These are some helpful resources for crafting your own anti-inflammatory eating plan. I don’t believe in the one-size-fits-all diet plan, so I am always on the lookout for ways to tweak my eating habits to better support my own body’s unique needs. If you have some favorite resources, please share them in the Comments section!
Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation Patient Education Sheet: Anti-inflammatory Diet, by Keith Wilkinson, ND, Naturopathic Physician, at Arthritis Health, Scottsdale, AZ.
Journal Articles About Nutrition and Autoimmune Diseases
The Moisture Seekers Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation Newsletter: “An Inside Look at Sjogren’s and Gluten-Free Diets” (K. Wilkinson, Vol. 32, No. 9, October 2014, p.1, 14.)
Journal of Gluten Sensitivity: “The Connection Between Gluten Intolerance and Sjogren’s Syndrome” (Alexander R. Shikhman, MD, PhD, FACR, 2011. pp.22-23.)
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology: Gluten Sensitivity in Patients with Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome (2007, Vol. 42, No. 8, pp. 962-967.)
Immunology Letters: Induction of regulatory T cells by green tea polyphenol EGCG (Volume 139, Issues 1–2, 30 September 2011, pp. 7–13.)
The Immune System Recovery Plan (2013) by Susan Blum, MD, MPH
This book is a wonderful resource for autoimmune patients looking for specific information about how to talk to their doctor(s) and take an active role in managing their own health. See my full review here.
Meals That Heal Inflammation (2012) by Julie Daniluk, RHN
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk’s new book has proved to be a gem, both for its recipes and as a guide for approaching the elimination diet in a sane and sensible way. She writes about nutrition passionately and accessibly, making complex concepts easy to understand. My best praise for her approach is for her understanding that each person has unique nutritional needs based on genetics, lifestyle, and health factors like autoimmune disease. Instead of pushing a one-size-fits-all eating plan like so many of the more sensational diets with catchy names (I’m looking at you, Paleo!), Ms. Daniluk encourages everyone to become his or her own best nutrition advocate and then provides some key tools for doing so. If you’re struggling to revamp your diet and commit to a healthier way of eating, I definitely recommend checking out this book. See my full review here.
The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World — Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You (2008) by Daphne Miller, MD, with Nutrition Consultation from Allison Sarubin Fragakis, MS, RD.
I read this book a few months before being diagnosed with Sjogren’s. Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I realize I was already, intuitively, groping my way toward a way of eating that would improve my compromised health.
Dr. Miller, a family physician in San Francisco, CA, traveled the world researching the healing properties of indigenous diets associated with epidemiological “cold spots” — that is, areas where there are dramatically few instances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Her rationale for writing this book appeals to me both emotionally and intellectually. I appreciate her reasoned, well-researched observations. I’m really, really sick of the sensational, hyperbolic claims of every latest fad diet, even the ones that seem to have some solid basis in science. By contrast, The Jungle Effect’s language and health claims are refreshingly down-to-earth.
“Browse through the health and nutrition section of any bookstore, and you will find that most diet books, whether they are intended to help you lose weight, transition through menopause, or fight heart disease, have one thing in common: they have been invented at some recent point in time by one or a few individuals. This book is quite different. The foods and eating plans recommended are not based on the ideas or observations of a doctor, chef, nutritionist, or supermodel. Nor are they based on laboratory experiments with humans or rats. Rather they have been developed over centuries by indigenous people living on the land in remote places around the globe. …Indigenous diets are born when a group of people use their traditional knowledge to make a complete diet using local foods. These diets have slowly evolved in a natural setting and have stood the test of hundreds of years.”
– The Jungle Effect
The Jungle Effect is not an anti-inflammatory eating plan per se, but Dr. Miller’s approach to nutrition nonetheless offers excellent suggestions and persuasive qualitative research for a holistic approach to healthier living. I’ll be folding her recommendations and recipes into my new way of life living with and managing Sjogren’s Syndrome. I recommend reading the whole book for Dr. Miller’s compelling patient profiles and common-sense wisdom, but you can find the recipes on their own (as a free, downloadable PDF) here.
Inflammation Factors & the IF Rating (TM) System
The IF Rating (TM) system was developed by Monica Reinagel, MS, LN, CNS. This database is available online at Inflammation Factor. Please visit Inflammation Factor for a full explanation of how the IF Rating (TM) system works and how to use it. In the beginning, I found this a useful tool for getting familiar with the anti-inflammatory or inflammation-causing potential of various foods. However, many foods are not included in the database (the values for which are calculated using available USDA data). Furthermore, relying on IF ratings alone creates the risk of oversimplifying the complexity of human nutrition, particularly with respect to chronic illness. For example, this book takes into account neither the synergistic effects of certain foods, nor the potential complications caused by an individual’s sensitivities to certain allergenic foods, so I recommend it only as a supplemental resource and not as the sole resource around which to build an anti-inflammatory diet.
Clean Cuisine and More
Ivy and Dr. Andrew Larson’s Clean Cuisine And More website has been a great source of inspiration and information for me. Ivy Larson lives with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and has been managing this autoimmune disease through an anti-inflammatory diet for over a decade. Her recipes are easy and delicious, and each one explains her selection of ingredients and how they support an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Dr. Andrew Larson’s articles about nutrition are written accessibly, without the sensational hype of so many fad eating plans. Seeing Ivy Larson’s success in managing MS through her diet and exercise choices has really encouraged me to be proactive about managing Sjogren’s Syndrome (and, I hope, preventing any further autoimmune complications).