ANTI-INFLAMMATION

IMG_8158The following is from  a post I wrote on January 10, 2014 entitled Babying my immune system/Soothing recipes for you.

I bought this book a little while back and thought I’d share it with you, in case you find it a useful resource. I’ll share some excerpts and favorite recipes below. Trying them has been a small part of how I am addressing any immune system issues that might be going on…

No tests have shown that I have any immune system problems so far, but it can’t hurt to try to reduce inflammation through anti-inflammation and gluten-free cooking. I have tested negative when it comes to gluten allergy—I have a clean celiac panel—but have tested moderately allergic to wheat (and eating wheat makes me feel horrible). I’ve been wheat-free for a long while but now I’m  gluten-free, as well. After all, studies have shown a connection between gluten and miscarriage. And some articles out there suggest that pregnancy might increase wheat/gluten sensitivity, or even “turn on” celiac’s disease (can’t find any peer-reviewed studies on this phenomenon, though).

I know a lot of you have recommended that I look into immune therapies for this upcoming embryo transfer, but I am not, after all, going to take Prednisone or do intralipid therapy. This is based on the advice of Dr. Shapiro at RBA and my OB, and on my own research. My local RE does rec Prednisone, and I am extremely tempted to take it, against Dr. S and OB’s advice, but I think that urge stems from simply yearning to try something very different. I don’t want to cause more harm than good in my eagerness to feel like I’m doing something new.

Still, I’ve researched immune therapies, and for those of you who are interested in learning a little more, I’ve created the page Immune Therapies. See, too, the page Super-Fertility, a phenomenon that goes hand-in-hand with some of the immune therapies. They are both pages of a few links to articles and information.

So, for this upcoming FET, I am taking care of my immune system in other ways.

  • 3400 IU Vitamin D3 each day:  Vitamin D3 is safe up to about 4000 IU. It may decrease NK cells, and it might alter the T-helper 1/T-helper 2 ratio in a way that is anti-inflammatory—that is, by lowering T-helper 1 cells and increasing T-helper 2 cells. **T-helper 1 = bad. T helper 2 = good.
  • 230 Vitamin E each day: This is said to reduce inflammation and damage done by inflammation. It also increases blood flow.
  • 450 mg DHA and 90 mg EPA each day: These are anti-inflammatory. See http://www.ajcn.org/content/73/3/539.short and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121049.htm
  •  I’m also, as I’ve mentioned before, taking baby aspirin and Folgard 2.2 (and will be taking Lovenox). But that’s more as a safeguard against the unlikely effects of Factor V Leiden heterozygous and MTHFR heterozygous.
  • I will undergo a scratch biopsy and take doxycycline before transfer, a process that down-regulates the T-helper 1 cells I don’t want while favoring the T-helper 2 cells I do want.

But I feel that developing a gluten-free and mostly anti-inflammatory diet is the best thing I am doing for my immune system right now. The recipes below that I’ve made from The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book fill our kitchen with the scent of a health-food cafe, and when we eat the food, the subtle, soothing flavors make us slow down to savor each bite.

Some of the recipes I’ve tried have been a little bland (I haven’t featured them here) but I’m going to play around with cayenne and pepper and other spices to see if I can liven them up.

Here are some quotes and bits of info from the book that I’ve found helpful. I don’t follow every single dietary suggestions, but put it here for your perusal:

On inflammation

  • “When a body is no longer in homeostasis for any reason—for example…chronic emotional stress—it becomes weaker, rendering it less able to defend itself against certain microorganisms and other disease states.”
  • “Inflammation, fever, tissue swelling, and allergies are largely controlled by fatty acids called prostaglandins….certain foods promote the production of certain prostaglandins” and meat and dairy promote the prostaglandins that produce inflammation. Safflower, sunflower, sesame seed oils and DHA and EPA, for example, promote anti-inflammation.”
  • “Exercise helps to eliminate toxins through sweat and breath, and following the anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce intake of water-soluable and fat-soluable toxins that are part of the standard American diet.”
  • “Healthier lifestyles reduce stress on the body, leading to a reduction in the secretion of stress hormones.”
  • “Serotonin…promotes secretion of growth hormone [and] is responsible for mood, promotes sleep…ninety-five percent of serotonin is produced within the gastrointestinal tract….a better-functioning GI tract improves serotonin secretion, which improves sleep and mood…[and in turn] the immune system is better able to perform detoxification and to repair damaged tissue at night.”
  •  “When stressful events occur…cortisol [is stimulated] which in turn promotes an increase in blood sugar….These days, people live [with] chronically elevated cortisol levels…[which] can lead to thyroid dysfunction, blood sugar abnormaliteis, weight gain, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, hyperinsulineumia, hypercholesterolemia.”
  • “Physiological or psychological stress promotes inflammation through the release of certain neuropeptides [that in turn] stimulate a whole-body stress response.”
  • “Negative emotions and lack of supportive relationships significantly….stimulate proinflammatory cytokines….abrasive personal relationships [and] even negative stresssful events from the past that were not processed correctly or resolved increase risk of…disease.”

I’m sure that you, like me, have heard again and again that stress does not cause miscarriage. Considering the successful pregnancies that have occurred in concentration camps, during natural disasters and wars, in situations of rape and incest, I tend to believe that. But when I read these bits above, I wonder: How much specific research has been done about the effects of the chronic stress of recurrent pregnancy loss on subsequent pregnancy? Has anyone read anything out there that looks at this closely? I’d love to read it, if so.

On the importance of diet

  • If you remove the allergens from your food, you are more able to process unavoidable allergens in the environment.
  • “Any inflammation in the body [caused by allergens] interferes with and slows down metabolism and the healing response.”
  • “Coffee and other caffienated beverages are very taxing to the liver due to their toxin load and are taxing to the adrenal glands because of caffeine’s effect on cortisol levels. The adrenal glands…are responsible for…moderating the stress response….If a person’s system is already burdened with physiological or psychological stressors, caffeine will exhaust any stress-moderating resources left in the body.” (I’m still at 2 cups a day. Will get waterpressed organic decaf soon. SO SAD. DH thinks he’s my true love, but really it’s black coffee, in my favorite mug. We have such a rich history!)
  • “Pork, even organic, is not allowed on this diet because of its potential to stimualte an autoimmune reaction.” (Relates to crazy recent studies showing our similiarites to pigs.) “Pigs have very similar protien structures to humans; thus, consuming pork can increase the chance of cross-reactions in the immune system….triggering an immune response against the body’s own cells.”
  • Eat: * Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, halibut. *Pineapple. *Organic fruits and veg (most are ok). *Avocados. *Garlic, ginger, and tumeric. * Nuts and seeds (except peanuts)—flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are good. * Flaxseed and olive oil (don’t overheat the olive oil b/c becomes a trans fat). *Amaranth, spelt, barley, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, basmati/brown rice, rye, Wasa brand rye crackers. *Rice, oat, almond, or soy milk. *Legumes, tempeh, and tofu. *Organic, free-range, grass-fed meat. *Slow-cooked, poached, or soft-boiled free-range eggs. *Maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raw honey, agave syrup, stevia. *Coconut oil (especially for high heat and baking) . *Small amounts of organic butter.  *Filtered water. *Don’t eat any one food more than 5x/week. 
  • Avoid: Tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, shellfish, pork, conventional beef, citrus fruits, dried fruits, NO SUGAR or artifical sweetners, hydrogenated oils, overheated oils (trans fats), canola oil, dairy products like yogurt, cheese, cow milk, peanuts, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods.

I now have flax, pumpkin, chia and sunflowers seeds in my refrigerator, in airtight containers. Check out this information about proper seed storage—it really helped me. My seeds were getting soft on the shelf.

I’m now using coconut oil for almost everything, and I LOVE it! It smells so good.

Tumeric is a big one—I see it recommended all over the web for anti-inflammation. I’ve been making the most delicious and soothing Tumeric Tea at night, and can’t say enough good things about it. Tumeric tea + hot bath + book = good bedtime ritual.

Try the Carrot-Ginger Soup and Chicken Curry. You will be oh-so soothed. And I’ve been eating the deliciously mellow healthy cookies every day this week for breakfast (totally breaking the don’t eat the same thing more than 5x/week rule):

IMG_8162IMG_8161IMG_8163

The following recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies is from another cookbook I just got, Gluten-free on a Shoestring. Oh my lord they are delicious (just be sure not to bake them too long).

IMG_8164IMG_8165IMG_8166

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Recipes! Part One | the unexpected trip

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: