Patches of red scaly psoriasis on my sons arms.
Periodic vomiting in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.
Blood in the stool (and not just a little bit).
These are a few of the alarming health issues I’ve seen in my kids. While I knew something was wrong each time, I never got any answers from conventional medicine.
Doctors ran tests and pushed us aside. Everything came back normal we were told. Nothing’s wrong. You have normal, healthy children, they claimed.
Normal? Healthy? These symptoms sure didn’t seem normal or healthy to me.
I read, and read, and studied, and read some more. I began to realize, like many chronic diseases, these were all symptoms of inflammation. Chronic inflammation. If I didn’t get this inflammation in check, my kids were in for ever increasing health problems.
I also realized that it wouldn’t just be my kids that would be in for a lifetime of problems, my husband and I would be too. You see, you can feel healthy, yet still have inflammation raging inside of you. Chronic inflammation can be raging just beneath the surface when it finally rears it’s ugly head as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, aches, pains, and all the other stuff that’s considered a “normal” part of again.
What is Inflammation?
We better back up for a second. You might equate inflammation from that nasty hot red spot on your child’s arm they got from scraping themselves on the cement, right?
Heat. Swelling. Redness. Pain. Those are the words that we associate with inflammation. Rightly so. They are all indicators of inflammation. Inflammation doesn’t just happen on the outside of the body, however; it also happens on the inside of the body.
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. It has a very good purpose. Our body uses inflammation to fight off illness and injury. When our body sends immune cells and fluid to help with healing, it’s a good thing.
But inflammation can become problematic.
Chronic inflammation, inflammation that runs amok, becomes a very bad thing. Instead of healing, it becomes a destructive process.
When chronic inflammation occurs, you end up with achy joints, intestinal distress, allergies, bloating, autoimmune disease, and many other chronic disease.
If inflammation is the root of disease, how then can we create conditions right for our body to thrive?
One Step We Took to Decrease Inflammation
So what was the one thing that decreased the inflammation for our family? The thing that eliminated the psoriasis, bloody stool, vomiting, and decreased the environmental allergens to an almost non-existent level?
We reduced and removed inflammatory foods from our diet.
This one thing has made a huge difference in our family. This one thing is probably more powerful than almost anything else you can do to change your health!
Side Note: The Elephant in the Room
For people who know me in person or read every post I publish (I’m not sure if any of those exist), you probably realize I’m not currently the resplendent epitome of health.
Before Lyme disease (and all of Lyme’s friendly co-infections) decided to kick my butt, I was making a lot of progress with this strategy. There are still major benefits that I receive. Though I don’t feel at the top of my game, I know keeping inflammatory foods to a minimum is assisting my body in healing from lyme disease because my body isn’t busy fighting itself.
How to Decide: Which Foods Get the Axe?
Determining which foods to boot is a highly individualized process. The foods to which my body reacts won’t be the same as what your body reacts to. The process of eliminating or highly restricting foods has been an ever-evolving process in our family.
A good place to start is with the Big 3: sugar, gluten-containing grains, and dairy. I could write an entire book on each of these and why they cause inflammation in many individuals. But they are the three that are the most likely to cause problems.
When I cut sugar from my diet, I saw dramatic and nearly immediate improvement in my health. Now, when I eat sugar, I see a dramatic increase in problematic symptoms.
The next obvious place to look at is foods that you are allergic to or foods you are sensitive to. This is where the help of an allergist or environmental medicine doctor comes in handy. There are numerous different types of tests that can be run. You better bet, if you test positive, those foods are causing inflammation.
Different members of our family have gone through various types of tests for allergies and food sensitivities. They’ve always been eye-opening and have helped us on this journey.
There are, of course plenty of other foods, we’ve completely eliminated or reduced in our fight against inflammation: trans-fats, omega 6 fatty acids, msg, and more. While the kids haven’t always like the diet changes, it’s paid off.
Moral of the story: If you’re looking to get ahead of inflammation and chronic disease, look at your diet. What can you reduce or eliminate that can make dramatic improvements in your health and quality of life?
Looking for gluten-free resources? This Everything Gluten Free page is a library of everything gluten free we’ve worked on.
“Every time you eat or drink, you’re either feeding disease or fighting it” – Heather Morgan