How Can I Get Enough Calories On the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Question: I’ve started the “Anti-inflammatory Diet” because I’m in a LOT of pain all the time. It is to be expected because there is a family history of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’m sure I’ve exacerbated it further with contact sports, and a 13 year career in roofing construction.
That being said, I can’t stop working, obviously. And roofing is what I know. So, a problem that I foresee, is that I NEED a high calorie intake for what I do for work. I’m definitely burning off any calories I take in from my daily activities.
To the point, do you know off-hand of any high calorie, inflammatory-friendly foods? With fruits and vegetables and fish, I would literally have to eat ALL day to keep up with a 2500 calorie a day diet.
Answer: Hi Mike, thanks for the great question. I can see why that would be such a concern for you being so physically active throughout the day. I would recommend that you read my article on “The Healthy Weight Gain Diet” and add those tips to my advice for eating to reduce your inflammatory load.
You can easily add more calories in to your diet by adding high quality vegetable oils such as olive oil and canola oil. Because the phenolic acids in olive oil have been shown to have antioxidant benefit this should also reduce inflammation while boosting calories. I would also add RAW nuts and nut butters to your diet liberally as they are excellent sources of protein and fat.
I would start my day with a protein shake that includes whey protein powder (I use Designer Protein) a banana, 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds, and some almond butter or other sort of non-peanut nut butter. Check out “Dr. Nicole’s Smoothie Recipe” to learn how to make a smoothie. A high calorie smoothie full of protein and fiber should keep you full and satisfied feeling until lunch, while also reducing your inflammatory load.
You can smear avocados on sandwiches to increase calories or enjoy them as a snack as well. Coconut milk is rich in medium chained triglycerides and thus is a delicious and healthy source of calories! Keep in mind that there are plenty of athletes out there that eat a vegan diet and are able to still participate in endurance activities. It can be done, it just takes some time to find some new things that you like!
Remember that inflammation is not just about food it is also about smoking, alcohol, stress, and other lifestyle factors. If you are concerned you may have rheumatoid arthritis you should make a visit to your family doctor so they can do some blood work to test for that, if it turns up positive they will refer you to a Rheumatologist for further evaluation.
If chronic pain is already an issue for you now, you really may want to consider what kinds of career options may better suit your future needs. Most younger guys eventually tend to burn out and have to start their own construction company so that they can have more of a position in management than in labor.
Hope that gets you started in the right direction!
If anyone else has any tips for Mike feel free to leave them below in the comments section.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table to ask the question!