Defeat Chronic Inflammation: 5 Strategies to Reclaim Your Vitality

Kelly Calkins, BCHN®

For over a decade, Kelly battled six autoimmune diseases with unwavering determination. Her journey led to personal transformation, calming her body's autoimmune response, healing her gut, and banishing fatigue, sleepless nights, and brain fog. Today, Kelly is dedicated to helping others facing chronic symptoms, autoimmune diseases, and nutritional oncology concerns. She works with 1-on-1 clients, leads group coaching, and collaborates with organizations like the Arizona Foundation for Women. As a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist® and co-founder of Abundant Hope Nutrition, Kelly's expertise shines. Her core belief: we're meant to thrive, not just survive.
Published: October 26, 2023

I talk to a lot of people and work with a lot of clients. The one common thread with all of them is inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a huge problem and it affects just about every single one of us. It’s sneaky, a troublemaker, and can throw all sorts of hurdles in your way on your journey to a healthier, more vibrant life. Today, we’re diving headfirst into the world of chronic inflammation, uncovering the secrets it holds, and equipping you with 5 powerful strategies to lower your chronic inflammation and regain control over your health.

First, what is inflammation? Inflammation is a natural, biological response triggered by your immune system.  It is a protective response.  When pathogens, toxins, or other irritants are damaging your cells, your immune system signals the inflammatory response.  Inflammation is not bad.  Infections, wounds, and damage to tissues would not be able to heal without inflammation.  It’s your body’s first line of defense against harm.  It’s what we call a self-protective mechanism that starts the healing process.  This is called acute inflammation.  

Unfortunately, many people are living with long-term inflammation or chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is prolonged inflammation for several months to years.  Examples of chronic inflammation are cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, other autoimmune diseases, chronic symptoms, and chronic disease.  Chronic inflammation is bad.

Chronic inflammation can be the result of the body being unable to eliminate the cause of acute inflammation (like infections, mold, parasites, etc).  It can be from toxic exposure that your body cannot eliminate and detox on its own. It can be from an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks healthy tissue.  It can also be from excess oxidative stress, nutritional deficiencies, and mitochondrial dysfunction.  Stress and chronic stress are drivers of inflammation. Considering that 80% of Americans regularly feel stressed this is not great news. In my experience, it’s often a combination of several of these factors.  

This is a really big deal.  The WHO ranks chronic diseases, or diseases driven by chronic inflammation, as the greatest threat to human health.  It is the most significant cause of death in the world.  Think about that.  Chronic inflammation causes chronic disease which is the greatest threat to human health and is the most significant cause of death in the world.  Why are people taking pills to stay comfortable as chronic disease marches them toward a premature death instead of focusing on uncovering what is causing the chronic inflammation and resolving it?  This is literally what I do when I’m working with my clients.  This is a game-changer.  It’s what allows you to rebalance and heal.  I’m going to share with you how to start doing this today.

So how do we know we are experiencing chronic inflammation?  Our body uses symptoms to get our attention and tell us something is wrong.  Symptoms like body pain, brain fog, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, GI issues like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn & acid reflux.  Weight gain and frequent infections are also symptoms of chronic inflammation.  Remember, chronic inflammation is an inflammatory response that lasts several months to years.  

Living with chronic inflammation is a direct correlation to asthma, cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, obesity, periodontitis, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, Type 2 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and more.  I am diagnosed with Hashmioto’s disease; this was ushered in and driven by chronic inflammation.  If I had known growing up what I know now I could have avoided that turning on in my body.  The great thing is that it’s never too late to support the body properly, start addressing and lowering inflammation, and start rebalancing and healing.  Dysfunction and disease, even cancer, are preventable. Disease doesn’t run in families – genetic risk factors do! Risk factors that you can turn on and off through diet and lifestyle.

Let’s look at 5 strategies you can implement to support your body, prevent or reverse chronic disease, and clear out systemic inflammation.

  1. Get the right testing!  Whenever someone wants to work with me I always start with really specific, comprehensive testing.  I do a Delayed Food Sensitivities test because this is typically a big contributor to chronic inflammation.  I also do an OAT.  This looks at the gut microbiome – yeast, mold, and good & bad bacteria.  It also looks at mitochondrial function, nutritional deficiencies, and more.  It is a snapshot of 76 different biomarkers that are critical for optimal health. Without proper testing, you will never identify the root cause driving your inflammation.
  2. If you smoke, even recreationally, stop!  Smoking is a significant contributor to inflammation and it’s one that you can control.  It has been proven that smoking releases molecules in your body that increase your inflammation levels. That’s the opposite of what you want for health and vitality. No, vaping is not better; it’s worse.  Quitting smoking can be challenging. Thankfully, there are a lot of things we can do nutritionally to help with cravings as well. 
  3. Clean up your diet.  Stop eating processed, packaged, GMO foods.  Stop eating refined carbs, fried foods, and franken foods.  You know…foods made in a lab that parade around as healthy.  Your body has no idea what to do with these foods or how to utilize them.  If you wouldn’t find it out in nature don’t put it in your mouth!
    Focus on whole, organic foods, concentrating on protein, fiber, healthy fats, and eating the rainbow of vegetables and fruits.  Eating the rainbow daily gives you a diet rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.  These are protective compounds that lower inflammation.  Please hear me say that healthy foods are only healthy for you if your body, more specifically, your gut tolerates them.  I really screwed my body up by trying to ‘eat healthy’ without testing for my individual delayed food sensitivities.  I was eating lots of spinach, kale, blueberries, onion, and garlic to name a few and I was highly reactive to all of them and more. 
  4. Process and release your stress.  We often hear people talking about ‘managing’ their stress, but that implies that they are controlling it.  You don’t want to control your stress; you want to release it.  So how do we process and release stress?  Journaling, meditation, deep breathing, spending time in nature, gratitude journals, walking, and listening to music are all great ways to process and release stress.  Also, addressing cortisol, which is the stress hormone, is a big piece.  A great way to lower cortisol is to simply put your leg up the wall for 15-20 minutes.  I do this after I exercise and I do it before bed.  Cortisol = abdominal fat.  
  5. Pay attention to your blood sugar response and health.  Almost everyone I work with is experiencing blood sugar dysregulation to some degree.  This drives up inflammation and it damages your organs and insulin response.  This is why our country is experiencing an epidemic of diabetes.  A recent survey found that more than 1 out of 3 Americans are now prediabetic, and more than 8 out of 10 of them don’t even know it!  Blood sugar regulation will make or break your health.  

iThese are just 5 of the many strategies we can implement to address and lower the chronic inflammation our body is experiencing. You will never have sustainable health or vitality without addressing and lowering your chronic inflammation. Other factors like hormones, sleep, movement, and more also play a role in this.

My challenge to you is to intentionally address your chronic inflammation.

I’d love to hear from you! 

Which of these strategies are you already implementing?  Which ones are you going to start? 

Did you know that simply switching to ORGANIC foods is a phenomenal way to lower inflammation and toxic load?
Take advantage of my FREE mini-course out WHY ORGANIC and experience less inflammation and weight, and more energy and mental clarity!

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In Health,
Kelly Calkins, BCHN®
holistic approach to recovering your health.

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