I Conquered Inflammatory Disease in 2013 — and Now I Resolve to Keep Fighting it in 2014
I love the fresh start of a New Year — with its excitement and promise of a better life.
Yet, research shows that most of us do not live up to this promise. Instead, 80 percent of us set New Year’s resolutions, then fall back on old habits within two months.
I’m proud to report that I did stick to my resolutions in early 2013 — and was rewarded with much improved health.
Last year at this time I was stricken with inflammatory disease. My knees, ankles, and leg muscles were inflamed and in pain.
I could barely walk, and often used crutches. At the grocery store, I had to use one of those electric carts to buy my groceries. I was mortified.
But worse, all I could see for my future was worse pain and a diminished quality of life.
I was depressed beyond belief.
The specialist I was seeing didn’t help my outlook.
After a battery of tests, he told me to return when I was in worse pain — and he’d put me on steroid prescription drugs.
Back on My Feet With the Help of Acupuncture, Massage, and a Whole New Diet
Then I found acupuncture and organic eating, thanks to a wonderful acupuncturist — and my health improved by leaps and bounds.
Between January and May, I slowly improved day-by-day as I re-learned how to eat and had regular acupuncture and massage therapy sessions.
By June I was walking at my normal pace again — which was exhilarating after months of walking slowly and painfully.
By July, I was bicycling and swimming again.
While I made huge strides in my health last year, I’m not done yet.
My annual blood test showed that I still have inflammation in my system.
I’ll never be “cured,” because once you have an autoimmune disease, you always have it.
But there are ways to manage it — without toxic prescription drugs.
My 10 New Year’s Resolutions to Fight Inflammation
I’ve created a health regime for 2014 — including the following 10 inflammation-fighting resolutions:
1. Test my food sensitivities with an elimination diet.
This involves first cleaning out my system for three months by eating only foods that I’m sure aren’t triggering inflammation, like organic chicken, wild-caught fish, avocados, and organic vegetables (except nightshades).
Then I will test each of the foods I might be sensitive to, like cow’s milk, chicken’s eggs, and shellfish, one at a time.
If I don’t react to the known immune triggers, I can eat these foods in moderation.
2. Lose the extra weight that I gained because of my thyroid problem and wheat addiction.
After developing a thyroid problem, I gained about 30 pounds.
Also, in hindsight, I can see that my out-of-control wheat addiction added another 30.
While nothing else worked, I’ve been able to lose weight on my anti-inflammatory diet.
However, unlike most dieters, who want to lose as much weight as fast as they can, I plan to lose only .5 to 1 pound a week — so that I don’t shock my body by quickly releasing the toxins trapped in my fat cells, because that would induce inflammation.
3. Rotate my food choices so I don’t develop more food sensitivities and allergies.
A little known fact is that we can develop food allergies and sensitivities by eating certain foods too often.
This may be one of the reasons a growing number of people are sensitive to wheat, because we eat way more wheat today than previous generations ate.
Rotating foods throughout the week is a great way to keep this problem at bay.
4. Track what I eat in a food diary.
This is important for a couple of reasons, including watching calories, but also to make sure I don’t eat the same foods too often and risk developing new food sensitivities.
5. Expand my meal planning with a wide range of meals and recipes.
It’s easy to get in a rut with any diet.
When we get bored it just makes it harder to avoid the foods we shouldn’t eat, like fast, heavily processed — but tasty — foods.
That’s why it’s important to put the time and effort into keeping healthy food delicious and interesting — so you’ll actually look forward to eating it.
6. Take all my supplements every day.
I hate taking pills, so remembering to take my daily supplements is always challenging.
But I need a few of them to fight inflammation, like Vitamin D, which my body can’t process naturally thanks to my thyroid condition.
So this year I pledge to remember to take my supplements everyday, including Vitamin D (for my immune system), calcium (for sleep), and omega 3’s (for everything).
7. Eat fermented food every day to rebuild and support my gut bacteria.
This year I learned that our bodies are made of billions of bacteria cells, which are essential for food digestion and absorption, the prevention of food allergies, and optimum health.
Eating fermented food is one of the best ways to rebuild your good bacteria ecosystem.
I love fermented food, but I forget to eat it some days.
But not anymore.
8. Get eight hours of sleep every night, including at least one to two hours before midnight.
I’ve suffered from insomnia for years. — which probably contributed to my inflammatory disease.
But by working diligently on a new schedule and sleep protocol, I have almost conquered my problem.
I just have to be vigilant now to make it work long term.
9. Relax more.
Stress wrecks serious havoc on our health. More than most people realize. It’s especially toxic for inflammation.
There are several strategies that can help keep the stress monster at bay, like tapping.
I resolve to do these strategies daily to give my body a greater chance for optimum health.
10. Keep toxic people out of my life.
Like processed foods and stress, toxic people can tax our health in horrible ways.
If someone is causing you more harm than help, tell them they need to either be more understanding or be in your life less, if at all.
If you are fighting inflammation in any of its many forms, please consider adopting these resolutions. They are the best way to deal with inflammation naturally.
Also, please follow me on my blog — just subscribe to receive regular updates (and a free mini introductory cookbook containing 10 inflammation-fighting recipes).
This year I’ll share more essential information on living with inflammation — including many delicious and nutritious recipes.
It’s going to be a Happy New Year, indeed!