Everything you need to know to start your anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
My anti-inflammatory lifestyle found me when I was in need of deep healing. I was in the thick of experiencing hormonal acne, fixing my relationship with food and, most importantly, with myself.
As a by-product of my previous lifestyle (restricting food groups, being on contraceptive medications, plus heavy drinking and smoking), I had developed many allergies. I ended up with stubborn inflammation due to my previous party-girl days, plus all the foods I hadn't eaten in ages (when we deprive ourselves of food, this can cause hormonal imbalances and starve our good gut bacteria of the nutrients that it needs). And then came the hormonal acne.
For many years, I ignored the messages my mind, body, and spirit were trying to communicate to me, and only then, when it came out in my skin, did I start to notice. The universe continued to whisper until I was ready to listen. It said: ‘That's it! I'm going to make you pay attention this time.’ My acne ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me because it made me reevaluate my life as a whole — what things in lifestyle served me, and what things didn't.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle not only helped me heal my skin, gut, and hormones, but it also allowed me to live in alignment with my true purpose: to help others heal.
What is inflammation?
The definition is: “a localized part of the body that becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.”
In moderation (like when we have injuries or our organs need protection), inflammation can be a good thing, but if you start becoming chronically inflamed, this is when problems can arise.
Excessive inflammation can be caused by diet (food sensitivities, allergens, and chemicals) and environmental factors like stress, lifestyle, and environmental toxins. But it's important not to be too restrictive; the stress of that can cause the same amount of inflammation, too. Trust me, I learned the hard way.
So let's get into easy ways you can adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle:
Crowd In Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Think of this as a guideline, not a regime. Always think, “What can I add to my diet?” as opposed to “what can I remove?”
Foods to crowd in:
Whole grains: quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables
Omega-rich foods: nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, tahini. Fatty fish: salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies.
Polyphenols: “eating the rainbow”, dark chocolate, green tea, herbs, nuts.
Cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, radish, broccoli, cabbage, kale.
Vitamin C: berries, kiwis, cherries, bell peppers, citrus fruits.
Prebiotics: artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onions.
Probiotics: fermented foods, kefir, apple cider vinegar.
Remember to lead with love over hate. We make the best decisions for ourselves when we make them from a place of love. Listen to your body and its needs. There are no rules: take it day by day.
Foods to crowd out:
Alcohol: While a small serving of red wine is proven not to be inflammatory, if you're at a point of inflammation surplus, it’s best to avoid it as much as possible. Excess alcohol can disrupt our gut flora, which can raise inflammation.
Processed Vegetable Oils
Refined sugars and carbohydrates
Highly processed foods
Artificial sweeteners, thickeners, colors, and flavors
Limit Exposure to Outside Toxins
Your skin is your largest organ; whatever you put on it goes straight into your blood system. This means any external chemicals from household, agricultural, and cosmetic products can be causing inflammation in your body. From the body moisturizer you use to your daily deodorant that contains aluminum salts (linked to cancer) to the cleaning products you clean your bathroom with, it all impacts our health. A popular ingredient in our everyday cosmetic products, Bisphenol A, has been shown to disrupt our endocrine system (where hormones live) and a pesticide that’s sprayed over food produce — called BT Toxin — punctures little holes in your gut and intestines, causing a leaky gut.
How to limit these? Opt for natural and organic when possible in all areas of your life. This includes organic and local foods, natural and organic skincare products, and non-toxic household cleaning products.
Manage your stress: This is by far the most significant contributor to inflammation. Expand your emotional vocabulary and practice mindfulness activities like:
• Affirmation practice
• Gratitude practice
• Breathing exercises
• Humming (Yes, humming helps stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system).
Alongside these mindful practices, supplementation is a powerful tool to combine. My go-to product is the Eyeam Hormone Check Drops, with its primary concept to help cultivate a positive mindset through potent plant extracts and affirmation rituals. The star ingredient, timut pepper, is a clinically proven and innovative ingredient that boosts the brain-skin axis, enhancing cognitive performance, reducing inflammation, elevating mood levels, and reducing mental fatigue.
Schedule Lower-Impact Workouts
I used to do four HIIT workouts a week and ran 45 minutes twice a week… which ALWAYS came from a place of “I need to lose weight quick and fast”. Your hormones hate this, especially if you already have a high-stress job or home environment. Opt in for more strength training, Pilates, or walking. If you are desperate for that adrenaline rush, which I am, add a HIIT workout on the weekend or once or twice a week. Always listen to your body and its needs.
Get Regular Lymphatic Drainage Massages
A common inflammatory symptom I specifically had during my healing journey and have on my menstrual cycle is bloating and water retention. As women, our hormones can dictate the look and feel of our bodies. I used to get so hung up on this that I never understood why I felt “bigger” or hungrier on some days versus others. I thought it was a lack of willpower over my natural cycle doing its thing. It's normal for bodies to experience water retention before a period and small bouts of bloating! Whenever I feel water retention coming on, I perform a short at-home lymphatic drainage massage. Watch my tutorials for the face, stomach, and legs.
Remember, what works for others might not work for you. It's all bio-individual and about discovering the perfect balance.
Embarking on this lifestyle doesn't mean you're set in stone only to have anti-inflammatory foods or practice self-care daily. It's about finding what suits you and always prioritizing yourself.