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An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Check-List That Can Transform Your Life


Inflammation is a sign that something in the body is off balance, and it’s not always easy to spot like you might imagine. Many times, it’s not just the plague of joint pain or arthritis, but other forms of disease we tend to overlook or overwrite as other issues. Inflammation can hide under the sneaky mask of digestion problems, chronic fatigue, moodiness, food cravings, and is the marker for many diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Anytime the body is off balance, inflammation is almost always present.

Acid Versus Alkaline: Why It Matters

The concept of an alkaline/acid diet has been used for years as a popular way to describe the nature of the body’s pH levels. Foods that are alkaline promote an alkaline body, while acidic foods promote an acidic body that leads to inflammation.

An alkaline body (which is established in the blood where inflammation can begin) feels energetic, free from joint pain most of the time, and will operate smoothly all the way from its digestive abilities to its overall sense of well-being. An alkaline body tends to crave more healthy, fresh foods and feels great most of the time.

An acidic body, on the other hand, is like a slippery slope. One or two habits can quickly lead to a host of health problems quickly. Drinking, smoking, eating junk food, and a lack of rest all quickly lead to inflammation.

Our diet and our lifestyle choices are two of our most powerful weapons at fighting back against inflammation. To help you feel great and have a more alkaline body, here’s a quick checklist to keep with you to make sure you’re feeling your best.

Foods to Avoid (Very Inflammatory)

Rachel Wilder/Flickr Rachel Wilder/Flickr

These foods should be avoided as much as possible. If you’re transitioning into a plant-based diet and having a hard time giving up animal products, see our tips for transitioning to help you out. Also, go ahead and kick the habit for sugar and refined grains now. They serve you no health benefits and have been linked to detrimental forms of disease, not to mention food addictions and weight gain. Energize your life by avoiding these:

  1. Meat
  2. Fish
  3. Anything with dairy
  4. Eggs
  5. Alcohol
  6. Nicotine/Drugs
  7. Refined Grains
  8. Processed Soy
  9. Processed Sugars and Artificial sweeteners (corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, cane juice, dextrose, sucrose, sucralose, aspartame, stevia products with added GMO corn sources such as maltodextrin)
  10. Highly Processed Foods (low-quality cereals, chips, snacks)
  11. Coffee (we suggest an organic, fair-trade and even low-acid coffee if you have to have your daily cuppa)
  12. Fried Foods
  13. Fast food
  14. Sodas
  15. Energy Drinks

Foods to Eat A Few Times a Week or Only on Special Occasions:

Everjean/Flickr Everjean/Flickr

These foods are extremely acid by nature, but some may be fine once or twice a week — take note of how each one makes you feel. If these foods make you achy, tired, or moody, you might want to avoid them. Everyone’s bodies handle acid foods differently, so listen to your body to see how it reacts.

  1. Vinegars (except apple cider vinegar, which is alkaline)
  2. Processed chocolate
  3. Wheat
  4. Roasted nuts and seeds
  5. Roasted nut butters (non-raw)
  6. Soy-based processed proteins (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers)- Choose whole forms of soy such as miso (fermented) or edamame (shelled green soybeans) instead and try making your own veggie burgers at home.
  7. Non-sprouted or non-soaked grains, except for millet and wild rice (See the benefits of soaking and sprouting here and test your first batch out of overnight oats if you haven’t already!)
  8. Natural sugars like coconut or maple, agave, etc.
  9. Dried fruits with added sugars or sulfites
  10. Salad dressings

Foods to Eat Liberally:Roasted-Veggies-With-Buttery-Garlic-and-Spinach-Salad--1200x800 (1)

These foods are all incredibly healthy for you! Eat more vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens than others on the list, but all are worthy of a spot in your daily diet. Enjoy them, and be sure to fill your diet with these whenever possible in place of foods that provide less nourishment.

  1. Leafy greens
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fruits (all, especially lemons and limes)
  4. Soaked and properly prepared beans and legumes
  5. Plant-based whole food- based (non-GMO, preferably raw) protein powders
  6. Superfoods and green powders
  7. Raw nuts and seeds
  8. Raw nut butter
  9. Dates and Dried Figs (Keep dried fruit to a minimum compared to fresh fruit)
  10. Soaked and/or sprouted grains (especially wild rice and millet, which actually need no soaking or sprouting but are alkaline by nature)
  11. Seaweed (spirulina, nori, kelp, dulse)
  12. Herbal Tea
  13. Apple Cider Vinegar (raw, with the mother)
  14. Sauerkraut and kimchi
  15. Coconut kefir
  16. Water
  17. Green Juices and Smoothies
  18. Liquid alcohol-free stevia or stevia glycerite
  19. Herbs and spices
  20. Sprouts

What About….?

There are some middle ground foods, such as unsweetened non-dairy milk, condiments like mustard or salsa, vegan yogurt, and more, that all have their place in one’s diet. The idea isn’t to make your diet 100 percent perfectly pure, but instead to base 90 percent of your diet off anti-inflammatory foods. That leaves a little wiggle room for your daily servings of processed almond milk, condiments of choice, and yes, your coffee and your tea!

Other Anti-Inflammatory To-Do’s

You should also be sure you get plenty of rest and exercise to keep your blood and lymph flowing optimally. Manage your stress through silent time, daily walks in nature, relaxation, meditation and/or yoga. Remember that stress can be just as inflammatory to the body as your food. Take care of yourself in all forms to experience the benefits of a healthy, anti-inflammatory life, both on and outside your plate.

Test out an anti-inflammatory diet this week and see how much better you’ll feel in no time!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!


Lead image source: Roasted Veggies With Buttery Garlic and Spinach Salad 

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13 comments on “An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Check-List That Can Transform Your Life”

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Lana Strang
1 Years Ago

I think you mean Foods to Eat WITH Abandon - doesn\'t make sense otherwise.

Jeffrey Capomaccio
1 Years Ago

I did google it. Apple cider vinegar has a ph around 5 which is acidic not alkaline. I agree with most of your claims however. All vinegar is acetic acid with other things present in it. How can you claim an acid is not acidic. Unless you make some special apple cider vinegar that isn\'t really vinegar. Check your "facts" on peer reviewed journals please. Next thing you tell me will be lemons and limes are alkaline because they are generally healthy. When in fact they are about as acidic as stomach acid ph 2. Maybe you just got confused and thought that the lower ph numbers means less acidic, when it is the opposite. Don\'t worry that\'s a rookie mistake we all make.
Anyways...(cough) most nuts also have high ratios of Omega 6 to 3. Omega six causes inflammation therefore most nuts and seeds cause inflammation. Google that.
Meats primarily cause inflammation if there is high saturated fat content. If you are eating very lean meats they should not cause inflammation. With the exception of red meat unless grass fed like you\'ve mentioned. As long as you avoid the fat in them you are good. Same with dairy its the fat content.
What is that comment about dried fruit leaving alkaline ash?!? I don\'t believe we have any internal combustion engines inside of our tummies. Nice try though.
Overall i\'d say 80% of your analysis is supported, and I appreciate your efforts here. I am not just a ney sayer, I am a scientist who is just keeping the balance of truth. I have a degree in biotechnology, and health and nutrition is of utmost importance. Just because you believe something does not make it true. Please refer to factual evidence. Like a nutrition peer reviewed journal.


01 Jan 2018

Hey Jeffrey,

I can see where one could get confused about this subject (alkalinity of foods) With well over a decade of study & working in the field of holistic healing and nutrition, what I\'ve come to understand about this is that we aren\'t to be concerned with the alkalinity of the food itself but what\'s more important is what happens after it metabolizes.

Ash is the term used to describe the non-combustible elements left over when our body burns up the food we eat. This means that depending on the mineral content of the food, the residue (aka ash) left after metabolism will be acidic, neutral or alkaline. This, and not the foods pre-metabolized value, is what effects our pH.

Or so I\'ve been taught. Even science, which is just a framework for interpreting nature, can be wrong. So I hold no rigid beliefs about it and just do the best with the info I\'ve got.

Speaking of (rigidity) from what I read in your comment, it seems as though you could stand to adopt a similar mindset. There\'s a book called "Conversational Intelligence" that teaches the neuroscience of communication. It\'s a good read if evolving consciousness through human connections is important to you.


kevin dawson
1 Years Ago

How in the world can you promote this as a sound dietary concept when you include the statement that apple cider vinegar is alkaline? Its acidic- 100 per cent of the time. That tells me that the rest of these notions have not been examined with an eye for the truth either.

Vegan Life
27 Dec 2016

Apple Cider Vinegar is alkaline and has many health benefits. You may want to Goggle it...thanks for the checklist One Green Planet!!

Inflamatory Dude
1 Years Ago

I just want that cheese burger in the first picture, I\'m having one tomorrow for sure :P

2 Years Ago

Our family was 100% vegan for almost 4 years and while we still do not eat any land meat, we do now consume some fish and shellfish along with a little bit of sheep and goat milk cheese (Pecorino, Feta, etc). I could not continue a basis for remaining vegan, from a health standpoint, when there are many societies (Greece, Italy, Japan, even one here in the U.S., etc) that see little heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses while enjoying exceptionally long life spans compared with the rest of the world yet they consume some animal products and seafood in their mostly plant based diet. I\'ve heard the argument that it\'s the genetics that has caused these pockets of people to see such amazing health and longevity, but that goes out the window when you consider that Loma Linda is one of those pockets and the population there is mixed. Additionally, the population there is mostly vegetarian (including eggs, milk, cheese, etc), but the Seventh Day Adventist study on health and longevity showed that those who include fish in their diet a minimum of a at least once per month see greater longevity than those who do not.

2 Years Ago

pretty funny stuff.....might as well be dead!! lol

Paula Quillen
2 Years Ago

I have Lupus = leaky gut. I eat meat that is grass fed. No Gluten, sugar, dairy. If you follow the guide lines, your life changes.

2 Years Ago

The proper phrase is "with abandon". It means freely, completely without reservation or limit. Spoken of an action. As "to love with abandon...for the picky soul below

leigh jcjones
04 Sep 2016

No one bothers to pay attention in middle school, where you learn grammar. Then, in the here and now, educated people are looked down on. Seen as elitist. Sad really. I see it all the time. There is no more proof reading. And the people writing, well, shouldn\'t be

2 Years Ago

Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory.In regard to oils, use olive, avocado, and coconut oils. In regard to meats, consume fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. In regard to nuts, consume macadamia and chestnuts. These oils, meats, and nuts are also low in fodmaps (won\'t cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea/constipation). Also consume plenty of vegetables and fruits, such as berries, pineapple, citrus, bananas, kiwis, and cantaloupe. These fruits are also low in fodmaps. Yogurt should be homemade and heated for 24 hours to break down the lactose. Homemade yogurt is a lot higher in probiotics than store-bought yogurt.

Robbie Laws
2 Years Ago

Jaleo stole my thunder. With abandon, not without. My Naturopath hasn\'t promoted a vegetarian diet. In fact, she has advocated raising my protein intake. I highly recommend a food panel to pinpoint inflammatory foods because it\'s different for everyone. Thanks for the informative article.


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