Inflammation! What is it and what can I do about it?

Inflammation seems to be the buzz word of late. So many of us suffer from inflammation in our bodies due to injury, poor diet, or genetic predisposition. As a result, anti-inflammatory diets are popping up everywhere and it’s hard to know where to start. Many of us are really busy, want to eat right, but lack the time to really figure it out. So, we thought we’d share 8 of our favorite anti-inflammatory recipes that can be made ahead and will become your go-to on the road to healthy living and eating.

Here are some simple guidelines:

  • Consume plenty of vegetables and fruits. Generally speaking, this goes along with the anti-inflammatory principle of sticking to foods that are as close to their natural states as possible.
  • Consume whole grains, as opposed to refined carbohydrates like pasta, white bread, and white rice.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fats, like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and fish oil.
  • Season foods with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices like cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, sage, and thyme.
  • Make oily fish your primary protein.
  • Reduce alcohol, processed meat, and dairy to rare occasions.
  • Avoid processed foods and refined sugars.
  • Cut out trans fats completely.

Start with a shopping list. With these ingredients you can create a variety of anti inflammatory meals.

When you head to the grocery store, it is always helpful to purchase with intent. Your selections should include only the outer aisles. Fruits, veggies, fish, and only grass-fed dairy. You are what you eat and what you eat, eats. Keep it simple and fresh. Organic is best. eliminate processed sugars and flour from your diet, and you will be amazed at the reduction of inflammation in your body.

Always have these items on hand and you are prepared to reduce inflammation through your diet:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, or mango
  • Substitute cassava flour and monk fruit if you just can’t give up baking
  • Try almond milk and almond yogurt instead of milk products
  • Organic unprocessed oats
  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli

For a complete list of anti-inflammatory foods, visit Arthritis.org.

What’s for Breakfast?

Overnight Oats

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup organic unprocessed oats
  • 2 TBS chia seed
  • 2 TBS flax ground flax seed
  • 1 cup organic almond yogurt
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 pkg. blueberries
  • 1/2 cup monk fruit
  • 14 cup water
  • 1 cup mixed crushed nuts

Instructions

Mix oats, chia, flax, yogurt, and almond milk in a bowl and pour into 6 ramekins. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.  In a pan over medium heat, heat blueberries, monk fruit, and water. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes to reduce the amount of moisture. Add a layer of fruit mixture over the oatmeal and top with mixed nuts.

Prepare in advance and leave in the refrigerator for the week. You can grab this breakfast on the go, and reduce inflammation.

Breakfast in a Hurry

Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast Shake 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brewed and cooled green tea
  • 2 cups spinach or kale
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • ⅔ cup cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks)
  • ½ cup frozen mango chunks
  • ½ of a medium banana, peeled
  • ½” fresh ginger – peeled and cut from stalk (about ½ tsp)
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 mint leaves – rough chopped
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4-5 ice cubes (or more or less to personal desired consistency)

Instructions 

Combine all the ingredients (except the chia seeds) in a high speed blender. Add chia seeds at the end of the blending process so they don’t stick to the blender container.If you like your smoothie thicker, add ice cubes and blend until desired consistency is met.

What’s for Lunch?

Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro dressing
  • 1/4 cup PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cashews or almonds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together Better’n Peanut Butter, sesame oil, lime juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and salt and pepper.
  3. Once quinoa has come to room temperature, add all the vegetables and nuts. Pour dressing over top and toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Chicken Avocado Lettuce Wraps

Inflammation can be reduced by our food choices, but they need to be tasty or why bother. These wraps are great for dinner, but show up at a party with this appetizer and you’re sure to be invited back.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocado peeled and pitted
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbs minced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-in cubes (about 2 cups)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-10 butter lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mash  1 avocado with sour cream and lime juice. Add in 1 chopped avocado. Stir in cilantro, onion, garlic powder, and chicken cubes until just combined. Season chicken salad with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Just before serving, fill butter lettuce leaves with chicken salad  sprinkle with slivered almonds, serve immediately. Enjoy!

Dinner in a Hurry?

Mediterranean Cod

Seriously one of our favorites! Throw this together in 10 minutes and bake and you have a complete meal in a hurry. This recipe is so easy but looks like you have spent hours. Because of the incredible presentation, you will amaze your guests. Who thought reducing inflammation would taste so good?

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups spinach
  • onion, 1/2 med
  • garlic, 4 cloves
  • 6 small pc. sustainably sourced, wild, fish
  • 1 cup tomatoes or 1/2 cup  sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced or whole basil
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tbs capers
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 small jar artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • olive oil and balsamic

Instructions

In a 9×13 pan, layer ingredients in order with spinach first then fish. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over the top and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, add feta cheese, and drizzle olive oil and balsamic over the top.

Salmon & Asparagus in Parchment

This is a no-mess, easy dinner and the best part is there are no dishes to clean. Because many of us haven’t cooked in parchment, here are easy step-by-step instructions. After using parchment once, you will be a pro, and there are no limits to what you can cook with this method. If your concerned about making your own parchment wraps, the pouches are available pre-made. If you’re trying to reduce inflammation, salmon and asparagus are a great start.

Ingredients

  • 36-40 asparagus spears (ends removed)
  • 4- 6 oz thick salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 fresh dill sprigs (plus more for garnish if desired)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • parchment paper cut into 16 inch squares
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

To create traditional sealed parchment cooking pouches, here is an easy step-by-step:

  • Fold 16 inch squares in 1/2.
  • Cut out a heart shape with the fold at the center of heart.
  • Place onion, asparagus, and garlic on one side of the heart.
  • Add all other ingredients over the top.
  • Close the heart, folding the empty side over the ingredients.
  • Beginning at the top of the heart next to the fold, make a small fold downward.
  • Make another small fold, overlapping and sealing the first one. You are beginning to close the open top of the heart, similarly to how you might seal the crusts of a pie.
  • Keep repeating this folding process, continuing to make folds, each overlapping the previous one. Stop when you get to the bottom point of the heart.
  • What you will end up with at the bottom of the heart is kind of a tail. Fold the little tail underneath, completing the seal. Repeat this process with any additional packets you are making. Now your pouches are ready to bake.
  • Place them on a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven.
  • Once the packets are done, set them on individual plates.
  • Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut open the top of the package being careful not to burn yourself when the steam releases.

Let’s Not Forget About Dessert

Berries with Coconut Cream

Great option for dessert that’s actually healthy? Serve this after dinner and your guest will not only have a guilt-free experience,  but they will also be preventing inflammation at the same time.

Ingredients

  • strawberries
  • half pint of raspberries
  • half pint of blueberries
  • 1 can coconut milk without the fat removed.
  • 1 tbs powdered monk fruit (available at most groceries)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

Slice fruit and place in ramekins.

Place the coconut milk (in the cans) along with the mixing bowl and whisk attachment from a standing mixer in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Puncture the coconut milk cans with the pointed end of a can opener and drain. (Set aside the liquid from the cans. This can be used for smoothies later.)

Whip the coconut fat on high speed for about 15 to 20 seconds, or until just smooth. Add vanilla and continue to whip. If it gets too stiff, you can add some of the remaining liquid from the can.
Use immediately or make ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours, where it will firm up even more.

What About In-Between?

Coconut Date Balls

When you’re on the run and need something quick, it’s better to have a healthy snack than to be famished. Because we don’t think ahead, we are often tempted to  pick up one of those impulse items at the store. Make a better choice and bring Coconut Date Balls with you. Besides the health benefits, these delicious snacks do not need to be refrigerated. As a result of planning ahead, those protein bars at $3.00 per won’t look so appealing any more. Sugar is one of the worst causes of inflammation so eliminate it. This will give you the sugar kick without the pain.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter (we like PB2, which is low in sugar and fat and high in protein)
  • 1/2 cup ground nuts (cashews, walnuts or almonds)
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 2 tbs chia seed
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • organic coconut flakes

Instructions 

Using a food processor, chop dates. As a result, the dates will become a sticky paste consistency which helps to hold the ingredients together. In a bowl, combine dates with all the other ingredients. Form into spoon-size balls and roll in shredded coconut. Store in or out of the refrigerator.

Remember the journey to health is well worth the trip. To feel great through eating clean, healthy foods is an adventure you don’t want to miss.

Whatever you do is a step in the right direction. As a result of doing nothing, the cycle of pain continues. Many people feel overwhelmed at the idea of changing the way they eat.  Don’t be discouraged, it’s amazing what will happen when you start using food as medicine. First of all, your body  is no longer trying to exist without nutrients it needs to heal. In addition to the decrease in inflammatory response, you will slowly realize that you are feeling more energy.

How We Know It Works

My name is Judy Cutler-Teeven and I’m the founder of TheraPouf. My story is a testament to making small changes and seeing a big effect. Because I found myself in pain after many surgeries, I went on a quest to relieve my inflammation. I’ve been eating clean and within anti-inflammatory guidelines for about 6 months. As a result, the pain in my joints, back, knees, and neck have improved by about 80%. I go the extra mile and monitor this with good blood work so I can verify the effects. The blood work speaks for itself! Seek out a health professional that does more extensive testing and supports more natural approaches to health. For that reason, my wellness protocol includes testing from Vibrant America.

When you do experience pain, try Therapouf.

I am on a health journey and, due to age and injury, there are times that I do experience pain. During the times when my joints ache and I experience back or neck pain, I use Therapouf hot/cold therapy cushion to relieve my discomfort. There are so many tools available to help with pain and inflammation.  Because I couldn’t find a hot/cold therapy cushion that I could use in a variety of ways, I designed this product for personal use. Although I am the inventor and would love to share this product with you, healthy eating is such a big part of the total health equation.

Eat healthy anti-inflammatory foods, but, when pain comes, try Therapouf.