That Touchy Subject…

Food has always been a very, VERY, important topic back at home. “What’s for ___” was a ubiquitous question. Particular family members were extremely picky eaters, and seemed to favor high saturated fat, high trans fat, and highly sugared foods, which led to health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, and high visceral fat, which in collection is called Metabolic Syndrome. Although this family member “knew” poor food choices were harming his body, he figured his 12+ pills, and shots of insulin, would reverse the effects of the unhealthy foods. Any attempt to suggest eating healthier would end with returned sarcasm and an awkwardly quiet and tense dinner table.

As part as a holistic occupational therapist, it is part of my job to educate clients on  nutrition and the damaging effects of poor food choices on our physical and mental selves.

Oh, and FYI, I am not supportive of diets. Growing up, I struggled with my weight and body image which led me to live a life of restrictive diets, binges, and eating disorders. But now that I’ve begun working at TherapySolutions, and can make my own food choices since I am only cooking for myself, my approach to food has changed. Rather than worrying about choosing only low calorie, low-fat foods–which ended up being high in sugar–I now focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods, even the ones high in fat…the good ones though! Think monosaturated or polysaturated fats.

It’s still uncomfortable to talk about food with clients, in fear that I’ll hit a vulnerable spot, or they’ll perceive me as judging them. But it would be a disservice to them, and failure on my part as an occupational therapist, if I didn’t educate clients on the role of food on our bodies, and the consequences of eating inflammatory foods.

In my last post, I discussed an article that came out by the NY times on the causes of arthritis. It was suggested that arthritis is more than a “wear and tear” condition. Rather, it’s a combination of “wear and tear” as well as exposure to chronic, low-grade inflammation from food sources such as sugar, trans fat, saturated fat, alcohol, and processed foods. In follow up, I want to discuss about what you can and should be eating to avoid conditions like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and chronic swelling…the ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS.

I am a strong supporter of Dr.  Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Here he lists anti-inflammatory foods, as well as their nutrition description. You can check out his website at http://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid/

anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid

Rather than talk about each anti-inflammatory food listed, I just want you to take away the message that food does contribute to swelling, inflammation, pain, “foggy brain”, and the like! I’ve personally experienced it myself, but see it in the clinic all the time!

Dr. Weil’s site also has a list of recipes which look pretty quick and simple to make. I’ll be making this Bento Box Soup this week since the fall weather has been settling in! http://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/recipes/bento-box-soup/

Comment if you were able to try any of his recipes, or have ones to share yourselves. Eat well my friends!

Claire

 

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