What Everyone Should Know About Inflammation

This is a true story about inflammation that I could literally see with my own two eyes.  It was quite interesting actually to see it up close.

My beautiful daughter who is a third-grade school teacher, was on medication to aid her with weight loss.  She had a terrible allergic reaction to the medication. Next, she broke out in hives/whelps all over her body. Just so you know, this kind of inflammation is brought on by histamine.

Before I continue, you should know that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the product links I’ll receive some compensation that will support my addiction to all things coffee.  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

She needed something to soothe her skin.  I volunteered to go to Walgreens to pick up some Aveeno lotion to help her get some relief.

Now, she hadn’t eaten dinner so she wanted something quick and easy so ramen noodles to the rescue… Or not.

I stayed with her while she ate and I kid you not, about 15 minutes after she ate those noodles, her hives turned bright red and doubled in size!

Inflammation at work

This my friend, is inflammation at work. The fact that she had hives was bad enough, but eating those glutinous noodles put her in an advanced state of misery.  The poor thing!

Now, sadly I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t tell her or advise her not to eat this particular food because she’s a grown woman. (And I’m still her mother and she’s not going to listen to me anyway.)

What’s the point of this story?
Sometimes it takes getting kicked while you’re down to understand how inflammatory foods affect you.

Gluten gets a bad rap.   However, there are quite a few other foods that cause and aggravate inflammation, illness, bone and joint conditions beyond arthritis and bring on headaches and migraines seemingly out of left field until you investigate the cause.

I know all too well how unhealthy eating habits can take their toll on a person’s quality of life. Long story short, I have lost as of today 176 lbs. Yes, I had weight loss surgery which was only the beginning of an entirely new way of life and journey to health and fitness.

Replace inflammatory foods with anti-inflammatory foods


What everyone should know about inflammation - Embracing-Aging.com

Omega 3 found in fish help put out the flame in inflammation. Feel free to pin this image.

The sooner one can make the necessary food substitutions the sooner one can get on the path to feeling healthier, energetic and vibrant. I believe the most important part of eating better,  when replacing an inflammatory food with an anti-inflammatory is to make it easy. A perfect example adds olive oil to your cooking replacing vegetable oil.  Starting with small adjustments will motivate you to do more to feel better.  I wrote Superior Foods for Optimal Nutrition to inform myself and others about foods containing the most nutritional value.

8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation

When you have arthritis, your body is in an inflammatory state. What you eat may not only increase inflammation, it can also set you up for other chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  From Arthritis.org, here are 8 typical food ingredients that may trigger more inflammation in your body.


It may be hard to resist desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. However, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.

 Trans Fats

In the 1990s, Harvard School of Public Health researchers helped sound the alarm about trans fat.   Trans fats,  trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fats are in fast foods and other fried products.  Such as processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers, and most stick kinds of margarine. Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient labels.

Saturated Fats

Several studies have shown that saturated fats trigger adipose (fat tissue) inflammation.  This is an indicator of heart disease and also worsens arthritis inflammation. Pizza and cheese are the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. Other culprits include meat products (especially red meat), full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes, and grain-based desserts.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 6 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development. The body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega-6s can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals.  Fatty acids are in corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, soy oil, peanut oil, and vegetable oil; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.

 Refined Carbohydrates

White flour products (bread, rolls, crackers) white rice, white potatoes (instant mashed potatoes, or french fries) and many kinds of cereal are refined carbohydrates. According to Scientific American, processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conditions. These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.


Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor-enhancing food additive most commonly found in prepared Asian food and soy sauce, but it can also be added to fast foods, prepared soups and soup mixes, salad dressings and deli meats. This chemical can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation, and affect liver health.

 Gluten and Casein

People who have joint pain and are sensitive to gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye, or casein, found in dairy products, may find relief by avoiding them. And those diagnosed with celiac disease, in which gluten sets off an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine and sometimes causes joint pain may find relief when they adopt a gluten-free diet. There may be an overlap in which some people with arthritis also have a gluten sensitivity or also have celiac disease.


Trying to go sugar-free? I get it. For me, sugar is far more problematic than Aspartame.  This might not be true for you.  People with diabetes depend on sugar substitutes for blood sugar maintenance.

However, Aspartame is a non-nutritive, intense artificial sweetener found in more than 4,000 products worldwide. While it’s approved by the FDA, studies on its effects are mixed, and the impact on people with autoimmune disease are unknown. If you are sensitive to this chemical, your immune system may react to the “foreign substance” by attacking the chemical. This reaction will trigger an inflammatory response.


Alcohol is a burden to the liver. Excessive use weakens liver function and disrupts other multi-organ interactions. Furthermore, alcohol causes inflammation and should be eliminated or used in moderation.

Better food choices

Gluten is not the only offender. Especially if you’re fighting illness or dealing with arthritis or healing from an injury. Here is where the handy-dandy infographic comes in.

I see no need for reinventing the wheel, so I borrowed this infographic from Dr. Amy Neuzil, ND.  She is the author of What the Health. To read more you can go to her site dramyneuzil.com 

What everyone should know about inflammation - EmbracingAging.us

Infographic from What the Health

Keep track of your health and wellness

So the next time you aren’t feeling as good as you should, take a look at what you eat.  You can feel significantly better by switching out inflammatory foods for anti-inflammatory foods.

When I have a way to keep track of my food intake and exercise routines, I do so much better.  Using a habit tracker, food, and water tracker makes it clearer to me how I’m managing my health and wellness.

 You Can be 25 pounds Younger a Write-in Guidebook

The printable You Can be 25 pounds Younger a Write-in Guidebook, is full of questions for you to contemplate and tips to help you find your way back on track.  Most people know what they need to do. However, getting started can be half the battle.

Furthermore, being honest with ourselves is sometimes tricky when it comes to being accountable for what we eat and how much we exercise. Real progress comes when we are being really honest with ourselves. Using the tools included in this guidebook will serve you well if you use them every day.

Included are:

  • Items you may need list
  • Goal setting guides
  • Food, Water, Exercise and Habit Trackers
  • Weight and inches lost tracker
  • Resources to connect you to more valuable & helpful content

Also, there’s help for you to use positive thinking and visualization. Plus ways to help you stay focused are also included. The printable You Can be 25 pounds Younger a Write-in Guidebook is what helps you find your way back to vitality and regaining physical stamina

You Can be 25 Pounds Younger a Write-in Guidebook - EmbracingAging.us

You can be 25 Pounds Younger a Write-in Guidebook

Physical Stamina and Vitality

I reclaimed my physical stamina and vitality. However, I did it all on my own and it took me years and years to accomplish what I know today. It’s my most heartfelt wish to save you the time and impart to you the tools and information I’ve acquired to help you on your journey.

That’s all for today friends.  Finally, I hoped this post ” What Everyone Should Know About Inflammation” helped you.  I would be so appreciative if you would take a moment to share this post with your favorite social media outlet.  Please feel free to leave your comments and share your healthy aging tips.

I’m Karen with Embracing Aging,

Reminding you to Embrace Your Age.




What Clean Eating Means: Here Are Some Ideas to Get You Started

What Clean Eating Means

So, what does it mean when someone says they are “clean eating?” Honestly, it’s different for everyone. What’s normal for one, may not be for another. Before I continue, you should know that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the product links I’ll receive some compensation that will support my addiction to all things coffee.    What’s healthy for one may be a disaster for another.  These are some diets or styles of eating that are often considered clean eating styles.

Kiwis, Lemons, and Oranges What clean eating means. EmbracingAging.us

Clean eating can include fresh fruit for quick energy  Feel free to pin this image.

Some fruits and vegetables aren’t compatible with some medications.

The following is a list of clean eating styles

Then there are the foods you may NOT have due to religious views, allergies, or diet restrictions

  •  sweeteners
  •  sugar
  •  pork
  •  red meat
  •  processed foods
  •  shellfish

I’m sure you get the idea. There may be a combination of diet restrictions that constitutes clean eating for different people for different reasons.  Someone with type two diabetes is going to eat very differently than someone who is not diabetic.

Food and drug interactions

Let’s not forget how medications can also play a very prominent role in clean eating.  Someone on blood thinners is not going to be eating food that promotes clotting (foods high in vitamin k)
Grapefruit is very problematic for all different kinds of medications, always check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if there are any foods that would be best avoided when beginning a new medication.

About the time I turned 47, I learned that I have a sensitivity to dairy and gluten.   Could I say I was very strict about avoiding these foods?   Perfect, I’m not.  PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a condition that improves when avoiding dairy and simple carbs. (I wish I could say there was a cure but there isn’t one)  This is just a sample of how eating clean for me is probably different for you.

Fitness styles affect the type of foods you may need

Furthermore, there is so much to consider for different body types and styles of fitness that the science that goes into figuring out what each individual needs on their journey is enough to make one’s head spin.

Different types of athletes will eat different ways according to their protein, calorie and fat demands.  A bodybuilder isn’t going to eat the same way like a lean cyclist. A long-distance runner may not eat the same way as a female who goes to the gym 4-5 days a week trying to obtain an hourglass figure.

Wheat field, trees, and blue sky. EmbracingAging.us

Pay attention to how you feel after eating gluten. Headaches, joint pain, and gastric upset can be caused by gluten consumption.

Next time, if you hear the phrase “clean eating”, just know that you have to determine what’s going to work best for your body’s chemistry. You have to accommodate your body’s demands. Taking into consideration:

  1. Style of fitness
  2. Desired outcome
  3. Food allergies and sensitivities
  4. Medical conditions
  5. Medications
Wooden bowl and spoon with Kidney beans. EmbracingAging.us

Beans are a superfood and can add years to your life.

You Have to Practice Clean Eating According to Your Bodies Specific Needs.

So if I handed you a child-size shoe, and I said, “Here, this is a lovely shoe. It’s brand new in this lovely shade of blue. Wear this shoe and you’ll love it.” If you are a 6’2″ tall man with a size 11 foot, that lovely child-size shoe in blue, no matter how perfect it is, will not work for you.  Everyone has to define for themselves what clean eating means for them.

Web MD has this to say about clean eating The basic idea of clean eating is to choose foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. So instead of boxed, bagged, or packaged foods, choose fresh, whole ones. Think whole turkey instead of frozen turkey meatballs or raw grapes instead of gummy snacks made with fruit juice. Bonus: When you avoid highly processed foods, like chips, cookies, and ready-to-eat meals, you skip their loads of calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fat.


When it comes to drinks, I agree with what Web MD has to say:  Instead of sugar-heavy soft drinks and juices, sip low-calorie beverages, such as water and herbal tea. Water can curb your hunger and help you feel full, but it can also fend off fatigue and give you more energy. Miss flavored drinks? Try infusing your water with a slice of citrus or sprig of mint.

Artificial Ingredients

Artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and other manmade ingredients don’t have a place in a clean-eating diet. At the grocery store, read food labels and avoid items with the fake stuff.

Going Organic?

Some believe eating organic food is the best approach to clean eating.  This excerpt from Web MD says:  Organic farmers use natural pesticides and avoid man-made ones, so some people say organic produce is the best way to eat clean. It’s up to you to decide how important it is to your diet. You can also shop at your local farmer’s market to find out what kinds of pesticides the vendors use. Another tip: Pesticides usually wind up on the outsides of fruits and veggies, so you can choose non-organic foods with skins you don’t eat, like avocados, corn, and onions.

Basket of fresh vegetables. EmbracingAging.us

Eating food that’s fresh, vibrant and alive can make you feel the same way.

Medical News Today states:

Some people on a clean diet may refuse to eat foods that have been treated with hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, while another person may choose not to eat foods packaged in boxes or jars.

Magazines and books on clean eating often promise that a clean diet will help a person enjoy many health benefits. These can include heightened energy, glowing skin, and weight loss.

What Clean Eating Means Here are Ideas to Get You Started - EmbracingAging.com

What Clean Eating Means.  Feel free to pin this image.

However, according to an article in the British Medical Journal, many of the claims regarding clean eating are a “loose interpretation of facts.” While clean eating can help a person feel physically better, so can less-restrictive dietary approaches.

Not all additives are bad

Just because foods have additives does not mean they are unhealthful.

Some people on a clean eating diet may refuse to eat any foods that contain additives because they believe the food is not in its purest, natural state. However, there are some beneficial food additives.

Examples include vitamin D that can be added to milk to enhance bones or iron to orange juice. While these foods may not be pure in the literal sense, they can help a person achieve their daily nutritional needs.

However, some additives are not beneficial and could be described as dirty. An example is trans fats, which are added to foods to extend their shelf life. Trans fats are thought to increase a person’s cholesterol levels significantly, which can result in problems with heart health.

This is an example where making cleaner choices and avoiding trans fats can be beneficial.

If you would like to read more about the myths and facts of clean eating, visit Medical News Today.

What does clean eating mean to you?  I would love to know your thoughts on this fascinating subject.  Feel free to share this article if I was able to give you food for thought. (pun intended)

I’m Karen with Embracing Aging,

Reminding you to Embrace Your Age

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Healing Hip Pain

Healing Hip Pain through conventional medicine and healthy habits

At this moment, I am waiting to hear from my G.P.(general practitioner) He’s going to tell me about my x-rays taken of my hip yesterday at my annual physical.  Before I continue, you should know that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the product links I’ll receive some compensation that will support my addiction to all things coffee.

Now allowing my Dr. to help me with a plan of healing my hip pain is out of character for me.  I try to avoid the Dr. office at all costs. (punny, I know)  I’m pretty sure I already know what he’ll say but I don’t want to assume anything.

There will be advice:

  • take this for pain
  • don’t do this
  • do this instead
  • you’re not getting any younger (he actually said this to me in the office yesterday)
  • call me if you have further concerns.

My preference is to go the natural route, using holistic methods of healing:

  • healthy food
  • gentle physical therapy
  • massage
  • yoga

Too much of a good thing 

Truth be told about the situation I got myself in.  I love to work out at the gym, it’s my favorite thing to do; plug in my headphones and get swept away by my favorite songs while I do strength training, abs, and cardio in that order.

Currently, I am trying to firm loose skin from losing almost 180 pounds. I raised my single leg press to 130 pounds doing 2 sets of 8-10 reps. Then, I also raised my standard leg press to 350 pounds doing 2 sets of 10-12 reps. Well, my left hip said, “Really??? Are you sure about this??.

Coming up in three weeks was my annual physical and I thought if it’s not healed by then, I’ll bring it up at my visit. Meanwhile, my hip would loosen up after I would work out. In my downtime, sitting too long even for 30 minutes proved to be a problem, causing me to limp and favor my left hip plus it was much more painful and inflamed after sitting.

After my rest days, I felt somewhat better so I’d go workout thinking, “I’ll just work through the pain, it’s not bad, It’s tolerable, it’ll get better”.  I was pushing my luck.

Modifying exercise

While I sit at home writing this post as a cautionary tale for you to hopefully learn from my mistake.  I am a firm believer that the fountain of youth is found in strength training.  As I started to increase my weights, I should have paid closer attention to leg position, proper form is key to avoiding injury or making a condition worse like arthritis.

Healing Hip Pain Embracingaging.us

leg day

Moving forward, I’ll be doing leg day with fewer weights or no weights, but on the upside, I can still work out regularly. Thank the good Lord.

The most important part of healing is having a positive attitude. It is key that if I’m going to get past this speed bump in the road of life, a sense of humor and a lot of patience with myself will help me get through this.

Just now, my G.P. just called me and said what I expected him to say,  “Take this oral steroid medication.  Lay off the strenuous exercise for 2 weeks.  Next, call me. I wanna hear from you and see how you’re healing”.  Did I nail it or what? He also said “When patients say “doc it hurts when I do this______”(insert action) doc’s reply, “don’t do that.”  In other words, don’t push through pain while at the gym.

Food as medicine

Now I’m carving out a coordinating treatment plan that coincides with my Drs. advice and prescription medication include:

  • taking into consideration what foods to eat,
  • the amount of exercise,
  • rest
  • meditation/yoga.

In addition to adjustments in my workout routine, I’m choosing these foods to help with healing:

  • Tumeric- for its incredible anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Bone Broth- because it contains minerals, collagen, hyaluronic acid it’s essentially liquid gold.
  • Alkaline foods- to create a more conducive environment within my body for healing bone.
  • A gluten-free diet- to get a hold of inflammation

Next, the foods I’m limiting listed here because they provoke inflammation:

  • Sugar
  • Gluten (always read the label. Gluten is sneaky and hides in  unsuspecting places)
  • Acidic foods
  • unhealthy oils, (margarine, corn, especially partially hydrogenated oils)

The hardest part of this for me is, I’m not a fan of steroid use. I really thought long and hard if I should take this medication. Realizing an anti-inflammatory diet, a gentler workout routine, and balancing my approach to healing would be smart. Combining the help of the prescription with natural healing will be the key to getting well sooner.

Cleaning up my eating habits

Finally, I realized just how lax I had become with my gluten-free eating habits. Thinking I could pick and choose what foods containing gluten are worth the skin itching, brain fog, and leg aches were self-deception. In conclusion, this hip pain has my full attention and will be my best opportunity to really reflect on my nutritional habits and decide how I can do better.

Please feel free to share your words of wisdom and methods of healing that work well for you.

Thanks for stopping by

I’m Karen with Embracing Aging

Reminding you to embrace your age.

  • live longer
  • be stronger
  • get freebies and articles via e-mail

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.