What Is the Anti-inflammatory Diet and Why am I Doing It?

Over the last month, I have been really focusing on my overall health. I have experienced a lot of random anxiety and depression and loads of inflammation. 

As most of you already know, I am a huge advocate of natural healing and wellness, so I started a deep dive into ways that I can heal myself and love myself more.

This blog will focus on my diet and the foods I consume. What we don’t realize is that what we put into our bodies can really make a massive impact, whether in a positive or negative direction. 

Lately, I have noticed that, even though I know all the things and have the best natural doctors supporting and teaching me, I have been slacking in this area. I used to be a 90/10 or 80/20 person, meaning that I ate clean 90% of the time and enjoyed life the other 10% (or ate clean 80% of the time and lived life 20% of the time). 

Still, I had fallen into more of a 50/50 situation, just being real with you.

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Anti-inflammatory Diet

With my research and seeking out a specialist to help me detox and heal, I have decided to start the anti-inflammatory diet. This isn’t my first experience with this diet and concept. 

For those of you who are new here, my daughter Lilly was diagnosed with autism around 15 months old, and since that time, I have become an obsessed warrior mother. I became a master at researching any way I could try to help my daughter heal and thrive.

This story is for another blog post, but I wanted to share that because of her diagnosis, we have tried many diets to help heal, and this was one of them, and it worked!

what is the anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is a dietary approach focused on reducing inflammation in the body, which is believed to be a root cause of various chronic diseases and health issues. Foods that can cause inflammation, which you may not even realize, include items like gluten, dairy, alcohol, and corn. This diet emphasizes foods that have anti-inflammatory properties while minimizing or avoiding foods that can contribute to inflammation. 

Here are some key principles of the anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: These are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help reduce inflammation. Berries, leafy greens, broccoli, and colorful vegetables are excellent choices.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and seeds like flaxseed and chia seeds are sources of healthy fats and antioxidants.
  • Whole Grains: Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats over refined grains. Refined grains can promote inflammation. I suggest going gluten-free!
  • Healthy Fats: Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil contain anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats.
  • Lean Protein: Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, beans, lentils, and tofu. Fatty cuts of meat can promote inflammation.
  • Herbs and Spices: Turmeric, ginger, garlic, and other spices have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is well-known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Green Tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Avoid Processed Foods: Highly processed and sugary foods are often pro-inflammatory. It’s essential to limit or eliminate items like sugary beverages, snacks, and processed meats.
  • Dairy Alternatives: Some people find that dairy can be inflammatory. Opt for dairy alternatives like almond milk, coconut yogurt, or soy-based products.
  • Limit Red Meat: High consumption of red meat can be associated with inflammation. Choose lean cuts and enjoy them in moderation.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet Pyramid: Some variations of the diet use a pyramid as a visual guide, with daily recommendations for different food groups.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health. Water helps flush toxins from the body.

If you look up the restaurant (which is one of my all-time favorite places to eat), True Food Kitchen, their menu is based on this diet. I will share the book below as well in case you want to do a deeper dive, but I share this because a diet doesn’t have to be restrictive. You can even still have dessert, just in a different way. 

I am working on a blog post currently sharing healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free desserts, so make sure to check back soon for that.

So now let’s talk about WHY you would want to reduce inflammation in your body and why you would want to do it the natural way.

Here is a list of benefits …

Why do you want to reduce inflammation

Reducing inflammation in the body through natural means can have a wide range of health benefits. Chronic inflammation has been linked to various health conditions, and managing it can improve overall well-being. 

Here are some natural healing benefits of reducing inflammation:

  • Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Chronic inflammation is a common factor in the development of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. By reducing inflammation, you can lower your risk of these conditions.
  • Pain Relief: Inflammation can cause pain and discomfort in conditions like arthritis. Reducing inflammation can alleviate pain and improve joint function.
  • Improved Digestive Health: Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be managed by reducing gut inflammation through dietary changes and natural remedies.
  • Enhanced Immune Function: Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections. Reducing inflammation supports a stronger immune response.
  • Better Skin Health: Inflammation is linked to skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Managing inflammation can lead to clearer and healthier skin.
  • Weight Management: Inflammation can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to weight gain. By reducing inflammation, it may be easier to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Mental Health Benefits: There is growing evidence that links inflammation to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Reducing inflammation may have a positive impact on mood and mental well-being.
  • Balanced Blood Sugar: Inflammation can affect insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Reducing inflammation can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Inflammation contributes to the development of atherosclerosis and increases the risk of heart disease. Reducing inflammation can support cardiovascular health.
  • Improved Cognitive Function: Inflammation in the brain is associated with cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Reducing brain inflammation may help maintain cognitive function.
  • Alleviation of Allergies: Inflammation can worsen allergic reactions and respiratory conditions like asthma. Managing inflammation may reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Better Gut Health: Reducing inflammation in the gut can improve digestion and nutrient absorption, leading to better overall health.
  • Enhanced Energy Levels: Chronic inflammation can lead to fatigue. Reducing inflammation can boost energy levels and vitality.
  • Healthy Aging: Inflammation is a contributing factor to the aging process. Managing inflammation may slow down the effects of aging on the body.
  • Improved Quality of Life: By reducing inflammation, you can experience an overall improvement in your quality of life, with increased vitality, less pain, and a reduced risk of chronic illnesses.

It’s kind of a no-brainer, right? 

I was chatting with my friend Tara, and we both agreed that when we started down this path, it would have been so helpful to have someone guiding us and answering our questions. 

We decided, “Hey, let’s create a free group where we can share the basics, support you, guide you, answer your questions, and then leave you with awesome recipes and meal plans.”

 If that is something you would be interested in, CLICK HERE, and I will send you more details and info about our group.

I hope this was helpful to you, and I also wanted to leave you with a basic meal plan so you could actually see what this diet would look like. 

Everything looks harder before you start, so don’t get scared off. 

Remember the WHY behind this commitment and diet… it’s to feel better, to reduce anxiety, to heal your gut, to have more energy, to get back to feeling like YOU! 

That is priceless, my friend!

MEAL PLAN

Day 1:

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes
  • Fresh fruit salad (e.g., berries, melon, and pineapple)

Lunch:

  • Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette dressing (dairy-free)

Dinner:

  • Baked salmon with lemon and dill
  • Quinoa
  • Steamed broccoli and carrots

Snack:

  • Sliced cucumbers and carrots with guacamole

Day 2:

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with almond milk, topped with fresh berries, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey

Lunch:

  • Turkey and avocado lettuce wraps with a side of carrot sticks

Dinner:

  • Vegetarian chili made with beans, lentils, and plenty of vegetables

Snack:

  • Sliced apples with almond butter

Day 3:

Breakfast:

  • Smoothie with spinach, banana, frozen berries, dairy-free yogurt, and almond milk

Lunch:

  • Quinoa salad with chickpeas, red bell pepper, cucumber, and a lemon-tahini dressing

Dinner:

  • Grilled lean pork chops with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus

Snack:

  • Mixed nuts and dried fruits

Day 4:

Breakfast:

  • Buckwheat pancakes with fresh fruit (e.g., blueberries and strawberries) and a drizzle of maple syrup

Lunch:

  • Spinach and feta-stuffed chicken breast (use dairy-free feta)

Dinner:

  • Baked white fish with a garlic and herb crust
  • Brown rice
  • Steamed green beans

Snack:

  • Sliced cucumbers with dairy-free tzatziki sauce

Day 5:

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs with sautéed bell peppers, onions, and spinach
  • Fresh fruit salad

Lunch:

  • Lentil and vegetable soup (ensure it’s gluten and dairy-free)

Dinner:

  • Beef stir-fry with broccoli, bell peppers, snap peas, and a gluten-free, dairy-free sauce, served over quinoa

Snack:

  • Sliced oranges with a dusting of cinnamon

SIDE NOTE: Make sure to read food labels carefully to avoid hidden sources of gluten and dairy in packaged products. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to create a meal plan tailored to any specific health concerns or dietary restrictions you may have.

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Mindy Wender

I’m a down-to-earth, small town, girl next door dedicated to empowering women to create their own success and unlock their full potential.

My hope is to be your “go to” BFF for all the things us Moms/Women need. I love helping women THRIVE in all areas of their lives.

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