Education, Experience, and Inflammation
by Steve Ellefson
“I didn’t know you were on a diet?”
“Why are you dieting? It’s not like you need to.”
“You’re skinny enough, you need to get off that diet.”
...Somewhere along the line, eating bad foods became a social norm.
Now it seems as if anytime someone sees another person carefully picking what to eat, meal prepping, or even simply just choosing to eat a salad, all of a sudden that person’s on a diet.
I’m going to put this out there, and Papa Swolio has said it Daily Swole after Daily Swole–
"Diet is simply what you eat on a regular basis."
If you eat good foods consistently then that’s your diet. If you eat fast food and drink pop regularly then that’s what makes up your diet.
Often times people hear the word “diet” and their minds automatically think restriction, no carbs, starving the body, etc.
But it’s not.
Let’s get away from thinking that and treat the word for what it is: What you regularly eat.
As an Exercise Science major in college that had so many great teachers, I learned a lot about nutrition. When I got out of college and found the Daily Swole podcast, I learned a lot about nutrition and inflammatory foods.
When I combined both aspects and cut things out of my diet, I learned so much more about my body.
I recently went back and watched episodes #470 and #603 of the Daily Swole, both quite fitting to this topic.
Since 2019 is getting ready to start, I thought it was fitting to go back and watch it and bring it up in this article.
In college, I learned a good deal about nutrition. A lot of the basics and some more in-depth concepts of how the body works behind the scenes.
Add formal education to my real-world experience of losing 100+ pounds in a year before I had gone back to school and I felt like I could tell people what foods were beneficial and what ones weren’t.
Everybody knows the basics: don’t eat pizza and ice cream, eat fruits and veggies...but looking back, I had room for improvement.
While I did a lot of things right when I lost weight (eating more whole foods, more fruits, and vegetables, less sugar, drinking less alcohol, etc.) I still was eating processed foods, preservatives, and things that I thought were good for me but really weren’t.
We learn that peanuts are high in protein so we think that they must be good for us, but don’t really realize that our body could be having negative reactions to it because we don’t know how our body really reacts without that food.
We know that red meat can be good for us but we don’t realize that if the meat is pumped with antibiotics and grains, it can cause negative reactions.
Like episode #470 states, if you’re going from a "bad diet" to LESS of a "bad diet," you’ll see results...
...But the thing is, you still don't know what is potentially causing your body harm.
This is where inflammatory foods come in and where I learned so much about my body after I had gained some weight back, got back on track, and found Swolenormous.
For the last thirteen to fourteen years, since I was fifteen or sixteen, I’ve dealt with psoriasis on my hand. I always attributed it to autoimmune diseases/deficiencies running in my family.
My mom has dealt with quite a bit of thyroid issues since I was young, her mom has M.S. and thyroid issues, and my great-grandma also had thyroid issues and had breast cancer at one point in her life.
What I never knew until my nutrition changed was that my psoriasis would get better and clear based on what I put in my body.
Weather often has to do with it as well, as Northern Illinois winters aren’t fun and my skin gets drier than the Sahara, but a lot of it definitely is nutrition. When I had come across Dash and his content, it clicked that my psoriasis flaring up was often due to an inflammatory response.
Dairy was a big cause of a flare-up, alcohol could cause it to flare, and a few other things as well.
We’re always told, "If it’s in moderation it's OK to eat."
But if it causes your body harm, is it really ok to eat?
Episode 603 lists five food types you should cut out:
- Beans (unless pressure cooked)
This is a general list that can commonly cause inflammation and in order to find out if your body reacts positively or poorly to them, you need to eliminate and then re-introduce them slowly to see how your body responds.
I learned a lot foods that can be beneficial to people in my nutrition class. Legumes, greens, fruit and vegetables in general, meat, but the main idea to portray is that everyone’s different.
Everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods. Everyone’s got different allergies and sensitivities.
What I’ve learned in my experience is that while there is a general list of good foods to eat, there is no perfect thing to eat.
We have to eat what our body reacts to best, and the way to learn that is through trial and error.
I find that I feel great and energetic eating moderate to high complex carbs and fats, resistant starches, and moderate protein. I don’t necessarily need to eat a bunch of protein. I also don’t eat the same amounts every day.
I listen to my body and adjust accordingly based on how I feel.
Training wise, I feel great lifting weights 4-5 times a week and incorporating yoga 1-3 times a week. I have been seeing results and I feel fantastic.
I don’t plan on changing anything just yet and as Papa Swolio constantly says, fitness and nutrition are individualistic. What works for one person doesn’t always work for the next.
You have to find what works for you.
If you haven’t yet, it's time to start.