It’s no big secret that the foods we consume regularly will have an effect on our overall health. And while it’s true that some foods are obviously not helpful in supporting our bodies, there is just a LOT of information out there on the interwebs, bookshelves, and tv talk show circuit that is conflicting and confusing. Vegan. Paleo. Zone. Gluten-Free. Anti-Inflammatory. Mediterranean. Juicing. The Latest Magical Cleanse…
Cue my emotional response: *$@#! It’s overwhelming, just give me a blanket and a damn cookie!
So what if I just want to make some healthier food choices, and I’m not in a place where I want to completely change my entire diet and lifestyle? What should I do?
- #1- Reduce the amount of refined sugar you consume. Sugar tastes sweet, obviously, but it is anything but sweet to your body. Eaten in excess, it feeds inflammation in the joints and wreaks havoc on intestinal health. If you’re not ready to eliminate sugar from your diet completely, just start with small, manageable steps. Be truly loving to yourself. Don’t replace it with chemical sweeteners, they’re just shit. Consider switching to coconut sugar or agave as a sweetener instead of white cane sugar.
How about if I just want to find some foods that I like to eat and can easily incorporate into my weekly menu? Are there certain foods that can help me to relieve pain?
YES, and hallelujah! Here are a few basics that I’ve found that can actually help reduce inflammation in the body:
- Green Veggies! Crank up your daily intake of fresh vegetables. I love having a green smoothie for breakfast (oh heyyyy, Kale, meet my friend Apple!) or adding some spinach to a tasty egg scramble or quiche. Salads make an easy lunch or side dish at dinner. There are maybe a million tasty ways to prepare all the green goodness in the produce aisle! Always opt for fresh, organic, non-GMO whenever possible.
- Olive Oil! Ditch the processed vegetable oils and make the switch to cooking with Olive Oil. Go for pure, Extra-Virgin olive oil. It tastes amazing and is very versatile. You can use it in stir-fry and to saute, in baking and as a base for salad dressing. It’s even good enough on its own just to drizzle over veggies.
- Red Fruits! Red grapes have a compound called resveratrol, and Cherries, Raspberries, and Strawberries have something called anthocyanins. These anti-inflammatory properties are awesome and tasty. SCIENCE. Again, you want to go for fresh, organic, non-GMO whole fruits whenever possible.
- Herbs & Spices! There are a few fairly common herbs and spices that have been used in Eastern medicine for like thousands of years, and I’m so glad that they are becoming more mainstream here in the West. BONUS: They’re delicious! Using fresh herbs like Thyme and Sage are great for flavoring savory dishes and soups. Spices like Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove can be added to coffee, tea, and smoothies. Turmeric (Curcumin) is that magical yellow spice that makes curries pop.
- Green Tea! OMG, I love this stuff. I didn’t used to like it at all- thought I was drinking hot wet grass, yuck! But it turns out that I wasn’t doing it right and was letting it steep too long, which causes the brew to turn bitter. I rarely drink coffee anymore because I was experiencing acid reflux and a weakened bladder (TMI? Sorry)- but I do know that small amounts of caffeine are helpful in relieving pain. Now I enjoy my hot cuppa and am exploring a whole new world of the magic that is Tea.
- Pineapple! I am obsessed with Pineapple. So obsessed, actually, that I made this sweet infographic, ha! Seriously, I have to control how much of it is in my house! I love the sweet, exotic taste, and the juice is so refreshing. When I get a sore throat or start to feel a cold coming on, I just love a big cold glass of pineapple juice. When I do have cocktails, my go-to drink is a Vodka & Pineapple.
I hope you will enjoy adding some of the above foods into your weekly menus! Cheers to your improved health and wellness.
Want to stock your pantry with some healthier choices? Here’s a few to try: