They Can Cause More Pain – or Help You Heal!
Chiropractors are healers – we deal with all aspects of your ability to heal – including diet!
After I help you resolve whatever pain you may be dealing with, as your chiropractor it’s also my job to look at your overall lifestyle and how it may be impacting your health and wellness. Why? Because what you eat affects your body’s ability to heal from the structural issues you may be dealing with, the ones that are usually the reason you come to see me in the first place, like back and neck pain.
Your diet can set back your recovery from pain and painful injuries
When your progress and treatment plan are slowed because the tissues in your body continue to be inflamed, thus inhibiting and even reversing the beneficial effects of my adjustments, it can be extremely frustrating – certainly for you, but even more so for me. This is why what my patients eat and drink continues to be an ongoing concern for me, and one I regularly research to find out the most current data on healthy food and eating.
Diet affects health and causes illness – but it also affects physical and structural well-being
There’s no longer any doubt that diet profoundly affects a person’s physical well-being. Innumerable studies have now proven that diet has an impact on virtually every aspect of our health. For example, the link between diet and illnesses like diabetes or heart disease is indisputable, and these are just two of the many ways that show how drastically food and diet can affect a person’s health. However, the reverse is also true, and fortunately, there is evidence piling up daily that shows how many illnesses and physical problems a person’s diet can actually improve – or even eliminate.
My practice has long focused on diet as part of my patient’s health and well-being
However, long before there was this huge amount of interest was focused on our daily diet, my own personal experience – as well as the experiences of my family and certainly my patients – clearly taught me that a person’s dietary choices can change their pain levels, and overall health – often significantly. There is clear evidence that what you put in your mouth on a daily basis can truly affect whatever painful physical issue or physiological illness you may be suffering from. Because I am treating you for physical pain and/or illnesses, this makes your diet a huge part of my concern and care for you.
Some foods cause allergic reactions which causes inflammation
One of the many reasons that diet may be the culprit when looking at issues affecting health is that almost any kind of food can cause an allergic reaction somewhere, for some person, and an allergic reaction will cause inflammation. Inflammation anywhere in one or more of the 8 human body symptoms will trigger illness and/or pain. Think about it – the human body is made up of cells, tissues, organs, and bones, and each of the 8 systems of the human body relies on others to keep the body functioning:
- The nervous system – communicates signals throughout the body
- The endocrine system – moves chemicals and hormones throughout the body
- The respiratory system – brings oxygen to the body and takes out the carbon dioxide
- The circulatory system – transports all the nutrients – oxygen, water, blood
- The immune system – all the cells organs, proteins, etc. that fight off diseases
- The digestive system – turns food into a form that the body can use to live
- The muscular system – together with the skeletal system makes the body able to move
- The skeletal system – gives the body shape, allows it to move, protects all the organs
- The execratory system – all toxins and waste are removed by through kidneys, liver, and skin
Inflammation causes pain and illness
If there is inflammation in any one of the above parts – it’s obvious that it will cause problems, right? When most of my patients first come to me they are dealing with a physical, structural pain or injury, but they are rarely aware how much that injury can be causing damage in other places as well. And because every single system in the body interacts with and affects another, ultimately – while I start with your muscular and skeletal system –whatever I do for you will also have a beneficial affect on the rest of your body.
What foods cause allergic reactions and inflammation?
What causes inflammation in one of the 8 bodily systems? While some foods are bigger culprits than others, like sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, wheat, soy, certain fruits, nuts, and seeds – just about every food we have has been found to trigger some kind of allergic reaction in someone. And while the allergic reaction may not be as dramatic or life threatening as an allergy like peanuts – it’s possible that virtually any food can cause an allergy in certain people.
Food allergies and inflammation are not obvious sometimes
What is concerning, though, is that people don’t quite realize yet that food allergies don’t have to be dramatic – like a reaction to nuts or shellfish – to seriously affect their health. In fact, they usually aren’t. You may be allergic to certain foods and not even know it. Sometimes an allergy to a food might manifest as just an upset stomach, tiredness, crankiness, or – surprisingly – it can even trigger a craving for more of that exact food that is causing the allergic reaction (look at sugar and diabetics). Allergies can be dramatic – or they can be very subtle, and they can affect people at any point in their lives. That can mean that pinpointing the fact that you have an allergy is difficult.
As your doctor I want to give you the tools to heal and become pain-free
Why am I drawing the link between food, diet, allergies, and inflammation? As a medical health professional, it’s my job to point out that if you don’t address your diet – you are handicapping your body’s ability to heal from whatever painful condition or illness you’re dealing with. And that means you are also handicapping me, and my ability to help you with that condition or illness.
When some part of your body is injured – it becomes inflamed, and that inflammation is your body’s way of trying to heal itself. Likewise, when you eat foods you may be allergic to – your immune system becomes inflamed, and there is growing evidence that inflammation is also the root cause of chronic disease and can prevent healing from physical injuries as well. This article from “Natural News,” sums up the findings of virtually thousands of research studies:
“…Persistent, systemic inflammation is at the root of practically all known chronic health conditions, including everything from rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol to dementia and cancer. These conditions are not necessarily inevitable, and neither is chronic inflammation, but you have to know what lifestyle and dietary steps to take in order to avoid them, many of which are fairly simple and straightforward.”
– Jonathan Benson, staff writer, Natural News, August 07, 2012 Learn more
So – why am I talking about carbs? Because “Unhealthy Carbs” will cause inflammation which causes ongoing pain and illness
I need to talk about carbs because they can help me ease your pain. I need to talk about carbs because many of the foods that trigger the allergies that cause inflammation are very high in carbohydrates. So – yes, carbs are a very big deal in my practice, because if you’re eating the ones that negatively affect your body – it’s going to take you longer to heal, and it’s going to take me longer to help you. Plus – you might not experience the full relief and benefit of any treatment I do, because I can’t help you eliminate the inflammation if you’re still eating the things that cause inflammation.
So what kind of carbs to eat? Let’s talk about “healthy and unhealthy” carbs.
This brings us to the discussion about “good” and “bad” carbs. Unfortunately, we tend to describe things critically, condemning or extolling different ideas. This means that – along with the “good” and “bad” labels we’ve given to carbs, we’ve also got the tags “right” and “wrong.”
This actually polarizes people into opposing and antagonistic factions, and this is never helpful. When we judge a person as “less than” because they may be eating “wrong” or “bad” carbs – like white bread and sugared soda, it tends to shame them – and that can make them rebel, which means they may just continue eating defiantly. And just because someone is eating tofu and kale doesn’t make them a better person. So let’s talk about “healthy” and “unhealthy” carbs, and stop naming and blaming each other.
The Healthy Carb Camp
Many things that are green – e.g. – vegetables (potatoes are still up for debate in some camps) whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruits.
The Unhealthy Carb Camp
Many things that are white – e.g. – white flour, white rice, and sugar. Foods that are heavily processed or refined – most snacks, cookies, soda, etc.
How to change? Start simply! Baby steps!
What do I mean by “baby steps?” All you have to do at first is simply try – just try – to switch out the most obvious “healthy” foods for whatever “unhealthy” foods you might be consuming. Look at the food groups I’ve listed below – the first group lists some of the unhealthy, simple carbohydrates you may be eating now, and the second group contains some simple, alternative suggestions that you can switch to instead, substituting foods that are healthy for the ones that aren’t helping your treatment plan or your ability to heal. For example:
- Instead of the lighter colored vegetables (potatoes, corn) – switch to darker colored, green vegetables (green beans, broccoli, spinach, etc.)
- Instead of white grains (white rice, white bread) – switch to brown grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread)
- Instead of processed desserts and snacks (baked goods, ice cream, cookies, candy) – switch to fresh fruit of any kind
- Instead of sugared sodas or fruit juices (even the “no sugar added” fruit juices) – switch to sparkling waters, or water
These 4 simple, easy carbohydrate changes you can make – starting today!
If you’ve never been one to pay much attention to what you’re eating – doing even one of the above switches is plenty to get you started. There are many, many more food choices to work with, of course, but change isn’t easy, and I’ve seen too many of my patients become overwhelmed and give up entirely if they try to change everything over night. So just go slow, try one, then add another when you feel comfortable with it.
Take one baby step today – that’s all I ask
All I’m asking is that you do yourself – and me – a huge favor. Try to incorporate these simple substitutions into your daily meals. If you’ve come to me because you’re in pain, and it’s affecting your life in a negative way – believe it or not – changing up your diet can help you feel better – faster. And that’s my job, and what I want for every patient I see!