Anti inflammation diets and anti inflammatory food are big right now.
It is no surprise, as so many of us struggle with inflammation issues of all sorts from arthritis to gastritis.
But too many anti inflammation diets depressingly do NOT deliver.
Most of them are either :
- Simplistic one size fits all
- Crazily complicated
- Or grindingly grim!!!
And all too often they introduce a new load of inflammatory issues.
So what on earth can we do?
Well, I’ve discovered a simple but effective anti-inflammation diet that in 3 quick stages helps us :
- Build a personal diet plan
- WITHOUT falling down the rabbit hole of extreme elimination diets.
It is called the Triple-S plan and it has made a massive difference to all my different inflammation issues.
I do hope it helps you with yours.
This post does not give qualified medical advice. Inflammation can be a symptom of serious illness.
- The Triple-S Diet Plan
- Your Personal Diet Plan
- Put Your Plan Into Practice
The Triple-S Anti-Inflammation Diet Plan
The Triple-S diet is based on the understanding that we often have a whole range of inflammatory issues.
Sometimes they are related but often they are a real mish-mash. Mine for example were gastritis, psoriasis, back pain & lumpy glands.
But most anti-inflammation diets e.g. low carb only tackle one issue.
We need a simple framework to tackle all our issues without making mealtimes crazily complicated.
And this is where Triple-S comes in with a personal diet plan based on:
Sheer saturation is the underlying cause of a lot of inflammation.
Even healthy food is toxic in excess.
By overloading our bodies with certain foods we create our very own personal recipe for poison.
The first step in Triple-S is to identify all the saturations in our own diet.
It is much easier than you would think as I will show you shortly.
The shortfalls in our diets are as significant as the saturations.
Missing out on essential nutrients puts both our immune system and hormones off kilter causing them to over react and inflame our bodies.
So step 2 in Triple-S is acknowledging all the simple shortfalls in our diets.
It needs a little bit of detective work but also real honesty. Some of us have to confront some hard truths about why we’re missing out.
Sadly, both saturation and shortfalls damage our bodies and cause pain.
But we are NOT stuck with them.
Soothing nutrition can heal the painful effects of long term inflammation in everywhere from our colon to lower back muscles!!
So step 3 in Triple-S is finding simple ways to soothe and repair damage.
OK, now we’re ready to use the Triple-S to write your personal anti-inflammation diet plan.
Your Personal Anti-Inflammation Diet Plan
To write your personal anti-inflammation diet plan you’ll need:
- 3 sheets of paper (scrap is fine)
- Something to write with.
It will take about an hour to create your anti-inflammation diet plan.
So if you are super busy bookmark or save the post so you can whizz through it now and come back later.
But if you’re raring to go write these headings at the top of each sheet:
Then draw a line down the middle of each sheet to create two columns.
Great. Now we are ready to go searching for our saturations. So grab your Saturations sheet …
Some saturations in our diet are all too obvious. They cause pain.
Others less so as they are either:
- Healthy enjoyed in moderation
- Or secretly smuggled into food.
But we’ll start with what I call the Devil’s Duo: they are NOT healthy and are endlessly shoved in our face!
The Devil’s Duo
Sugar and fizzy sodas trigger every single kind of inflammatory pain.
They hurt our guts, joints, muscles and skin and even our food pipe.
We can NOT ease inflammation without avoiding these 2 evils.
If you drink sodas of any sort or eat sugary stuff more than once a week write The Devil’s Duo in the first column on your Saturations sheet.
Then quickly note your personal poisons e.g. colas, candy, cookies.
Our action plan for treating them is simple. Write in the actions column : Skip for 7 weeks. Sugar hurts!!
Now let’s look at pain triggers.
Write Pain Triggers under those personal poisons and jot down any other pain triggers you already know.
It could be tomatoes triggering instant acid reflux or a deep fried take away leaving joints in agony.
Sadly, prosecco is a biggie for me!
Again our action plan is easy, write: Skip for 7 weeks. NOT worth pain!!
Packaged food feels like a fab friend in so many ways. It is quick, cheap and long lasting and kids love it.
And eaten occasionally it is not an inflammatory issue to fret about.
But eaten daily it saturates us with weird stabilisers, fake fats and secret sugars our body can’t process.
So now write Fake Friends below your pain triggers and jot down any of these you eat daily or near daily:
- Breakfast cereal (except plain oats)
- Packaged bread
- Jars of tomato pasta sauce
- Ready meals
- Packaged salads with dressing
- Processed meat e.g. nuggets, sausage, bacon, salami
- Processed potatoes e.g. tots, wedges, shoestrings, fries
- Breaded vegetables.
We are going to set a goal for fake friends which is : Once a week tops.
It is a tough challenge but I will share super simple swaps in a separate post. If it is too hard initially use the half as often, half as much rule; it cuts consumption by 75% easily!!
In addition to these fake friends we also have unexpected enemies.
Saturating our bodies with healthy food can actually make us sick.
We know one orange is good for us so assume 5 in a juice will be better.
But it is NOT true.
The 30g – and some! – of free sugar will outweigh vitamin C benefits.
So we need to spot nutritious food we’ve weaponised with saturation.
Write the heading Unexpected Enemies and jot down any of these that you eat daily or near daily :
- Onions & garlic
- Red meat
- Tinned tomatoes
- Fruit juice & smoothies.
The whole idea of the Triple-S diet plan is to keep eating simple.
So next to 1 to 8 in the list jot down : half as often, half as much. This slashes saturation by 75% without any obsessive elimination rules!!!
And half helpings aren’t hard :
- Dilute tomatoes & milk with stock
- Fine grate cheese
- Drink milk from a small glass
- Measure 50g of pasta not 100
- Enjoy 1 slice of toast not 2
- Pick 2 potatoes not 4
- Make an onion last 2 meals.
But number 9 is a smart way to be stricter still as it is not a building block of daily meals like the others.
So if you put juice or smoothies in your saturations column write : Skip for 7 weeks. Swap for fruit & water.
Turn Off The Tipples
Now for our final set of saturations.
And sadly it is our favourite tipples.
Alcohol in moderation is not inflammatory but most is high in sugars and it puts a load on our liver.
Going dry for 7 weeks makes it easier for our liver to clear out the other inflammatory gunk clogging our gut.
In the saturations column write down your regular tipples and in the action column: Skip For 7 Weeks.
OK so on one single sheet we have a clear summary of the food we’ve saturated ourselves with PLUS a simple action plan for cutting down.
Now we need to look at all the ways we are missing out …
All sorts of shortfalls in our diets can trigger painful inflammation.
Common causes are :
- Strict elimination diets
- Strange side effects of diets
- Different life stages
- PLUS everyday bad habits.
So we will quickly run through these to spot your probable shortages.
Grab sheet 2 headed Shortfalls and use the guide below to jot down likely candidates from your lifestyle in the left hand column.
It can be hard to admit but the diets we invest so much energy in can easily leave us losing out:
- Vegan: Iron, B12, Protein, Zinc, Magnesium, Iodine
- Veggie: Iron, B12, Protein, Zinc
- Keto: Fibre, Vitamin B9, C, K
- Low Fat: Omega 3, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Iron
- Low Acid: Vitamin A, C, Potassium
- Nightshade Free: Vitamin A, Potassium
- Fodmap: Fibre, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B9, K
- Gluten Free: D, B12, B9, Calcium, Iron, Zinc & Magnesium.
Strange Side Effects
Skipping nutrients in elimination diets also has knock on effects:
- Low fat diets inhibit absorption of fat soluble vitamin A, D, E & K
- Keto uses up our store of B7 Biotin to process high levels of fat
- Gluten free diets that prevent deficiencies from celiac disease may cause the same deficiencies in those without celiac disease!!
Life Stage Shortfalls
The level of nutrients we need, absorb and lose varies during our life, so we can easily end up with unexpected shortfalls as we age:
- Adolescence: B9, Zinc, Calcium
- Menstruation: Iron, B9, Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium
- Perimenopause : Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, B12, C
- Menopause : Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, B12
- Old Age : Vitamin B12, D, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron
Everyday Bad Habits
To top it off these simple everyday bad habits make us miss out :
- Skipping Greens : Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Fibre, Vitamin A, B9, C, E, K,
- Not Eating A Rainbow : Vitamin A, Potassium, Phytonutrients, Fibre
- Stuck Inside All Day : Vitamin D, Melatonin
- Fungi Free Diet : Probiotics.
How crazy long is your shortfall list?
It really is NO surprise we struggle with inflammation issues when we miss out on all these basics.
But don’t despair!!
There are super simple ways we can solve these shortfalls without supplements or rabbit warrens!!!
Look at the list below.
Write down any you do NOT do daily in your Action Plan column:
- Daylight : 1 hour outside
- Greens : 2 good helpings with 5 or so different varieties weekly
- Rainbow bright veg : 1 helping of e.g. red cabbage, radish, pumpkin with 4 or 5 variations weekly
- Friendly fungi : a little daily of e.g. yoghurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, soft or blue cheese, miso soup
- Great fats : some with each meal e.g. nuts, seeds, oily fish, eggs, avocados, olive oil, olives, coconut, organic full fat dairy.
That’s easy enough but now we have to talk about 2 huge controversies :
- Red meat &
We are often told they are both inflammatory and saturating ourself with them can make us sick.
But missing out, creates whole new inflammation triggering shortfalls.
Really Good Meat
More and more people – especially women – avoid red meat for health and environmental reasons.
But good red meat can be healthy.
Avoiding all meat for 30 years was a root cause of my inflammation.
So definitely do NOT saturate yourself with intensively farmed, hormone and antibiotic saturated livestock which is itself suffering from hideous inflammation!!
BUT if you are not eating good red meat weekly don’t – as I did – comfort yourself with fibs and fairy stories. You must find swaps rich in:
And they must be real food swaps.
Highly processed and packaged meat-free meals are fake friends just like other processed food.
Write down your specific red meat swaps in your Action Plan.
Carbs and their great pal gluten, have a bad name these days and avoiding them can help many of us with weight loss and diabetes.
But as ever the real problem is saturation from a few processed grains e.g. wheat. Natural grains are densely rich in micronutrients and skipping them causes shortfalls.
So if you skip all grains try eating small helpings of some of these (but keep an eye on blood sugar):
- Gluten Free: Amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, polenta, millet, oats, quinoa, sorghum, teff
- Low Carb: Barley, black rice, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, oats, quinoa, spelt, wild rice
- Low FODMAP: Amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, polenta, millet, oats, quinoa, sorgham.
They sound weird but you’ll find most of them in Walmart or Tesco.
Add a few to your Action Plan.
OK now we have a clear overview of our inflammatory shortfalls PLUS simple steps to stop us missing out.
We are now ready for stage 3 of our anti-inflammation diet plan and this is all about healing …
Many of us have damaged our bodies with an inflammatory diet.
Sugar and soda saturation decimate our digestive tract so much that all sorts of ordinary food become inflammatory pain triggers.
But our bodies are amazing.
With a little extra help from our diet they can repair and replace gut, muscle and joint cells just as they do skin which is cut or grazed.
But this help should NOT – mostly – be via supplements because they:
- Easily become saturations
- Are full of fake friends and
- Cause new inflammatory issues.
Inflammation from supplement saturations are all too common e.g.:
- Vitamin D triggers excess calcium
- Joint remedies trigger acid reflux
- Protein powders inflame kidneys.
Avoiding anything in excess is a good rule and that includes any powder or pill promising more of any nutrient than we could easily eat in food or get from daylight (sunburn free!!)
Also avoid any labels including ingredients you can’t pronounce!!
Fancy health juices like aloe vera for example usually come with inflammatory preservatives.
And plenty of probiotic supplements such as Kombucha are full of sugar!!!
The real answer is to add simple soothers to our diets that:
- Ease inflammation
- Boost cell repair & renewal.
So take the 3rd sheet of your anti-inflammation diet plan and write Inflammation Issues on the left.
Then jot down your key issues e.g. :
Next use the guide below to add soothing boosts to your daily diet. Jot down in the right column a few easy looking wins that appeal.
Then check out the Added Extras which can help sooth all of us.
Just remember keep it simple …
- Green tea
- Sprouted vegetables
- Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts
- Oily fish like herring, kipper, pilchard, sardine, sprat, wild trout or salmon, whitebait, anchovy, mussels. (Farmed salmon and tinned tuna may not help).
- Onions & garlic (if not pain trigger)
- Food rich in B12 e.g. liver, clams, mussels, crab, mackerel, beef. If you do not eat meat you must take a B12 supplement.
- Green tea
- Celery juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- More magnesium rich food
- Food rich in B12.
Burning Stomach Pain
- Bone broth
- Celery juice
- Potato juice (it works!!!)
- Cabbage juice
- Avocado, papaya
- Slippery elm bark powder
- Water melon
- If you don’t have diabetes eat small helpings of plain:
- Jacket potato
- Additive free white bread
- Gentle green vegetables e.g. lettuce, lambs lettuce, spinach
- Very easily digested plain protein e.g. non-farmed white fish, free-range non-corn fed chicken.
Acid Reflux & Heartburn
- Aloe vera (preservative free)
- Licorice tea
- Coconut water
- Melon, mango & papaya
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chamomile tea
- Home grown, wild or organic berries that are pesticide free
- Non-farmed oily fish
- Extra daylight (don’t over do sun)
- Bone broth
- Peppermint tea
- Slippery elm tea
- Licorice tea
The key nutrients for cell renewal are in green vegetables and protein.
We have green veggies covered so our missing jigsaw piece is protein.
This does NOT mean huge doses of protein powder or collagen capsules.
It does mean boosting a range of good quality protein in our diets for 7 weeks whilst our body heals itself.
Good quality proteins include:
- Bone broth
- Oxtail soup
- Free range eggs
- Free range, pasture fed meat
- Non-farmed fish
- Organic yoghurt
- Organic cottage cheese
- Black pudding
- Nuts : peanuts, almonds, pistachio, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts
- Seeds : pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame, chia
- Beans : lentils, borlotti beans, split peas, kidney beans, black beans
Free range eggs and meat and non-farmed fish often costs much more.
But intensively farmed animals also suffer horribly from inflammation and their protein won’t help us.
So mix cheap non-meat proteins &:
- Good value secret superfoods like black pudding & DIY bone broth
- PLUS better meat less often.
Now as the final step in your personal diet plan write Protein Boosters at the bottom of the right column and note down 5 or 6 you could easily add to your weekly diet.
OK, we are so almost there!!
You have a clear overview of your saturations, shortfalls & soothers and are ready to put your diet plan into action.
Put Your Plan Into Practice
The action plan columns on our 3 diet sheets gives us simple steps to cut out pain triggers and add in healing food without chucking out every recipe we know and love.
They help us laser focus on easy changes with the biggest anti-inflammatory impact on our pain.
BUT also gives us a framework for understanding more about which
- Foods trigger pain and which
- Foods help us heal.
Over the next 7 weeks we will keep adding insights to our diet plan.
And I will be sharing simple tips to help you do this including:
- Common Pain Triggers In Our Diet
- Anti-Inflammation Food List with:
- Low acid fruit
- Low FODMAP greens
- Low carb & gluten grains
- Nightshade swaps
- & more …
- Simple Swaps Meal Plan
- Great Green Vegetable Recipes
- Rainbow Food Recipes
- How To Cut Out Processed Food
- How To Reduce Family Sugar
- Toxic Triggers For Inflammation
- Simple Ways To Start Fasting
But I will also share how to use your personal Triple-S Diet Plan to protect yourself from all the crazy – but all too common – obsessional changes that can cause diets to fail.
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