Anti-inflammatory Diet and Labels | Healthy Living with HarassedMom
Anti-inflammatory Diet and Labels | Healthy Living with HarassedMom

Anti-inflammatory Diet and Labels

It has been about 6 weeks since I have been following an anti-inflammatory diet. Which means 6 weeks of no sugar, no coffee, no gluten, no alcohol, no processed foods and limited dairy, eggs and meat. It has been a wild ride so far! I have also now been forced to read the labels of everything I want to buy. I used tor read labels but I would skim for gluten, dairy and anything I couldn’t pronounce – now I have to check every single ingredients and it has been eye-opening.

The short version of this post is that everything that has been in processed in some way has either sugar, gluten or a chemical in it. It is probably best if you don’t ever buy them.

The longer version is that it is not always possible to just not ever buy anything. While 90% of what I do now eat (and my family for the most part) is organic fresh produce and organically sourced chicken and dairy, I can’t make everything and if I am honest I don’t really want to.

The middle ground, I suppose, is reading labels and finding the items with the least amount of bad stuff in them and reducing how much we use of it.

Over the past 6 weeks I have learnt a few things about the products most of us consume each day.

  • Tin tomatoes are “safe” but tin tomatoes and peppers or onions or anything else are loaded with chemicals and other nasties.
  • A healthy brand does not equal healthy ingredients. One of the leading healthy brands in South Africa has palm oil in some of their products.
  • Most of the food additives starting with E contain animal products so it is not vegetarian/vegan.
  • A gluten-free product is not necessarily the healthier option. A lot of gluten free products add a lot of sugar to make the product taste better.
  • Check your spices. Even your spices may not just be spices.
  • Low-fat often means more sugar.
  • If it has a vegan label on, it does not mean it is organic or even healthy. Pronutro is vegan but is most definitely not a healthy breakfast alternative.
  • Natural is not the same as organic.
  • Made with organic ingredients does not mean that the entire product is organic – the tomatoes may have been organic but sugar and other additives mean it is no longer organic.
  • The general rule is if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

How to read a label

We all know how to read a label but what you may not have know is that the main ingredient is listed first. If your tomato sauce ingredient list starts with sugar it means that there is more sugar in the bottle than any other ingredient.

This is important to check, especially when you are trying to decide between a few products. I first check for gluten and dairy, if it has those, it goes back on the shelf. Then I look for sugar content, if sugar is in the first 3 ingredients, it goes back and if I am still left with something I check for the fat used, chemicals and additives.

If claims are made on the product, then it is compulsory for the brand to have a nutritional panel on the product.

All common allergens have to be listed separately on the product.

How does all of this relate to an anti-inflammatory diet?

Foods trigger inflammation. In particular chemicals, sugar, gluten and dairy trigger inflammation. If you are trying to eliminate inflammation from your diet for whatever reason, reading labels is so important. It doesn’t mean you can never have anything nice or can’t ever buy anything, it just means you have to sometimes look a little harder for the things you want to eat.

When Emma as in hospital I was limited in what I could eat and it honestly wasn’t a priority so I had a few meals that weren’t ideal and I felt it for the following week – I had the worst inflammation in my ankles and hip for almost a full week and I felt sluggish and just horrible until it had all worked it’s way out of my body.

What’s the solution?

  • Read labels.
  • Limit processed food.
  • Make what you can (and what you have time for).
  • Find local suppliers you can trust (this has been a game changer for me).
  • Pick the best of the worst,

An anti-inflammatory diet isn’t about losing weight, it is about reducing inflammation and pain in your body.

How important is label reading for you?



3 Responses

  1. You are doing so well to stick to this kind of diet! I have an anti-inflammatory condition, but I have too much of a sweet-tooth to give up sugar. Still, it’s important to know what’s in your food!

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