Want to Keep Your Body Free From Disease? Here’s How.
Inflammation — The Silent Killer
Inflammation is a life-saving, protective mechanism within our bodies when it’s happening in response to an acute injury or illness…the inflammatory response is vital for healing in those situations!
But, when the body constantly releases inflammatory cells in the absence of acute illness or injury, we refer to that as chronic inflammation — and that’s incredibly damaging to us over time.
Virtually every disease known to man begins as inflammation at the cell level of the body.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by many things, including:
- Too much sugar and too many “bad” fats in the diet (for example vegetable oils like soybean, canola, safflower, etc.)
- Exposure to toxins in our food, air, water, beauty & personal care products, medications, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.
- High levels of unmanaged stress, whether physical, emotional, or chemical (the body can’t differentiate between them!)
- Lack of high-quality, restorative sleep
- A leaky gut that allows undigested proteins to re-enter the bloodstream, keeping the body’s immune system on constant high alert
- Autoimmune disease, when your body recognizes healthy tissue as foreign and “attacks” it
- Unresolved infections or injuries
- Very intense exercise over long periods of time, or no exercise at all
Chronic inflammation affects us at a cellular level, damaging the very foundation of every function in our body.
When our cell membranes are damaged, hormone and nutrient receptors are damaged, too…that means hormones and nutrients can no longer get into the cell and waste products can’t get out. This fuels a vicious cycle of constant inflammation and disruption in the cell’s ability to function properly.
Because every system, organ, and tissue in our body is made of cells, an unhealthy cellular environment leaves us compromised on every level, opening the door for disease to take hold.
Consequences & Symptoms of Inflammation
If you read my blog from a few weeks ago on cholesterol, you already know that inflammation negatively affects the integrity and health of our arterial walls, laying the foundation for dangerous plaque formations (known as Coronary Artery Disease, or CAD) and increasing the risk for strokes and heart attacks.
On top of heart disease, chronic inflammation is also a known risk factor for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimers and dementia), type 2 diabetes, asthma, degenerative arthritic diseases, and more.
Symptoms of inflammation in the body include:
- Pain, joint pain, headaches, migraines
2) Brain fog, memory impairment
3) Low energy
4) Poor digestion
5) Inability to heal
6) Mood disorders
7) Blood sugar dysregulation
8) High cholesterol
9) Skin issues, rashes, rosacea, acne, etc.
10) Hormonal imbalances
How to Create an Anti-Inflammatory Environment in the Body
We’ve established that an inflammatory environment in the body lays the foundation for the development of disease, while anti-inflammatory environments are supportive of cellular health and healing.
So, how do we create the kind of anti-inflammatory environment that fosters good health?
First, look at your diet.
Highly processed foods with gluten, conventional dairy, sugar, and seed & vegetable oils are most likely to trigger inflammation in the body. Conventionally raised meats and farmed fish can do the same, because of the inflammatory diets they’re fed and stressful environments they live in (remember, we eat whatever the animals we’re eating were fed!).
That encompasses almost every processed or fast food on the market! And most people regularly ingest alarming amounts of these types of foods.
Take sugar, for example. In 1900, the average FAMILY ate 5–10 lbs of sugar per year. Today, the average INDIVIDUAL consumes 150+ pounds! It’s no wonder that, as a nation, we’re sicker and fatter than ever.
We have to start looking beyond the obvious sources of sugar — like candy, cookies, and soda — to things like breads, pasta, and other high-carbohydrate foods, too, because our bodies convert these into sugar in the same way…and it all compounds very quickly!
Sugar is hiding in nearly every processed food item you can buy at the grocery store these days — even those that are labeled “organic” or “natural.” Be on the lookout for added sugar in the ingredient list of the foods you’re buying.
The same is true of inflammatory vegetable oils like soybean, canola, safflower, and others — they’re ubiquitous in the Standard American Diet.
Fat attracts fat in the human body…so when you consume bad fats like vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, trans fat, hydrogenated oils, etc., they’re attracted to areas in your body composed of fat. And where is the largest concentration of fat in the human body? The cells, specifically our cell membranes! Our brains are 70–80% fat as well, and this is one of the reasons why toxins have an affinity for the brain. These bad fats get lodged in the cell membrane and drive chronic inflammation.
Remove inflammatory fats from your diet immediately, and replace them with “good” fats that have anti-inflammatory action in the body instead, such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee or butter, avocados and avocado oil. Our cells and body need these types of healthy fats to thrive. Add extra sources of healthy fat like grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish to your diet as well for an added boost!
Here’s a little known fact…
Eating foods that you are sensitive too will lead to more inflammation in the body as well, even if that food is seemingly healthy. Nightshade vegetables, for example — like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes — while packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, also contain several compounds that drive inflammation and compromise gut health. It is always a good idea to start tracking the foods you are eating and the symptoms you are having to see what specific foods trigger you.
What SHOULD We Be Eating?
Our bodies need nutrient dense, whole foods in order to thrive…foods like our ancestors used to eat. A focus on high-quality meats and protein that are grass-fed and wild-caught, loads of organic vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats like the ones mentioned above should be the foundation of our diets, and will go a long way towards keeping our bodies in an anti-inflammatory state that will keep disease at bay!
Eat These Foods (Anti-inflammatory)
- Grass-fed and wild-caught meats and fish
- Organic vegetables and fruits
- High-quality healthy fats like
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut & MCT oil
- Organic, ancient grains (in moderation) like amaranth or quinoa
Not These Foods (Inflammatory)
- Conventionally raised animal products or farmed fish
- Processed foods high in sugar and simple carbs
- Vegetable oils like soybean, canola, safflower, corn, etc.
- Refined grains and conventional dairy products
- Stay away from all sugary beverages as well!
Bonus anti-inflammatory tip:
Eat foods rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant, to help lower inflammation in the body. Things like green tea, berries, red grapes, dark leafy greens, onions, and turmeric are great choices!
Start Incorporating Fasting Into Your Life
Fasting is one of the most powerful tools we have to fight inflammation and heal our cells — it can reset our gut microbiome and help repair a leaky gut, all while reducing systemic inflammation and encouraging autophagy, or the turnover of old cellular material. Aside from changing what you’re eating, fasting is the next best way to combat inflammation!
We always recommend starting off slow and working your way up to a full water fast, to give your body time to adjust. Intermittent fasting (known as IF) is the perfect jumping off point — you cycle through periods of eating and fasting, most easily done by closing your window to eat a few hours before bedtime, then waiting to eat your first meal of the day for a few hours after waking up. Aim for a 12 hour fast to start, then you can work your way up to 14 or even 16 hours as you progress. You may also choose to eat only one meal a day (OMAD), or strictly limit your calorie intake one or more days per week, known as “partial fasting.”
When you feel ready, a full water fast is the ultimate reset for your body. A water fast is best done with no supplements, no coffee, no teas — nothing but water, or water with sea salt that will help maintain your electrolytes. Water fasts can go from 24 hours to multiple days in a row. But, as I mentioned, it’s important to start with intermittent or partial fasting and work your way up to water fasting to prepare your body, and always check with your doctor before fasting if you’re taking prescription medications or have any health issues.
Whenever you finish a partial or intermittent fast and it comes time to eat, EAT! No bird size portions here…eat a substantial, healthy meal. You need to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs during eating windows to prepare for the next period of fasting. If you’re coming off an extended water fast, however, you will need to reintroduce food slowly and stick to bone broth and easily digestible foods for up to two days before resuming eating as normal.
Get Restorative Sleep
High quality sleep is vital to all aspects of our health — overcoming inflammation is no exception. It’s important to practice good sleep hygiene habits to prepare yourself throughout the day for restorative sleep…things like:
- Getting outside and exposing yourself to sunlight during the day
- Exercising regularly
- Stopping all eating two or three hours before bedtime
- Limiting artificial light for at least an hour or two before bed, including screens
Aim to get 7–9 hours of sleep every night, and go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
Learn to Relax
Learning to properly manage stress is key to reducing inflammation levels in the body. Our bodies can’t distinguish between physical, emotional, and chemical stressors — they all activate the same “fight or flight” response, and keep the body in a sympathetic state that drives inflammation in the long run.
Doing activities that bring joy and help keep you grounded — such as walking out in nature, meditating, journaling, breathing exercises, and taking time to hang out with friends and family — are all great ways to help the body switch from the go-go-go mentality to rest and recover.
Drink half your body weight in ounces each day (but no more than 100 oz per day) of clean, filtered water to flush toxins from your body and keep yourself properly hydrated.
Move Your Body Daily
Staying active is an important component of keeping inflammation at bay, but there’s a delicate balance between the right amount of physical exercise and overdoing it! Intense, prolonged exercise can trigger inflammation in the body the same way that inactivity can — so finding a happy medium is key. Twenty to thirty minutes of cardio exercise in combination with resistance training most days of the week is ideal!
How Can The Cellular Health Accelerator (CHA) Program Help?
My Cellular Health Accelerator (CHA) program is designed to reduce chronic inflammation in the body, because, as you now know, an inflammatory environment is the enemy of good health and optimally functioning cells.
- Follow the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), which is an anti-inflammatory elimination diet designed to pinpoint potential food sensitivities that could be driving inflammation.
- Are taught lifestyle modifications to reduce their toxic exposure.
- Take a carefully curated selection of supplements to heal and seal the gut, support detox pathways, and eliminate toxins at a cellular level.
- Are guided through fasts to encourage autophagy that will heal or replace damaged cells that are contributing to chronic inflammation.
Our team of health experts provides an unparalleled level of support from Day 1, walking alongside students through four phases of cellular healing that lasts for four months. All CHA students are granted a lifetime membership upon graduation to our Mastermind program as well, where they continue to receive guidance from myself and our health coaches and access to health protocols to solidify their continued wellbeing.