When I turned 50 in 2015, I became very sick with extreme inflammation in my body. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, degenerative disk disease and fibromyalgia.
After going the medical route (anti-inflammatory medications and pain meds) and getting sicker, I took my healthcare into my own hands and decided to devote my time to researching how to prevent inflammation in my body (by learning what not to eat), and how to treat my inflammation using food as my pharmacy. I experienced some unexpected and amazing results.
Since 2017 I have been sharing what I’ve learned and my process of reclaiming my own health through speaking engagements at several large Health and Wellness Expos in the Lower Mainland and though many published health articles. Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet is key. This article will focus on a few of the points from my speech. If anyone wants the speech in its entirety, please email me email@example.com.
“I used to be able to eat that...” I hear this over an over from people in the age demographic that I belong to (over 40). And there are plenty of others who do not want to even acknowledge that the food they are eating (have always enjoyed) may be causing or contributing to their inflammatory condition. We have two choices when we get sick: we can either go on medication or we can look at the causes of our inflammation and make changes to our diet and lifestyle. Sometimes the best option is a combination of both. I chose medication at first, and then switched to the holistic approach of changing my diet and choosing certain anti-inflammatory foods to consume.
There are some great meds on the market that supress inflammation and make one feel better (less pain) but they don’t fix the problem or the address the cause, and often come with side effects that require more medication to control or supress… To me, it makes sense to investigate the reasons for my inflammation in the first place. Inflammation can often be our body’s way of saying “NO” to whatever we are doing to it (or neglecting to do). Lack of sleep, excessive stress, genetics, exposure to toxins, trauma, and the wrong diet are all factors that can all contribute to inflammation.
Inflammation can take the form of arthritis and other pain, skin rashes, weight gain, excess mucus, fatigue, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive issues, gout, nausea, allergies and even hangovers, just to name a few.
Once I decided that I didn’t want to pop pills anymore, I took a good look at my lifestyle: at what I was eating or drinking, my type and level of exercise, my sleep patterns, my stress levels… and found that many choices in several areas of my life were exacerbating my inflammation. So I made some changes. I stopped (or severely cut down) on inflammation causing foods such as sugar, salt, flour products (breads, pizza, bagels, baking…), alcohol, nightshade veggies, coffee, processed food, red meat, soft drinks, fried foods, hormone and antibiotic-laden animal products, synthetic sweeteners, artificial food additives, and chemical laden food (preservatives, additives, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides) …
I started eating more anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh veggies, salads, home cooked meals, oatmeal and other grains, ginger and turmeric (organic root only), smoothies, homemade soups, organic teas, fermented foods, and made a turmeric-ginger tonic with fresh organic root.
I now feel like I did in my 30’s. I have increased energy, a more positive outlook on life, no pain in my body, I am medication-free, and have the strength in my body that I hadn’t felt for years.
If you feel old and feel like you are on a downhill slide, please stop and consider what you could do to shift this. What is within your power to change? Diet and exercise and state of mind are all things we can adjust without medication, and all will have a positive effect on our health, both physically and mentally. I am not against medication for serious illness – I just wish people would consider making changes in their lives before choosing medication as the only solution.
I am willing to share my research with anyone who wants to make positive changes towards a healthier physical and mental wellbeing, and there are many online resources and books also available on this topic. The hardest decision is the first decision ‘Making the commitment to doing what we can to reclaim our health’. If your body isn’t working anymore, where else are you going to live?
Claire Nielsen is a health coach, author, public speaker and founder of www.elixirforlife.ca