Friday, March 01, 2019

The Foods We Eat.

We all have our agendas, our plans and itineraries, yet there are times when they cannot be met.  Life throws us a sleuth of challenges, many of them inconvenient, and some of them can bring us to a stand still.

One of the challenges that client's often face is chronic pain.

Chronic pain can be incredibly frustrating, annoying and sometimes debilitating.  If I haven't seen a client in a while, I might ask a variety of questions.  Some of them may seem unrelated to the discomfort they may be feeling, but they do relate.

You see, healing chronic pain is not just about bringing your body back into alignment.  It is also about addressing a complex web of interacting factors that all contribute to, or help heal, chronic pain.

As much as I would like to just "fix" you, I'm afraid it can be a bit more complex than that.  Especially if we hope for the pain and discomfort to subside and stay gone for good.

Eating right, getting enough moderate exercise, and finding ample time to rest and de-stress are all factors that can help alleviate chronic pain.

One of the factors I'd like to focus on is diet.  What you eat can either contribute to chronic pain, or in the same breath, help pain dissipate.

What you eat has a profound affect on your body.


One of the physiological responses in your body that exasperates chronic pain is called, inflammation.

What is inflammation?  Inflammation is a multi faceted physiological response to combat harmful stimuli.  It is meant to respond to and heal cell injury.  It recruits a variety of bodily systems, such as immune cells, blood vessels and molecular mediators (they help cells communicate and change their function if need be.)

Inflammation shows up as perhaps heat, redness, swelling, and here you go...pain.

Now, depending on what you eat, you are either activating the inflammation response or calming it down.

What we eat can be seen by the body as being nourishing or as an invasive stimuli.

That soda you just drank?  Inflammation response.

Those cookies?  Inflammation response.

The bag of chips with god knows how many preservatives added?  Inflammation response.

Look, I know for some of you I am treading on hallowed ground.  "Ummmm...Jim, I LOVE my soda/cookies/chips.  They are so delicious!"

I get it.  Yet at the same time, do know that the chronic pain you have been dealing with might be compounded by what you are eating.

So, see if some of these inflammatory foods sound familiar.

Some pro-inflammatory foods are:

  • processed foods/foods with preservatives.
  • deep fried foods
  • pastries
  • processed cereals
  • white rice
  • sugar
  • white breads
As important as it is to cut back or cut out completely these foods, it's equally important to introduce a rich variety of nourishing foods into your diet as well.

Now, what are some anti-imflammatory or antioxidant foods that you can add or expand on?  They are:

  • Foods that contain omega 3 fats (good fats are essential.)  Salmon, tuna and trout and soy based foods are all rich in omega 3 fats.  So are almonds, walnuts, pecans, flax seeds and chia seeds.
  • A rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Lentils and beans, nuts and seeds.
  • Green teas and certain spices such as ginger and turmeric.
  • Complex carbohydrates, in moderation, such as whole grains, barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, and brown rice.
  • Various vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, D, and E.
Granted, there are many diets to choose from these days.  Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo and Keto.  All are very different from one another.  Some are ok with complex carbs, others not.  Some are ok with eating meat, others not at all.

Yet all of them would agree on eliminating the various pro-inflammatory foods mentioned above.  So, if anything, that might be a very good place to start.

Also, keep in mind that I am not a doctor, ND or nutritionist.  What I am suggesting comes from my own research on chronic pain and changes I have made to my own diet.  If you ever need a referral to a Naturopath, please let me know.

In Conclusion.

We are often eating out of habit.  Not really aware of what we are eating or how it affects us.  If you can, try and be more mindful of your diet.  Explore ways to incorporate non-inflammatory foods, while eliminating those that are inflammatory.

Also, find the time to appreciate and relish the preparation of your meals.  Enjoy the tastes and textures.  Take time to ascertain how you feel during and after a meal.

In doing so, your body will be eternally grateful...