What is Inflammation?
All over this website we talk about how the SHAPE Program helps reduce inflammation. But, what exactly is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s healthy response to injury or acute infection. If you break your arm, you want your body to send all of its efforts to that area so it can heal. With an infection, like food poisoning, your body creates inflammation to get that poison out as quickly as possible so that it’s doesn’t cause serious damage. This is why you have an inflammatory response! It can keep you alive and accelerate healing in certain situations.
Inflammation becomes a problem when it doesn’t go away after a threat subsides or shows up when there’s no real threat at all. This is considered chronic inflammation, and it is one of the main underlying causes of many common symptoms and conditions.
If you experience any of these, you are dealing with chronic inflammation:
- Chest pain
- Eczema/ Psoriasis
- Environmental allergies
- Food allergies
- Heart disease
- Hot flashes
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Sinus problems
- Weight gain
Chronic inflammation can have many causes: surgery, injury, aging, immune deficiency, long-term physical or emotional stress, to name a few. But, a diet containing sugar-laden and processed foods is one of the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation.
Here is a list of common inflammatory foods:
- Artificial colors (in candy, juice, powdered drink mixes)
- Artificial preservatives
- Artificial sweeteners
- Deep-fried foods (fried chicken, French fries, donuts)
- Excess alcohol (beer and wine, but especially hard liquor)
- Excess caffeine (energy drinks, coffee, tea)
- Hydrogenated oils (in margarine, pre-packaged baked goods)
- Monosodium glutamate, or MSG (in salty junk food like flavored chips)
- Processed meat (bologna, deli meat made with nitrates/nitrites)
If you have food sensitivities or allergies, you would add those foods to the above list. For example, if you have Celiac disease, anything containing gluten would be inflammatory.
Common allergenic foods include:
- Baker’s yeast (not nutritional yeast)
- Fish, shellfish
- Gluten – wheat, rye, barley and some oats
- Nightshade vegetables – eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes
The SHAPE Program eliminates inflammatory foods and offers you an opportunity to discover food sensitivities and allergies. In Phase I of the program, your body gets a chance to cleanse toxins (and excess weight, if that is one of your goals) and significantly reduce chronic inflammation. Then, in Phase II, you start slowly adding back foods you eliminated in Phase I. While in Phase II, be sure to pay attention and make note of any inflammatory reactions.
Inflammatory reactions can include:
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
- Skin rashes
- Weight gain
Then, in Phase III, you can slowly re-introduce carbohydrates such as beans, grains, root vegetables and even some sweets (to the extent you feel comfortable – some choose not to re-introduce these foods at all). Because your body is cleansed and no longer inflamed, you will be able to get an accurate assessment of the foods that work for you and those that do not. You may find that some of your favorite foods were the ones that contributed to the symptoms you were experiencing before beginning your SHAPE Program journey.
The SHAPE Program is designed to restore and transform total health. It is successful for so many people because it gets to the root cause of so many common health problems, namely inflammation.