Megan Forbes, Registered Dietician, Educates on Inflammation

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Anti-Inflammatory Cooking Class

Inflammation is incredibly important. It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over our bodies and kill us.

Although acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term) and inappropriately deployed against the body’s own tissues. Inflammation is an innate response to injury, stress, or illness, poor gut function or eating toxic foods (high-toxin, high-sugar, high-processed, high-gluten, etc.) and induces an inflammatory response. When this response becomes the norm for your body, it becomes a low-level feature in your physiology and problems arise. It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, cancer and various degenerative conditions.

Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.

Before you think about any food’s anti-inflammatory properties, keep in mind we are talking about high quality food. Lower quality foods often have toxins or inflammatory agents in them, which initiates an inflammatory response in the body. The right high quality foods retain high levels of antioxidants and low levels of toxins, which means they don’t cause inflammation the way inferior foods do. Quality matters.

Here are some high quality foods; organic, grass fed, and non packaged/processed fresh foods. Using root vegetables is a great way to incorporate some soluble fiber and keep the body alkaline. Choosing good quality, lean protein foods with a variety and plethora of vegetables is ideal. Adding healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, grass fed butter or ghee, and olive oil are great ways to enhance the absorption of fat soluble vitamins while gaining powerful brain fueling nutrients that also keep every cell healthy and strong. By adding power foods to recipes you not only add flavor, but an abundance of nutrients and anti-inflammatory agents.

Enjoy these anti-inflammatory recipes and feel the difference:

Thai Pulled Chicken and Veggies 3 lbs organic pasture raised chicken breast 4-6 oz water 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 red onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 Tbsp fresh ginger 1 tsp salt 1 red pepper, chopped 1-2 apples (green) 1 sweet potato or squash chopped Chopped fresh parsley Turmeric (add after cooked, stir in)

Put everything in the crock pot starting with water and lemon juice, then meat, then the rest. Set on low for 6-8 hours. When you’re ready to serve, shred the chicken with a fork, holding one fork steady while pulling away with a second fork. Put over bed of greens with drizzled olive oil or chopped avocado or our homemade slaw OTHER VARIATIONS: - Buffalo or grass fed beef London Broil - Lamb or pork loin

Turmeric: anti-inflammatory and cancer preventative Black pepper: anti-inflammatory Parsley: anti inflammatory and cancer preventative

Veggie Slaw

~ 3 cups Shredded Cabbage 1-2 tomatoes 1 head of green onions, chopped 1 zucchini 1 cucumber 1 handful baby kale or other green of choice 1 bunch of basil Any other veggies in the fridge that you need to use up A couple splashes of lemon juice 3 tbsp. olive oil Optional Annie’s Honey mustard

Chop all of the ingredients and stir together. Can keep for @4 days. OPTIONS: Jicama, Purple cabbage, shredded beat, or apple as alternatives as well.

Basil : antimicrobial and anti inflammatory Black pepper: anti-inflammatory Recipe as a whole is very alkaline and abundant in nutrients

Mexican Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry

- 1 head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds) - ghee - 1 large or two small shallot - bell peppers chopped - 1/4 tsp. sea salt - 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper - 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro - 1 fresh lime

1. Chop the cauliflower into florets. Working in batches, pulse a few florets at a time in a food processor or blender until the cauliflower pieces are the size and shape of rice (be careful not to over-blend!). Set the riced cauliflower aside. 2. Chop shallot and peppers and sauté in ghee until slightly soft. 3. Add cauliflower and sauté for about 5 minutes or until its slightly tender. 4. Put cauliflower in bowl and toss with sea salt and cilantro and drizzle with lime juice.

Cilantro: anti-inflammatory

Fig Balls 2 cups soft pitted dates 6 dried figs, stems removed ½ cup ground shelled pumpkin seeds Pinch salt 1 scoop protein powder 1 tablespoon coconut oil 2 tablespoons hot water 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes mixed with 2 tbsp cocoa powder, for rolling dairy free dark chocolate chips (optional)

1. Place dates, figs, ground pumpkin seeds, salt, coconut oil and hot water into a food processor bowl fitted with knife blade. 2. Pulse until ingredients are well combined. 3. Spread coconut flakes on a plate or piece of waxed paper. Stir in optional cocoa, if using. 4. With two teaspoons, form walnut-size balls and drop date/fig mixture into coconut. Roll between hands into balls. 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes (optional)

Pumpkin seeds: anti-inflammatory contain higher ALA (alpha linolenic acid) Cocoa: anti inflammatory Coconut: anti-inflammatory and anti microbial

Cinnamon-Pecan Cookies 1 cup pecan halves and pieces 5 dates, pitted and roughly chopped 1 tsp ghee 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp cinnamon Pinch of salt Chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans and dates into food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Pulse in oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Continue to pulse until mixture forms a ball. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough, 1 tbsp at a time, onto prepared baking sheet, forming into balls with your hands. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until firm. Cool.

Cinnamon: anti-inflammatory Vanilla: anti-inflammatory

Ghee or grass fed butter: Butter is an unexpected source of cognitive enhancement, and contains one ingredient that studies show is beneficial for cognitive function and gut health called butyrate. Butyrate is a short chain saturated fat and anti-inflammatory. According to three studies, the most common class of genetic neurodegenerative diseases are delayed in mice with the treatment of butyrate.

Butyrate protects against intestinal permeability in rat models of ulcerative colitis. This shows that short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate, play an important role in the maintenance of gut barrier integrity. Butyrate also sharply reduces the harmful effects of type 1 diabetes in rats. The highest concentration of butyrate may be found in high quality organic grass-fed butter.

Other varieties of these cookies can be made, there’s really no going wrong, here is another example not prepared in class today…

Megan can be reached at Forbes Nutritional Consulting.