Back in April, I told you about some severe pain I was experiencing in my finger. Although I didn’t have a formal diagnosis, I surmised it was early arthritis pain. I decided to go on a strict anti-inflammation diet to see if I could ease my pain through diet. The strict anti-inflammation diet lasted 8 weeks, so I’m well overdue to give you an update! Here are some of the Most Frequently Asked Questions I’ve gotten through comments and emails.
How’s your finger doing?
This is the question I’ve gotten the most. I’m happy to report it’s doing great! The last update I gave you I told you that the pain was almost gone and my range of motion was mostly back. My finger is now 100% better. No pain. No stiffness. It’s incredible!
Are you still on the anti-inflammation diet?
This one is more complicated. While I am not following the strict anti-inflammation diet I did in the spring, many of the habits I created during that time have stuck. That period was like a sugar detox for me and I crave sugar much less now. During the diet I cut out all sugar and stuck to it pretty closely. That included all added sugar, so I didn’t even add honey to my salad dressings or marinades. I have since started allowing sweeteners in my condiments, but still am not eating as many “sweet treats” like cookies or whatever. Even the healthified kind. While I am back to eating wheat, that is much reduced as well. I’m probably eating wheat/gluten a few times a week now, whereas before I was eating it every day. During the diet I got in the habit of adding fresh ginger to my smoothies and I still do, almost every time I have a smoothie. So while I am not officially on the “strict” anti-inflammation diet, I definitely have a stronger anti-inflammatory element to what I eat than I did before.
Why did you reduce your oil use during the diet?
During my research of the anti-inflammation diet, I found mixed opinions on oils and their use. Some of the sources I read suggested that oils should be used in strict moderation when trying to reduce inflammation. The reasoning was that because they are a processed fat they can cause inflammation. Some think the best fats are unprocessed fats and those should make up the bulk of the fat in our diets (like the fats from avocados, seeds, and nuts, for example).
Another issue is the ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids in our bodies. Consuming too many oils can cause the ratio to be off. The ideal ratio is 1:1, but most people consume a ratio around 15:1 which is an inflammation nightmare. (source) Because I wasn’t sure what to believe, I just reduced my overall use of all oils to be on the safe side. I was also cognizant of what temperature I cooked when I did use oils I also read a lot of research about overheating fats and its negative effect on our bodies.
I’m back to using oils a lot more again. I found cooking without oils to be really tough as fat equals flavor! It’s something I hope to continue to explore, but at this time I’m still keeping healthier oils like olive oil and coconut oil in my diet.
Can you share some of the resources you used for anti-inflammation recipes and information?
It is filled with information and recipes. I also referenced Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammation food pyramid, which I found helpful. There were countless online articles I read as well, but I didn’t save them.
As for recipes, I used a lot of my own recipes. Some needed a few tweaks and some were fine as-is. I also used the recipes from Clean Cuisine and searched for new recipes via my usual blog reading and Pinterest perusing.
Now I am at a wait-and-see to determine if the pain is going to stay away. Perhaps I picked up enough anti-inflammation dietary habits that I will be able to keep chronic inflammation in my body at bay and stay pain-free. Please let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll answer them in the comments!