An accidental experiment yesterday revealed the true power of inflammation and the fundamental reason why as a race, humanity is so ill from the inside out.
I’ve been known in the past for being self-righteous and it’s a trait I’d like to think I no longer have, but last nights meal out with some old friends hit home just how much what we consume wreaks havoc on our often quite fragile internal mechanics, so this post is a guide to all on the evils of certain food and drinks, not me being a smug bastard or a paragon of health.
I’ve been off the “inflammatories” for the best part of two months now and during that time, I have seen my weight come down to my target, my BMI likewise following suit, and the general lethargy and bloated feelings disappear completely.
Whilst Wim Hof (not that I’ve read thus far) doesn’t share any real nutrition advice to his acolytes, other than to eat a more plant-based diet, he does hit home on the impact inflammation has on the body, and the amount of deaths that are directly (actually covertly) attributed to inflammation. Think about that for a second, there are over sixty million deaths per year associated to inflammation, the main causes are heart attacks, stokes, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, all of which account for the number one cause of death in the West.
Perhaps controversially, put that against the one million Covid deaths, and to paraphrase the late and great Bill Hicks “where is my commercial, where is my war on food and alcohol, where is my lockdown”.
It’s also clear that those with high levels of inflammation have perhaps passed away more often from Covid than those without, and I have friends and colleagues who have seen this pattern and have gone on to develop dietary and exercise plans to reduce the risk of severe illness or even death.
As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, Dr Jacob Bronowski first brought inflammation to my attention with his book and series The Ascent of Man. During his life, he studied the evolution of Homo Sapiens closely, and shared the stark fact that our bodies are not built to withstand the barrage of inflammatory foods we gorge on each day. Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers for a reason, what they could grab, kill and eat sustained their bodies, and that happened rather well for hundreds of thousands of years, until a chance interbreeding of grasses in the Middle East created the first wheats, the first breads, the first crops, the first farms, the first towns, the list goes on and on until we get to where we are today, technologically advanced yet evolutionally retarded.
The Wim Hof Method teaches us to reduce the inflammation in our bodies via breath work, increasing oxygen levels and supercharging our system reduce the acidity and increase the alkalinity of the body, the key to a more healthy lifestyle. The cold therapy (via cold showers or ice baths) also helps to flush out inflammatory toxins from the internal organs. If we go beyond the practice and reduce or omit the amount of inflammatory food and drink in our diet, then not only does that put us closer to the lifestyle of our ancient ancestors, but it gives us all a better chance of longevity, and with that, as Wim says, we become “happier, stronger, healthier”.
So just what are the things we should avoid, what are the things we should include.
Well for me, there is no better article than the one I found via a random Duck search (to Duck Duck Go is to Google, without the sharing of personal data to Big Tech!).
The missive on Dr Jockers website clearly articulates what inflammation is and the why and the how we should avoid it.
Without asking for permission (the link to his website and an acknowledgement of how awesome the article is here should avoid any litigation), I’ve included the great “info-graphics” from the article here, as an at-a-glance guide on the dangers of inflammation and what we can do to avoid it.
Like I said, this is not me being self-righteous because I do most of these things already, it is simply a guide for others to consider because I am really seeing the benefits of this approach.
Last night I fell off the inflammation wagon. I went for a meal with two old friends, our table was a vast sharing platter, a communal smorgasbord of Western loveliness. Still avoiding meat, I took bread, I took grains, I took fried potatoes and tempura vegetables, all washed down with alcohol-free beer (which still contains hops). I left the bar so bloated that by the time I “fork-lifted” myself into bed a couple of hours later, I felt awful. I woke up this morning feeling crap, my stomach distended still from last nights overload.
OK I had a great night catching up with my old buddies, but today my system is screaming at me, telling me stay on the right path and ditch the bad stuff. I told it in no uncertain terms to pipe down a little as we still need to have fun, right?!
It’s not an easy path to take either, our brains have been hard-wired to crave sugar, to crave advertised fast-food, to opt for the brightly coloured and wonderfully packaged processed supermarket foods over the grey, boring and time consuming preparations from our vegetable racks, but if we can gain the power back over our minds and turn off the razzmatazz generated by highly-paid marketing consultants who want us to buy more and consume more, then maybe we can truly be happy, healthy and strong…