding to cushion it and blood to bring plenty of oxygen and nutrients.
When inflammation is chronic (read: constant), the body is never truly healing from the injury. All of the tissues are becoming inflamed, but nothing is coming to the rescue.
Over time, this causes breakdown in the body and diseases to begin taking over. Inflammation is primarily caused by three things:
The first is stress, and this part takes two forms. The stress can be the internal stress of your body that is overloaded with chemicals and too few nutrients, and it can also be “external” stress that harms your emotional well being.
Overly demanding jobs, toxic relationships, financial issues and more can quickly create a stressed-out person. Temporary stress isn’t a problem, and can even be a good thing when it helps you get to a better place. Long term stress is what really reduces quality of life.
The second main cause of inflammation is a lack of exercise. Especially in wealthy countries, people are getting less and less exercise with every generation, all the while consuming more and more chemical-laden “food”.
Our bodies are meant to be moving almost constantly. Exercise gives us good blood flow, more oxygen, and helps the body work through its processes efficiently. It keeps our bones strong and our muscles intact. Did you know that early humans could travel 50-80 miles per day on foot? Most of us today would be lucky to walk three miles daily!
The last (and this is the big one), is exposure to toxins from our food and the environment. In First World countries, food toxins come in the form of additives, dyes, preservatives, sugar, and processed foods. It also comes from pesticides and herbicides that is used on produce that we then eat.
Environmental toxins such as polluted air, chlorinated water, and the exhaust from various machines contributes further to our bodies' inability to get all of the toxic waste out fast enough.
When we consume these toxins, our immune cells will give off free radicals, whose purpose is to combat pathogens. However, free radicals can also damage every other part of our body, even the healthy cells, when there are simply too many of them.
Significantly reducing free radicals in the body is the number one way to eliminate pain (fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc) and slow down aging, both healthwise and beauty wise.
In order to get rid of these free radicals, eating a completely whole foods, anti inflammation diet (read: lifestyle) while eliminating processed foods is essential. I’m going to give you a personal anecdote to serve as an example.
I started getting severe back pain at the age of 15. There were a few days that it was so bad, I begged my parents to take me to the ER. We didn’t end up going, and I never saw a doctor for it. For years I was convinced that there must be something seriously wrong with me.
I was young and at a healthy body weight. It hurt to lay down, so I would toss and turn all night for years to relieve the pressure. Sitting in a chair for more than a few minutes was almost intolerable, making high school a veritable pain.
The unfortunate part is that I lived with this chronic pain for years, not knowing what to do. I procrastinated on seeing a doctor or chiropractor because fear had set in and I didn’t want to know how bad off I was.
I would occasionally purchase a massage to temporarily relieve the pain. I remember one masseuse telling me that my right shoulder felt pretty messed up, and that she couldn’t get the knots out. She informed me that she could feel my shoulder muscles having spasms each time she applied pressure.
To make matters worse, since I had turned 21 I had begun to experience a number of other problems. I had super dry, itchy skin that made me feel nervous and jumpy. Then I began experiencing digestive issues, where eating gave me extreme stomach pain that lasted for days.
About a year later I realized that this was partially due to a gluten intolerance (an allergy that causes inflammation). And so finally, at a spry 23 years old, I decided to do some research again. I had researched many times before in hopes of figuring out what was wrong with me, but never found any conclusive evidence.
This time I read books, scoured the internet, and looked for reviews on personal blogs. What I found was that for many people who suffered from various pains, they looked perfectly healthy on the outside.
They were fit, hard working, even active people. What was wrong? As I later learned, inflammation was causing a series of problems that even doctors couldn’t explain. Joint pain, back pain, gout pain, muscle tension, digestive issues... The list went on and on.
So my next step was to go completely cold turkey on what I had previously been eating and adopt what I liked to call my Anti Inflammation Diet.
I was very strict with myself about sticking to the diet, as I really didn’t want to get any mixed results. Either my pain and suffering was caused from an inflamed body, or it wasn’t.
Now I had read hundreds of success stories from other people who had done this, but when it happens to you the feeling is truly unreal. I had spent nearly 9 years with a broken back, as I called it, and suddenly the pain was gone.
The sharp jabs of stomach pain that hit me each day became alleviated. I felt energetic, productive, and happy. It is amazing (in a bad way) just how much chronic pain reduces our happiness levels.
We become so used to it that we almost stop noticing it, but once the pain is gone we begin to feel an immense joy and zest for life.
So now that I’ve talked your ear off with my personal story, lets get to eating! Here are the guidelines of the Anti Inflammation Diet. I highly suggest following it to a “T” for the first 1-2 weeks just to see how your body changes.
1. Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. It is best to buy organic varieties and wash them thoroughly. Even better, grow your own so that you know exactly what is going on it!
2. Maintain a “high raw” diet. This means that about 75% of your food should be raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables. This made an enormous difference in my health.
To make it easy, try to follow a “raw until dinner” diet. Consume fresh fruit, smoothies, baby carrots, avocados, and salads for breakfast and lunch.
At dinner, make a well seasoned shrimp and broccoli dish (very tasty) or other vegetable dish. Keep it healthy, this is no time to give yourself a I-ate-healthy-today treat.
3. If you do really need a treat, here are two healthy options you can make that will support your anti inflammation diet.
Roll into little balls and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. These little truffles are quite healthy in moderation and taste amazing.
4. Replace ALL vegetable and olive oils with coconut oil when you are cooking. Coconut oil is the only oil that is heat-stable, meaning that it can be heated without turning rancid and carcinogenic.
Feel free to use olive oils if you aren’t going to cook it (example: on salads), but eliminate cheap vegetable oils and stick with coconut oil as much as possible.
5. Completely eliminate processed foods as part of the Anti Inflammation Diet. No cheating here! Anything containing high fructose corn syrup, additives, preservatives, or dyes- gone.
Foods that cause inflammation include fast food, cookies, cake, chips, prepared juice drinks, margarine, shortening, jams, pies, pizza, cereal, frozen meals, energy bars, protein bars, energy drinks, alcohol, and excess sugar. Sorry guys, I know you were hoping I wouldn’t go there. But in the words of Nike- Just do it!
6. Minimize wheat and dairy consumption. This one is crucial, so please don’t start whining about how you can’t live without bread and pasta. You can do this!
Note that wheat is in just about everything we eat, not only muffins, breads, and crackers, but also weird things like soy sauce, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings, gravy and thick soups, and ketchup that isn’t 100% tomatoes. While these don't fall into the Anti Inflammation Diet, you can easily make your own versions at home using only whole foods! You don't have to go without.
You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you to cut out wheat, especially when everything tells us that “whole grains” are healthy. The truth is that these whole grains are no longer healthy, due to the fact that scientists have altered the grain plants that farmers use to create a plant that grows well and resists diseases.
What they didn’t realize, however, is that these genetic modifications they made also cause severe inflammation in our intestines.
Some people suffer worse than others, the worst being Celiac’s disease and the middle ground being a simple gluten intolerance, but just about everyone’s body reacts negatively to this changed wheat. And yes, it is now estimated that more than 95% of the wheat grown on the planet is the altered variety.
7. Minimize sugar and coffee. If you are eating mainly fruits and vegetables with a small amount of lean organic meat, you shouldn’t be in danger of getting too much sugar. As far as coffee, try switching to tea. There are thousands of varieties and most of them taste really good, so give it a shot.
8. Find ways to work ginger, garlic, turmeric, raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and raw coconut oil into your daily diet. These things are excellent detoxifiers and will help your body speed healing.
9. Speaking of apple cider vinegar, it is an excellent idea to drink it daily. Simply mix two tablespoons into a full glass of water and drink twice daily.
For the first week or so, it will probably taste awful. It did for me. However, apple cider vinegar is a very important part of the Anti Inflammation Diet due to its intense detox properties. Don't skip it!
It may also give you some temporary digestive upset as it cleans out your body. But after the initial five days, you will notice that it improves your digestion immensely and actually tastes good. (Fresh sliced lemon steeped in cold water is another good detoxifier if you can’t stomach the ACV)Raw apple cider vinegar is so effective at relieving pain that many people who suffer from gout have found that their pain dissipates after just a glass morning and night of the first day. Sources also tell me that raw apple cider vinegar can make you test clean with just a few days of drinking it after heavy THC consumption.
Considering THC is stored in your fat cells, this should give you an idea of how effectively it detoxifies the body. Did I mention that raw ACV also causes you to lose weight efficiently, even if you don’t change your diet or exercise routine?