Book Review: A new look at the number one cause of pain, disease and premature death in the U.S.
By Dr. Mha Atma S Khalsa
Dr. David Seaman has been lecturing to chiropractic audiences and writing articles about the connection between diet and inflammation for over a quarter century. For years I have been referring folks to his website, deflame.com. Finally he's written a book for lay people: The Deflame Diet:
Deflame your diet, body and mind. It lays out clearly and simply, and in a rather blunt and edgy fashion, how to rid your body and mind of the chronic inflammation that plagues our society and drives obesity, chronic pain, and diseases ranging from arthritis to asthma to diabetes to cancer and many others.
The key says Dr. Seaman in this well-referenced science-based book, is to eliminate (or greatly reduce) from your life what he calls "dietary crack" and to instead live on foods that offer nutritional support and do not stimulate chronic inflammation. He tells us that Americans get 60% of all of their calories from "dietary crack" (and we all love it and want it) which encompasses the main drivers of chronic inflammation. Dietary crack includes refined sugar, refined grains, grain flour products, trans fats, and refined omega-6 seed oils (corn, safflower,sunflower, peanut, soy and others).
The sensible approach he lays out makes it clear that a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can vary widely as long as it eliminates most dietary crack and includes a generous amount of vegetables and leafy greens. Thus some folks can gravitate to a "paleo" diet (lots of meat + veggies) , or a "ketogenic" diet (lots of fat from meat, dairy, nuts, etc. + only low-carb vegies and very little fruit), or a vegatarian diet or a low-fat vegan diet--and they all can work as long as they don't contain dietary crack. This flexibility and clarity allows the reader to choose an approach that fits their personal preferences and values, and to thrive and be healthy as long as they drop dietary crack (with occasional indulgences). From the book: "The key to being a healthy meat eater OR vegan is to avoid 'dietary crack' -- we all need to dump the refined sugar, flour and oils from our diet."
Foods and beverages that can be included in an anti-inflammatory diet include grass fed meat and wild game, meat, wild caught fish, shellfish, chicken, omega-3 eggs, cheese, vegetables, salads (leafy greens), fruit, tubers (potatoes, yams, sweet potato), nuts (raw or dry roasted), omega-3 seeds (hemp, chia, flax), dark chocolate, spices of all kinds, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, cream, avocados, bacon, red wine and stout beer, and coffee and tea. Dr. Seaman makes it clear that eating fat is not the main problem in driving inflammation--it's refined carbs and other dietary crack that causes most of our health problems.
There are chapters in the book that explain why beans can be a good anti-inflammatory choice especially for vegetarians, and why whole grains are ok if necessary but much inferior to vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans. (Note that the dietary crack list includes "grain flour products" which includes bread, pasta, pancakes, waffles, and other stuff made from flour, but not whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or oatmeal.) There are chapters that explain the science behind how foods cause or reduce inflammation, and others that explain how taking de-flaming supplements (like vitamin D, fish oil, and magnesium among others) can enhance the positive effects of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Reading this book and implementing its basic guidelines can change your life, and it could dramatically change our society and our societal health care challenges if everyone were to follow these guidelines. Everyone won't, but you could!
(The book is available at Dr. Seaman's website, deflame.com, and at our office.)