I used to wonder why I’d meet so many people with horrible multiple health conditions. In fact, my own thirteen year stint with chronic pain and multiple illnesses compounded my intense curiosity and need for answers. Chronic migraine, asthma, fibromyalgia, depression, and a slew of other body malfunctions kept me busy searching for the fibers that connected it all. And though everyone’s health or bad health journey is different, I believe we all share one thing in common- inflammation. Depending on how much inflammation is present, each individual’s state of health varies. And, depending on what each one is willing and able to do to put the fire out, the symptoms and disease will either continue on until death or get resolved, leaving the body in a proper state of health. In my case, I have resolved one cause of inflammation in my body. I am dairy and gluten intolerant. I changed my diet and nearly every one of the conditions listed above transformed from debilitating to barely noticeable.
Pot Of Inflammation
Here’s the deal...
In a perfect world and body, short-term inflammation is a normal immune system response that helps fight infection , rescues body systems during trauma, and eases allergic responses (grandma’s yummy chicken soup simmering on the stove). Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, happens when the body does not turn off the production of normal pro-inflammatory cells that are needed in those temporary situations (the pot bowls over, starts a fire, and keeps burning until someone puts it out). The excessive cell army roams your body and wreaks havoc on everything from your blood vessels to joint tissue to the gut. And guess what? None of this is as unfamiliar as you think. You will likely recognize the medical labels each of those events carries- inflamed blood vessels (atherosclerosis), inflamed joint tissue (arthritis), inflamed gut (irritable bowel syndrome). I could continue to list many more common ailments born and raised in inflammation, but I will try to make my point without doing that.
Find The Cause-Find The Cure
I believe too many patients, and doctors, ask the wrong questions and base well-intentioned answers on those questions. “What drug can I take to make my arthritis go away?” or “What’s the latest, greatest surgery or procedure to fix my problem?” Though meds and procedures can play an important role in the lives of many by easing pain and symptoms, or by bringing back functionality they in no way bring a better state of core health…the opposite most likely occurs. It’s about balance. If you have to takes meds or get surgery, it is what it is, but don’t stop there. Continue to search for answers in the meantime. Just masking the body’s natural responses to disease is a little like putting a bandaid on a wound that is bleeding out. Until we start asking the right questions, we won’t get the right answers. Let’s try asking this one: “What is causing excessive inflammation in my body?” I fully believe that finding the cause of inflammation is the first step in ending disease in our bodies.
Common Inflammation Sources
Keep in mind that all or none of the things listed below could be causing your inflammation. It takes time and patience to discover your personal triggers. I do highly suggest, though, you start with things that you ingest, breathe, experience, or put on your body regularly. A constant bombarding of the body’s systems with toxins and that which doesn’t belong eventually takes a toll.
- Food intolerance
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Poor General Diet
- Environmental allergies
- Food allergies
- Excessive use of OTC meds
- Some prescription meds
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor sleep
- Poor bowl flora
- Poor postural alignment
- Toxic colon
- Toxic lymphatic system
- Lack of motion
Health Takes Time
Even if you figure out what is heating up your body and have significant results from eliminating it, consider you didn’t get in your present state of health overnight. No, it took months and maybe even years to deteriorate such a magnificent biological machine. That said, understand it will take time to restore the natural order of things in your body. Just don’t stop after one victory. Keep going until you know you’ve gained full health back. This could take months or years. Don’t be intimidated by that kind of time investment; instead, consider it a journey-the most important one you’ll ever be on. Books like The Inflammation Syndrome: Your Nutrition Plan for Great Health, Weight Loss, and Pain-Free Living
(Pictured) can really help guide you through this process.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the possibilities, don’t worry; there are some easy things you can start with to counteract and eliminate some of the inflammation. Just do what you can. Anything positive you do for yourself will help to further your plans to take back your health.
- Evaluate your diet. Eliminate foods that could be harmful; such as, processed foods, refined sugars, gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, red meat and pork.
- Add a probiotic to your daily diet. This will help to balance your digestive system. There are many brands available, but try to get a quality, live product at your local health food store.
- Limit stress as much as possible. I know, that one’s hard. At least find a healthful way to cope with it.
- Add a quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to your diet. This will help balance body systems by supplying any needed vitamins or mineral. (***consider doing a colon cleanse first before starting on a supplement, so you will absorb the nutrients more efficiently.)
- Sleep! There is nothing better than sleep for an ailing, inflamed body.
- Hydrate Yourself! Drinking plenty of quality water will make an immediate difference in your body. Try to get at least 8-10 glasses a day.
It’s never too late to be well and live the active life you’ve always dreamed of. So, I don’t want to hear any excuses about being too old or frail to make lifestyle changes. And you young ladies out there, it’s even more important that you pay attention to your body’s signals of pain and dysfunction now so it doesn’t become a deeper issue later. Wake up and take charge of your health. YOU CAN BEAT INFLAMMATION-THE THING THAT IS KILLING YOU SLOWLY!
This is a really interesting article and very timely for me as I’ve recently seen articles popping up on inflammation. What is the best way to determine what is causing inflammation, other than doing an elimination diet? I’ve thought of going to someone and getting allergy testing done but wasn’t sure where to start with that. Any tips? Thanks! 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment. I have really seen a lot about inflammation lately too. For a good reason. It’s a real health threat to many people. The main problem is most people don’t know what is causing the inflammation. Locating the source(s) is the hardest part. You can certainly do allergy testing, but it may not be enough to clarify everything. I had allergy testing done years ago in hopes to find the source of my chronic migraine but to no avail. The problem with standard allergy panels is they don’t show food intolerances. That is a whole other test and it’s expensive and most insurance companies don’t cover it. So, that leaves the food elimination plan. Start with the obvious foods that many people are sensitive to. These are wheat, dairy, corn, nuts, soy, and sometimes tomatoes and chocolate. Processed sugar is also a culprit for most people. This is really the best way to start eliminating inflammation at the source. As I said in the article, take inventory of what you eat, drink, and put on your body regularly. It’s likely one or more of common foods and products are adding to or causing your problem. You can also counteract inflammation by adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet; such as, fresh cherries, garlic, green tea, fresh veggies, and even dark chocolate. You can buy cherry extract juice and aloe juice is also helpful for intestinal inflammation. It’s a process of elimination that will take time. Health is not something you can just find or get overnight. Be patient with your body and the things you try. Hope that helps.
I’m reading this on a day when I woke up aching all over. Tomorrow I’m starting the McDougall diet and hopeful that removing dairy, meat, and chemicals from my life will help with at least a lifetime of sinus problems. I’m sure there are other diets that remove inflammatory foods. If I can’t live with this one I’ll find another one.
Well, when you have chronic inflammation, every day is an achy day. I know your diet will help in many ways. Just be ready for healing crisis symptoms if you change it drastically. I’m still having them. I really hope it helps your feet.