If, by reading my last three posts, you think you have to live with a monochromatic plate, glass or cup of green for the rest of your life – you think wrong! Relax; there are plenty of wonderful foods you can eat that will support you on your RA/auto immune journey. I went green, as in GREEN, to get over my brief reconnaissance across the border into Sugarjunkland. Don’t ever abandon the greens but there is plenty you can add. Yay!
Bottom line is that everything that passes our lips should cause minimal immune response and inflammation. Generally just eat real, clean food, although this could and should be narrowed down further still. Again and again and again I say……… FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!
To short circuit the system, you could go the radical route and try an elimination diet where you go back to basics and stop eating all foods that are known to gurgle the gut. Do this for about four weeks and then slowly introduce foods, one at a time and see how your body reacts to them.
This site is very informative: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet
Generally speaking these are the foods to increase:
Protein: Beef, chicken, fish, lamb, turkey. Choose fish with a low mercury content and if possible hormone free and antibiotic free chicken, turkey and lamb. Go for beef that is grass fed and avoid all factory-farmed meat. (Note: eggs fall into the protein category but should be avoided at first, as they can be inflammatory. I went eggless for about three months and then started eating them again as they are so convenient, full of nutrients and besides, I like them. I eat them now with no problem)
Offal and organ meat: I tried eating liver, and although I enjoy it, it didn’t enjoy me.
Good Fats: Fat does not make you fat! So increase intake of avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and salmon. I eat at least one–two avocados a day. They are my soul food and make me happy.
Vegetables: As many green veggies as you can of course, as well as artichoke, asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumbers, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsley, radishes, rhubarb (good luck on that one without any sugar!) shallots, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, water chestnuts, watercress, yams, zucchini. Organic is best but if not, then use organic veggie wash or white vinegar to remove some of the toxins.
(Avoid the nightshade vegetables, such as sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, paprika and white potatoes – this is because they contain alkaloids, which interfere with calcium metabolism and are pro-inflammatory)
Low sugar fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, berries, cherries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, plums. (Personally, I stick to one apple a day as the sugar, even limited, in the other fruits is too much for me) Pineapples contain bromelain which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. They also contain lots of sugar, so you have to work that one out.
Fermented foods: Kimchi, kombucha tea, picked ginger, sauerkraut, unsweetened coconut yogurt.
Coconut: Including coconut butter, coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes. Oh how I love all things coconut even though they closed my throat for while. I stopped eating this gift from God, and then slowly reintroduced it and all seems well again. Thankfully!
Herbs and spices: Basil, black pepper, cilantro, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger lemongrass, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage ,Himalayan sea salt, and thyme.
Glycine-rich foods: Anything with connective tissue, joints or skin (roast chicken WITH the skin here we come – yum) organ meat, and of course last but not least beautiful bone broth.
Other: Apple cider vinegar, herbal teas, olive oil, and olives
Food to avoid:
Sugar – no brainer for that one, including agave, all candy, chocolate, corn syrup, fructose, honey, maple syrup, molasses, and sucrose.
All Gluten – read your labels. Gluten is hidden in many things.
All dairy products, although I eat organic, grass fed butter – lots of it!
Nuts and seeds.
Algae like chlorella and spirulina, as these are immune stimulators – making the pac-men more vicious!
Unsaturated vegetable oils – canola, corn, and sunflower oils – no no no!
All beans and legumes
Aspartame – all diet sodas, gums and sweeteners
All sweeteners including stevia
Coffee, canned foods and all processed foods.
That’s a whole heap of stuff to mentally digest. Please, don’t be overwhelmed. Remember this is a lifestyle and life long change. Go slowly, slowly. Find what works for you and just keep on keeping on.