Dietary Overhaul

Cleanses, fasts, and dietary changes can be overwhelming. Change can be hard, but it’s sometimes essential in order to bring about better health and balance. We all pick up some “unhealthy” habits, maybe it’s a chocolate croissant to start the day, a decadent sweet coffee drink, a couple cookies to polish off lunch, slice of cake mid-afternoon, or candy consumed randomly throughout the day. Sugar lurks everywhere. Daily doses of treats can also trigger a greater desire for even more treats. Over time “unhealthy” daily habits add up to create inflammation in the body. Inflammation can wreck havoc, leading to a myriad of health problems. Breaking some of these habits is imperative to good health.

Is it time for you to checkin with your body and dietary lifestyle? Do you need to cut back on sweets? Carbs? Drink more water? Eat more vegetables?

We should all want to feel good, but inflammation can interfere. Inflammation can create headaches, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain (or abnormal weight loss), skin conditions, muscle and joint pain, a foggy-head, and anxiety to name a few. What exactly is “inflammation?” Inflammation is a natural response when the body has to protect itself. Inflammation helps the body heal when things go awry. Inflammation happens when our body encounters substances that negatively affect normal functions like digestion, immune responses, circulation, or any other physiological system of the body. Things we ingest (food, drinks, medications) as well as emotional factors, such as stress, can create inflammation. If you are not feeling your best, perhaps you need a change, big or little change.

There are many ways to create safe dietary restyling. Popular dietary plans such as The Whole 30 and The Plan allow wholesome food options without the stress of eliminating nearly everything; some people like to completely eliminate and re-set through fasting, to start with a clean slate; some rely heavily on shakes; and some set limits on the hours during the day when you take in calories. Regardless of the dietary path, there are many professionals, nutritionists, and health counselors who can guide you both in person, in books, and on-line. Each person’s journey is an individual experience. Just know you have support if you need change.

Eliminate inflammation and feel amazing!

Bodies respond differently to different foods. Some healthy foods just don’t agree with some people. For instance, night shades, including tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes can actually create inflammation in some people. Gluten or diary can also generate inflammation. It’s important to be aware of how you feel after eating certain foods. If you feel tired, bloated, gassy, headachy, or in pain after eating, then avoid those foods.

Below are a few ways to help combat inflammation:

Choose anti-inflammatory foods such as (listed by Harvard Health): green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards; tomatoes; olive oil; nuts like almonds and walnuts; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines; and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges. Remember we all respond differently to different foods, so pay attention to what works for you.

Reduce inflammatory foods such as refined carbohydrates, including white bread and pastries; fried foods; soda and other sweetened beverages; red meat and processed meat; margarine, shortening, and lard. For some people, grains containing gluten such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats can also create inflammation, as well as dairy products.

Control sugar intake. Try to avoid all white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Stick to eating just fruit if possible.

Exercise. Circulation is important for overall health. Keeping the blood and energy moving prevents stagnation and inflammation that can build up over time. Local congestion in areas that don’t get good movement creates a build up of fluid and toxins, creating conditions similar to a stagnant pond.

Manage stress. Stress can be a killer. Stress creates inflammation and taxes the body and the body’s organs. Keep calm so you can carry on healthily.

Don’t leap into any dietary changes without doing some research and knowing your body. Element offers nutritional services that can get you going in the right and healthy direction.

Contributor

Acupuncturist, herbalist, Maya abdominal practitioner, and reflexologist Christina Morris is the founder of Element Natural Healing Arts. Writing about health and wellness gives her an outlet to express her care and concern for her beloved community. She believes everyone can achieve better health and happiness–emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.