What do you think of when thinking of ways to lower inflammation? Getting a massage? Eating less processed foods? Taking supplements? What about working out? Does working out help? The answer is yes. Many types of work outs are proven to lower the bodies overall stress response and in turn can lower inflammation levels. However not all workouts are created equal.
When we think workouts that can help us lower inflammation we want to think more moderate exercise. Like a long walk, or something to get you moving for 20- 30 minutes.
In fact one studyshowed that just 20 minutes a day of exercise can prove to be beneficial in lowering inflammation in the body (again this is moderate exercise not super high intense stuff). The reason being is it promotes our sympathetic nervous system, doing so can help fight off the overwhelming amount of TNF cells our body has. These guys aren’t necessarily bad, they help with our natural immune response when we are sick or get cut, etc. However due to chronic inflammation and us being exposed to so much they can be in overdrive and causing harm to us.
Why wouldn’t you want to do something more challenging??
The answer is because if you are already inflamed, if you already have too much stress in your life and in your body whether it is physical or mental, the last thing you want to do is add more stress to that. Intense workouts like crossfit, HIIT classes, really long runs, are just a few that can do more harm than good for some people. This is NOT to say no one should ever do them, but if you are working to lose weight and have not been able to for a while regardless of the work you are putting in, if you are stressed, not sleeping, etc, then you need to take a step back for a few and then you can rebuild yourself to be able to enjoy those more intense workouts again if that is your thing. You don’t want to add more stress to an already stressed out body!
So what types of workouts are recommended??
Walking – outside if you can – taking a decent pace can not only help those who are getting into working out moving but also those who work out hard can use a long walk as a reset to their taxed muscles. Walking promotes the lymphatic system to move and drain to help get rid of toxins and inflammation as well as blood circulation, and heart rate goes up!
Body weight or lighter resistance workouts – once you have a foundation built doing lighter weights or moderate resistance workouts can be great for helping the joints get more mobility and the muscles to get active and working properly. Always start slow and progress your way up. This is why I always start clients with a foundation building phase. It is something I learned over the years from some of the great people I work with at CYB Atlanta but it really does help in the long run to ensure you are moving and doing right for your body.
Yoga and/or mediation with deep breathing – deep breathing is my go to for everyone. Be it fitness professionals, every generation, pre and post natal women, I could go on. It promotes relaxation in the body by really turning on the right responses, It therefore decreases stress all over – hence inflammation decreases. Yoga incorporates this so you can do two things at once. If you are not into yoga then just simply practicing deep breathing 5-10 minutes a day can make a big difference, add in mediation if you can to get even more bang for you buck. See more on that here
Foam rolling and stretching may not be a “workout” for most but it should definitely be part of your workout program. Your muscles need to be loved and worked on. Foam rolling is great way to do just that and to not have to spend tons of money on massages every week.
Not sure what this is? I got you-
Overall working out is a benefit to us. No matter what our fitness level or goals. Moving a little bit each day can really go a long way. Putting ourselves as a priority and taking care of ourselves through working out, rest, and movement will pay off for not only ourselves but others around us too.
You can get a four week workout program and save $10 with code CHANGEUP by going here. – WORKOUT PROGRAM
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Oh the Grocery Store- there are SO many options. It can be overwhelming. I mean which brands are the best, which things do we really need, and why does it take so much time when you are trying to make smart choices??
Well this article is going to break it down a little bit for you. We are going to discover the best route to take when grocery shopping, which items to look for and which to avoid and why, and how to quickly understand nutrition labels.
First things first, not all grocery stores are created equal. However most are set up in a similar fashion. It is literally all for a purpose, if you do not believe me just look it up for yourself. Merchandising is a business and companies pay for where they are placed. Here is what I mean:
Grocery stores typically have the meat and produce and dairy going around the perimeter and the packaged stuff in the middle. However staples like meat, and dairy tend to be in the back…. why is that? Because it gives the consumer more exposure to other items first (i.e. when we go to the store for some chicken breasts but end up with a cart full of other stuff too).
Produce– typically near flowers to seem fresher. It typically is fresh however, go for produce in the back of shelf or display because the older stuff typically gets put in front to get purchased quicker.
Baking goods, ingredients, and canned goods are typically in the aisles to again give consumers exposure to more stuff they do not necessarily need.
Another tid bit of info you may not realize is the shelves are also set up a certain way. Eye level is typically by the big brands that can shell out the money to be seen more. Smaller more local brands will typically be at the top, and kid appealing foods at the bottom.
Knowing this though, what is the best route to take when grocery shopping?
First off come in prepared- have a list- get actual recipes one day a week that you plant to cook prior and get only what you need, stay focused.
Try to go on the outside aisles only, you will be less tempted this way (just try to avoid the bakery lol)
Grab things toward the back of produce and meat etc, they tend to be fresher and newer.
Eat before going to the store.You know they have all those free samples for a reason right? If they get you to eat something…. and you like it…. more money for them because it is going in your cart.
If you are really dreading the idea of grocery shopping then use a service like instacart to get them delivered, if you always end up spending $10-$20 more just by buying things you see when you are there, then it is worth the delivery
What should you avoid/go for?
Go for Organic when possible
If anything else avoid the dirty dozen (the worst fruits and veggies to buy due to typical contamination levels from pesticides, antibiotics, etc.
These guys consist of – Strawberries, Spinach, Apples, Pears, Nectarines, Cherries, Grapes, Celery, Tomatoes, Potatoes (if eating skin), Sweet Bell Peppers, Peaches
Avoid overly processed foods (have a ton of ingredients you cannot pronounce, more on this in the next section)
Hit the parameter of the store
What about those nutrition labels- if you have to buy something packaged then how do you know whether it is good for you??
Here are my main tips:
Opt for things labeled organic or Non GMO to start then look at the actual ingredient list…. NOT THE CALORIES
What is in the actual ingredients?
If there are more than 5-7 ingredients and you cannot pronounce some of them, then put that back and opt for another brand.
You typically will see sugar then added sugar. You want the sugar content overall to be low, but chances are if there are added sugars it is going to be even higher. **The daily recommendation for women the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25grams a day for women**** (some granola bars and yogurts contain that)
Look at the Macros (protein/fat/carbs)
Ideally you want a balanced ratio of all of this stuff.
This may go for more before you are consuming the product if you buy it but pay attention here. You may think you are getting 1 serving in a can for example and eat or drink it all….. but in reality there are 4 so you just consumed FOUR of everything listed on that label.
Try these tips out and see if you can’t master the grocery store like a boss. I got a FREE grocery list for ya too to be prepared with the best foods to keep inflammation down and feel better :).
You may know or you may not, I feel like a hypocrite alot. That is not an easy thing to say but I am saying that first and foremost….
Why do I feel this way? For starters because I work with people all day to get healthy to make better choices in relation to fitness and health and their overall wellbeing. Yet I am ALWAYS sick! (or so it seems).
I try to lead by example, I eat healthy, I do research, I try to get enough sleep, I try to listen to my body, I try to take all the right supplements….. yet here I am. Living with off and on RA flares, stomach issues that come and go, thyroid conditions, anxiety, and other hormonal stuff.
I was diagnosed with RA when I was in college and since that day I feel like my health has been an up and down roller coaster. My immune system doesn’t like a lot of stuff, my joints are ok then they are not which makes it hard to workout. After years of harsh meds to treat it and make my immune system calm down I think it has wrecked havoc on other things (like my gut and hormones and adrenals- which btw can all be affected by the gut being off).
I have done tests, I even had a gosh awful colonoscopy and was told I was, “ok”.
The more I learn about functional medicine and natural medicine and finding the underlying root cause verses just “covering up the symptoms” the more it intrigues me. The more I learn about the gut and how conventional medicines like antibiotics, steroids, birth control, and immuno suppressants affect it the more intrigued I am.
So here I am, taking that step and getting functional testing done. Working with a functional doctor here in Atlanta to look at it ALL. To see if my gut is really affected and part of the cause of my RA, my hormones, my anxiety, etc. It is fascinating to me and I am excited to find out. Not only because once we do we can start a treatment affecting the root causes of this stuff instead of what I have been doing for years.
Does this mean I am going to cold turkey stop all my other treatments? Absolutely not, I will work with all my doctors to figure out the best plan of action for me. Hopefully slowly weaning off all of this junk.
I want to take you guys on this journey. I want to share that I am human just like you and if you have anything similar going on I hope you can learn from it.
So stay tuned and be sure to sign up to follow along if you haven’t already with my youtube channel and email list to get latest updates on it all.