By Lyne Desforges, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Culinary Expert
Time to Reduce Inflammation!
For the past ten springs & summer seasons, I have had a bad case of rashes all over my body. According to dermatologists, this is “contact dermatitis“, a condition where the skin is in contact with an allergen and an irritation occurs. Even though this made sense somewhat, I was still dumbfounded when the rashes would appear in odd places on my body and at odd times of the year (in March?). So what the heck was going on? Not only that, but my whole body started to ache more. I just felt like I was in a constant state of inflammation. This is when our clinic’s naturopath, Dr. Sofie, suggested I do a food intolerance test, and that I reduce histamine-rich foods in my diet. With her support and guidance, I began to reduce inflammation through food elimination, a low-histamine diet, and helpful supplements. Here are the 5 key steps that helped me get back up the slope of health.
Step 1 – Reduce/Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
My basic food philosophy has always been: “Eat Real Food, Know Where It’s Coming From, Prepare It With Care”.
Avoiding the typical inflammatory foods has been an important part of my health journey. We all know what those are: processed foods, junk foods, trans fats, refined sugars and carbs, food additives and preservatives. I have also reduced or eliminated gluten and dairy. That was already a good start, but I still found that my body was inflamed and that’s when I discovered that not all healthy foods are healthy for me!
Step 2 – Do a Food Intolerance Test
Everyone is biologically different and one particular food could be very beneficial to one person but harmful to another. By doing a Food Intolerance Test, you get an overall picture of what foods to avoid and what foods are safe. With that list in mind, you eliminate the harmful foods for a minimum of three weeks. Then you start reintroducing them one a time every 3-4 days and notice any effects on your body. With the support of our clinic’s naturopath, Dr. Sofie, I took a blood test to determine my inflammatory foods. I was astounded to find out that healthy foods like mushrooms, flaxseeds, egg whites, and peas could be increasing inflammation in my body. Food intolerances are very different from food allergies because they don’t always cause immediate reactions or symptoms in the body. You can read more about it in Dr. Sofie’s blog on seasonal allergies.
Step 3 – Reduce Histamine-Rich Foods
Histamine is a brain chemical (a neurotransmitter) that is released in the body, as part of the inflammatory response. When we come in contact with an allergen, histamine is like the first responder of the immune system, working at getting rid of the foreign invader (virus, bacteria, allergen, etc.).
The problem occurs when there is too much histamine circulating in the body and the body cannot break it down quickly enough. That’s when typical allergy symptoms start to appear: red or itchy eyes, hives, rashes, swelling, nasal congestion, headaches, fatigue, irritability, digestive issues, nausea, vomiting, etc.
What I didn’t realize was that many of the healthy foods I was eating were rich in histamine, thus adding to the overall histamine load in my body: i.e. fermented foods, avocados, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, lemons, etc. For a complete list of foods to avoid, check out my latest blog “Histamine in Foods: How It Could Aggravate Your Allergy Symptoms”. Following a low-histamine diet has helped immensely in reducing and even eliminating my rashes.
Step 4 – Eliminate Toxins
Give your liver some love by reducing its toxic load. Avoiding all external and internal sources of toxins has been my goal for the past two years. I have replaced most of my plastic containers with glass or steel. Using a refillery like Park Market & Refillery has been a great help. I try to buy organic as much as possible and have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share with Plan B Organics. And I have cleaned up my cleaning. My household cleaning products and personal care products are mostly natural and toxic free. I adopted a daily meditation and gratitude practice to reduce my mental and spiritual toxicity as well. All these have helped reduce inflammation in my body.
Step 5 – Supplement with Helpful Nutrients
With the help of our clinic’s naturopath Dr. Sofie, I started to integrate more healing nutrients to support my journey to reduce my overall inflammatory state. Adding quercetin, vitamin C, and nettle tea have helped during allergy season to reduce the intensity and frequency of my rashes. Taking collagen and curcumin have helped with my overall aches and pain. Lastly, working on my digestion and gut healing with digestives enzymes and glutamine, has ensured that my body absorbs all the healthy nutrients from the foods I am eating.
Remember to always consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting to take any supplements.
Health is a Journey
The path to health evolves and shifts constantly. You are either moving up or down the slope of health and the more you can do to help reduce inflammation in the body, the better. Reducing inflammation in the body takes commitment. Like everyone, I have good days and I have bad days. My diet is not perfect but at least I am more aware of the effects of certain foods on my body, my energy levels, my mood, and my overall vitality. I am happy to report that I have not had any rashes this year, and I feel a reduction in aches and pain in my body. It’s hard to do it all on your own. With the help of a naturopath or a nutritionist, you too can reduce inflammation in your body and start feeling more like your true vibrant self so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
Feel free to contact us at the C’est La Vie Wellness if you need help and guidance in achieving your health and wellness goals. If you would like to do a Food Intolerance Test or purchase any of the supplements suggested, please contact our naturopath, Dr. Sofie.