Dr. Bland highlights the idea of inflammatory- or allergy- inducing foods in his book, which really hit home for me due to my recent diagnosis with an intolerance to casein (dairy), and my son's diagnosis with Celiac's Disease (gluten). I also found it interesting that the inflammation that these foods create in our bodies are often the culprits and instigators of many of the autoimmune diseases we see and are having diagnosed within ourselves and loved-ones daily. Dr. Bland breaks it down to a cellular level and explain exactly where the problems start based on a combination of what genes we are dealt AND what our environment adds into the mix.
Throughout the book, Bland breaks down our bodies' functions into seven different processes. He spends a chapter on each process, including a thorough questionnaire that allows for you to check yourself for imbalances and patterns in your own health, and see if you can't make some changes and tweaks to get ahead of any problems. His book is NOT intended to replace general or functional medical care, but to provide you with knowledge so that you can be an advocate for your own health and really understand what is happening in your body.
For example, chapter 4 dealt with Assimilation and Elimination; basically how foods enter and leave your body and what that process looks like for you. You take the questionnaire and then read up on what some of the questions could mean in relation to your health. Later on in the book, he offers solutions to support problems or issues with assimilation and/or elimination and helps his readers understand what better info to bring to a discussion with their medical provider. Reading through his ideas really helped drive my conversations with my doctor when we had our follow up meeting and I feel a greater understanding of the functions and processes my body is undergoing each and every day.
Towards the end of the book, I felt grateful for a very simple breakdown of diet and exercise, that I believed would help anyone that is on the path to wellness. He created a list of "shoulds" and "should nots" both in regards to diet and exercise. I wanted to share them with you today. A while back, I blogged about how to take 3 SIMPLE STEPS towards greater health and wellness for your family. I think this is great confirmation that we are headed in the right direction in the Smith household:
One of my favorite resources for finding out more about anti-inflammation diets/foods is Dr. Andrew Weil. He has created an amazing Food Pyramid that breaks down an average week of foods that create a healthy balance without increasing inflammation. You may need to tweak some: for example Dr. Weil allows for small amounts of dairy and grains (including whole wheat) which doesn't fit into our family plan, but he is one of my favorite experts to learn from. Notice how small some of the servings are that we eat daily. He recommends 1-2 servings of dairy or cheeses per WEEK. I was eating about 3 servings per day when I found out that I was intolerant.
Are you an exercise abuser? Do you beat yourself into a pulp every day trying to lose weight? 20 minutes a day is the minimum he recommends. I, personally, like 30 minutes at least each day. A nice, brisk walk where your heart rate is elevated should do the trick for someone who is just getting into fitness, or even bike riding could be perfect. Most of my workout options fit into that category, and ALL of them are a decent fit for my ability level and fitness needs. Once you have established the routine and conditioning level, it would be great to add in some strength work too. As we get older, we NEED to be strong. Yoga practices, pilates workouts, and other low impact strength moves can be very powerful as well.
I am excited an empowered by the knowledge I gained after reading through this book. By no means am I suggesting that each of you run out and grab it off the shelf. I don't pretend that it is a page turner or competes with the Hunger Games trilogy. But, for me, in the place I am in my life and with my family, I can't think of a better way to use my time than to educate and move myself forward both in my health and happiness. I spend each day working on my body, spirit, mind and family and growing in each of those areas.
Give us a holler if you need some direction or support in this transition period. That is exactly what we specialize in during our 30 day challenges. Taking time in a supported and safe space where you can get the info you need to find success with both motivation and accountability.