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Coming at you today with another book recommendation. My latest rec: The Inflammation Spectrum by Dr. Will Cole.
This book has been pivotal to my health as it helped me to better understand the connection between inflammation and allllll the unwanted health symptoms I had been dealing with. The books starts with a quiz to evaluate where you fall on the inflammation spectrum. Based on your results, Dr. Cole recommends which food groups you should eliminate from your diet and for how long. He also walks you through the process of adding foods back into your diet and provides recipe recommendations based on your recommended diet.
In my personal experience, I ranked really high on the inflammation spectrum. Therefore, the book recommended I do the more restrictive of the 2 diets for 8 weeks. And to be honest, the diet is really restrictive. And, a few weeks in I was still experiencing some of the unfortunate health concerns that drove me to start the diet in the first place. At this point I fast forwarded to the end of the book where I uncovered another potential cause my symptoms: Histamine intolerance. This was an eye-opening diagnosis I hadn’t considered (or honestly even heard of before!). More on this below.
This brings me to why I recommend this book to anyone plagued with unwanted symptoms or wanting to learn more about improving their health. Inflammation is a leading cause of disease in the world today. Understanding what causes inflammation and how it can show itself in your body is such an incredibly powerful tool. Regardless if you follow the diet or not, I highly recommend everyone read this book to evaluate where they fall on the inflammation spectrum, and learn more about how to reduce and prevent inflammation in the future.
Not yet convinced? Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the book in greater detail:
Uncover the health conditions caused by inflammation
When I say the list of health issues linked to inflammation is long, I mean looooong. And Dr. Cole has compiled them into a single quiz to help readers evaluate just how much damage inflammation has caused in their bodies. This was my favorite part of the book as it is truly eye opening!
You mean that weird pain in my shoulder and sugar cravings after lunch might be caused by inflammation? Who knew! The quiz is broken into the 8 bodily systems that are impacted by inflammation. There is, of course, the digestive system, but did you know your endocrine, musculoskeletal and immune system are also impacted by inflammation?
By the end of the quiz you will have a newfound understanding of just how widespread the effects of inflammation can be on your body, and you’ll know where you stand on the inflammation spectrum (inflammation free to significantly inflamed). From here, whether or not you decide to do the diet is up to you! At the very least you will be armed with knowledge of the warning signs that inflammation might be present in your body. Knowledge is power!
Discover the foods that most commonly lead to inflammation
This book is centered around the link between the foods you eat and the level of inflammation you are experiencing. After all, everything you put in your body is either helping you heal or adding to your unwanted symptoms.
While everyone’s body responds to foods differently (hello bio-individuality, a topic discussed in much detail within the book!), Dr. Cole discusses some of the most common sources of inflammation. Foods such as grains, dairy products, added sugars and processed oils rank highest on the list. Again, regardless if you choose to follow the diet or not, Dr. Cole goes into great detail on what foods are the most common offenders when it comes to inflammation. He also discusses which foods are the least inflammatory. For anyone interested in keeping inflammation at bay, this is powerful information to have in your toolbox.
Learn how to properly conduct an elimination diet
If you have struggled with health conditions believed to be linked to food in the past, chances are, someone has recommended you do an elimination diet. The idea of eliminating whole food groups from your diet can be overwhelming. But, when done properly, an elimination diet can be extremely informative as it allows you to pinpoint how each food you’re eating makes you feel.
Whether you choose to follow the diet prescribed in the book or do your own version of an elimination diet based on foods you think might be problematic, this books teaches you the principles to properly remove and gradually reintroduce foods into your diet.
Identify other health conditions you might be suffering from
As I mentioned before, a few weeks into this diet I noticed some improvement in my energy levels, mental clarity and digestive issues. However, I was still experiencing chronic sinus pain and headaches. Feeling a bit discouraged, I skipped ahead to the end of the book. To my very pleasant surprise was a section titled “If you are still having symptoms”. This section discussed four additional possible food groups that could be causing issues: histamines, salicylates, FODMAPs and oxalates. I read the section on histamines and felt like 500 lightbulbs went off at once. Foods that I had been eating in excess that I thought would help my digestive issues (hello bone broth, fermented foods and spinach) we’re actually all high in histamine.
For me, this small section was the second more powerful part of the book. Thank your Dr. Cole for not just offering one solution for readers but also helping to troubleshoot when option a) didn’t yield the desired results.
If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic aches and pains, decreased mental clarity, digestive problems, hormone imbalance, fatigue, or is stuck just feeling “meh”, I highly highly recommend The Inflammation Spectrum. Food is a huge part of our lives and understanding how we can use it to fuel our bodies for optimal health is such a powerful tool. Again, whether you follow the diet or not is up to you. Regardless, this book is packed with information to help you live a healthier, happy life. Happy reading!
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