Today’s post features a few key takeaways from a recent Wellness Your Way podcast interview. Find the full episode here, and be sure to subscribe to Wellness Your Way so you don’t miss future episodes!
Guest Bio: Dr. Carolyn Williams
Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, is a leading culinary nutrition expert and 2017 James Beard Journalism Award winner who’s developed a knack for breaking down complex science into quick, reader-friendly tips. The author of two cookbooks, Meals That Heal: 100+ Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less (Tiller Press, June 2019) and Meals That Heal – One Pot (The Experiment, September 2022), Carolyn is a sought-after speaker on anti-inflammatory eating and managing chronic inflammation through lifestyle. Her work is regularly featured in print and online for lifestyle brands and media outlets such as EatingWell, Real Simple, Cooking Light, and Allrecipes.
Top Insights from Dr. Carolyn Williams’ Interview
- Williams’ interest in anti-inflammatory foods stemmed from researching for an article about Alzheimer’s. She wrote about how an anti-inflammatory eating style could be a powerful intervention for the condition, and started to then discover the power of anti-inflammatory foods for combatting various health conditions like heart health, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, joint pain, digestive issues, elevated blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and more. Through more and more research, she realized that low-grade, chronic inflammation is virtually responsible for every chronic condition we (as a society) are dealing with today!
- Inflammation is on a continuum. Every human has some inflammation in their bodies, and inflammation is actually a helpful process (see more on that here), but the key is to keep it at a low level.
- Reducing inflammation gets harder as it progresses. “Catching” inflammation as it starts to creep up in our bodies, and even better, preventing it before it becomes a chronic issue, is always more effective than trying to reverse it when it turns into a full-blown condition.
- Common signs of inflammation include: fatigue, brain fog, puffiness or bloating, digestive discomfort, new sensitivities to foods or beauty products, headaches, heartburn, and inability to lose weight.
- Some of the most common triggers for inflammation are: highly processed foods (because they disrupt the gut lining and thus the microbiome), artificial food colorings, too much alcohol or added sugar, and processed meats (like bologna and hot dogs).
- Stress management and good quality sleep are critical to maintaining a healthy inflammation level. Williams says, “everything starts with sleep … and most adults need 7-8 hours of good quality sleep.” For more tips on how to improve sleep naturally, see this article.
- If meal prepping fully complete meals isn’t for you, you can still make progress with prepping! Williams keeps the following things on hand: leafy greens and roasted vegetables, protein (salmon, tuna, grilled chicken, and shrimp are her favorites), whole grains, and healthy condiments. With those ingredients, she can always throw together a tasty meal, even without planning! She believes that condiments make everything better and keeps several healthy options on hand.
- When buying store bought condiments, look at ingredient lists first. For dressings, look for healthier oils (see this post for more on cooking oils) and ingredients that you fully recognize. With healthy ingredients and minimal added sugar, they can be a great alternative to making your own every time!
Want to hear the full episode, including Dr. Williams’ 5 favorite anti-inflammatory foods, and so much more?
Head over here to catch the full episode with Dr. Carolyn Williams!
Want to get your hands on her cookbook that is “the book I wish I had written”? Find it here!
Now it’s your turn! What is one thing you learned from this interview? What’s one thing you’re committed to changing after learning from Dr. Carolyn Williams?
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