So yesterday I decided that blog posts are like coloring books. I will often select a page to color, get half way through the pretty picture, lose interest in the pattern and flip the pages to find a new and exciting image.
My blog writing process is the same…I start out with one idea and slowly lose interest or decide I need to talk about something else entirely which exactly what happened with today’s post…
Your knees hurt for days on end? You survive on Aleve.
Your muscles ache after your runs? You pop Motrin.
Arthritis acting up? You take your winning combination of pills to relieve half of the pain.
Haven’t seen your menstrual cycle in over three months? Your doctor puts you on the birth control pill to give you estrogen and ensure some sort of “regular” cycle.
Do you notice a pattern here? We are masking the issue rather than resolving it.
I can’t even totally fault you for this. The doctors aren’t exactly prescribing sweet potatoes, pineapple and cherries for your ailments.
They should be though. The antioxidants found in nutrient dense real foods are powerhouses for our systems.
Not only do these foods taste really yummy if you would just give them the chance and satisfy the appetite in a healthy way, they provide us with the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can actually alleviate your most common of ailments.
My father has bad knees. They ache and hurt and the arthritis is terrible and awful making him uncomfortable enough to often consider knee replacement.
What he doesn’t consider is the Diet Coke he is drinking or the lack of fruits and vegetables in his diet.
People tend to shy away from adopting a healthier lifestyle because they associate healthier with restriction, diet plans and being hungry.
I try really hard to explain to him that the focus shouldn’t be on what we are taking away from the diet, it’s about what we need to add in.
Lunch time salad of the moment which contains roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, plum tomatoes, romaine lettuce with a giant scoop of chick pea and avocado mash.
Eating an abundance of nutrient dense foods frees you from worrying about counting the calories, portion control and restrictions while at the same time, these foods help you to feel good, fuel your muscles, reduce inflammation, balance your hormones and even help with weight management.
Before I became a vegetarian over two and half years ago, I survived on a pretty high protein diet in form of lots of chicken, lean turkey and the occasional steak with a much lower level of complex carbohydrates.
I thought I felt pretty good and I was thin so what could be wrong?
- My muscles weren’t recovering quickly from my workouts
- I couldn’t run too fast or for too long
- My menstrual cycle was regular but extremely heavy with cramps that should have been against the law
- I experienced eczema on my eyelids in the cold, winter weather
- Horrendous hay fever
- After having the shingles virus when I was thirty, I developed PHN (lingering nerve pain long after the virus was over) that left me in pain in my right arm whenever I was tired, stressed or upset. This nerve damage also prevented me from lifting more than a five-pound dumbbell and even that was an issue for me.
When I randomly changed to a vegetarian diet, when I eliminated animal protein in the form of meat and poultry, cut back on dairy and increased my plant-based proteins as well as complex carbohydrates, within one week my life changed.
Not one time since becoming a vegetarian have I ever experienced the nerve pain in my arm again. Not once!
I never had eczema again and my seasonal allergies were reduced to the bare minimum.
My menstrual cycles came and went without PMS (most of the time) and even saved me some money on the super plus tampon supply.
And my muscles? Oh my goodness. The focus on plant-based foods and complex carbs changed my workouts completely.
My ability to run faster and longer happened immediately. It was almost magical.
Did you even know that inflammation, which is often caused from consuming too many processed foods or an over abundance of animal protein, can heighten the symptoms of PMS, menstrual cramps, eczema, nerve pain, allergies and pain the joints?
I am in no way saying we all need to be vegetarians or vegans nor do I want to even focus on the foods we should eliminate because I am tired of social media and society walking around with the notion of healthy means restrictions.
However, learning what we should add into our diet, learning how and why incorporating more plant-based proteins, fruits and vegetables into our lifestyle can help to reduce inflammation in the body and remedy other health-related issues is what’s really important.
I wanted to give you a list of the best foods to fight inflammation but honestly, there are so many! Basically, just loading your plate with fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.
Obsessed with adding butternut squash to everything these days including the above stirfry.
Here are my favorite foods to fight inflammation that actually taste yummy too:
- Sweet potatoes
- Coconut Oil
- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are so easy to add to your food that you wouldn’t even notice they are in your bowl of oatmeal.
I currently have this pot of steel-cut oats mixed with old-fashioned rolled oats cooking on the stove. Can you even see the chia seeds?
If you notice from the foods to fight inflammation list, there are foods with fat.
We need fat, especially the healthy fats. Not only do healthy fats make us feel full and fight inflammation, avocados even help to balance our hormones.
When I dealt with amenorrhea, my blood work was showing super high cholesterol and crazy out of whack liver enzymes. The doctors told me to watch my fatty food intake and limit cholesterol.
But the crazy thing was, I was not eating much fat at all.
I was doing the complete opposite of what my blood work was showing. Avoiding fat actually wreaked havoc on my body causing it to produce the bad cholesterol and screw around with my liver.
When you don’t get a regular cycle, something is wrong and that something is typically an energy deficit.
My weight on the scale was on the low-end of a healthy range for my height but I wasn’t healthy.
Taking the pill wasn’t going to change that.
Nowadays we all know I live on avocados and peanut butter.
And I am super excited to say I stocked up on The Mighty Maple this week.
At the end of the day, it’s really about finding the healthy balance which works for you and as we can see, being healthy certainly isn’t about what our weight displays on a scale or which size jeans you can wear.
I will say that my healthy balance will always and forever include dessert, that’s for sure.
If only I could remember the recipe I made up to make these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!
What positive/negative effects have you noticed from consuming certain foods? Sweet potatoes the night before a race or long run always make my muscles feel good!
Am I the only one to have Shingles at a young age?
Which squash is your favorite?