Polymyalgia & an anti-inflammatory diet

We have just spent the weekend with a family friend who is suffering from POlymyalgia. having known him my whole life, it was awful to see someone in such pain -he put up a valiant effort with guests there, but his pain was evident.

As a Health Coach, I do not have the answer to everything but I am always interested to learn more so I started researching possible natural assistance to help treat the polymyalgia.

First of all, what is it?
common inflammatory disorder that causes pain, usually in your shoulders and upper body. Inflammation is your body’s natural response when it’s trying to protect you from harmful germs. Inflammation works by drawing extra blood and white blood cells to whatever part of your body it’s trying to defend. This increase of fluid can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain (reference: http://www.healthline.com/health/polymyalgia-rheumatica-diet#overview1).

As it is an inflammatory disease, assistance with a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods can assist. As we are all bio-individuals, we react differently to certain foods so try to keep a food diary & see whether certain foods have a positive, negative or neutral effect.

My top 10 anti-inflammatory foods:

  1. Salmon
  2. Sardines
  3. Walnuts & almonds
  4. Flaxseed & flaxseed oil
  5. Olive oil
  6. Oranges
  7. Green leafy veg including collards, kale & spinach (whatever state our health is in, there is no diet/lifestyle that doesn’t benefit from more leafy greens)
  8. Turmeric – one of my favourite things to add to dishes, delicious in a curry, or through eggs (either powdered or finely grated fresh)
  9. Berries – raspberries, blueberries, cherries
  10. Herbs & spices including cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, sage & thyme

I also highly recommend easing up on inflammatory foods including sugary products (juice, biscuits & soft drinks), cooking oils (that you would deep-fry food in), alcohol, refined grains (white flour, pasta, biscuits & pastry). More controversial & again I urge you to TRY for a week, or perhaps longer – ease off the dairy & see if you notice any difference. If you’re a meat eater, source the best possible quality meat, ideally grass-fed & grass-finished & only consume meat every third day, or even less frequently.

I love this simple article on 7 days to an anti-inflammatory diet – plenty of easy swaps, if you try to make one change per day.

I am not a Doctor or qualified Nutritionist, always see your Doctor if unsure.

Foods that fight inflammation-infograph

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Can you buy healthy foods at the supermarket?

Cost is our biggest prohibition when it comes to healthy eating. let’s face it, not everyone has $50 to spend on a protein powder, or “wellness elixir”. As I am on maternity leave, I spend (too much) time trawling supermarket aisles, looking for not only the healthiest products, but also ones that won’t send you broke. I make a list every week of what I “want” – not all items are essential & often I’ll check out a couple of stores before making an informed decision.

Woolworths – I know a lot of people are anti supermarkets but if we all spend our “supermarket dollars” on healthier products guess what they’re going to produce more of & drive prices down on? That’s right. My top 5 favourite products are:

  1. Macro organic coffee – I buy it ground & make a small pot of coffee every morning. At $6 for a packet, which lasts me over a week, it’s a lot more economical than buying your coffee, plus no nasty disposable coffee cups
  2. Macro organic peanut butter ($6.50 for 500g) – the only negative thing is that it does come in a plastic container – if you’re listening Woolworths, please change to glass 🙂
  3. Macro organic hulled tahini – I add it to home made chocolate so we go through quite a lot (oops!)
  4. Macro organic Dijon mustard – it is my favourite mustard & less than $4 per jar. What’s not to love?!
  5. Macro organic berries – my kids absolute favourite snack, they eat them by the bowl for afternoon tea or dessert. They are normally $7 per packet but keep your eyes peeled as they’ve been half price recently so $3.50 a packet is extremely good value. On a side note: Woolworths Double Bay – you’ve suddenly discontinued the Macro organic berries. Bring them back! They’re a staple in our home.

Some other noteworthy products which I find good value: Coolibah Organics Kale, Organic salad mix, organic eggs (about $8 a carton), organic meat (if you choose to eat meat).

Aldi – I need to focus on my list in Aldi as it is very easy to get sidelined by the deals! 99% of the time it’s not something I need, especially this year as we embrace minimalism as a family.  My top 5 purchases in Aldi are:

  1. Gluten free pasta: made from 2 simple ingredients – corn flour & rice flour
  2. Organic salted butter. Aldi, hello, if you’re listening, can you please bring back the unsalted too?! I don’t personally like butter but my sons do so I won’t compromise on quality.
  3. Organic milk – we go through a couple of litres every week (I don’t personally drink milk)
  4. Organic natural yoghurt – we use this in muffin recipes & my sons like it with some berries, vanilla powder & cinnamon. Just look out as the flavoured organic yoghurts look healthy (simple branding) but even the vanilla punches a massive 15% sugar.
  5. Organic pasta sauce: this sauce does have some added sugar but with a total of 6% sugar, I am ok with a small amount of this whether on its’ own, in a Puttanesca; or in the boys bolognaise

Other noteworthy deals: organic coconut oil & organic beef mince. Aldi, if you see this post, please start selling more organic meat for those who choose to consume meat.

I’d love to hear about what you’ve found in the supermarket that’s both healthy; & inexpensive. Come say hi over on Facebook or Instagram – 6 Clean Ingredients. Until then, wishing you abundant health & happiness, with a bit of fun on the side

Alice