Heal Your Chronic Inflammation & Restore Your Gut Health! – with Dr. Carolyn Williams


Today on the Gut Health Reset Podcast, we are discussing chronic inflammation issues with Carolyn Williams, PhD. Chronic inflammation can be a debilitating condition, causing fatigue, pain, and a host of other problems. But what many people don’t realize is that there are a few simple things you can do to heal your gut and reduce inflammation. From diet adjustment to meal prep strategies and nutrition, we’ll go over the practical steps you can take today to start healing!


In today’s episode, we will answer these questions:

– How can you tell if you’re suffering with chronic inflammation?

– What is an elevated hemoglobin a1c?

– How does inflammation affect your gut?

– Why don’t we acknowledge inflammation as a major issue more often?

– What are some simple cooking techniques that can help fight inflammation?

– How can you tell that you have a food intolerance?

– And more!


Still want to learn more? Schedule with Dr. Barter today!


Recommended Products From Today’s Show

Leaky Gut Support



About Dr. Carolyn Williams:

Dr. Carolyn Williams is an author, dietitian, and award-winning food and health journalist based in Alabama. 

Her website: https://www.carolynwilliamsrd.com/ 

Her instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realfoodreallife_rd/ (@realfoodreallife_rd)

Her book links: 

Book links:

Meals That Heal – One Pot: 100+ Recipes for Your Stovetop, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot, and Air Fryer―Reduce Inflammation for Whole-Body Health

https://amzn.to/3pffdiP – Paperback

https://amzn.to/3JTPE07 – Kindle

Meals That Heal: 100+ Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less: A Cookbook

https://amzn.to/3zURyZO – kindle 

https://amzn.to/3Qnl2GK – Paperback

https://amzn.to/3bPXefH – spiral bound

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Dr. Ann-Marie Barter is a Functional Medicine and Chiropractic Doctor at Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic. She is the clinic founder of Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic that has two offices: one in Longmont and one in Denver. They treat an array of health conditions overlooked or under-treated by conventional medicine, called the “grey zone”. https://altfammed.com/


*As always, this podcast is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.*



Carolyn Williams: Inflammation or preventing inflammation or keeping inflammation at bay with diet starts with maintaining that gut health because those microbes are forming that protective lining within the intestinal walls. And when they have you have a healthy gut with lots of diversity and balance. Those microbes let the good stuff like the digested nutrients be absorbed into the bloodstream, but they prevent a lot of the junk, the irritants in our food today from entering into the body.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this podcast is educational and not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

Intro: Are you struggling with bloating, gas, constipation and fatigue but don’t know what’s causing these problems? The Gut Health Reset Podcast with Dr. Ann-Marie Barter dives deep into the root causes behind these issues that start in the gut. This podcast will give you the knowledge you need to heal your gut and reset your health.

Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: Today on the Gut Health Reset Podcast, we are going to discuss how a person suffering from chronic inflammation can tell and what to do about it. What chronic inflammation is doing to our guts. I’m so tired of cooking, but I still want to eat healthy meals. What can I do about it? And what are some simple steps anyone can take to reduce overall inflammation? Thank you for joining us today on the Gut Health Reset Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Ann-Marie Barter. And today my special guest is Carole Williams, Ph.D. R.D., and she is a leading culinary nutrition expert and 2017 James Beard, journalism award winner, who has developed a knack for breaking down complex science into quick reader friendly tips. The author of two cookbooks Meals that Heal 100 plus recipes of anti-inflammatory recipes and 30 minutes or less, and meals that heal one pot. Carolyn is a sought after speaker on anti-inflammatory eating and managing chronic inflammation through lifestyle. Her work is regularly featured in print and online for all lifestyle brands and media outlets such as Eating Well, Real Simple, Cooking Light and all recipes. Carolyn, thank you so much for being with us here today. I’m super excited. And I just like what your message is about because I think that this is questions that a lot of people have on how to simplify cooking. And I just I love that we’re diving in this into this today. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, I feel like so much of the information out there makes things more complicated for people. And I really just want to bring it to a voice, you know, just some clarity to that area and simplify things. I think that’s a number one question I personally get asked in practice, like, well, how do you cook? What do you do? You know, I don’t have time for that. I you know, how do we make this easier? Well, I only have this much time, so I cannot wait to dove into your your simplicity tips to figure out a way to make really healthy meals. But let’s just first start and how do we know if somebody is suffering with chronic inflammation? Well, I’m going to be honest. Most every single adult has some level of low grade chronic inflammation in their body. You know, like the inflammation in your body is somewhat on a continuum and you want to keep it at the very low end, if possible. But the tricky thing with inflammation in the early stages, or when you’re at the lower end of the continuum and it starts to maybe pop up a little due to stress or life or, you know, maybe meeting the greatest diet of the past few days. The tricky thing is the signs are so very subtle. They are things that you would probably never go to the doctor about. But if you pay attention to them, they are ones that aren’t your body’s norm. So maybe you’re a little bloated or you recognize that you’re getting bloated slightly. You eat certain things, or you’re having headaches more frequently or, you know, you feel like you’ve been eating healthy and being staying active. That weight won’t budge. Maybe you’re trying to lose some body fat. Maybe your blood pressure isn’t high, but it’s it’s higher than it normally is. You know, it’s getting up into pre hypotensive, just little things, maybe even skin irritations, things that just aren’t quite the norm for you. I like to say those are kind of like your body weight and like a little yellow flag, sometimes a little ah, it’s a little inflammation going in. That’s really when it’s really easy to rein things back in and lower that inflammation. And then so you’re more your red flags are going to be like the high an elevated hemoglobin, a c lipids that are out of whack, that are not where they should be, high blood pressure, those kind of things. So some people don’t know what elevated hemoglobin a1c is. Can you explain that? Yeah. So it’s a blood test that looks at kind of a long term look at how your blood glucose, your blood sugar has been. So rather than, you know, if you take your test, your blood glucose, blood sugar today, they do a little finger prick and it would tell you what it is right now. Hemoglobin A1 C is nice because it’s a blood test and it kind of gives the healthcare provider a picture of what your blood sugar regulation has been over the past three months. So it’s really helpful for identifying early insulin resistance. You know, you’re not diabetic. You may not have, you know, high blood glucose at times, but early stages of insulin resistance, hemoglobin agency can pick up and then it’s used regularly for people who do have diabetes just to keep tabs on how their management is doing. Yeah, I think everybody should have that test. It’s just my opinion. I think everybody should have it. I run it on all my patients, no matter if you’re skinny or battling with weight or any of that, because it it just gives you so much information of what your blood sugars done over the past movements. And you can identify and fix problems. And sooner you can fix problems, the better off you are because the easier it is. Yeah, exactly. So since are the Gut Health Reset Podcast, how does inflammation really affect and target the gut and what symptoms maybe would someone see? Yeah. So I think everyone knows they need to focus on their gut health and then there’s interest in inflammation. But I think there’s a disconnect sometimes people like why do they how do they seem to connect or how do they implement them one another? And I know you probably talked about this before, but really inflammation or preventing inflammation or keeping inflammation at bay with diet starts with maintaining that gut health because those microbes or forming that protective lining within the intestinal walls. And when they have you have a healthy gut with lots of diversity and balance, there’s microbes. Let the good stuff like the digested nutrients be absorbed into the bloodstream, but they prevent a lot of the junk, the little irritants in our food today from entering into the body. So but when that gut health is disrupted, you start to get leaks, which you’ll hear of leaky gut, sometimes gaps in those and that microbial wall. And so now the nutrients are still getting through, but so are a lot of the chemicals that irritants the toxins in there. And any time once those get in the body, that’s an automatic going to trigger some inflammation, right? So I mean, inflammation seems like it. It really affects every single part of the body. It can wreak havoc in everywhere, basically. So why are. We talking about it more? You know, that was my big question. And I honestly, information was not even on my radar about six years ago. Now, here I am, sitting with two cookbooks, a quick and easy cookbook, plenty of time for inventory cooking. But I really information first popped up on my radar when I wrote an article about Alzheimer’s and the connection to food it really had not looked much into. And this is about five or six years ago. I wrote it and that’s what I ended up. I read it for. Cooking light and inflammation is a key driver of the development of those plaques and tangles in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s. So a lot of the foods that are good on the mind diet that is may have a preventive effect and development of Alzheimer’s and overall brain health. A lot of these foods that are so powerful are anti-inflammatory in nature. And that’s one of the things that may help reduce people’s risk. But I wrote that article and ended up winning a James Beard Award for that article, and I would love to say that’s how I got into inflammation, but it wasn’t. I kept on doing what we all do, like going through our daily tasks to do lists, writing articles and all these other health topics that I thought were so very different. And when I finally sat down and took a vacation about six months later and kind of stopped to think about I I’ve been writing what I want to write in the future. I realized, oh my gosh, all these different things from intermittent fasting to autoimmune conditions to eating for high blood pressure, you name it, diabetes, weight loss, anything. The one thing that all this research that I’ve been looking through for each of these articles has there’s one common thread in all the research, and that is low grade chronic inflammation is the common culprit or the common driver. Every single one of these, or in the case of intermittent fasting in resting, lowers the inflammation in the body typically. So. But then my question was exactly what you ask me like, okay, Carolyn, you must not be understanding this, right? Because why is it everybody might be focusing on this? Why aren’t health care providers really doing it in? Because reducing inflammation is how you stay healthy, maintain your health, but it’s also how you treat disease or a part of how you treat disease and prevent disease in. And so then I was like, okay, I’m going to go back to the drawing board because why isn’t everybody preaching anti inflammation? And you know, Nelson, I realize we don’t necessarily need all these separate diet, these heart healthy and, you know, all these different types of diets for different things. We all really need an anti-inflammatory diet because that’s the root cause of everything. And then I was I have a they’re now 12 and 15, but I have two children. Not my fault with my gosh, you know, so my first thought would be it was this would be so powerful for my parents. Then I’m like, Well, Carolyn, you’re about to be 40. This would be powerful for you, too. But then I thought, you know what? If I could get my kids just adopting some of these habits, imagine how that might really change the progression or trajectory of their health, like for the next 50 years. So lutely. Absolutely. So now I’m very excited. I want to know about simplistic cooking techniques. Where we can do it can be simple. It can be one pot. How how do we go about doing this? Because I’m done with cooking. I’m sick of it. And, you know, and I think that that that mirrors a lot of people’s views on cooking. Yes. And, you know, one thing I had to face myself a couple of years ago is there’s a lot of nights I don’t want to cook. And I think a lot of people are in that same boat now. I want the benefits of a home cooked meal, of a healthy home cooked meal for my family. And I can’t afford to eat out every night. But. But. I don’t want to. That’s the last thing I want to do. A lot of nights, it’s like a murder thing on your to do list, or at least right now on my stage of life. And I think there’s. I realized once I said it out loud that it took a lot of weight off me. I think there’s a lot of pressure or a lot of guilt, particularly women feel that they don’t really want to do it. You know, they know they need to they want the benefits, but, you know, they don’t really want to do it. And so that’s really the space I was in about three years ago and still somewhat it and coming a little out of it. But I’m still, you know, somewhat in it. And I thought, okay, if I feel this way and, you know, I’m a foodie and I want the nutrient benefits, I’ve got to figure this out because I can’t be the only one feeling this. So my goal for this one dish was to simplify even more. So I have a first cookbook, Meals that Heal was just in time for everyday anti-inflammatory, like the whole family would eat in 30 minutes or less, and most of them were good, bit less than 30 minutes. But this took it one step further. This cookbook, Meals heal one dish or one pot. Because it is, I really try to keep hands on work 10 to 15 minutes or less. It’s one sheet pan, one skillet, one pot. And here’s the thing. I’m not going to put just anything in market because it really I foodie taste buds but I have a dietitian right. So it’s got to meet both of those. So when I made it, when I tested the recipes, like if it wasn’t something I felt was worth my work at five or 6:00, I was like, No, this is actually drawing water. Let’s move on to the next one. It also needed to be something that my kids would eat without minimal complaints. You know, I feel like kids today, they want their favorite food every night. Well, that’s not happening. But it needs to be something. Have some component of your pop. It needs to have some components, at least that I can break down for them that they will eat. So I’m not cooking two meals. Hey, this is Dr. Ann-Marie Barter. Have you ever spent hours searching for the right supplements to heal your body? And when you finally found them, maybe you weren’t sure was a brand that you could trust or if the products were safe. After hearing about these issues time and time again, I decided to put together a complete store of supplements for healing and supporting your gut. At Dr Ann-Marie Barter.com, there are supplements for constipation, thyroid health, gut, health, energy and so much more. There are bundles created for sleep support, pain support, histamine support, and the list just goes on and on. These supplements I use personally or I’ve handpicked because they’ve worked time and time again on countless cases in the office and on the website, you can see what ingredients we use to put your mind at ease. If you visit Dr Ann-Marie Barter.com and use the promo code podcast to get 10% off your next order. So what are you waiting for? Go visit Dr. Ann-Marie Barter and get 10% off your supplement bundle. Ciao. And now back to our episode. Totally awesome. Do you have any simple steps that that someone could follow? Yes. Cooking and making recipes. That’s why it’s tricky. Yeah. I have never been. I’ve got to outline some of these as a whole chapter on how to streamline and how to even grocery shop without a real definite plan meal plan yet in the book. But I am not a big meal prep man. I never really have been. I didn’t want to spend my whole Sunday in the kitchen, and I didn’t want to eat the same meal six different times during the week. But I am a big proponent of doing a little what I call component prepping or ingredient prepping. So on a Sunday, I will make sure that I have like a big batch of some kind of cooked wholegrain. I will make sure that I have leafy greens on hand. I will try to cook some kind of protein that’s just there to grab to throw in last minute meals. So maybe I grill a bunch of chicken or I stop a bunch of shrimp or make sure I have some cans of beans and pan so that when I walk in and need a quick lunch or even like made a quick dinner because I’m not going to cook at all, or I could just pull these components and compile a grain bowl or pull out that grilled chicken and the corn tortillas and the salsa refrigerated salsa and make chicken tacos really quick. I’m also a huge proponent of finding good quality, minimally processed convenience foods. Processed foods have a really bad name, and most of them should. But there are some really high quality brands out these days, and when you find some good ones with good quality ingredients, those can really be your timesaver or your shortcuts. And I tell people to say, Well, how do I know? And you hear the old recommendation of ingredients or less. Well, it can still not be great quality ingredients or less. I tell people when they’re buying a salad dressing or when they’re buying a marinara or tomato sauce, look at the ingredient list. Does it have the same things in that list that if you were making it, that real recipe would have, you know, it’s a marinara. I want to see organic tomatoes. I want to see basil, see extra virgin olive oil, garlic, maybe a little salt, a little pepper. Those kind of things. And that’s about all it should be. Same here. Salad dressing. You know, I would preferably. I’d love to see extra virgin olive oil as the main goal in there. If not, then, you know, a little healthier will in there. Avocado oil. You’re seeing them come out now. Spices, vinegar, maybe a little mustard, maybe a touch of sweetness, because you do need to balance those flavors just a little. It’s now as long as it’s not excessive. So you want to see like a little honey or maple sirup towards the end. But that’s kind of my gauge for what I use. You know, does it look like are these ingredients in this ingredient list? The same is what I have in my cabinets and in my refrigerator. And I think just kind of I think that that was a great summary of that. There’s been a lot of discussion just to switch gears about food intolerance and how do I know if I have food intolerances? Do you have any recommendations for that? Yeah. You know, a lot of times people will start to pick them up themselves or they’re noticed something isn’t quite right or they’ll notice I can sort right after I eat this meal. They may not know the food or you know, for instance, if I eat full fat ice cream, if I indulge one night, which is not on occasion. Which is on occasion. Excuse me, but you know, I’m not off limits technically, but I know I’m going to wake up that next morning with a little bit of nasal congestion, maybe even a slight sore throat. If I get right back on track, it’s going to go away. But I’ve learned that, and that’s a little bit of a food intolerance, food sensitivity. They are really hard to detect. And I don’t know that what you have found, but I have not found the research is not that I’ve read, has not suggested that at home tests that you can develop are very accurate at all. Is that kind of abuse? It depends on the test. Most of them, I think that’s totally true. Sometimes if they’re if someone’s done an elimination, diet is kind of my gold standard. If someone’s done elimination and they can’t figure it out, then I’ll run a test. It’s a little bit more accurate versus a lot of the ones that are purchased at home. But I don’t start there and I run a stool test first because you’re going to get a ton of food sensitivities if that’s the case. So it’s a it’s a last ditch effort when I do a food test. Yeah. It’s I wish it was as clear cut as, like, food allergy testing, you know, but it’s not. And I’ve also found these can develop over the lifespan and it’s usually related to inflammation like certain things may not bother you in your twenties when your inflammation is really low and you’re not stressed and you know, but then in your forties, you know, where, you know, life is different, you’re a little bit older, health has changed a little and you’ve got a higher your have a little more inflammation in your body. Maybe you’re still healthy, but you have a lot more information that might make the you start seeing the symptoms of a food intolerance and I’m with you. The elimination protocol, I think is by far the best. Now, it’s for people who have severe ones and really need to get. To the to the bottom of what is bothering them. I think the classic elimination diet is great and you can’t beat it. It’s also hard. So I do give just a starting place for people who aren’t ready to data for an elimination protocol, which is about 6 to 8 weeks, if I remember correctly. I give kind of a quick kind of a cliff notes version, if you will, of the elimination. It’s not 100% accurate, but for a lot of people who just maybe have some general ones that have developed later in life, it can be a good indicator where you cut out gluten and you cut out dairy and you really kind of clean up your diet for two weeks really good. And then you introduce stuff slowly. And a lot of times people will realize, Oh yeah, you know, when I drank milk after that or when I eat cheese, I noticed in nasal congestion, you know, you can notice small things and that’s your tip off. What’s what’s your feeling? Because I feel like a lot of not a lot, but there are certain subsets of people that refuse to do it. Do you have any tips for or just encouraging those folks that really just feel like, oh, it can’t be that, oh, that can’t be the cause of my issues or whatnot. To encourage them to maybe go forward and do an IP diet for, you know, a month to try, you know, it’s really, really hard. I mean, I know I would struggle to do that one because it is very, very restrictive and you get great results. So I, I feel like I was just talking to another health care professional yesterday about this and she said, I did Whole30, which is essentially cleaner eating an anti-inflammatory. And she said, Ah, my friend is doing it. And she said, I saw my friend said she lost £20 and she has no hurt, she has no joint pain. And it was the joint pain that and this is another doctor, I believe. Tell me this about a doctor who had done it. And she said No, but I said. I think until people see that connection between food and like, oh, my gosh, my knees don’t hurt. That’s a pretty quick one when you want to clean up or die. But I think people I mean, I know I don’t it’s hard when someone just says, you need to do this, but when you actually see that connection, so maybe you can even get people just for a week, let’s try to cut out dairy and gluten and minimize alcohol and chemicals and just do it for a week. Do it for five days. You can’t do it for five days and tell me how you feel. You know, are you sleeping better? How your joints feel? Headaches, bloating, you know. So I think if you can help them connect the dots, maybe starting there with just a baby elimination and connect the dots, because I think that is really what motivates people when they see, oh, my gosh. And then when they go back to their regular eating, assuming they do, when they feel like horrible the next week, that’s when they really have that moment like, oh my gosh, you know, not really is impacting me. Yeah, but you’ve got to, you know, you’ve got to meet people where they are. And, you know, full on elimination is hard too. Sometimes if I can just get people to do 5 to 7 days, it they figure it out themselves and then, okay, I’m going to start here by cutting out this and just see baby steps. Awesome. Well, where can people find you if they want to get in touch with you? Yes. So I’m most active on social media, on Instagram. My handle is real food, real life underscore. R.D. and Carolyn Williams. You can also search my name. I also have a website. That’s Carolyn Williams, our Datacom, and I’m sure you’ll put all this in the show notes. And then my newest book, Meals that Heal one part is is coming out September 28. I’m so excited. And you can preorder if this if people are hearing this before that date at any online Amazon, any major retailer and you can get the book at all those places as well. So we’ll thank you so much for being here and sharing your knowledge. It’s been great to have you on the show. Thank you. I enjoyed it. I appreciate your having me. Absolutely. Take care. Bye.

Outro: Thank you for listening to the Gut Health Reset Podcast. Please make sure you subscribe. Leave a rating and a review. The more people can hear about the podcast and hey, take a screenshot of this episode and tag Dr. Anne Marie on Instagram or Facebook at Dr. Ann-Marie Barter. And for more resources, just visit Dr. Ann-Marie Barter.com.

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