3 Major Lessons That Proved the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Would Change My Life

When I decided to embark on an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle, I had just had my youngest kid (as of writing this she is nine years old). And I’d spent a lot of time dealing with the stress of being a mom in general, but also shifting back and forth between operating as a single mom and then flipping back into wife mode because my husband traveled so much for work. 

anti inflammatory diet would change my life

And at the time was just trying to lose the baby weight so that I would fit into my clothes again. But I really and truly needed more energy, I needed my hormones balanced, my blood sugar stable, and then (of course) your mood just ties all in with all of those things (read: I was constantly in Momzilla-mode.)

So what I thought was the right thing to do was to eat low carb or keto because at the time it was all the rage and everybody was having such good results with it. 

I had just barely started my nutrition journey (formal education-wise.) But even in that capacity, there are a ton of differing opinions on how we should eat. 

So I decided to start with trying to lose the baby weight and keep my blood sugar in check, and to do that I would go low-carb and just sort of put that on autopilot in the back of my head because I had so much going on in my life right then, as we all do.

And I knew that it really wasn’t working out in my favor because my hormones were super up and down, my cycles were not regular, (I’d had endometriosis when we were trying to get pregnant the first time) and my energy levels were the same: up and down all day long. I also couldn’t even concentrate for really long amounts of time. I also had allergic symptoms that were getting worse–I’ve always had environmental allergies. 

It was really frustrating because I thought that I had figured out that this diet was the most important thing and that I knew doing low carb or keto would be the best thing for me because of my family’s blood sugar history. I have family members who’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and also with prediabetes, and so I’m very conscientious of it because I also had gestational diabetes with two of my pregnancies, which puts me at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes down the road.

But the thing was, I literally did not have time to do tons of research on what would be the best for me, or spend thousands of dollars on a specialist or even the wellness centers you go into that do all the testing for you and then sell you a bazillion supplements. I didn’t have the time or money to do any of that so I really was just at a loss and just completely frustrated because I did not know what to do.

Lesson learned: feeling lost and frustrated = overwhelmed + ready to give up. 

So the thing that happened that made me just stop and really understand that I had to figure myself out was that I was sitting in the pharmacy drive-through one day picking up a prescription for my daughter, she had strep throat and of course my husband was out of town as it always happens.

And a lot was going on and I was just super stressed out that day and I just happened to kind of put my hand on my leg while we were sitting in the drive-thru and I felt all these bumps all over my legs and I looked down and saw that my legs were covered in welts. 

And I freaked out because I’ve never had a reaction like this before and all I could imagine was that maybe I was going into anaphylactic shock, and my husband was out of town and we had no friends or family members anywhere near that could actually help out.

The wake-up call

So the really big wake-up call was that I called the doctor’s office got in as soon as possible. And they checked everything out and said, “Hey… you don’t really have any discernible symptoms that would give us answers to what’s happening here. You don’t have a history of food allergies and you haven’t changed anything else like shampoo, body wash, or laundry detergent…” 

So the best answer that they could give me is to talk about lifestyle and being stressed and that maybe I had too much on my plate. And that’s when I kind of had to take a step back and thought, “I know that is a good part of it but that’s not the only thing.”

A new plan

So when I decided to really start honing in on what was going on I had three major shifts that make me really understand that did putting in the effort and time into an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle–first and foremost–would be the thing that would help me out the most.

Major breakthrough #1:

So the first thing is that I noticed that when my blood sugar was on that roller coaster situation with the super highs and then the crashes, I could always tell immediately because of my energy levels and mood. And what I put together is that when those things would happen the inflammation always felt worse.

So I would have brain fog, my joints would ache, all the classic symptomatic chronic inflammation symptoms that happened that are your body trying to tell you something… If you would just stop and listen. 

And those were the things that were happening and really just took me taking that step back just to kind of start noticing those things and putting them together with that pattern of my blood sugar levels.

Lesson 1: Blood sugar is a big deal even if you aren’t diabetic

Major breakthrough #2:

So the second thing is that I started seeing patterns in specific foods that I ate.

I already have asthma and I have always had environmental allergies, but when I would eat certain foods I would get a bit of a runny nose, throat congestion, brain fog, and then just this severe drop in energy. 

And again–I’ve never had food allergies, but I did notice that I was having these specific reactions to certain foods.

Lesson 2: Even without food allergies food intolerance is real

Major breakthrough #3:

And in the third shift was really taking a step back and understanding that lifestyle factors were making things exponentially worse.

My husband traveled, at the time, for work non-stop so I’d stay up really late either trying to catch up on work or binge watching Netflix, and I wasn’t getting enough sleep. So that was making me even more stress to the gills that I already was everyday. 

And kind of in these weekly patterns I was shifting back and forth between single mom mode doing you know all the things, and then back into being a wife and having the normal struggles with communication and expectations and everything else in marriage. Not to mention trying to run a business and taking care of the kids and the house and everything that goes with that.

I filled my day so full that I rationalized to myself that I had no time to even think about stress management, practices, or working out, or getting in any type of daily movement. 

And what I realized is that every single lifestyle choice was adding up and then either working for me or against me…and at this point in time they were all working against me.

Lesson 3: Lifestyle factors stack up to either work for you or against you

I thought I knew what was best for me and doing low carb or the keto just kind of whenever it suited me, but the truth was that I never stuck to one way of eating and then just totally disregarded all of the other factors that were playing into me feeling like garbage everyday.

Putting the new plan into action

New plan step 1

So the first thing that I did was take a step back and look at exactly what I was eating everyday. I thought that I was doing good on low-carb but I had to get brutally honest with myself. When I did that, I noticed I was eating mostly meat and cheese and very little vegetables all day long.

This is a huge mistake when you have inflammation in the body because you need those vegetables for fiber and healthy complex carbs and then the phytochemicals.

New plan step 2

The next thing I did was make one change at a time.

So obviously my whole lifestyle situation had to get better but it really had to start with my diet. So I started out just finding, like, 4 really good recipes for breakfast… and I would bulk prep them and rotate them.

So I can usually do the same breakfast every day for a week, maybe two weeks, before I start to get bored. 

There are a lot of people like that there are some people who could eat the same breakfast every day for the rest of their life. And that would be fine. I’m not one of those people. 

But this is where I made compromises with myself so that it would what I needed but it wasn’t too overwhelming. So I had 4 recipes and I figured out how to get really good at prepping them really fast. 

And they were all really good and they all were extremely healthy. And following the anti-inflammatory guidelines was the simplest place to start. 

The next thing that I did was start improving my lunches. And to me this was like the next logical thing to do… so I knew that I would save mega time if I would just have leftovers from the night before. 

So what I decided to actually do is shift my attention over into dinners instead of worrying about lunches. I know that we all have so many of these recipes on Pinterest and everywhere else and I even have some on the website of these really cute mason jar salads and nourishing bowls and things like that. And those are absolutely great!

But if you’re shifting over into a new dietary style…to make that transition for the types of foods you can eat, and how to cook it, and how you have to prep it, how you have to store it, there’s a lot of things that go into this and you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

So what I started thinking about was just making it as simple as possible so that even if I thought all of these salads and nourishing bowls were really cute and looked yummy…it made things a lot more stressful for me when instead I could just simply make more dinner the night before and then have that for leftovers the next day for lunch.

New plan step 3

So I also made one change at a time in those lifestyle factors and confirmed later with a lot of research that all of these things actually can work together for you or against you

I was seeing it myself, but people say that it’s anecdotal; It could be true… it could not be true, but once I started seeing these things myself and the pieces started falling together I thought, “ There has to be research backing this up.” 

So I really dove into that research, and this is the basis of what comprises the CORE 4 at TRUEWELL and in the CHEAT codes method: the lifestyle factors and diet all working together.

Takeaways

Takeaway #1: 

Take a step back and get real with yourself about your current diet and lifestyle.

Takeaway #2:

Change 1 daily meal at a time to prevent overwhelm.

Takeaway #3:

Make lifestyle changes one at a time to prevent overwhelm.

By far the best thing that I started with was getting in tune with myself in an anti-inflammatory diet 

What changed my life?

A personalized anti-inflammatory diet integrated with anti-inflammatory lifestyle choices.

Smart, efficient, gradual ways to make putting together those true anti-inflammatory components for myself is the thing that actually helped me put all these pieces together into a unique blueprint for how to eat and live that brought me back into balance.

And this is why TRUEWELL is devoted to helping others just like you get real information about what an anti-inflammatory diet is, and then refine exactly what foods you should cut out to help pull your inflammation down. 

Now, I don’t believe in cutting things out for no reason because that makes your life just that much more difficult anytime you eat a meal.

And that’s what the CHEAT codes method is all about. This is what I use with my clients we walk through these steps to create a personalized anti-inflammatory blueprint and then use the system to make this dietary style and lifestyle as effortless as possible…so that it doesn’t take over your life. 

And the first place to start is your food.

I can’t wait for an AI Diet to make you feel just as amazing as I do now so you can take on the world.

If you’re ready to get real with yourself and make that change as well, grab the free Anti-Inflammatory Quick-Start Guide. 👇

anti inflammatory diet for beginners

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Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Laura is a Nutrition Specialist and Certified Health Coach with a Master of Science in Nutrition. Her goal is to help women reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar, and regain natural energy with an Anti-Inflammatory Diet + Lifestyle.

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