In my last article, I talked about warning signs your body gives you when something isn’t right. I mentioned several inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, sugar and artificial sweeteners, soy, and alcohol. These are some of the most inflammatory foods you can put in your body. The list is not all-inclusive, but it’s a good start.
So How Do You Know If You Should Remove These Foods?
The answer is simple. You could run a range of food sensitivity panels, or you could just remove known inflammatory foods for at least 30 days to see how your body responds, which is known as an elimination diet. Starting with the ones mentioned above is a good start, but if there are additional foods you feel your body doesn’t respond well to then go ahead and remove those during this time as well.
Do Elimination Diets Work?
The truth is, there is a little controversy here. The foods that are recommended for removal on an elimination diet are typically those that many people have a reaction to. But as we know, everyone’s body is not the same. The best way to learn which foods you react to is to run a food sensitivity panel. This gives a clearer picture of what’s going on in the body when a particular food is consumed. The reason this is the case is because there is sometimes a delayed reaction, and it can be hard to tell which foods are actually causing it.
You also want to consider that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Take a healthy fish like salmon for example. It’s a healthy fish, right? But what if you’ve developed a food sensitivity? If that’s the case, then that healthy salmon could actually cause an inflammatory response in your body, which in turn leads to stress on the body and can have all sorts of ill effects in the long-run. The great thing about food sensitivities is that we can usually remove the foods, heal the gut, and reintroduce those healthy options again later on down the road.
Common Mistakes People Make When Eliminating Inflammatory Foods:
I’ll use gluten in my examples below, but this is true for all inflammatory foods.
- Removing one and not all inflammatory foods. If your body is having an inflammatory response to something you’re consuming, and you don’t work to remove all the things that could be causing inflammation at the same time, it may be difficult to recognize a positive/negative response from removing certain foods. For example, if you remove gluten, but fail to remove dairy, then you could still continue to have those symptoms in your body related to gluten exposure. One reason is because gluten and dairy have similar molecular makeups and when the body is attacking one, it will likely attack the other as well. This is true for many food groups.
- You don’t give the body enough time to respond. I hear people say all the time, “I tried gluten free and it didn’t work for me. We can actually have delayed reactions to foods when there is a sensitivity in the body. We tend to think of it in the same way as we do a food allergy sometimes, but the 2 are quite different. Your body can react to a food or other substance for up to 3 weeks, so if you only give it a couple weeks and call it quits because you don’t see a change, then you may be giving up too soon. Again, commit and stick with it to give your body the time it needs to respond.
- You aren’t satisfied without your dairy or gluten. I get it. I love those foods too. But much of our dissatisfaction after a meal when eliminating inflammatory foods comes down to 2 things.
- 1) Not eating enough protein, fats, and carbs to actually fill our bellies. Filling up on processed foods makes us feel satisfied because that’s what we’re used to.
- 2) Food cravings, which can be expressed in the form of hunger.
The way you can avoid this is to make sure you’re eating enough, and to balance your plate with plenty of healthy meat, cooked vegetables, and even starchy vegetables until your body begins to adjust. If you truly are hungry, then eat more of the whole foods and play around with your ratios of carbs, fats, and proteins to find your unique ratio. This depends a lot on how fast you metabolize certain foods. So if you find that you’re super hungry and tired within an hour or 2 after consuming a plate full of veggies, then try adding more dense proteins and see if that helps. Play around until you find the ratio that works for you.
- Filling up on gluten free processed alternatives. If you’ve read my book, “Healed His Way,” then you know I discuss this in detail. Foods that are labeled as gluten free are not always truly gluten free, and if you are attempting to avoid gluten, then you want to focus on whole foods instead of gluten free snacks. This is not to say you can’t snack on a food from a bag here and there, but if you do, look for grain free over gluten free. Why? Gluten free is not technically gluten free. It’s a big lie! “What? How can they do that?” you ask. Gluten, by the FDA’s definition does not include ALL types of gluten. It only includes 1 type, called gliadin. While the 2 main types of gluten found in wheat are gliadins and glutenins, they are not the only types. Gluten free foods do not take into consideration the other types, because by FDA regulation, they are not required to. So, if you are consuming a piece of bread labeled gluten free, is it really? Likely not. The best way to avoid it is to avoid grains altogether.
- Starting a countdown timer to the end of elimination challenge and just going back to old habits when it’s done. Consider paying attention to your body when you eliminate certain foods. Take an inventory. How do you feel? What is your mood like? Do you have more energy? If you are seeing positive change, why would you jump back into the same old habits that were giving you negative results? If you choose to bring those toxic/inflammatory foods back in your body, the best way to do that is to go very slow. Introduce foods one at a time, and pay attention to your body. Give the food a couple weeks, and if there are negative effects, then consider removing it for good. As I said before, if you’re body is not responding well to a certain food then it is causing inflammation and with that comes disease.
My favorite way to find out how your body is responding to a particular food or group of foods is to test for specific food sensitivities by running appropriate lab tests that show the foods you’re reacting to. And when you do this, I would highly recommend removing all of the foods on this inflammatory food list while removing anything that shows up on your food sensitivity panel. These tests are not all created equal. So work with a health professional to help you understand which tests are right for you.
If you read my last article, we talked a little about leaky gut and how that happens. You can read more here… warning signs your body gives you when something isn’t right.
But here’s a little recap – leaky gut forms when tight junctions in the gut become compromised or loose, allowing things like toxins, pesticides, and large food particles to pass into the bloodstream where they don’t belong. When this happens, the body elicits an attack on these particles. When certain foods are seen as a foreign invader, they cause inflammation in the body. So that’s exactly why you may see some of the foods you consume on a regular basis show up on a food sensitivity test. Your body is simply attacking it because it doesn’t belong in the bloodstream. The only thing that belongs in the bloodstream from our food is things like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients. The actual protein is a foreign invader to the body.
While cleaning up inflammatory foods, you may want to work on your gut health. Some of my favorite products to do that are collagen protein, immunoglobulins, and the loved Ganoderma Lucidum. I often use Turmeric while getting to the source of inflammation in the body. You can learn more on the benefits of using Turmeric (or Curcumin) for inflammation in this great article. Again, work with your practitioner or doctor before implementing these supplements or others, because you are uniquely created.
In the event that you are looking for your own health practitioner, I would love to hear more about your unique story and help guide you as you work to resolve those. You can access my services here and if you would like to chat after reviewing them, simply fill out the form on my site for a complimentary discovery call to schedule your appointment. I’m here to see you succeed in reaching all your health and wellness goals.