"...what a person accomplishes in life is directly correlated with the people around them." - John Berardi

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SI: Do you have it?

Photo From: It Starts with Food, p.82
It's Day 20 of my Whole30 and I'm definitely in the Honeymoon stage! I'm noticing tons of positive changes in my body that feel great. I'm not obsessing or even really thinking about food and the cravings are nonexistent! It feels amazing getting to this point and makes me want to keep it up forever! I do miss butter, bacon, and my 85% dark chocolate but I am really excited to see and feel what the next 10 days brings :)

Since my power was out (again!) half the day yesterday, I decided to make time for some self-care after putting my son to bed. I lit a bunch of candles and curled up to re-read a book that has been life-changing for me, It Starts with Food, by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. If the authors or name of the book sound familiar, it's because the Hartwigs developed the Whole30 program. I enjoyed reading this book again and wanted to write about a topic they cover that may or may not be that familiar you.

The topic is Systemic Inflammation (excessive ongoing immune activity). I'm not talking about the inflammation you get when you roll your ankle, which is a healthy immune response and definitely appreciated to help with healing. I mean the chronic systemic inflammation most of us are experiencing and probably don't even know it. It can go on for weeks, months, & even years. As they say in the book "managing your inflammatory status profoundly impacts your quality of life." What do they mean by that? Take a look at the list of symptoms and diseases from right out of the book (in the post picture) that are related to silent inflammation...

Do any of these currently affect your life? Maybe acne, allergies, migraines, joint pain...? Have you ever considered that these issues might be present because of what foods you choose to eat? Can you imagine your life without these problems/issues/symptoms and how the quality of your life would improve if they were gone? Guess what? You CAN live without them and it doesn't have to be a life of feeling deprived! You can still even eat your favorite treats occasionally. :) 

Basically, anything that doesn't belong in our bodies is seen as a threat to our immune system. Some foods have the ability to sneak out of our digestive tract and into our bodies, which confuse our immune cells, which then release antibodies, causing our immune system to dysfunction, and typically resulting in "food sensitivities or allergies, systemic inflammation, and possibly an autoimmune condition." Wow. Sometimes our bodies have to "put off" healing something like tendonitis in order to take care of other "tasks" because our immune system is overloaded, often due to our food choices. 

So... the good news, is that even years of systemic inflammation and most health consequences are highly reversible. Positive change can start this week and even today! It's as simple as the Hartwigs said: "Change the food you put on your plate." 

Alright, so what are these foods that are known to cause systemic inflammation?
  • Sugar, Sweeteners & Alcohol - Artificial & natural sugars like syrup, agave, honey, etc. are included under sweeteners but whole fruits are definitely okay!
  • Seed & Vegetable Oils (canola, corn, sesame, peanut, soybean, sunflower seeds, etc.)
  • Grains, Legumes (includes peanuts), & Soy
  • Dairy - Some people can tolerate quality sources of it but it's difficult to know until you've removed it for 3 weeks or so and then reintroduce it.
So there you have it, systemic inflammation in a nut-shell. This is barely scratching the surface but will hopefully provide some insight on chronic problems you may be dealing with and give you something to try to improve your quality of life!

How's the self-love/care going this week? Consider giving yourself 30 solid days of it with a Whole30 which will really help relieve your body of the inflammation it's working so hard to keep at bay :)