Chatelaine.com columnist and registered holistic nutritionist Julie Daniluk has released her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, in which she reveals how much pain and how many chronic health issues are caused by inflammation. This is something Julie knows from personal experience and here she explains what inflammation is and how we can heal our bodies through improved nutrition. The book also contains more than 130 healthy and delicious recipes. (Check out two of her recipes on our site, for quinoa risotto and shepherd’s pie.)
Q: Your new book is called Meals That Heal Inflammation. Why the focus on inflammation? How does inflammation affect our health?
A: Consider these stats:
- One in five people suffer from arthritis
- One in five people is now affected by IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- One in 10 have diabetes
- One in two men and one in three women will develop heart disease in their lifetime, and more women will die from heart attacks than men
What all these illnesses have in common is inflammation! Chronic inflammation affects one in two people over the age of 45. That makes for a large amount of people that will appreciate having a natural solution to their pain. Meals That Heal Inflammation steers clear of inflammatory choices such as white sugar, harmful fats, and processed foods, replacing them with healthy choices such as natural unrefined sweeteners, healing fats, and anti-inflammatory vegetables.
Q: Can you explain what exactly you mean by inflammation?
A: Inflammation is the backbone of every major illness in the world. It’s the body’s response to injury, infection, irritation or imbalance causing the symptoms of redness, soreness, heat, swelling or loss of function. When any four of these factors persist, the affected tissues aren’t properly healed and the result is a chronic state of inflammation.
Q: How does inflammation appear in the body and internal organs?
A: Name the chronic condition — eczema, arthritis, gastritis and colitis — if it ends in an “itis” it means inflammation plays a role.
Q: You write in the book that your quite serious personal health struggles inspired your nutrition career path. Was inflammation the source of your health issues and can you describe the circumstances at the worst point and how you got better?
A: I had terrible inflammation in my bowels caused by food poisoning. It caused such damage to the lining of my gut that I could no longer digest grains and my food allergies went through the roof. I spent most days with pain in my stomach and intestines and the chronic inflammation started to inflame my joints and muscles. I got better when I eliminated everything that irritated me. I had to start with a soft warming diet and gradually add complex choices as I started to heal.
I really focused on healing soups, anti-inflammatory spices and steamed greens and that is why a plant based diet makes up such a huge portion of my book, Meals That Heal Inflammation. Hemp seeds, Fish Oil and superfoods like Maca played a role in recovery as did anti-inflammatory enzymes and very strong pro-biotics (good bacteria that knocked out the invaders)
Q: Your book focuses heavily on food allergens, do you believe that many people have allergies they aren’t aware of?
A: One in 100 people have a severe reaction to gluten called celiac and many are unaware until the damage is pronounced. I think many people have food sensitivities due to eating the same refined choices repeatedly. Our environment is causing our immune system to be on red alert! We react to things, such as wheat that 50 years ago would have been a healthy choice.
The answer is in rotation and tuning into what feels good in your body. I believe there are 7 billion diets for 7 billion people. There is not one way to eat healthy… there is just what feels great in your body. I encourage people to become their own Sherlock Holmes and detect what foods will bring them optimum vitality!
Q: What would you say is the biggest misconception people have about nutrition and how their diet affects their health?
A: I think the biggest misconception is that white sugar and white flour are just empty calories. Think of them more like a debit card. When you “insert” white sugar into your body, you have to cough up the funds in your account, such as B vitamins and chromium, to complete your transaction (that is, to metabolize it). Over time, your repeated consumption of white sugar depletes your account of nutrients. If you fail to continually top up your vitamin and mineral reserves, you may end up with an overdrawn account. As a result, you will lack the necessary nutrients for keeping inflammation in check.
Q: If you could get people to include just one new food in their diets, what would it be and why?
A: Kale is considered by most experts to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Containing only 36 calories a cup, it gives us the biggest vitamin and mineral “bang for our buck” so to speak. The indole-3-carbinol found in kale enables our body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms that protect us from chronic diseases. Kale will detoxify you, protect you, slim you down, and most importantly reduce pain and inflammation in your body.