Do you experience chronic pain, inflammation, and weakness? Are you popping NSAIDS like they are going out of style just to get temporary pain relief? In a society ruled by stress, fast food, and increasing levels of toxicity, pain rules. Since McDonald’s is not going bankrupt anytime soon and moving to Bermuda is not on your immediate agenda, what can you do to get relief? Remove the underlying causes of pain!!! I have outlined a 3-step process to help you enjoy a pain-free life.
STEP 1 : FIX YOUR GUT
Ever hear the saying “your gut is your second brain”? It’s true. The digestive system has its own nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system. Neurotransmitters that are used by the brain are produced in the gut. Did you know that most inflammatory diseases start in the gut? Poor food choices, high sugar consumption, and insufficient production of HCL in the stomach are just a few causes for gut dysbiosis.
Common symptoms of a gut disorder are; frequent belching/burping after meals, passing lots of foul-smelling gas, feeling bloated, and alternating constipation with diarrhea. If you experience one or more of these symptoms two to three times per month, consider doing a healing protocol for your gut.
Start your healing process with the 4 R’s (Remove, re-inoculate, replace, and repair). Think of these four steps as a pre-requisite to any gut protocol you do.
Remove all bad bacteria from your gut and foster a healthy gut environment. Do you eat eggs and toast for breakfast every day? Food allergies are caused primarily from eating the same foods day after day. It is necessary to rotate food (protein) in order to have a more comprehensive selection of amino acids.
For the next 3-6 weeks, preferably 6 weeks, eliminate the sensitive seven from your diet: wheat/gluten, sugar, corn, soy, eggs, dairy, and peanuts. After 6 weeks, reintroduce each food every 4 days. Observe how each food makes you feel after you reintroduce it into your diet. If it makes you feel like crap, remove it from your diet. This is the cheapest way to find out if you have a food allergy.
Put good bugs back into your stomach to promote a healthy gut environment. Take probiotics (good bacteria) and eat foods that contain lactobacillus acidophilus and bifido bacteria, which can be found in a quality yogurt. I recommend Fage, a delicious Greek yogurt that can be found at your local supermarket.
It is important to have sufficient stomach acid levels in order to digest and absorb foods properly. If you are hcl deficient, take betaine HCL as a supplement until stomach acid levels normalize.
Supplement your diet with glutamine, an amino acid that repairs the gut lining and keeps your immune system in top shape.
STEP 2: CLEAN UP YOUR DIET: PRO-INFLAMMATORY VS . ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS.
The age-old proverb “you are what you eat” sums up your relationship with food. In order for your body to stay fine-tuned, you must maintain homeostasis within your gut. Eat wholesome foods that are anti-inflammatory and skip the sugars and processed foods, which are pro-inflammatory.
Foods that contain gluten (wheat, rye, oats, barley) which are found in breads, pastas, and any other products with refined flour, are common allergens. This food group causes the most allergies and is consumed in high amounts by the American population.
CORN AND SOY
Corn and soy are two of the most consumed foods in the U. S. They are also two of the most common genetically modified foods. Genetically modified foods are food items that have had their DNA changed through genetic engineering. What that means for you is: Bad long-term health effects.
EGGS AND DAIRY
Why are many people allergic to milk? Protein allergens found in cow’s milk can cause allergic reactions. Two such allergens, casein and whey are the main components of milk. Allergies develop when the body recognizes normal substances that are ingested everyday as foreign substances. When this happens, antibodies are released to fight off the foreign substances. Histamine is released to alert the body of the foreign matter, resulting in inflammation.
The same rule applies for eggs. If you are allergic to eggs, you are most likely allergic to the proteins found in eggs.
Refined Sugar has many adverse health effects, both short-term and long-term. Sugar increases blood insulin levels, depresses the immune system, causes weight gain, increases cholesterol levels, and you get the idea.
Some healthy substitutes for wheat are white or brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet.
When choosing meats, consider buying from an organic farm where all the animals are grass-fed. Chicken, turkey, duck, natural lamb and beef are all great sources of meat proteins. When buying fish, choose halibut, salmon, haddock, flounder, and such fish that have low mercury levels.
Include tons of vegetables in your daily diet. Carrots, green beans, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and almost all vegetables are anti-inflammatory.
Olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper makes a great dressing. Include herbs such as oregano and basil. Ginger, tarragon, garlic, cilantro, and curry (turmeric) are all anti-inflammatory.
STEP 3: OPTIMAL NUTRITION FOR INFLAMMATION: HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS
It is wise to consult with a knowledgeable practitioner before experimenting with any of the herbs mentioned below.
Boswellia has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellia has anti-inflammatory properties like NSAIDS (pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen). But unlike NSAIDS, which cause irritation to the lining of the stomach, boswellia can be used long-term with no adverse side effects. Boswellia is known to reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases.
WHITE WILLOW BARK
White willow bark contains a chemical called salicin, which has chemical properties similar to aspirin. Salicin is responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of white willow bark. Unlike aspirin, the herb has no adverse side effects. The benefits are slowly reaped but long lasting.
Devil’s claw is used as a pain-reliever for degenerative joint diseases, back pain, neck pain, and headaches.
Turmeric has been long been used in India as a medicinal herb and a cooking spice. The yellowish orange pigment of turmeric, known as curcumin is a powerful and safe anti-inflammatory. Curcumin is non-toxic and does not cause any intestinal problems.
Fish oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which increase blood vessel elasticity (good for the heart), improve cell membrane function (good for the skin), improve insulin sensitivity (helps manage blood sugar levels), and increase brain blood flow in conduction of speed (essential fatty acids insulate the nerves).
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid produced in the body. It works best when taken in conjunction with fish oil. GLA is primarily used to treat a myriad of disorders including allergies, inflammatory disorders, and osteoporosis.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that works to protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals, or cancer causing agents.
E’s anti-oxidant properties protect the blood cells, nervous system, and skeletal muscles from free-radical damage.
Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that break down proteins in your body. Although your body makes proteolytic enzymes, deficiencies are common. A deficiency in this type of enzyme is marked by symptoms similar to those of IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome). These symptoms include gas, stomach pains, and indigestion.
So now that you’re armed with all the right tools, conquer your pain! Fix your gut, change your diet, and start taking your anti-inflammatory supplements.