Foods that Cause Inflammation
Clients often ask me how to "get rid of the muffin top" around the waist. Or, clients are frustrated when they hit a plateau; not losing any more weight and not achieving a "toned" look. If you haven't examined the ingredients in the foods you eat lately, addressing what you ingest can help with those frustrations. It also helps lower risk of heart disease, arthritis and other chronic illnesses.
THE QUICK FACTS
Our bodies were not designed to break down certain chemicals and foods. If we ingest those items over a lifetime, the body is creates inflammation which turns to fat. Our bodies produce inflammation to fight off infection or injuries; such as cuts or colds and there is some swelling. However, chronic inflammation is destructive. Internally, if we keep ingesting foods that create inflammation, that turns into fat. Multiply the inflammatory foods by your age and "Bingo!", there is a lot of excess tissue. More gravely, there is more inflammation around vital organs such as your heart, lungs and joints. Excess inflammation sets your body up for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Your body has to work harder to function with the excess inflammation.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Here is a quick list of food/ingredients to avoid.
1. Sugar and sugar substitutes. Fructose, sucrose, dextrose. See the pattern - "ose" endings. Even agave has 90% sugar! The worst culprit is any food with high fructose corn syrup(HFCS). HFCS has been shown to be more addictive than heroin or cocaine. Check your cereals, crackers, breads, sodas and more.
2. Saturated Fats. They trigger adipose tissue (fat) to form. Think of cheese, pizza, pasta and red meat.
3. Trans Fats. Avoid foods with "partially hydrogenated oils." Avoid fast food restaurants, processed snacks, frozen breakfast foods, donuts, crackers, fried foods.
4. Refined Carbohydrates. I know, I know -our favorite food group! Try to reduce your intake of white flour, white breads, crackers, white rice, white potatoes, french fries.
5. MSG. This ingredient is found in sauces, soups, soup mixes, salad dressings and deli meats. It can cause chest pain and headaches and affects liver health.
6. Aspartame. The famed artificial sweetner is found in 4,000 food products and helps folks put on the extra pounds. Too much of this causes headaches, skin conditions, fatique and allergies.
7. Alcohol. Too much of it burdens liver function so moderation is the key.
8. Dairy. It is difficult for the GI system to break it down so moderate intake and try a variety of other milks for cooking or drinking such as almond or oat milks. You won't notice a difference if you cook with them.
9. Preservatives. Preservatives were added to increase the shelf life of a food on a grocery shelf, to with stand long distance travel and to make money for food manufacturers. Those chemicals are extremely harmful. Think about it: if a cookie, soup or cracker can be "OK" to eat after sitting on a shelf for 6 months- is that really food or something else?
WHAT TO DO???
1. Eat Fresh as much as you can. Fruits and veggies in season and buy from local farmer's market if possible.
2. Choose monoUNsaturated fats. These are the good fats that aid in metabolism and help cholesteral. Avocados, almonds are a good choice.
3. Be conscious of your food choices.
4. Practice moderation.
5. Grocery shop wisely. Read the ingredients.
6. Make gradual changes or you will drive your family and self crazy!
7. Eat slowly and enjoy eat bite
8. Cook with great foods and ingredients for great meals.
Even with minor changes, you will notice that you feel better. I have always been a healthy eater but in the last year, I felt a mild stomachache after each meal and a general malaise. Initially, I attributed it to stress. With some minor food switches such as reducing dairy, reducing foods with refined white flour, choosing a healthier yogurt, and switching to almond milk, I felt better in one week.
As my kids will attest, not everything works for us. We easily made the switch to almond milk (my son has always drunk oat milk since he is lactose intolerant) and choosing yogurt without added sugars. However, we tried cooking with gluten free flour; the muffins were like baseballs and the blueberry pancakes were as dense as a ceramic plate. So, we agreed to continue our use of white flour for baking.
The takeaway point is to be conscious of what you put in your body. Often, clients will ask, "Why do I have this pain? I didn't do anything (injury)." My response is,"It is the accumulation of a lifetime of habits and your body is screaming that it can't take it anymore."
Salted & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas
This is a great source of protein and snack. Quick, healthy and easy.
1 can (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more if needed)
1. Place chickpeas & vinegar in medium saucepan. Add dash of sea salt. Bring to boil and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. No worries if some of chickpea skins fall off. Cover the pan and let chickpeas soak in vinegar for 25-30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 400deg. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Drain chickpeas in colander, shake off excess vinegar,but no need to dry chickpeas.
4. Transfer chickpeas to baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Massage oil into chickpeas with fingers until they are fully coated. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Roast chickpeas for 20 minutes. Roll chickpeas around, then roast for 10-15 minutes more until golden and lightly charred.
6. Cool chickpeas for 5 minutes. The chickpeas will firm up as they cool.
From the "The Oh She Glows Cookbook" by Angela Liddon.