How do we circumvent inflammation and still eat the foods we love?
The number one answer to this question is, make it yourself. All pre-packaged food has unknown ingredients and possibly ingredients that cause inflammation.
In this day and age it is difficult to find time to take a breath let alone cook healthy meals and snacks. One way to look at this is that you will have plenty of time for regret if your health breaks down.
Another is the pro-active approach. Find the things you love that are simple easy and fast to make. Make meals ahead and freeze them. Eat more vegetables and fruits which don’t take as much time to prepare.
I love to cook but let’s face it; it is so much easier to just buy something pre-maid. Chocolate is one of the most powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents there is so you do want to keep it in your diet.
Enter the Raw Food revolution. The number of raw food desserts and treats are increasing every day. The best thing about raw food desserts and treats is that they are very easy and fast to make. Some take 5 minutes some take 15. In the end you have a delicious treat that is sweet, nutritious and delicious. My favorite raw food chef is Ani Phyo. Her recipes are simple and don’t require loads of extra equipment.
Substitute Almond or Coconut milk for dairy. Both are acceptable substitutes in most recipes. Coconut milk, the creamy kind, can be used in place of heavy cream in recipes. It feeds your brain, helps reduce fat storage in your body and is extremely anti-inflammatory. My research indicates that coconut helps protect our cells against attack.
Almonds also have anti-inflammatory effects. They are a perfect balance of carbohydrate and protein.
Almond or coconut flour can be used for baking. Bruce Fife has a wonderful book out called Cooking with Coconut Flour: A Delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat.
Dr Fife is the leading expert on the healing benefits of coconut. He has a number of excellent books on the market. The recipes in his coconut flour book are delicious.
Substitute high quality extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil for your other cooking oils. They are much healthier alternatives. Not only does coconut oil actually help reduce fat storage it also heals your cells and feeds your brain.
A handy tip to see how your oil reacts in your body is to look at the outside of the container. Olive oil will make the container oily but this is easily washed away. Coconut oil doesn’t seem to leave any residue and if it does use it to moisturize your hands. Other cooking oils make the container tacky. What are they doing to your body?
Possibly the one piece of advice we have all heard is “eat more fruit and vegetables, the darker the colour the better.” This advice shows up everywhere from magazines to infomercials. What does it actually mean?
First of all fruits and vegetables are living foods that provide excellent nutrition. The caution is that you need to wash them well to get any pesticides and chemicals off of them.
Fruit and vegetables contain phytonutrients. These are the chemicals that keep the plants healthy. WebMd has excellent information on what these chemicals can do.
The colour and depth of colour are also important. The deeper the colour of the fruit or vegetable, the more anti-oxidant rich the plant material is. Anti-oxidants protect your cells from free radical damage including inflammation.
The best thing about changing your diet, decreasing processed food and increasing natural foods is how great you feel. The side benefit is that you will begin to notice that you also look younger.
The final article in this series will cover anti-inflammatory herbs. Check back next week for part 3.