The Black Girl's Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

When I tell people that I have Hashimoto's / hypothyroidism, one of the first questions I'm often asked is, "what do you eat?"


And though I know that I follow an anti-inflammatory mindset when it comes to food, putting this concept into words isn't always so easy.

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Why should women with Hashimoto's, hypothyroidism (and other autoimmune conditions) care about inflammatory foods?


Living with autoimmunity means having an immune system that doesn't really work as it should.


I like to think of my immune system as an extremely overactive octopus (don't laugh), mistaking everything in it's reach as an enemy.


Including my poor glands.


But for everyone living with autoimmunity, this malfunction can lead to persistent inflammation in the body which can express itself in various ways depending on who you ask.


Chronic inflammation* occurs with various health conditions and there is evidence that dietary choices can help manage the symptoms.


*Chronic inflammation: Your body continues sending inflammatory cells even when there is no outside danger. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis inflammatory cells and substances attack joint tissues leading to an inflammation that comes and goes and can cause severe damage to joints with pain and deformities.


So yeah, we want to minimize inflammation in these autoimmune streets, sis!


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What is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?


The anti-inflammatory diet is not a specific regimen but rather a style of eating.


I like to define it as:

the practice of avoiding eating the foods that can sometimes trigger symptoms in the bodies where autoimmunity is present. - Nicole Orisich

While there is a huge emphasis on eating foods with high nutritional value, the beauty of this way of eating is that you get to choose the foods that work best for you because as nutritious as liver is (I love liver, don't food shame me yall!) you really don't have to eat it if you don't want to.


The other side of the anti-inflammatory dietary coin is the emphasis that's placed on avoiding the consumption of inflammatory foods.


Except - not all foods that are, "known to be inflammatory" will trigger someone's symptoms (because food is bio-individual.)


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Take my situation for example..


Dairy is one of the food categories that's included on the foods to avoid list because of the inflammatory potential that lactose and casein have.


But if I were to have a piece of cheese, I would not experience a reaction.


Now let's look at legumes. Beans and legumes are technically considered foods that are known to combat inflammation because they're loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber and protein.


So when we look at food, we must remember that what works for her may not work for us.


Food is bio-individual....


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Here's a list of some of the foods that are known to have inflammatory properties.


Gluten: Wheat, rye, barley, bulgar and foods derived from these ingredients.


Dairy: Butter, dairy-protein isolates, ice cream, whey, whey-protein isolate, yogurt, etc


Processed vegetable oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, ets


Processed food chemicals: natural flavors, artificial food color, nitrates, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and any other ingredient with a chemical name that you don’t recognize


Added sugars: high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, dextrin, dextrose, glucose cane crystals, corn syrup, syrup, etc


Seeds, nuts and oils have potential to trigger symptoms if you have food allergies/intolerance.


Now for the fun part! Here's a list of foods that you should include in your culinary wellness regime. Remember, fresh, simple ingredients are best.


Fish: Catfish, cod, eel, salmon, mahi-mahi, sardine, snapper, tilapia, trout, bass


Shellfish: Clams, shrimp, scallops, lobster, mussels, octopus, crawfish, lobster


Leafy Vegetables: Arugula, broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, sorrel, spinach, watercress


Non-Starchy Vegetables: Asparagus, cauliflower, artichoke, etc


Fruits, berries, poultry, meat, tropical fruits and healthy fat are all included on the list!


The lists that I've provided here are meant to give you a good starting point as you embark on your anti-inflammatory journey.


I am always open to answering questions, just click here so that you can ask me anything!

Watch: 3 Different Ways that You Can Start the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

 

My name is Nicole Orisich

I am an empty-nest Mom, a Wife and a Black woman thriving with Hashimoto's/hypothyroidism. I help Black women living with autoimmunity reclaim your energy so you can feel like yourself again.


Keep it Cute 4L, Sis.


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