When I started my journey to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet in September 2018, my motivations were purely driven by a quest for relief from the persistent pain in my joints, particularly in my legs and wrist, which I later discovered was the onset of chronic inflammation.

As a runner, albeit a slow one, the pain often exceeded what I could bear. Desperate for relief and determined to steer clear of pharmaceuticals, I sought out alternative solutions.

Initially, my decision to eat plant-based had nothing to do with ethical considerations or compassion for animals. I actually approached the transition with skepticism, convinced that if relief didn’t manifest swiftly within a week, I would return to my former dietary habits, indulging in foods like meat, dairy, oil, salt and sugar without restraint.

However, to my astonishment, within just 24 hours of eliminating animal products from my diet, I began to experience a significant reduction in pain. Within a week, the pain had almost entirely subsided. A byproduct was the surprise that awaited me when I stepped on the scale. I had dropped five pounds.

I decided to give it another week, then another, then another feeling better by the day and watching the weight literally melt off.

This transformative experience marked the beginning of a lifestyle change that I have steadfastly adhered to for nearly six years.

Over time, my journey has evolved beyond dietary adjustments; I have embraced vegan principles, striving to minimize harm to animals by avoiding all consumption or utilization of animal-derived products.

The longer I adhere to a whole food, plant-based protocol, the more I appreciate all the health benefits, especially when it comes to chronic inflammation and its impact on my overall well-being.

Types of Inflammation: Why Chronic is So Detrimental

 Inflammation manifests in two main types: acute, which is a short-term response to injury or infection, and chronic, which is a prolonged, systemic condition often linked to lifestyle factors such as diet, stress, and habits like alcohol consumption.

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has become increasingly prevalent in today’s world, particularly in the United States, where lifestyle factors and environmental stressors contribute to its widespread occurrence.

From sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary habits to chronic stress and environmental toxins, many aspects of modern living fuel inflammation within the body. This chronic inflammatory state has significant implications for public health, with numerous chronic diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer being closely linked to inflammation.

Inflammation has been found to be a player in almost every chronic disease, which affect approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of the United States. If inflammation hasn’t been shown to be associated with a chronic disease, it’s probably just because no one has looked for it. https://www.parsleyhealth.com/blog/5-signs-chronic-inflammation/

Understanding the prevalence of inflammation and its impact on health is crucial in addressing this growing health concern and implementing effective strategies for prevention and management.

Acute Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural response by the body to injury, infection, or stress. Acute inflammation, characterized by redness, swelling, heat, and pain, serves as an immediate defense mechanism when injuries such as cuts, bruises, or sprains, as well as acute infections like bacterial or viral infections are present..

However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a host of health issues. Chronic inflammation, a persistent, low-grade immune response, is closely linked to conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic diseases are the leading cause of mortality globally, with chronic inflammation playing a significant role in their development and progression. Recent studies have also raised concerns about the rising prevalence of chronic inflammation in children, driven by factors such as sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary choices, and childhood obesity. All indications are the numbers are increasing rather than decreasing resulting in chronic diseases in children.

Strategies to Combat Chronic Inflammation

Addressing chronic inflammation requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses lifestyle modifications. While medications and topical treatments may offer temporary relief, they often fail to address the root cause of inflammation. Lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, stress management, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are essential for minimizing the impact of chronic inflammation.

Dietary Interventions

Diet plays a crucial role in modulating inflammation. Certain foods can either fuel inflammation or help quell it. Processed foods high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives are known to promote inflammation, while whole, nutrient-dense foods have anti-inflammatory properties.

A whole food, plant-based diet has emerged as a powerful tool in reducing chronic inflammation and improving overall health. Rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, this dietary approach provides an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that combat inflammation and support immune function. Additionally, the fiber content of plant-based foods promotes gut health and helps regulate inflammation.

Impact of a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

Research suggests that adopting a whole food, plant-based diet can lead to significant reductions in markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). By eliminating inflammatory foods and incorporating a diverse array of plant-based ingredients, one can experience improvements in conditions associated with chronic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, a plant-based diet offers numerous other health benefits, including weight management, improved blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of chronic diseases. As well, plant-based eating promotes environmental sustainability and animal welfare, making it a win-win for both personal and planetary health.

The Diseases Linked to Chronic Inflammation

Digging further into the devastation of chronic inflammation, it is not just a silent precursor to disease; it plays a central role in the development and progression of numerous chronic conditions. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and autoimmune diseases are strongly associated with chronic inflammation.

Pills, Powders, Potions and Lotions

What about the pills, powders, and lotions claiming to be a great solution for health issues and achieving optimal health?

In today’s market, countless lotions, potions, and pills are marketed as the ultimate solution to various health concerns, including inflammation. While these products often promise miraculous results, the reality is that many fall short of their claims. Instead of depending on solutions that offer enticing enrollment bonuses and promise ultimate remedies for virtually health issue, embracing a balanced, whole food plant-based diet emerges as the most effective choice for long-term health and well-being.

It’s difficult to get the fiber we need from a pill that is dehydrated veggies or fruits. Indeed, obtaining sufficient fiber from a pill composed of dehydrated fruits or vegetables can be challenging. While such supplements may offer concentrated doses of certain nutrients, they often lack the full spectrum of fiber and other essential compounds found in whole, unprocessed plant foods.

Fiber plays a crucial role in digestive health, promoting regularity, satiety, and a healthy gut microbiome. Consuming whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds provides not only fiber but also a diverse array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that work synergistically to support overall well-being. Therefore, while supplements may serve as convenient additions to a balanced diet, they cannot fully replace the nutritional benefits derived from consuming whole foods in their natural form.

Unlike topical treatments or supplements that offer the “magic pill” solution, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds provides a holistic approach to combating inflammation from within. By nourishing the body with nutrient-dense foods, individuals can address the root causes of inflammation and promote overall health, offering a sustainable and lasting solution that extends far beyond the promises of fleeting remedies.

Aging the Healthy Way

As I approach my seventieth birthday, staying healthy is a top priority for me. I believe that taking care of my body and mind is essential for maintaining a vibrant and fulfilling life as I age.

That’s why I continue to be focused on incorporating healthy habits into my daily routine, including paying close attention to what I eat.

One of the ways I ensure I’m getting the nutrients I need is by starting my day with a nutrient-packed green drink. It’s a simple yet powerful way to kickstart my morning and provide my body with a boost of essential vitamins and minerals.

Here’s the recipe for the green drink I frequently enjoy.


1 whole ripe Banana (peeled)

2 huge handfuls of Leafy power greens including kale, spinach, and collard greens

Juice of one Lemon

1 cup of frozen Blueberries

2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tablespoon each of Chia and Flaxseeds

1 whole Beetroot (peeled and ends cut off)

Small chunk (about 1 tsp) of whole Ginger

I simply put all these ingredients in my high-powered blender and add enough water to cover them. Then, I blend everything until it’s super smooth, which usually takes about 1-2 minutes depending on the blender.

Each ingredient in this green drink serves a purpose in promoting my health and well-being. From the leafy greens packed with vitamins and antioxidants to the chia and flaxseeds providing omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, every sip is a step towards supporting my body’s natural processes and reducing inflammation.

Here is a breakdown of each.

Banana: This provides natural sweetness and is a good source of potassium, which is essential for heart health and muscle function.

Leafy power greens (kale, spinach, collard greens): These leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help combat inflammation, support immune function, and promote overall health.

Lemon juice: Adding lemon juice not only enhances the flavor but also provides a boost of vitamin C, which is crucial for immune support and skin health.

Frozen blueberries: Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as anthocyanins, which have been linked to improved cognitive function and heart health.

Apple cider vinegar: Some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar may help regulate blood sugar levels, aid in weight loss, and promote gut health.

Chia and flaxseeds: These seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein, which can help reduce inflammation, support digestive health, and promote satiety.

Beetroot: Beetroot contains betalains, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as nitrates, which may help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance.

Ginger: Known for its anti-inflammatory and digestive properties, ginger adds a zesty kick to the smoothie and may help alleviate nausea and improve digestion.

Blending these ingredients together creates a nutrient-dense beverage that nourishes the body from the inside out.

Living with Vitality

By incorporating a variety of whole, plant-based foods into my diet, I’m providing my body with the essential nutrients it needs to thrive and ward off age-related health issues.

As I continue to prioritize my health, I’m grateful for the opportunity to celebrate another year of life and vitality. With each green drink I enjoy, I’m reminded of the importance of nourishing my body and embracing healthy habits as I journey into my seventies.

The fact is, chronic inflammation poses a significant threat to health and longevity, contributing to the development and progression of various chronic diseases. By embracing a whole food, plant-based diet and adopting other lifestyle modifications, individuals can take proactive steps to minimize inflammation and promote overall well-being.

About the Author

Kathleen Gage is a highly experienced business consultant, keynote speaker, author, and marketing strategist. She’s the founder of Vegan Visibility and co-founder of Vegan Visibility Productions. Kathleen is known for her resilience in navigating economic challenges and her commitment to advocating for a sustainable, compassionate world. She consults with vegan plant-based businesses, hosts popular podcasts, authors books, and organizes the virtual summits, book launches, and digital product launches. Kathleen resides in Central Oregon, where she indulges her passion for outdoor activities and cares for rescued animals on her property.

Learn more about Kathleen and her involvement in the vegan niche and market at www.VeganVisibilityProductions.com

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