Contributor Stefanie Freeman
I first wanted to thank Stefanie for not only sharing her story so openly and honestly but for providing some easy and delicious recipe ideas that help reduce inflammation. Thank you Stefanie!
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I am an author and Certified Holistic Health Coach who was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age three. I spent years zigging and zagging through a medical maze, searching for relief from daily pain and stiffness. Infertility, chronic illness and exhaustion were a part of my life. I refused a future of illnesses, surgeries and a wheelchair and found a naturopath who listened to me in a way no other doctor did. He ordered a blood test called C-reactive protein, that revealed abnormally high inflammation in my body. This was so important because almost every modern disease is caused by or affected by hidden inflammation, including heart disease, cancer, obesity and dementia, as well as arthritis, autoimmune diseases allergies, and digestive disorders. Knowing why constant pain was my forever companion was a big deal, but learning what I could do about it was a different story entirely. My doctor handed me a pamphlet about an anti inflammatory diet and I left his office. Full of excitement and hope for the first time in 46 years.
The very next morning, without a thought, I drove to the local grocery store. I had no list and honestly had no idea why I was there, until I slowly started walking down the middle isles, the ones you should stay out of. I walked up to some of my favorite foods like starburst jelly beans, peppermint patties, bagels and Doritos to name a few. I picked up each bag and said goodbye. Goodbye to the foods I would never eat again.
When I returned home I learned about the foods I would be eating. The foods that would be my medicine and nourish my body. The foods that would kick out the inflammation. The first three things to go were gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Within 6 months my inflammation level dropped to almost zero. This was 8 years ago.
I took my new insights into inflammation triggers and chronic pain flew off my radar and my energy skyrocketed. I immediately started to focus on other people’s complaints about pain and fatigue. With every migraine, IBS, or arthritis story I heard, I shared my secrets about inflammation and disease.
When I realized I could heal through food I wanted to shout it from the roof tops and help others, but as a sports journalism major in college, who was going to listen to me. I heard about The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I watched a webinar the very next day. I signed up and it was truly a life changing decision. In 2016 I became a Certified Holistic Health Coach and have been helping people reduce inflammation and feel better ever since.
When I began my anti-inflammatory lifestyle I looked to functional medicine practitioners to learn all that I could.
I cut gluten, refined sugar and dairy out of my food choices. I also learned that it is not only what you eat but what you put on your body, as your skin is your largest organ, as well as what you clean your house with.
I realized early on that switching to gluten free products was not a good decision. Pre packaged gluten free foods are also filled with junk. I started eating tons of organic fruits and vegetables along with grass fed beef and organic chicken.
I scoured cookbooks and found that Jennifer’s Kitchen by Jennifer Esposito became my favorite for gluten free bread and a yummy grain free carrot cake that I make into muffins that I love for breakfast.
What I eat for breakfast
- Organic coffee with coconut cream
- A grain-free carrot muffin
- Gluten free oats (oats are gluten free but there can be some cross contamination) topped with real maple syrup, dried cherries and a banana
- Eggs and a gluten free bagel
- A pea protein vanilla shake with collagen, organic wild blueberries and organic raspberries.
- A salad with homemade garlic vinaigrette
- Chickpea salad
- Green lentil pasta lasagna with spinach and basil
- An organic grass fed hamburger with sweet potatoes, asparagus and a salad
- Mushroom red lentil Risoni
My favorite food brands
- Explore lentil pasta
- Primal Kitchen ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise
- Hu vegan chocolate
- Ice Cream – Nada Moo ice cream, Jeni’s dairy free frozen dessert
- Siete chips, wraps and taco shells
- Natierra organic dried mango
- So Delicious coconut yogurt
- Anna B’s Gluten Free Bagels
- Abby’s Better nut butters
My favorite makeup brands
- Dime beauty
- Dazzle Dry nail polish
- Skin care/body wash
- Duross & Langel
- Each & Every Deoderant
- Organic Hempseed oil and a guasha
- Henry Rose perfume
- Scout & Cellar clean crafted
- Non toxic cleaning products
- Young Living Thieves
When I cleaned up my life and kicked out the inflammation, I really started living at pain free and joyful life!!!