Discoid Lupus Erythematosus has been nagging me since I was 15. It’s an autoimmune dis-ease where my immune system attacks healthy tissue and makes it inflamed. I’m one of the lucky ones that experiences more of an annoyance than any really challenging symptoms. But they are there. One of my goals this year is to put my Lupus in permanent remission. I’m doing this by eliminating the foods that could possibly cause inflammation – gluten, dairy, eggs, coffee, black tea, alcohol, sugar and nightshade vegetables. I’m stripping back my diet in hopes that by eating foods rich in probiotics and giving my gut a chance to heal, I can beat this dis-ease into submission.
But then there are the other dimensions that make us human – our mind and our spirit. I have been thinking a lot about the inflammation in my life. The stress. The irritated or angry reactions to situations in my life. The negative self talk. I believe that what we focus on is food for our mind. It can be an inflammatory as eating foods that react with our system.
Spiritually, we become inflamed when we aren’t connected to our Source. The most common and most recommended way to do this is through meditation. When we are in tune with our spiritual side, we manifest good things in our lives more readily, we navigate tough situations more gracefully and have an easier time seeing the positive in life.
The basic definition of inflammation is a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection. You can definitely apply this to your emotions. Think about how red in the face a person gets when embarrassed or angry. How painful negative emotions are. Being stressed out is not a pleasurable experience. It hurts.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is always a balance being made between yin energy which is cool and passive and yang energy which is active and hot. In the West, we have an abundance of yang energy. I believe it’s to our detriment. Look at the number one killer for people in the West – heart dis-ease. Your body is controlled by the brain which is where your thoughts originate. If people focused on the inflammatory or yang energy they were generating with their aggressive and me-first attitudes, it’s likely that heart dis-ease would become less of an occurrence.
If you aren’t grappling with an auto-immune dis-ease, you probably don’t need to take drastic measures with your diet. Little tweaks to your lifestyle can make a big difference. For instance, reducing fried foods and meditating for 5 minutes a day would be a good start. Or reading a really great book by Byron Katie called ‘Loving What Is” and learning more about how to gain control over your emotions would be another.
Start small on eliminating inflammation into your life. Allow small changes to have a big impact.