Yesterday, I had the privilege to interview Dr. Barry Sears (MD), author of several books including New York Times bestseller, The Zone.
As someone that lives with autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus), which have been linked to chronic inflammation, I had a lot of questions for the doctor and looked forward to hearing his perspective. Other common illnesses with a connection to chronic inflammation are diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
I started by thanking Dr. Sears for voicing the theory that the mantra of “eat less, exercise more” does not work for everyone when it comes to weight loss and living a healthier lifestyle. Instead, Dr. Sears believes that an anti-inflammatory diet is the key to being healthy.
He talked about the cultural attitude that those that are overweight are “morally inferior” when in actuality, in many cases, they are genetically predisposed to carry weight. Dr. Sears further asserts that “ancient genes” are triggered by the very foods that we are encouraged to eat.
Dr. Sears gave me three steps that everyone can take to reverse the affects of chronic inflammation in their bodies in 30 days. Yes, three simple steps can reverse a nasty physiological process that can cause serious health issues (SO LISTEN UP).
- Remove all (omega-6 fatty acids) vegetable oil from your pantry. Throw them out. This includes vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, margarine, etc. Substitute olive oil, slivered almonds and guacamole in their place. (I would add you can substitute applesauce for oil as well, but that is per MultiTasking Mama)
- Take (omega-3) fish oil every day. Dr. Sears said our great grandma’s had it right when they recommended a tablespoon a day. Fish oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties and is an important supplement.
- Rebalance your diet. Our diets need to be the correct balance of protein to carbohydrates. Dr. Sears pointed out that our bodies produce the same insulin response to whole grain carbohydrates as they do refined flours. (I am still sticking with my whole grains but need to work on the balance concept) When asked how can you know if you have struck the right balance in your diet, Dr. Sears said that if you have no hunger for 4-6 hours after a meal then you have eaten a well balanced meal.
He admits that “it is easier to get people to change religion then to change their diet” but points to the importance of taking what we eat seriously. Obesity is an epidemic and he attributes this to our love for the “3 P’s- pizza, pasta and pastry”. We need to educate ourselves on how the food we eat interact with our genes and our hormones. People need to be on an anti-inflammatory diet for the rest of their lives.