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  • Writer's pictureStacie Haaga


Updated: Oct 31, 2022

The truth is, any food can cause inflammation – but some are more inflammatory than others! As a functional dietitian, I have seen some crazy symptoms resolve when we remove trigger foods and start focusing on gut repair.

How do you know if you have inflammation?

Most of the time, just not feeling well is a good sign you have inflammation. It can manifest itself in any disease that ends with an "-itis" or "-osis", along with eczema, acne, IBS, headaches and more. And if you are experiencing one, two or multiple chronic or autoimmune diseases, know that it's not "normal" and it doesn’t just "run in the family" - it's a warning flag that you're gut is inflamed!⁠

So which foods cause inflammation?⁠

By and large, the most inflammatory foods have one thing in common: they are processed. Nearly every food product in the cereal, cracker, chip, cookie aisle of the grocery store is generally more inflammatory because they contain:

  • Gluten

  • Highly refined grains

  • Dairy

  • Sugar

  • Hydrogenated oils

  • Trans-fats

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Artificial ingredients

A good rule of thumb is to skip foods that have a label. By focusing on a whole foods diet, free of synthetic ingredients, you will greatly reduce the inflammation in your body because making dietary changes is the first step to reducing inflammation and minimizing symptoms!

Avoiding these foods is a great first step to healing your gut and reducing inflammation. I recommend you start by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store - can you avoid those junk food aisles? Try it for 2 weeks and see how you feel! Generally, you should see improvement in how you’re feeling.

Is your food making you sick?

Yes, it's quite possible that your food is making you sick. While it may not be the only cause, it's likely a contributing factor. Trust me when I say, “Your body wants to be healthy!” You just have to put in the right conditions to allow it to function optimally. And the first step is always removing inflammatory foods.

Everyone is unique – sometimes avoiding the above foods just isn’t enough, but it's an excellent place to start. Choosing whole foods will help to calm down the immune system and decrease symptoms. If symptoms continue, food sensitivity testing can be helpful in identifying one's best foods. I use the Mediator Release Test (or MRT test) and the Lifestyle Eating and Performance (LEAP) diet - it has been a game changer for me and for hundreds of my clients... because sometimes even "healthy" foods can cause an immune response from the body.

The test will tell us what foods are inflammatory and identify foods to decrease inflammation. I use test results as a roadmap for an elimination diet - by doing this, we are able to significantly reduce symptoms and allow the gut to begin healing itself in as little as 2 weeks. From there, we gradually introduce foods and build a healthy diet based on foods that do not provoke an inflammatory response, while also addressing leaky gut syndrome. It truly is the most patient-specific, best anti-inflammatory diet I have used in practice.

If you believe your food is making you sick, it might be a good time to clean out the kitchen, clean out the pantry, and re-stock with whole foods! Use this symptom survey to determine your level of possible food-related inflammation and schedule a Strategy call to determine your next steps!


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