Weird recipe name, I know. It was inspired by the “ITIS diet” I stumbled upon recently on the website of The Arthritis Foundation, which described it as a “supercharged Mediterranean diet” and the “Mediterranean Diet 2.0.”

The suffix “-itis” usually denotes inflammation — for instance, tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils), appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), colitis (inflammation of the lining of the colon), etc. Although the ITIS diet was designed specifically for people with rheumatoid arthritis, in whom it was found, in a 2021 pilot study, to have beneficial effects, I have a hunch that this dietary approach might be helpful for anyone dealing with inflammation or one sort or another — or wishing to prevent it.

This isn’t the first time that the Mediterranean diet — which uses olive oil as the primary oil, emphasizes vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and includes regular intakes of fatty fish and fermented dairy products while being low in pro-inflammatory foods like sugar and refined grains — has been associated with reduced joint pain; a 2017 review in Rheumatology International found a reduction in pain and improved physical function in people with RA who ate a Mediterranean diet in addition to taking their prescription medications.    

Other research has highlighted the Mediterranean diet’s wide-ranging anti-inflammatory benefits, which have been linked to a lower risk of diseases that have an inflammatory component: cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergic conditions, inflammatory bowel diseases, depression, and sepsis, among others.

The ITIS Diet Explained

The ITIS diet comprises many of the features you already know and love about the Mediterranean diet, with a few extra ones tacked on. Key components of the ITIS diet include (“-itis Smoothie” ingredients highlighted in bold):

  • A homemade green drink containing green vegetables and fruit every morning
  • Fruits high in enzymes, such as pineapple and papaya
  • Oily fish, such as sardines or salmon, at least twice a week
  • Avocado, nuts, sesame seeds, or sesame butter (tahini)
  • Daily chia seeds and flaxseed oil
  • Unsweetened yogurt (or kefir) and miso (fermented soybean paste)
  • Daily green tea
  • Turmeric and ginger

Since many of these ingredients aren’t typically found on American plates, I thought I’d combine them in this tasty smoothie. Feel free to play around with them until you find a combination you like — and do vary the ingredients regularly so as to obtain the widest-possible range of nutrients while reducing possible over-consumption of potentially problematic ingredients (like raw spinach, which can contribute to kidney stones when eaten in large amounts).

"-itis" Smoothie

Keyword: 15 Minutes Max., 30 Minutes Max., Breakfasts, Dairy-Free (or can be), Drinks, Gluten-Free (or can be), Low-Carb
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 344kcal
A refreshing anti-inflammatory elixir that can make a meal if you add protein powder
Print Recipe


  • high-powered blender such as Blendtec, Vitamix or Ninja


  • ½ cup fresh pineapple cut into chunks
  • ½ avocado skin & pit removed; alternatively, use 1 tbsp nut butter, tahini, flax oil, chia seeds or flax meal (the latter two will cause the smoothie to thicken)
  • cups leafy greens such as baby kale, baby spinach, arugula, lettuce, chard -- vary these
  • ¼ cup green herbs such as parsley, cilantro, dill, basil or purslane
  • ¼ cup microgreens such as broccoli, radish or mustard sprouts -- store-bought or home-grown (growing instructions here)
  • ½ cup plain kefir or yogurt, dairy-based or plant-based
  • 1 cup green tea chilled
  • ½ to 1 tbsp fresh ginger root finely grated on a zester
  • ½ tbsp fresh turmeric root finely grated on a zester
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice freshly pressed
  • 2-3 ice cubes optional
  • 1 serving protein powder optional; preferably unflavored, unsweetened, grass-fed; my favorite brand is AGN Roots. Plant-based protein powder works, too; my favorite is Wilderness Poets' hemp protein powder.


  • Place all the ingredients except for the protein powder in a high-powered blender. Process for about 1 minute.
  • Add protein powder (if using) and blend briefly to combine. If you are using whey protein powder, don't over-process as it the smoothie may become very foamy and hard to drink.
  • Enjoy immediately. If you need to store this smoothie, refrigerate it and consume it within 24 hours to ensure maximum freshness, nutrition, and taste.


The nutrition calculation was based on a smoothie containing baby kale, dairy kefir, parsley, lemon juice, and whey protein powder. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 152mg | Potassium: 980mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 11641IU | Vitamin C: 165mg | Calcium: 471mg | Iron: 5mg