This week, I want to talk about how to eliminate, or at least minimize, inflammation and pain management via food and lifestyle choices. Pain is a brain-based phenomenon. Wherever you have damaged or diseased tissues and inflammatory process, chemicals are released that stimulate local receptors that communicate with the brain and register PAIN! The bottom line is that most pain is inflammation driven. Inflammation IS the bulls-eye in the pain target. Plus a recipe for Hemp Heart Tabouli below.
Not only that, but chronically elevated inflammation is the common denominator of virtually every disease and physiological disturbance known to man. Things like anxiety, arthritis, high blood pressure, cardio-vascular disease, cancer, and fibromyalgia. The list is long.
So, why does a body become over inflamed when no trauma has occurred?
I can think of 4 major reasons:
1) Stress of any kind triggers the adrenals to release cortisol, which releases sugars and subsequently insulin into the blood, both of which are inflammatory.
2) Toxic Exposure to a substance that poisons or disrupts normal physiology (food colorings/additives, exhaust fumes, smoke, smog, chlorine, herbicide residue, GMO proteins, pollens, dust.. you get the picture, right?! There are lots of these!),
3) Microbial Invasion; bacteria, virus, fungi, spirochetes (Lyme’s),etc. over taking your body because your immune system isn’t up to the task of defense.
4) Foods which are:
- a) High in Sugars (highly inflammatory) which trigger the storage and transport hormone insulin (also highly inflammatory).
- b) Polyunsaturated, heat processed Oils/Fats such as corn, soy, peanut, deep-fried anything.
So, how do you lower inflammation in your body? Control what you can control. While you might not always be able to control the quality of the air you breath or the fact that there are stressful circumstances and/or people in your life, you can take some control over how you respond to stressors and what you put in your mouth!
Mindfulness is an essential part of coping with emotional stress. Science now informs us that we can actually re-program our brains away from negative thoughts by intentionally directing them towards positive thoughts.
If you find you mind looping on negative, worrisome thoughts: Redirect! Start listing the things you have to be grateful for: You have air to breath. The sun came up today! You have food to eat. You have a roof over your head. List the people dear to you and picture their faces…This works!!
Food fuels every cell in your body. Eat the freshest, cleanest food you can find and afford.
Avoid sugars and processed foods.
Take a month off all grains and note how you feel off them vs. on them.
Take a month off fruit at the same time.
Eat lots of greens, especially bitter ones (like arugula, mustard, dandylion) which encourage the digestion process.
Add some live lacto-fermented veggies which support your micro-biome to your diet. (Find ‘em in the fridge at the health food stores)
Enjoy lots of healthy fats such as butter, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed meats, sushi/sashimi (raw fish), raw nuts, and hemp-hearts!