After 5 years of being injury free, I can no longer claim that. For the past, several months I have been battling some minor knee pain. It finally got to the point when I felt compelled to see a doctor and get some x-rays. It turns out I not only have runner’s knee (ironically from my spin class) but also early stages of osteoarthritis (OA) in my right knee.
Of course, my doctor felt compelled to give me his recommendations which shockingly included cortisone shots and/or surgery. None of which I am considering at this point in my life. So I went home and thought about my options, treating myself like I would a client and put a plan together on how I could heal myself, holistically.
I am about 7 weeks out from my appointment with my sports doctor and have to say I am feeling pretty amazing. I have an appointment with him in a few weeks for a follow-up, and I would love to get another set of X-rays with the hopes that my OA will be gone! So I wanted to share what my plan of action was for myself, in hopes it might be helpful to someone else out there struggling with pain or really any type of inflammation in their body.
HOLISTIC ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PLAN
This is a great plan for osteoarthritis, anyone with joint pain, hormone balance, blood sugar balance, liver and kidney support, detoxification, optimal digestion and elimination, heal gut lining and more.
Personally, I was experiencing knee pain, more hormonal acne, low back aches, sleep issues and fatigue.
My plan was to remove foods and anything that was inflammatory, replace those food with an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle and get my stomach lining repaired from any damage and increase my microflora in my gut.
First I removed what was inflaming my body. Which to me meant avoiding, or severely, reducing these foods:
Alcohol –Protein synthesis goes down 30% when we drink, it’s that inflammatory, so if you have to pick one thing on this list to cut out, this would be my number one, and you will recover 30% faster by just doing that!
All processed and refined foods - These are generally devoid of nutrients and can mess with blood sugar balance.
Dairy – Aside from many people being sensitive to the proteins (casein and whey) and/or sugars (lactose) in dairy, it’s usually filled with natural and synthetic hormones and tends to increase estrogen in the body. For most this is undesirable and can cause inflammation, especially if digestion and elimination is not optimal.
Processed and Most sugar – By this I mean removing anything but small amounts of real maple or raw honey, and 2-3 servings of whole fruits.
Peanuts – Like all nuts and legumes, peanuts have lectins and phytic acid which aren’t great for our digestion and restrict absorption of its nutrients. Plus, it grows a fungus on it which produce mycotoxin, an aflatoxin that the liver must breakdown.
Soy – Aside from this belong one of the most heavily GMO’d (genetically modified organisms) out there, which can be inflammatory, it will also increase estrogen in the body and this can congest the liver and imbalance the body.
Inflammatory oils like canola, sunflower, safflower and veggie
Gluten – In addition to, pesticides, like Roundup, out there that are heavily sprayed on grains, gluten is a hard protein for our bodies to break down and can wreak havoc on our immune systems, it can also be mistaken for our thyroid protein, leading to auto-immunity.
Nightshades – This group of vegetables contains alkaloids, a nitrogen-based chemical compound that some see as pro-inflammatory. That group of people is thought to be less than 10% of the population, which is still high enough to be to throw it on this list, just to cover all basis. Plus, those with joint pain or arthritis tend to feel better without these in their diet.
Grains and legumes – Because these contain lectins and phytic acid they aren’t great for our digestion and restrict absorption of its nutrients and cans therefore cause inflammation.
Corn – This has very little nutritional value, plus it contains a protein called prolamins. This protein is hard to breakdown and can contribute to leaky gut or bad bacteria in the gut. It’s also one of the most heavily GMO’s plant out here.
Pork – It’s generally a hard protein to buy right unless you know your farmer. It’s higher in saturated fat than is good for us, often tends to be processed into deli or sausage meat with additives and nitrates, and generally is inflammatory.
Eggs – Eggs are one of the most allergenic foods out there, usually it s an issue with the egg whites as the protein source that we have a hard time with, but can be the yolk too.
Caffeine – 90% of American’s drink caffeine every day! Caffeine causes our adrenal glands to pump out adrenaline and cortisol to give us that energy boost. This means a cascade of imbalanced hormones, cravings later in the day and eventually means we will feel exhausted later.
Second, I ate these foods:
Whole Foods, fresh fruit and veggies (minus anything you see above) – most whole foods are anti-inflammatory by nature, some like the ones you see above may not always be. Some of the most anti-inflammatory foods are blueberries and raspberries, bone broth, apples, leafy greens like arugula, dandelions and spinach, pistachios, cacao, brussel sprouts, olives and olive oil, mushrooms, cauliflower, lemon and herbs like ginger, turmeric and garlic.
Nuts and seeds (soaked and sprouted) - especially ground flax, walnuts and chia seeds
Quality protein – like organic, grass-fed animal or wild caught cold-water fish, like salmon
Quality fat - like avocados, coconut, olives, and oils (avocado, coconut, olive)
I added in these therapeutic doses of supplements:
Turmeric – If you haven’t heard that turmeric is THE anti-inflammatory food out there, then I think you must live under a rock or at least without dial up internet. I have been loading up on my turmeric in multiple forms: in real food form, in the form of an afternoon or bedtime turmeric latte, and supplement form, either in a tincture or capsule. My favorite supplement is Innate Response Turmeric for Joint.
Collagen – This is one fo the most important building blocks in the body, making up about 25-35% of our protein content, and the main component of connective tissues. Collagen production is a multi-step process that requires many enzyme to be activated. Simply taking a collagen powder is not as bioavailable to our bodies as we need type 1 collagen mixed with minerals like silicon and choline for proper collagen synthesis. For this reason, I take Xymogen OSAplex MK-7.
Omega-3s – These are great for healing the body, reduce inflammation in the fat cells, among so much more. I take 1-2 grams EPA/DHA daily. I love Apex Energetics OmegaCo-SE or Xymogen MonoPure 1300 EC
Magnesium – this is natures relaxer, it relaxes your muscles, destress your mind, helps with anxiety and for a deeper sleep. I take about 150-800 mg daily deepening on stress and workout levels that day. I love Xymogen’s RelaxMax before bed and sometimes supplement with a capsule as well of magnesium glycinate (I like Xymogen Optimag 125), use citrate if you want more of a laxative effect.
L-glutamine – this is a great amino acid to help rebuild and heal the gut lining. It also can help to reduce inflammation and sugar cravings. I recommend 2-5 grams daily, on an empty stomach in 1-2 divided doses. I love Innate Response GI Response, it’s powdered (easier to absorb) and tastes great.
I added these lifestyle habits into my life:
Function Movement – right now this is yoga and physical therapy
Non-cortisol increasing exercise – like longer walks and weight lifting or strength training
Healing work – like journaling, meditation, breath work
Creative work – like a drawing or painting class
Lastly, since moving to Colorado 5 years ago I have gained over 20 pounds. It’s even painful for me to write that down and share it with you. If you know me at all or have been a client, you know I am not a fan of scales and regularly weighing yourself. And I clearly practice what I preach. I hadn’t seen for myself a number on the scale in years, until last week when I went to a colleague’s gym and did the InBody scan, which uses electricity to determine muscle mass, lean mass, water mass and more. It’s extremely cool, I highly recommend you get on one (message me and I can hook you up). But that meant I had to see how much I weighed in relation to it all. Needless to say, I know the extra weight is a contributing factor to my knee pain and osteoarthritis.
So, I am not going on a diet, nor do I believe any number on a scale is good or bad. I do know that I feel my best when I am down those 10-20 pounds. And aside from following the plan above for the past 7 weeks, I have been keeping a good eye on the quantity of food that is on my plate. I categorize myself as a foodie and a bit of a healthy overeater on some days. And so far, I can feel a big improvement in the pain and inflammation in my knee.
If you have any questions about the info here, there’s a lot, let’s chat. There’s so much more that I didn’t write here. I may include a sample day diet plan for this as well, if it’s wanted…?