Gluten Free For Good


 

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If I had more room in the title bar, I’d call this post, “inflammation, fuzz, food, inner space, enlightenment, movement, and twisty-bendy stuff.”

In case you’re wondering about the photo, cotton candy has nothing to do with this post, other than it looks exactly like fuzz. I wanted something that would visually compare to fuzz in case you wanted to opt out of the cadaver video.

I bet you’re curious, though.

I’m a nutritionist, but my college education began with a degree in exercise physiology. Because both disciplines are science-based, I’ve ended up taking anatomy, physiology, and bio-chem two different times, from different teachers, at different institutions. My first semester (20-some years ago) of anatomy included a cadaver lab. It was there that I found my religion (seriously) and began my intense fascination with how our bodies work from the inside out.

Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, joint pain and inflammation where a daily thing for me. Nothing debilitating, but it was annoying and constant. I even slept with my arms in a pillow-version of traction because my shoulders hurt so much. I attributed the pain to a lifetime of physical activity and overuse. To make a long story short, a gluten-free, whole foods diet and lots of yoga solved my problems. No more inflammation and very little pain — as long as I eat well and move often. Bend, stretch, twist, twirl, and dance.

I’ll let somanaut Gil Hedley explain why. His approach to teaching anatomy and physiology is humorous, creative, and spiritually enlightening. He’s also brilliant and charmingly geeky, which I absolutely love.

Did that help (and isn’t Gil charming)? Doesn’t fuzz look like cotton candy? Well, there’s no need for either.

Movement is key, but so is food.

On to inflammation, which isn’t always a bad thing. It’s a natural and protective response by the immune system to infectious agents, toxins, tissue injury, temperature extremes, cooties and other icky things. It’s a bad thing when the response is misdirected, never shuts off and targets healthy tissue. Because inflammation is a general and non-specific protective mechanism, the response is similar whether the damage is caused by gluten cooties, poor diet, disease, a fall down the stairs or a misdirected hammer.

So — what can we do to decrease inflammation and enhance our health?

Make anti-inflammatory foods your foundation and twist, bend, stretch, twirl, and shake your booty every day. You might also consider some beneficial body work.

Here are 10 tips to get you started.

1. Eliminate or minimize processed foods, fast food and junk food. Avoid products containing trans-fats, partially hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, chemicals, additives and other “non-food” ingredients. Sugar is also pro-inflammatory.
2. Choose healthy fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds.
3. Avoid soda pop and opt for old-fashioned water or green tea. If you choose to drink alcohol, an occasional glass of red wine has been shown to be beneficial.
4. Choose a wide variety of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Organic is best. Strive for 9 to 10 servings per day. Eat more veggies than fruit (5-6 servings of veggies, 3-4 servings of fruit). This is just a guideline.
5. Eat healthy non-gluten grains like teff, montina, quinoa, amaranth and brown rice. Legumes (beans, peas, lentils) are also a rich source of high-quality plant protein.
6. Choose nuts, seeds, raisins and dates for snacks or an occasional small serving of dark chocolate when you need a “sweet fix.”
7. Season foods with health-enhancing herbs and spices like garlic, capsicum, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, parsley and cilantro. This list is endless.
8. The right balance of EFAs (essential fatty acids) is important. In general, omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and omega-6s are pro-inflammatory. I’ll do an entire post on this one of these days.
9. If you choose to eat animal products, 100% grass-fed, organic choices are best. Meat and dairy products from 100% grass-fed animals contain higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which studies show may fight inflammation and have anti-cancer properties.
10. Reduce stress, think positive thoughts, get adequate sleep and exercise.

Bottom line?

Your body truly is a temple. Treat it as such. Go inside, learn as much as you can about the inner workings that make up the divine space in which you live. As Gil so eloquently expresses in his book, Reconceiving My Body – Take Two, From The Heart, “I realized that I had been sitting for my whole life outside the doorsteps of the most finely wrought Cathedral ever built, without ever having gotten off my arse to walk through the doors and have a look about. My body in all its complexity represented the wonders and workings of God’s creation. Rather than being some insufferable obstacle to spiritual growth, my body as a temple could become my greatest resource for beholding the hidden face of the Divine within me.”

Go forth and explore inner space. The more we understand the magic of what’s going on inside our bodies, the more likely we are to appreciate and take care of this wonderful creation.

Peace, love and inner space!
Melissa

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40 Responses to “fuzz food inflammation and movement”

  1. Alta says:

    This is a great post, Melissa! Really brings that whole complicated science part of things down to my level! And I love your title, by the way…

    • Melissa says:

      Alta,

      Thanks for the comment! You never know how people will respond to stuff like this, so I really appreciate your positive (and speedy) sentiments! You make me smile.

      =)

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alta Mantsch, Gluten Free Emily. Gluten Free Emily said: Gluten Free For Good fuzz food inflammation and movement: If I had more room in the title bar, I’d cal… http://bit.ly/a3Uz4P #GlutenFree [...]

  3. Oh, and I was hoping for a cotton candy recipe – LOL. Great post! One of my most popular seminars is about inflammation, esp. interesting to my age group and beyond;-)

    • Melissa says:

      Karen,

      No spun-sugar-cotton-candy recipes here, although I just made some chocolate ice cream that is over-the-top good. Okay, what do you mean “my age group and beyond.” =) When I’m working with clients and they bring up age, I always smile and politely tell them they can’t play the age card with me. Or the “no time” card. Or the “no money” card.

      I’d love to hear your inflammation seminar. Wish you were a little closer!

      xo

  4. lo says:

    I am most definitely NOT among the unsubscribers :) This is a great post (love the quirky title… and Gil!)– and it highlights something I’ve been learning more about lately… the real effects of SUGAR on one’s body. We’ve been demonizing HFCS for a long time, but we need to be careful… regular old sugar can be just as harmful. Which makes me sad — but everything in moderation, right?

  5. Wow, wow, wow…I’m in love with the fuzz man now! Never watched cadaver videos before breakfast but it was truly amazing. Great post.

    I really, really must go move my body now!

    • Melissa says:

      Gill (different Gill),

      Yes, I love the fuzz man, too! He has a whole series of anatomy videos. His anatomy workshop is on my to-do list. He’s wonderful. Check him out on YouTube. He has a great lung and heart video.

      Move, move, move your body!

  6. Melissa,

    This is SO my type of post! Thank you for sharing, I can’t stop moving, trying to “melt my fuzz!” :-D

  7. Melissa says:

    Heidi,

    Oh, I’m glad! It’s my kind of post as well. I love the geeky science stuff and that video is wonderful. Yes, move and melt the fuzz!

  8. Me loves the geeked out science!
    And Gross Anatomy was a turning point for me ss well. That, and the fact that I developed appendicitis and had to have it out the day after the practical (and subsequent celebration) but I digress.
    Thanks as always for gently slapping us into recognition of bad habits. I’m sending my Mom the link, she won’t listen to me, maybe she’ll listen to you :)

  9. Coco-Emily says:

    “Your body is a temple, not a trailer park” — love this line Melissa! I am going to use this on my family, oh they love me so!
    I can happily say I follow all of your 10 guidelines :) I would love to get into some yoga though… I know it would only help. Do you think it’s something better learned in a studio or would using yoga DVDs be enough for a newbie? I know myself and kind of feel like I am more likely to stick with it if I am paying someone to teach me…
    Hugs :)

  10. Melissa says:

    Erin,

    That’s because you ARE a geeked-out science girl.

    My daughter won’t listen to me, maybe she’ll listen to you. I’ll send her your way. You can send your mom my way.

    =)

  11. Melissa says:

    Coco-Emily,

    Yeah, there you are! We’ve missed you around the gluten-free block.

    Well, I’ve been practicing yoga for many, many years and am even registered to teach, but I have a hard time doing it on my own. I’m much more disciplined when I pay my monthly fee and go to class. Plus, it’s more fun and you get a mix of different teaching styles when you go to classes taught by different teachers. You end up finding your favorites. Go for it — it would be sooo good for you. I’m serious, it’s the best medicine around.

    xo

  12. I love the way you put things. I laughed out loud when I read your body is a temple, not a trailer park. Very funny but oh so true. I’m very interested in the Omega 6 vs 3 story and look forward to that. Thank you for the great ideas on spices too.

  13. This is a great post – your first paragraph had me hooked, not scared! LOL! I am a science geek as well. Just finishing my thesis for my Master’s in Nutrition (holistic emph) right now and previously got my Bachelors in Human Biology with a minor in Exercise Physiology. I have taken so many 0-Chem, bio-chem, physics, anatomay, phsy, biology classes that I now relate everything in my life to science. Must wear off on my kiddos since they are now obsessed with anything related to science as well! LOL.
    Love that line, by the way: “Your body is a temple, not a trailer park”!
    Had me smiling! See you in a couple weeks, I believe, at IFBC!!

  14. anne says:

    Hi Melissa, first time reader here. I am in absolute awe: fell instantly in love when you got geeky just then…bookmarking your blog straightaway, haha, and thanks :-)

  15. Melissa says:

    Diane,

    Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it. You know, I meant the temple part in truth. It’s absolutely amazing what is going on inside our bodies all the time. No breaks, always working to maintain balance (homeostasis). The more you know, the more you really “look inside” so to speak, the more reverence you have for your temple. Having said that, our bodies are not WHO we are. But they “house” who we are. They take care of our spirits. There’s an amazing innate intelligence within, one we must care for and tap into it.

    I hope that made sense.
    =)

  16. Melissa says:

    Kim,

    Thanks for your co-science-geek sentiments! We’re on the same track with all the bio and chemistry. I love it. And yes, my kids were the same way. When my daughter was in grade school (like 4th or 5th grade), the teacher asked if anyone could name a certain bone in the body (can’t remember which one). My daughter started rattling off all these bones and the teacher was floored. Tevis (my daughter) casually said, “Oh, it’s no big deal, my mom just always makes us learn this stuff while she’s driving or cooking.”

    =)

  17. Melissa says:

    Anne,

    Welcome! So glad to “meet” you and thank you for stopping by to join the geek party.

    Hope to “see” you again.

    Peace, love and geeky girls!

  18. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    Love the fuzz speech and our new friend Gil …. it all makes sense as does your list of recommendations. I think we get lazy and think what the heck my great aunt Maud lived until she was 99 and smoked every day, ate rubbish and brought up six kids. There’s always one ancestor who defies convention.

    As for me, well I don’t feel good. I’ve just returned from a brief encounter with Tuscany, Florence to be exact. Over populated with tourists, the cuisine was dreadful…. I actually went into one restaurant and complained that the chef ought to be ashamed of being Italian because I can make a better salad and pasta dish than the weak excuse on a chipped plate I received. Freezing cold in the middle and hugely expensive it was eventually re-microwaved to medium warm. I told him it was a disgrace to the principles of fine Tuscan cuisine. My family just left me to it and hid in the distance :)

    Cid

  19. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    So nice to hear from you. We have accumulated a nice group of quirky men friends, haven’t we?! I love your comment about great aunt Maud. We all have those people in our lives, my mom happens to be one who never ceases to amaze me. Surfing the internet at 94, playing top level bridge, keeping everyone on their toes. She’s always eaten fairly well, but like the rest of woman-kind has a definite sweet tooth and is now diabetic. She’s never been much on exercise and is on lots of different medications, but has a feisty attitude, so I guess that has kept her going.

    I’m sorry you’re not feeling that great. I hear that so often. Your Tuscany trip sounded interesting. How sad that the food was dreadful. That’s why you go there. Good food and fine wine. Very disappointing, I’m sure. I love the image I have of you scolding the chef for his low standards, much to your daughter’s horror, I’m sure. I can remember various times when my daughter would say, “Mom, it’s okay. Seriously, it’s okay, mom. Don’t say anything else. Please.”

    You probably missed it, but I commented about your “conversation” with Rod regarding older women. I decided to leave the bantering to you, you’re so much better at that than I am.

    :-)

    Melissa

  20. [...] brain takes over and you want to eat things that are less than healthy, sit on your rump, etc. This recent post of Melissa’s was stellar in my opinion. I’m still thinking about it and making better choices as a [...]

  21. Great post, Melissa! I’m feeling much better eating sugar mostly in its (whole food) fruit form. The biggest change for me is how even my energy is!

  22. Bruizer says:

    Melissa,

    First time here on a random search by accident. I thought I was posting my status now that I’ve gone gluten free and started yoga. How tremendously inspiring it is to find this story. I am printing the 10 tips and will use that to better myself. I’ve felt so much pain for so long. This will help so much.

    Kind Regards

    Bruce from Denver

  23. Bruizer says:

    One other thought. The statement, “If you choose to eat animal products, 100% grass-fed, organic choices are best” prompts me to promote hunting as a means to get the most free-range meat possible. Elk is a wild cow basically. Do you happen to know how much better elk meat is than feed-lot cow? By the way, when I clean an elk to gather the meat, they have a lot less of this “fuzz” between their muscle groups. Sorry if this disturbs you or anyone, but it is my view that hunting for food provides 100% organic meat. Think of one less farm raised cow since it is retrieved from the wild instead.

    kind regards again,

    Bruce

    • Melissa says:

      Bruce,

      I totally agree and that makes perfect sense about the “fuzz” in wild animals. They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing by using their bodies and moving daily, not standing at a trough. Thanks for adding that bit of information. Interesting, isn’t it? And while I have a hard time with the whole animal thing in general (I can’t even deal with it when the cartoon animals in Disney movies die), I agree that ethical hunting and full use of the animal is smarter, healthier and better for the environment. Do you know who Hank Shaw is? Here’s a link to a blog that might interest you.

      http://honest-food.net/

      Thanks again for your comments. I do appreciate your input.
      Melissa

  24. Melissa says:

    Sally,

    Thank you! Nice to see you here, it’s been a long time. Yes, balanced energy is sooo important if you want to be productive and feel good throughout the day. I don’t like ups and downs in my energy levels, I like to feel good all day!

    Hope all is well with you.
    Melissa

  25. Melissa says:

    Hi Bruce,

    Welcome! Nice to find you here in Denver and I’m glad some of my ranting may help you stay on track with feeling better. Yoga and diet are such a good pair. Stick with it, you’ll keep feeling better and better.

    Take care,
    Melissa

  26. Melissa–I was sure I had commented on this post before although I hadn’t watched the video at the time. Must have been on FB tht I left a comment. Hmmm, that would be brain fuzz, right? ;-) Now OMG, OMG on the fuzz video! After I watched it, I immediately got up and did my yoga, which I had been delaying and might have skipped had I not watched that. What a tremendous eye opener! And, I have to agree with Bruce, we have hunters in the family and eat a lot of venison. When I deal with venison roasts, there is almost no fuzz usually. And, for the times when the meat has fuzz, I’m wondering if it was an older, less mobile deer. Really totally fascinating! When I don’t want to get off my butt, I’m watching this video … although really, I think just thinking of it will do the trick. That said, I’m signing off to move some more in getting some chores and errands done!

    xo,
    Shirley

  27. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Don’t you just love this video and Gil Hedley. He’s my new best friend. I love his philosophy. The video is an eye opener, indeed. And thanks for coming back to watch the video, that was my whole purpose with this post. It brings the miracle of how we move and why we must care for what’s inside to life. Plus, Gil is just plain fun, geeky and cute (some of my favorite characteristics). Thanks for your comment and interesting insights. As always, I really appreciate your input (love the “brain fuzz” comment).

    Melissa
    xo

  28. Lauren says:

    Just seeing your blog for the first time. Thanks so much for posting this video. Very, very helpful! Am just beginning to find my way on a gluten-free diet and getting rid of my own fuzz. Can’t wait to read more of your posts. thanks

  29. [...] you to Melissa McLean Jory for her post alerting me to Gil. Email [...]

  30. Nadya says:

    OMG – totally love the ‘Fuzz Speach” as well!! Some of my LMT friends do ‘myo-fascial’ massage, which works on moving that Fuzz! Hurts a bit – but I always feel more mobile after one of those! He reminds me of a dear LAc friend, who is also passionate about the world in his own way!
    I love Tai Chi/Qigong & dance – & usually do a bit of ‘cow/cat’ & child pose movement before I get up in the AM – nice to think of it as loosening up the FUZZ!

    Loved your check list as well – & can say that’s mostly how I live/eat :) … burning the Full Moon (but rainy :( midnight oil tonight … so not doing so well on … sleep …

    • Melissa says:

      Yes, Nadya, I agree, Gil is AWESOME! Loosen the fuzz daily or the fuzz will take over. I love his quirky demeanor. Thanks for commenting!
      Melissa

  31. Daniela says:

    Wow! I love this article and the fuzz speech big time! It is a wake up! I’m actually thankful to being gluten intolerant. The universe has it’s ways to make us understand! Life is good! Thank you, Melissa for this great blog:-)
    Daniela

    • Melissa says:

      And wow, what a nice comment! Yes, don’t you just love the fuzz speech. I did a workshop with Gil Hedley last spring and he is the most magically brilliant person around. Quirky, but charmingly so. He’s amazing. I agree with you on being gluten intoleranct — I’m thankful I have celiac disease!

      Thanks!
      Melissa

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