There are many health conditions that can benefit from dietary changes but some are not the obvious diagnoses like weight loss, diabetes, or heart health. Pelvic pain is one of the lesser known conditions that can benefit greatly from careful meal planning and food selection. If you are suffering, read on because selecting the right foods is one of the first steps to caring for yourself.
Inflammation plays a major role in chronic pain, so take control of your own health to soothe your body. Whole foods can actually help to reduce inflammation and participate in your healing process. Your anti-inflammatory diet should accomplish two things. First, you want to be eating foods that allow your body to process sugar slowly. Low glycemic foods actually help the body tackle inflammation. High glycemic foods, like cake, soda, white rice, white bread, cereal, pasta, and processed foods are associated with inflammation and pain. Remember, those high glycemic foods are responsible for causing your blood sugar and insulin levels to shoot up. High glycemic foods = hormonal havoc.
So, foods that contain fiber (like whole food plants) and healthy fats (like high-quality proteins) are a better choice for dealing with pain. Some of the foods that score well here: almonds, berries, chard, flaxseeds, tempeh. Did you know tempeh is a really good source of fiber? It sure is.
Second, focus on essential fatty acids, particularly how you balance your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. When it comes to essential fatty acids it’s not a matter of more is better. It is balance that is the key. Omega-6s tend to increase inflammation (a little omega-6s in the diet is necessary because of the role they play in the body’s immune response), while omega-3s decrease inflammation.
Foods containing omega-6 fatty acids are easy to come by in the standard American diet. What you need to be concerned with is choosing a small amount of healthy omega-6 foods and balancing them with omega-3 foods.
Spices and foods that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties:
- wild Alaskan salmon
- dark leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, collard greens)
- green tea and tulsi tea
- fermented foods (sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchee)
Foods that promote inflammation and should be avoided or rarely be a part of your diet:
- processed foods (refined flour, sugar)
- trans fats
- conventional dairy and all dairy if you are sensitive to lactose or the protein in milk
- conventional meat and poultry, opt for organic sources instead (choose hormone/ antibiotic free or pastured grain fed if possible)
You can get started on a anti-inflammatory meal plan for a happy pelvis by prepping this tempeh bacon for your breakfast tomorrow. Tempeh is on the fermented foods list. I’ve really grown to appreciate it’s flavor, texture, and easy preparation. Just imagine the benefiits this tempeh bacon will deliver to your body vs. real bacon. Even if you do enjoy a bit of bacon every once in a while, make sure this substitute is in the rotation. I served it here with some scrambled tofu seasoned with another inflammation soother, turmeric.
- 1 8-ounce pkg tempeh, sliced into 20 thin slices
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- Arrange tempeh slices in 2 13- x 9-inch baking dishes. Bring soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, chipotle chile powder, and ¼ cup water to a boil in small pan. Boil 1 minute. Pour over tempeh slices. Cool, then cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer tempeh slices to baking sheet.
- Brush each slice with oil and sprinkle with some paprika. Bake 10 minutes. Turn tempeh slices, brush with oil, and bake 5 minutes more, or until crisp and brown.