Home Remedies offers food for thought on relationship between diet, pain and inflammation

Jennifer Rambo is no stranger to inflammation and pain. The Mitchell County resident, who suffered from Hashimotos disease, had been told in her 20s she would need to be on thyroid medication the rest of her life to control inflammation.

Long a believer in the powerful impact of diet and lifestyle, Rambo shifted both and no longer shows signs of the autoimmune disease. Now finishing her health coach certification at New York’s Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Rambo is excited to help area residents understand the connection between food, pain and inflammation during the Home Remedies program’s November classes. These free classes are 5:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital’s Mauzy Philips Center in Spruce Pine.

Rambo will focus Nov. 5 on sugar and its relationship to inflammation and pain.

“We’ll be looking at food labels to help participants learn to identify sugar in all its disguises,” said Margot Rossi, Home Remedies program director. “We’ll also address the danger of diet foods with their artificial sweeteners and offer options to create sweet flavors without sugar.” Rossi plans to pair this information with a mindfulness exercise to help people shift their eating habits.

The topic for Nov. 12 is learning to identify harmful and helpful fats.

“The mindfulness practice that week is designed to help us disarm our cravings,” Rossi said.

The class Nov. 19 will delve into what an anti-inflammatory diet looks like while learning a mindfulness exercise that teaches self-compassion.

“Changing a habit can be difficult, especially when it comes to diet or exercise, or overcoming an addiction,” Rossi said. “The key step in mindfulness is becoming aware – aware of what triggers us, the behaviors we choose and what we experience from our choices. As we learn more about ourselves and our choices, we may not like what we see. We might feel discouraged and give up trying to change. Having self-compassion is essential to adopt a new habit.

“It’s important to realize there is no one size fits all solution to pain management. For this series, we are coupling mindfulness to diet and lifestyle as an approach to reducing inflammation, and thereby, pain. Success requires practice, commitment and compassion. The reward is clear – being able to alleviate pain and stress by changing how you respond to it.”

Rambo agrees practice, commitment and compassion are keys to success.

“Most anything worth having requires work,” Rambo said. “Shifting diet and lifestyle aren’t easy. Given my own experience, I can say without hesitation, though, the payoff is exponentially greater than the effort required.”

The Nov. 26 class will be at the Spruce Pine Ingles, where Rambo and Rossi will answer questions and share guidance on food selection for an anti-inflammatory diet. This offering is only open to those who have attended at least three classes in the series.

While Rossi believes residents will achieve the greatest results by attending each of these sessions, she emphasizes they will gain benefits even if they can only attend one.

“We’re simply trying to provide as many tools as we can to help people on their journey toward enjoying greater health and wellbeing,” she said.

Home Remedies: Community Options Addressing Pain and Stress is a collaborative effort by the local nonprofit organization Partners Aligned Toward Health, RHA Health Services and Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. The program’s overarching goal has been to reduce opioid use for pain relief. Visit www.path-homeremedies.org or contact PATH staff at info@pathwnc.org or 828-682-7899 to learn more about the program.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
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