Anti Inflammatory Diet: What Does It Do?
The Anti Inflammatory Diet (AID) is a way of eating that reduces inflammation and pain. AID involves reducing or eliminating certain foods, beverages, drugs, supplements and other substances that increase inflammation.
What are some of these things?
Foods High in Sugar and Fat: These include processed foods, sweets, cakes, pastries, fried food, candy bars etc. Foods high in Salt: salt water is good for your health but too much can lead to dehydration. Too little and you may get sick from not drinking enough water. Drugs: Some medications such as aspirin have been shown to raise blood pressure which increases inflammation. Alcohol: alcohol is known to raise blood pressure and can contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other diseases. Supplements: Many supplements contain ingredients that increase inflammation.
How do I avoid all of them?
Avoiding all of these things will take effort so don’t give up! You need to make small changes each day until you feel better. Our bodies do not change over night and neither will your diet. Stay motivated and soon you will notice a change in your energy levels, mood and pain management. Also keep in mind that this is different for everyone. Your best change may be to eliminate certain foods or it may be to just drink more water. AID is all about what works for you and what you find comfortable.
Let’s start with the basics, what are some foods that are good for me?
First of all, if you are not drinking enough water your body could be in a lot of pain or have other symptoms that we will address later.
How much water should you drink?
Our rule of thumb is your age plus 7 (if you are younger than 13, then your age divided by 2 and add 1). So if you are 30 years old you would drink 37 ounces of water per day (30 + 7 = 37). This is just a good rule of thumb. You may need more or less depending on your activity level, weather, if you live in a hot or cold environment.
Now onto the fun part, the foods:
Leafy Greens: Leafy greens are very low in calories but high in nutrients which is why we eat them. Types of leafy greens include kale, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens and much more. They can be eaten raw or cooked.
For those who dislike the taste of leafy greens, try adding them to a smoothie.
Fruits: All fruits are good for you in moderation. Berries, apples, oranges and much more. If you aren’t eating at least one piece of fruit per day then you should definitely increase your intake as they are loaded with antioxidants.
Nuts and Seeds: Eating nuts and seeds is great for increasing your energy levels. They are also great for snacking on in between meals. However, they are very high in calories so only eat a small amount.
Try not to eat more than a handful per day if your weight is concerning you. Great types of nuts include almonds, cashews and walnuts.
Whole Grains: Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats etc. are very good for you and help increase energy levels. They also take longer to digest so you feel full for a longer time.
Great for meal prepping.
Proteins: Complete proteins are found in Meats, Poultry, Fish, Beans, and some other vegetables. Incomplete proteins are found in everything else (dairy, grains, nuts etc.) combining different sources of proteins helps your body to create all the necessary aminos that it requires.
Common questions about protein is how much and how often. We recommend eating 6oz of protein with each meal and taking in at least .8g – 1.8g per pound of body weight in protein.
Healthy Fats: Healthy fats can be a little confusing but they are very important for your body to function properly. Sources of healthy fat include Olive Oil, Nuts (in limited quantities), Coconut Oil and Avocados.
Spices and Herbs: Last but not least spices and herbs. These are great for adding flavor to food without adding calories or impacting your blood sugar. We recommend using spices and herbs in place of unhealthy sauces such as barbeque sauce, ketchup, and teriyaki.
Spices also help relieve symptoms of disease and provide other health benefits.
How do I deal with foods I can’t eat?
Some people may have an allergy, intolerance or just a disinterest in certain foods. If you don’t like or are allergic to something, then obviously you shouldn’t be eating it. We all have different preferences so choosing the right diet for you comes down to your personal tastes. There is no right or wrong, just what your body likes and what it doesn’t.
There are people who don’t eat meat for ethical or health reasons, we have curated a list of diets that exclude meats for you:
How do I start meal prepping?
Meal prepping is extremely easy and takes no more time than cooking your meals for the week on a Sunday. The first step is to get a bunch of containers and label each one. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you are getting the right balance of each macro and micro nutrient each day. Instead of thinking of it as dieting think of it as an investment in your health.
Once you’ve labeled your containers you are going to cook. We have recipes for every meal of the day and have organized them by the number of calories per container. So for breakfast you would want to use a 500 calorie container.
For lunch, 750 calories and then finally 9 calories for dinner. Once you have cooked you can portion them into the containers and refrigerate/freeze until you are ready to enjoy them.
You may find that you prefer more protein or more carbs and less fat, this is fine. Just cook more of the foods that fit your macros and keep everything else the same.
What about Alcohol, I thought you said this was a diet?
We would never tell you to put an unhealthy substance into your body. If you wish to drink alcohol then go ahead and do so, but we don’t recommend it especially if you are actively trying to grow muscle or lose fat as alcohol has its own calories that don’t really do your goals any good. If you are going to have a drink make sure it’s worth it i.e. a special occasion and keep it to a glass or two.
We also would advise not having any alcohol if you are under 18 as it could hinder your growth. If you are over the age of 18 then we aren’t going to tell you not to, but we do recommend you don’t make it a habit and don’t drive after.
I’m on a budget, is this diet expensive?
If you are wondering if our diet is expensive then the answer is no. We have created the diet to be affordable on a tight budget. We understand that times are hard and money is tight so we have tried to keep this factor as minimal as possible.
If you do have a bit of extra money then it could be worth investing in a meal delivery service that delivers fresh ingredients directly to your door so you don’t have to shop for them yourselves. We do also have a list of healthy but cheap foods you can buy which will help you keep to our budget.
What do I do if I’m busy or forget to meal prep?
That’s okay, we understand that life happens so we have written a few tips and tricks on how to deal with this:
If you are genuinely too busy to meal prep then you could:
Eat out – You could eat out but make sure you choose the healthier options like grilled meat or chicken rather than fried or breaded. Adding extra vegetables is also a good idea.
Order a pizza – Again, go for the healthy options like vegetable or meat toppings rather than the regular stuff like pepperoni or sausage. Also, make sure you choose vegetarian if you can as the meat toppings are going to be very high in fat and not great if you’re trying to get in shape.
Eat supermarket ready meals – Shop smart and go for the low fat, low sugar options that are still healthy. There are plenty to choose from.
Eat at a friends house -Ask if you can bring a salad or vegetable dish to fill you up and make a healthy choice.
Eat at your local cafeteria – Most places of employment now have a cafeteria where you can pick up a plate of hot food for a reasonable price. Just ensure you go for the healthier options.
Eat at a restaurant that specialize in wraps or salads – There are a growing number of these springing up and although they are slightly more expensive than the regular fast food joints at least you know you’re getting a healthier choice.
Eat at a food truck – Most food trucks now offer some pretty healthy options that are much better for you than traditional fast food. Fruits, salad, grilled meats etc. Take the time to look up the healthiest options before you go or just go with what looks good.
Eat at a friends house – Ask if you can bring a salad or vegetable dish to fill you up and make a healthy choice.
Ask a neighbor if you can pick something up from their garden to eat – Most people grow vegetables in their gardens so ask someone and see if you can have some of theirs to eat. Perhaps offer to pick something for them in exchange.
Eat before you go out – This might not always be possible but if you eat before you go out then you are less likely to overindulge in an unhealthy snack from a vending machine or convenience store.
Keep snacks in your car/briefcase – A supply of nuts, raisins or other nutritious yet filling snacks can help you avoid the temptation of grabbing the bad stuff.
Always have something in your fridge to snack on – If you know you will be home soon and have the munchies then make sure you always have some nutritious yet delicious snacks in the house such as a bunch of bananas, peanut butter, or anything similar.
What if I can’t afford to eat everything on the list?
Please refer to ‘What if I can’t afford it all?’
Do I HAVE to follow this meal plan?
This is simply a guideline, you can pick and choose what parts you want to follow. If you already follow a diet very similar then you could just add a few things from this plan to increase your protein intake and get in some extra nutrients.
How about a grocery list?
Meat & Fish: Steak, hamburger, tuna (canned), sardines (canned), chicken, turkey, salmon, mackerel (canned), eggs, lentils (dry).
Dairy: Milk (regular and skim), yogurt (low fat), feta cheese, ricotta cheese.
Vegetables & Fruits: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, spinach, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, sweet potatoes, yams, apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, lemons, peaches, apricots.
Grains: Brown rice, barley, bulgar, quinoa.
Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts (not recommended for players with a nut allergy), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds.
Oils & Vinegar: Olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil (Asian markets), brown rice vinegar, red wine vinegar.
Spices: Salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, cumin, cinnamon.
Other Essentials: Liquid amino acid complex (for protein), multi-vitamin tablets, calcium pills (if not getting enough through your diet).
Sources & references used in this article:
Hydrotherapy A New Trend in Disease Treatment by A rights are reserved by Ganesh, V Devkate – researchgate.net
The New Age Herbalist: How to use herbs for healing, nutrition, body care, and relaxation by R Mabey, A McIntyre, M McIntyre – 1988 – books.google.com
The Cancer-fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery by D Gioffre – 2018 – books.google.com
Natural Bioactive Principles in the Treatment of Skin Diseases by R Katz, M Edelson – 2010 – books.google.com
Ants and other greatmedicines by EC Ibezim – … Natural Products: Opportunities and Challenges in …, 2012 – World Scientific