Disclosure: This post was written by Amie Valpone, author of Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. Affiliate links are present.
My journey to fighting and learning to reduce inflammation in my body started ten years ago, when I was suffering from many debilitating and unexplained symptoms. I was on a cocktail of drugs, was on disability from my job, and I felt lost and alone. I was suffering and I felt like no one was helping me heal – I was just being offered more drugs to “put a Band-Aid” over my symptoms, rather than treating the cause.
After being given 24 hours to live with C.Diff colitis, I promised myself that if I survived, I would dedicate my life to helping others heal and get to the root cause of inflammation and unwanted symptoms in their body. Throughout the last 10 years, I have learned how to heal my body from a range of symptoms and diagnoses – from Lyme disease to Hypothyroidism and Candida. I started my website, TheHealthyApple.com to help people suffering from everyday minor symptoms such as a headache to ailments and chronic illness. My hope is that my new book helps change lives and gives people hope that they can get to the root cause of their illness and find the light at the end of the tunnel, learning to reduce inflammation and improve their quality of life. Something I learned, that no one educated me on and doctors did not talk to me about (and I’ve been to over 500 doctors), was the fact is that nothing changed until I started to clean up my food and my environment (food, personal care products, cleaning products and beauty products). Our skin is our biggest organ, so it’s important to look not just at what we are putting in our bodies but also what we are putting on our bodies, as well. I realized I had to put my health in my own hands and be my own doctor (not to self-diagnose) to navigate through the world from illness to wellness and vitality.
In my new cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, I talk about how to start cleaning up your food and your life from chemicals and toxins that we are bombarded with on a daily basis – from the plastic packaging on our food to the parabens in our shampoo and the chemicals in our cleaning products. Learning to reduce inflammation comes down to learning how to detox your body in a healthy way. Detox is not what you think. In my book, I outline how to detox your body on a daily basis and how to eat clean to reduce inflammation. I want to show you that eating clean feels incredible – not because its “right”, but because once you see life this way, you’ll never go back. There’s not a processed bagel in the world that I’d eat to give up for how incredible I feel today, and I want to show you that you can feel this incredible as well. If more people realized what an important role they plan in their own health, they could change the quality of their life forever.
We’re all familiar with the term inflammation. It’s our body’s way of defending itself. It’s how we repair damaged tissue when we get a cut, a burn or any other injury. However, when our immune system gets out of balance from toxins that come from chemicals, stress, bacteria, yeast, parasites, viruses, gut issues, food sensitivities and eating processed / conventional foods (as well as foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats), inflammation can cause numerous health issues in our body and chronic inflammation sets in. This type of inflammation can manifest as arthritis, ulcers, cancer, IBS, acne, bloating, gas, headaches, eczema and more.
Unfortunately, doctors often prescribe prescription medications instead of getting to the root cause of the underlying imbalances in the body that are manifesting as unwanted symptoms. I faced this problem for numerous years before I decided to take my health into my own hands. Today I’m going to show you how to start fighting inflammation so you can start your journey to wellness. My best advice is to learn how to get your body working for you, not against you. Once you start making these small shifts in your day to day lifestyle, you’ll see your inflammation decrease and you’ll be resetting your body. For more tips and anti-inflammatory recipes, check out my new book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.
Here are 5 steps you can take to start to reduce inflammation today.
1. Eat Clean.
Changing the way we eat is a huge proponent to fighting inflammation. We all react to foods differently but it’s important to focus on an anti-inflammatory diet every day by eating high quality fiber (gluten-free whole grains, fruits, veggies), healthy fats (raw nuts and seeds, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil), protein (beans and legumes, nuts and seeds), and anti-inflammatory ingredients (such as turmeric, cinnamon, sea salt and fresh herbs). Eating clean means eating whole, one-ingredient foods to make your meals and snacks. What’s in an apple? An apple. What’s in an avocado? An avocado. Those are one-ingredient whole foods. Create your meals and snacks around one-ingredient foods so you know exactly what’s going into your mouth!
For example, make a salad with kale, avocado, walnuts, apples, quinoa, extra-virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. That’s a meal made from one-ingredient foods! Toss the processed condiments along with the canned and boxed foods and reach for fresh, whole foods that your body can easily digest, absorb and assimilate the nutrients from. Unlike chemical-laden processed foods that are void of nutrients and don’t nourish your body, whole foods nourish your body and feed each system (endocrine, etc.) so that you can stay healthy. These whole foods are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs to detox daily and reduce inflammation. My new cookbook is filled with over 200 plant-based recipes that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, eggs, white flours and processed ingredients. No xanthan gum, no binders, no fake ingredients – all pure, whole foods. And you’re going to love every single recipe!
2. Heal Your Gut.
Over 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, so focusing on gut health is a great place to start when your immune system needs an overhaul. If your gut isn’t in good shape, you’ll find yourself dealing with unwanted symptoms such as bloating, acne, arthritis and more. Focus on adding in probiotic-rich foods like kimchi and sauerkraut as well as taking a high-quality probiotic to replenish the good bacteria in your gut, reduce inflammation, and keep your immune system health and happy.
3. Find Hidden Infections.
Throughout my 10 years of chronic illness I had many false negatives from Western medicine labs for parasites bacteria, yeasts and other GI issues that were never properly addressed. Once I started working with Functional/Integrative MD’s to reduce inflammation, I learned about more detailed stool tests (which are all outlined in my new book, Eating Clean), that helped me identify what was going on in my gut and how I could kill off the bad bacteria and pathogens while healing the infections that were left unaddressed for so many years. My new book outlines 3 full pages on Functional/Integrative Medicine testing that helped me get to the root cause of my symptoms – everything from my heavy metal and mold toxicity to my leaky gut and Lyme disease as well as numerous deficiencies that weren’t picked up by conventional blood work.
4. Detox Your Home and Personal Care Products.
I dedicated an entire chapter to detoxing your home and personal care/beauty products in my book, Eating Clean, because many of us don’t realize that our skin is our biggest organ, so anything that we put on our skin (from our sunscreen to our chapstick to our shampoo and conditioner), as well as what we use to clean our home (cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc.) gets into our bloodstream. When I started detoxing my entire lifestyle, I started to see my thyroid and liver enzymes normalize because they weren’t bombarded by toxins from these products. You can easily decrease your body’s burden by removing products that are full of chemicals and parabens and use cleaner products instead. In my book, I break down each chemical to avoid as well as my favorite brands to choose for cleaner products and what to look for instead of chemicals! I also have a section dedicated to recipes to make your own homemade beauty products and homemade household cleaning products so you can feel good about what you are using in your home for your family and can reduce inflammation.
5. Remove Food Sensitivities.
Throughout the past 10 years I’ve had to remove numerous foods due to inflammation, such as gluten, dairy, soy, corn and eggs. Food sensitivities can be difficult to pinpoint because you may not feel a reaction to a certain food until 48 hours or later after you eat the food! This is why it’s so important to address an elimination diet to remove the inflammatory foods in your diet. I lay out a full 21 Day Elimination Diet in my new book, Eating Clean, as well as a Reintroduction period that is done very specifically so that you can tell exactly what foods are causing issues in your body. Gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn and refined sugar (along with other inflammatory foods) often wreak havoc on many of my clients’ guts, and once they start to eliminate these foods, they feel lighter, have more energy, lose weight, their inflammation markers on their bloodwork decrease and they start to heal their gut lining (leaky gut). Each one of our bodies is different so a food that works for someone else, might not work for you. Focus on your body and eat the foods that work for you – not what works for someone else. You’re in charge of the way you feel and it starts with the food you put into your mouth everyday.
Learn more by purchasing Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body by Amie Valpone. After suffering for a decade from a range of ailments like Lyme Disease, Hypothyroidism, and Leaky Gut Syndrome, Amie Valpone, creator of TheHealthyApple.com, healed herself through clean eating and detoxing. In Eating Clean, Amie provides guidance on how to reduce inflammation and reset your body, including a 21-Day Elimination Diet, instructions for food reintroduction, a 2-week meal plan, and an extensive pantry list. The book has over 200 recipes that are vegetarian and free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and refined sugar to keep tummies healthy and satisfied — such as Velvety Pear and Fennel Soup, Carrot “Fettuccine” with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seeds, and Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream. With this book, readers are able to get the support they need on their path toward wellness.