Thursday, February 18, 2016

Anti-Inflammatory Meal Ideas

I'm normally not one to take medication (or so I often tell myself, not a little self-righteously). I like to think that my body can generally sort things out on it's own, and the meddling that I may do with medication could have unintended consequences. That type of mentality is definitely a privilege of the healthy. After being bed-ridden for weeks my doctor said I need to get serious about taking ibuprofen. I noticed these empty bottles on the windowsill and I think they're a great visual for how things have been going for me health wise. Initial expectations of getting better quickly, then longer, then longer. The last few days I've had new inflammation pop up in my legs and it's been time to get serious about doing something about getting this body under control. I've met with a new dr, have new appts and tests scheduled, more money to burn, and I want to get serious about food.

There's no anti-inflammatory diet that fits every person across the board. It's about figuring out what your body handles easily, and what it has a hard time dealing with. I'll be going to a chiropractor who specializes in helping with auto-immune diseases to have more help in narrowing down my diet to prevent triggers. But I figured I'd start with what food ideas other people have found to be helpful, and with what I've learned about what my body feels good with from the past 29 years of eating. 

Basics for now:
No: Sugar, Gluten, Nightshades, Dairy, Eggs, Blueberries, Sprouts, and Alcohol (which is a nice one to add to the list for me because it's easy to avoid, it feels like an easy extra credit point)
Yes: Vegetables (other than nightshades), Fruits, Lean meats, Beans, Nuts, Water and anything else that is not on the list and I deem healthy. 

It's been 4 days and I've been really loving the food and feeling hopeful about taking some extra strain off my body. I'm a visual person so it helps to have a record that it is actually possible to eat without those foods. At the risk of fulfilling a stereotype, here are pictures that I took of my dinners from the past few days:

Snack Plate: I bought a bunch of different kinds of vegetables, washed, cut, and put them into bags so they'd be ready to go. This night Russell was out with the kids to get pizza, and I was home with the above. Surprisingly, it tasted great, and I was only momentarily sorry for myself for not getting pizza. Other than the obvious there's hummus in the middle and gluten/sugar free bean chips at the top.

Meat, Bean, Vegetable Salad: This is something that I didn't expect to work - but it totally did! It was delicious and we all loved it! It's a salad topped with matchstick carrots, white beans, and... wait for it... canned pork. I balked and almost turned back when I opened the can. I seasoned the whole salad with some garlic powder, kosher salt and pepper, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar and it was seriously great! A fast and easy winner! Less than 10 minutes to make even if you have to rummage through your storage room for beans.

Filipino Sir Fry: This is from my aunt Cori. Soak a bag of rice sticks in two cans of chicken broth. Saute whatever vegetables you'd like -  I did onions, celery, carrots, cabbage, ginger, cauliflower and broccoli. Then add the softened rice sticks and broth to the pan. Salt and Pepper, and then reduce! So simple and so delicious. The kids kept saying that this was their favorite dinner ever. And it makes great leftovers.

Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak with Asparagus atop a Bean Vegetable... Mash: Tonight's dinner was unexpectedly awesome too! I keep thinking that these concoctions we come up with are going to flop. But they've all turned out absolutely amazing! Marinate the flank steak with balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in the fridge over night. Grill or broil the next morning for 7 or so minutes on each side. Let rest for 10 minutes before you slice across the grain. For the mash you dice onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft. Add a whole chopped head of cauliflower, and a can of rinsed and drained white beans, salt and pepper. Just cover with water (or broth) and simmer until soft. Then drain (reserving liquid to add back in if necessary), puree and you're all set. 

We'll see if these eating changes make any difference. I can't help but feel like they'll do good - even if they don't lessen my symptoms. I'll keep occasionally posting pictures of more ideas because I can't resist taking pictures of my food. It's the last thing I have that defines me as a woman in my 20's - and I'm holding onto it.

1 comment:

Lauren Terry said...

Such beautiful pictures of the food! Excited to try some of the recipes.