I have never been fond of diets with their lists of do’s and don’ts. For me, a balanced intake of wholesome minimally processed food has served me well over the years. Why fix something that isn’t broken? I do not lack energy and I am in good physical health saved for injuries brought on by accidents.
Unfortunately, lately, something is not right. An inflamed bursa on my ankle remains persistent even after multiple draining and steroid injection treatments. Surgery will be the last resort and I am staying completely away from any activities that may irritate the bursa. That includes skating. Right now, it is a waiting game and I am praying hard that the inflammation will subside on its own with months of rest. Aside from wishing it away, I start looking into diet changes.
Anti-inflammatory diet is characterized by food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, monounsaturated fats, anti-inflammatory food such as ginger, and avoidance of simple carbohydrates and red meat. Pretty generic pointers in the world of healthy eating. I do not see significant conflict to incorporate it seamlessly into my life. I am using Inflammation Factor Ratings as a guideline to which food to eat.
What changes do I need to make specifically?
- Choice of protein: Eat more cold water fish. I rarely eat red meat anyway with my main source of protein coming from eggs, legumes, and soy. Fish can take their places easily.
- Choice of carbohydrates: I normally eat a wide variety of fruit, vegetable, whole grains, bread, energy bars, and the occasional baked good. Grains and sweet fruit will be kept to a minimum. I feel a little sad that I have to give up my bread baking habit just when I am getting good at it. But it’s summer and turning on the oven only heats up the house anyway. I can deal with it.
- Choice of fats: I feel neutral about raw nuts, avocado, olive oil, and other monounsaturated fats. In my every day cooking, fat does not play a large role. What I will really miss are cheese and yogurt. They have always been treats in my daily meals. I will adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” strategy.
My approach will be on weekly basis, taking small steps. It feels less intimidating than a regime that will forever separate me from bread, cakes, cookies, cheese, and yogurt. Friends have also advised me to go completely gluten free, dairy free, vegan, or raw food diet. They cited personal anecdotes and of course plenty of good intentions. While I appreciate their advices, at this point, going to such drastic measure seems more knee jerk reaction than informed decision.
Consider these Chocolate Swirl Buns my last hurrah to traditional baking for the time being while I pursue my experiment. They were inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s version but made with an enriched bread dough recipe in Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. Each soft bun was stuffed with ridiculous amount of dark chocolate and cinnamon to create the most decadent breakfast treat. I will dream about them for sure.
For the next few weeks, expect plenty of healthy savoury eats at Dessert By Candy while I wish my lumpy ankle away.