When Chef Michael Symon, former co-host of ABC's talk show "The Chew," discovered he had both rheumatoid arthritis and discoid lupus, he changed his diet. He suspected that his auto-immune related medical conditions could be relieved by eating anti-inflammatory foods, and as it turns out he was right. As part of his New Year's resolution, Symon ate no red meat, white flour, sugar, or dairy, and did not drink alcohol for almost three weeks.
"I was astonished to discover that after the fourth or fifth day, most of my joint pain had subsided, the skin patches from the lupus had vanished, and I was feeling less fatigued," Symon, 50, said on social media. "By the end of 10 days, the improvement was dramatic. And after 20 days, I felt like a teenager again.
Chronic inflammation is the villain responsible for some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer's. The interaction of inflammation and these diseases has spawned a plethora of therapies including supplements, diet plans, and lifestyle programs to conquer the enemy.
Dr. Will Cole, author of "The Inflammation Spectrum," tells Newsmax that over 50 million Americans have an autoimmune condition while millions more are somewhere on the autoimmune-inflammation spectrum.
"Someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds, and a shocking one in two men and one in three women will get cancer," he says. "This level of disease is not normal and all of these conditions have one thing in common: inflammation."
Symon has managed to keep his joint pain under control by identifying and avoiding the main culprits causing his inflammation: dairy, sugar, and processed flour.
"Since I hate the word 'diet,' I wanted to try more of a lifestyle change," he says. "The initial reboot was a challenge, but, once I learned my triggers, it has been relatively easy. People should not feel the pressure of a 'diet,' as I feel it leads to failure."
Symon chronicled his experiment and turned his experience into his sixth cookbook, "Fix It with Food: More than 125 Recipes to Address Autoimmune Issues and Inflammation." In the book, he helps readers learn to identify their own triggers, satisfy cravings in a healthy manner without sacrificing flavor, and create a realistic meal plan.
Symon says he still consumes meat but eats smaller portions and balances his food with other sources of protein. He uses fresh herbs to spice up vegetarian dishes, which tend to be bland, he says. He admits in his new book that he still enjoys a "bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day, or a crock of creamy mac and cheese in winter. But knowing what foods cause issues — and having at your disposal a selection of delicious recipes that avoid these triggers — put me (and you) in control and offers the best opportunity to live pain-free while still eating well."
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