While people living anti-inflammatory lifestyles can follow food lists and protocols that differ, I've seen some of the same traps arise time and time again when it comes to eating habits (for myself and others!) If you're starting to transition to an anti-inflammatory diet or if you have been on it for a while and want to reassess your patterns, here are 5 traps to be on the lookout for:
1) Avocados. Avocados are yummy and easy to eat. It is easy to fill my days with 2-3 avocados as a substitute for cheese and as an easy go-to snack. Be aware that too much avocado might not be beneficial for your health. Many of the suggestions I have seen recommend no more than one avocado per day.
2) Nuts. On an anti-inflammatory diet, many recipes call for nut flour as a substitute for grain flour. Nuts can be a great substitute for creating baked goods, and can be great snacks as well! However, be careful not to overdo it - most recommendations I have seen call for about ¼ cup of nuts per day.
3) Meat, meat, meat. Getting rid of a bunch of addictive foods like sugar, wheat, and dairy leaves my body wanting to transfer my food addiction to a different source. I have observed in myself and others the tendency to overeat meat to make up for lost addictive foods. I try to go without meat as many times as I can per week so that I can focus on eating more plants! Do what feels right for you.
4) Almond milk. I LOVE milk and when I was told that I shouldn’t have dairy anymore, I quickly found a good substitute (or so I thought): store-bought almond milk. I used almond milk in my hot drinks, to make smoothies, and often to just drink when I was hungry. So on a daily basis I had at least one cup of almond milk. When I was told by my health practitioner that she doesn't recommend using almond milk more than a few times a week and no more than ¼ cup per day, I was crushed. I was also informed that most store-bought almond milk actually contains very few - if any - almonds, and is mostly flavored water that is thickened (often with thickeners you want to avoid consuming!)
5) Roots and tubers. Honestly, I could eat roots and tubers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, I also remember my doctor's recommendation to keep root and tuber consumption in check, trying to stay closer to consuming them 3-4 times per week, rather than every day.
It would be easy to see these traps as threats. However, I encourage you to realize that once you know they are there, you can avoid them! And know that there will be many more to discover :) Lifelong learning is in front of us!