Julie Daniluk: How Food Can Heal Chronic Inflammation

Did you know things like white sugar, harmful fats and processed foods contribute to inflammation in the body, and that by eating the right anti-inflammatory foods, we can quell this internal heat?

As the bestselling author of “Meals That Heal Inflammation,” and co-host of the OWN Network’s Healthy Gourmet, Julie Daniluk RHN, NNCP, has helped thousands of people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process, and she joined Elevated Existence Magazine founder, Tammy Mastroberte, on the Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit to discuss the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet.

Her anti-inflammatory diet journey started following a trip to a small island in Thailand where she ate pad thai and ended up with severe food poisoning. She was taken to the nurses station, and they gave her antibiotics in order to save her life, but the lining of her gut was “destroyed” after it, and she “couldn’t eat anything without pain,” she said on the call.

She eventually started writing down foods she could eat that didn’t cause her harm, like squash and pureed spinach soup with hemp seeds, and this eventually grew into her book “Meals that Heal Inflammation.”

“I realized inflammation is so much broader then just digestive inflammation or that twisted ankle. It’s actually the background of almost every disease state on the entire planet,” she said. “Anything with the ending ‘itis’ is inflammation, as well as heart disease or Alzheimer’s. I really started to be passionate and to research it. That is how I wrote the front of the book, which is a scientific look at inflammation.”

Inflammation is actually a normal response the body has – it’s the body’s emergency response system or healing response, Daniluk shared.

“Without the trigger to the immune system to cause the heat, the swelling, the pain, an all those symptoms you are having, we would not be alerted to the fact that there is something terribly wrong,” she explained. “It’s jus the dashboard light going off, telling you the engine needs repair, and it’s important you notice it.”

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Inflammation Root Causes
Daniluk explained there are four main causes of inflammation in the body, all starting with the letter “I”:

Injury – This can be both a physical injury and an emotional injury, such as a loved one dies too early, or the loss of a job at a crucial point where it is really needed, said Daniluk.

“Those emotional traumas have a massive impact to our physiology,” she said. “Physical injury we except, but the emotional injury is harder to look at, and if we are willing to poke at those places that are really tender, where we just want to store it away under the carpet and forget about it, then we really do resolve pain.”

Infection – This is the leading cause of inflammation, including infections in the gums causing heart disease; infections like genital warts causing cervical cancer; the virus we get from cold sores, which expedites the amount of Alzheimer’s plaque on the brain; and Epstein Barr, which is a virus that can trigger chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

“We point fingers at fibromyalgia saying, ‘I have muscle pain,’ but we have to resolve the fact that your immune system didn’t set off a terrible virus,” she noted.

We need to give the body the nutrients needed to balance the immune system, which Daniluk explains in her book. One of the greatest things is plant sterols, which is a fatty substance in plants that helps balance the immune system, she said.

Imbalance – This can be an imbalance in hormones or nutrition, which go hand-in-hand, Daniluk noted. For example, PMS caould be caused by a deficiency of vitamin B6, which is causing a hormonal imbalance.

Irritation – Often caused by toxins from what we are eating and the allergies we are consuming. She described an irritant as something that should not be a trigger for someone, but triggers the immune system response. Also, there are many toxins in the environment we can’t get away from, and they build up in the body causing a hormonal imbalance. Once example is dry cleaning fluid, which is a “massive hormone disrupter,” she said. “It throws off your estrogen to the point that you have a massive inflammation response.”

Signs of Inflammation
While some inflammation causes pain and swelling, like a broken bone, many people have hidden inflammation that is not painful, such as heart disease. But the major signs are swelling, heat, redness and loss of function, said Daniluk.

“Loss of function is the most important silent symptom we have to be aware of, and some people say it’s just a sign of aging, but I don’t agree,” she explained. “Why are people in Tibet living to 100 clear-headed with no Alzheimer’s at all. We can live full, vital lives without inflammation and then die peacefully in our sleep. It is possible.”

Once a person hits full vitality, all of the symptoms will be absent. They will have clear skin, a working digestion and no fatigue, to name a few things.

“Write a laundry list of symptoms that you have – a fungal infection on your toe; a creaky knee that is bothering you; rosacea on your skin; eczema on your elbow – all of those are inflammation, and if we address the little symptoms as they occur then we don’t have to listen to the screams of inflammation as we get older,” she explained on today’s call. “People who have serious inflammation in their 60’s had the evidence of inflammation in their 20’s and 30’s.”

Allergies are also a sign of inflammation, where the immune system overreacts to environmental allergens such as pollen, and the anti-inflammatory diet can help in this are as well, said Daniluk.

“It’s a harmless little piece of pollen. Other people breath it in, and it doesn’t cause them any harm, but some people breath it in, and its is causing a massive release of histamine. Histamine is the body is a messenger of inflammation. It causes the swelling, redness and pain, and that is why the immune system overreacts,” she said. “We don’t have to take immune suppressant drugs. We can reduce the amount of allergies in our environment by changing our diet. I had one client who was severely allergic to ragweed and could barely function. She was knocked up on drugs and couldn’t think clearly. After being on the anti-inflammatory diet for three months, her environmental allergies went through the floor, and she could completely function without having to take antihistamine drugs.”

Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Healing inflammation starts with the gut because the gut has a domino effect on the rest of the body, said Daniluk. In fact, 70 percent of our nerve endings are wired directly to our gut lining, and one in four people have some type of digestive complaint.

“The equivalent of a cat-sized brain is wired all along your digestive system. If we can heal that, then it will translate into a balanced immune system and repair mechanism of the entire body,” she explained. “If we eat a piece of organic salmon or wild arctic salmon, we have the proteins brush up against the wall of the bowel, and will trigger a positive response in the joint tissue. The omega 3’s in fish trigger an anti-inflammatory response that goes directly to the knees.”

The most inflammatory foods are:

Deep Fried Potato Chips – One in 10 people are sensitive to an alkaloid in potatoes, and with chips we drop it into boiling oil at 400 degrees, and this triggers an inflammatory substance in the body. Not only that, but the oil itself is inflammatory and toxic because it is so highly heated that massive amounts of oxygen molecules are attracted to it causing free radicals in the body that cause conflict in the joints, bowels and muscles, said Daniluk.

French Fries – Same as above.

Deep Fried Corn Chips – “Deep fried corn is very inflammatory, but also Doritos have crazy flavorings on it like red dye and the artificial dye is actually extracted from cold tar. People don’t realize tar being a petrochemical is toxic to the brain, causing brain inflammation, which triggers depression, memory loss and ADD,” she said.

Refined Wheat Flour – This is not only higher on the sugar scale then table sugar, but it contains gluten, which can cause pain and inflammation in muscles and joints if a person is sensitive to it, Daniluk explained. “One in three people hold the gene to be sensitive to it. If you are sensitive and have an emotional trauma, all of the sudden you can start reacting to wheat.”

Sugar – New studies show sugar causes heart disease more than fat or stress, she noted.

When it comes to meat, Daniluk said it depends on how it is cooked. She went back to eating meat when she became allergic to everything, including dairy, corn, gluten, legumes, nuts, fish and poultry. She realized having pureed soup that had ground chicken it is helped her. She recovered from her bowel inflammation within two years.

“If you grill meat it becomes inflammatory, so don’t grill or fry it, but you can have small pieces of organic, ethically raised, local meat from a small farm boiled in soup,” she said.

Some of the most anti-inflammatory foods are:

Dark Leafy Green Vegetables – Eating these vegetable from the cruciferous family of plants, such as broccoli, kale and cabbage are master healers, containing huge amounts of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that quell inflammation quickly, Daniluk shared. For those who have hypo thyroid, it is better to cook then eat raw, because raw could slow down the thyroid. But hyper thyroid would do find with raw.

Berries – Raspberries, Blackberries, Goji berries, Camu Camu, Acai Berries, and even frozen blueberries.

Small, Sustainable Fish — Artic char, which is similar to salmon is very high in special peptides that heal the whole body and great for the omega 3’s, she noted. “Rapid healing starts with high omega 3 foods, so go for small fish. One of the best fish for healing fibromyalgia pain is halibut because of the need for malic acid with fibromyalgia.

Seeds – They are more nutritious then nuts and don’t have the same allergic reactions, said Daniluk. They are high in protein and Omega 3’s. These include flax seed, chia seeds and hemp seeds, and hemp seeds have Omega 3, magnesium, zinc and iron, which are all needed to heal inflammation. She recommends sprinkling on salads.


New “True Food” Cookbook by Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and a partner of True Food Kitchen, a restaurant chain, released a brand new cookbook “True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure,” with co-author Sam Fox, who is the founder and CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts.

Known for his anti-inflammatory diet, Weil’s newest book features a range of recipes – 125 in total – true to his teachings, and easy to make. Some options include Curried Cauliflower Soup, Corn and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli, Moroccan Chicken Salad, Chocolate Icebox Tart, Chocolate Banana Tart and Pomegranate Martini.

Although the book features vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free recipes, there is plenty for meat-eaters as well.

For more cookbooks, article on food and recipes, visit the Food & Recipes section of this site!