Do you find that when you get up in the morning, you feel like the tin man, stiff as a board? If you’ve been on your feet, or doing a lot of walking or manual labor, your joints ache at the end of the day? Or what about when you get up after you’ve been sitting for a while, it takes several steps to get going because of the ache or stiffness in your joints? Do you have a more sedentary life style and still feel sore and achy? What’s going on? You might go get a massage and/or see your chiropractor and you’re still hurting. You ask yourself, why do all of my joints hurt?
There is a chance that what you’re eating may be causing it.
If your body is hurting, it means your body is inflamed. There are certain foods that cause, contribute, or perpetuate inflammation. In order to start feeling better, you may have to cut some things out of your diet for a while and allow your body to get healthy again.
What kinds of foods can be causing my pain?
At the end of the day do you find yourself craving sugar? You eat your dinner (It may even be a very healthy dinner), and after a short while you want something sweet to eat. You go into your stash of cookies, chocolate, or ice cream, or you take a quick trip to the fro yo place just down the block and get yourself your favorite frozen yogurt.
How about breakfast? What is your favorite breakfast? Is it a yummy maple pecan granola? Do you swing by the donut shop and pick up a couple donuts? How about that delicious cinnamon roll or scone with your coffee that’s sweetened with sugar?
You will find that sugar and high fructose corn syrup are on the ingredient lists of many processed foods. Even foods that you would have never thought were sweetened. These refined carbohydrates lack fiber. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, slows absorption of sugar thus helping to control blood sugar.
What that means is eating a piece of fruit that is naturally sweet and contains fiber is processed in the body much differently than a pastry or any other refined carbohydrate. Refined carbohydrates such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup encourage the growth of bacteria that contribute to inflammation.
Here is a list of foods high in sugar as well as refined carbohydrates that contribute to inflammation: candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, protein/nutrition bars (must check nutritional information), cereals, soft drinks, fruit juices, bread, pasta, foods containing added sugar and flour.
Artificial trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils like margarine are inflammatory. Foods that are fried contain trans fats that are inflammatory. What is yummier than french fries, fish and chips, and donuts? These are yummy fun foods that bring much pleasure to the palate in the moment but are reaping havoc in your body and increasing inflammation.
A small amount of naturally occurring trans fats are found in beef, lamb and butter. There is not enough evidence supporting the possibility that these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects as the industrially manufactured trans fats.
Salt and salty foods tend to retain water, so for the person who has issues with inflammation, they will find an increase in pain and inflammation in the joints due to this water retention.
Processed meats contain high amounts of sodium and other preservatives that are problematic for someone experiencing pain and inflammation. Examples of processed meats are: canned meats, spam, lunch meat, bologna, hot dogs, smoked meats and smoked fish.
What about alcohol? Can that increase my inflammation? Studies have shown that alcohol increases the inflammatory marker C-Reactive Protein (CRP). When CRP is elevated in the blood, it is indicative of infection or inflammation in the body. Severely high CRP can be indicative of a serious underlying medical condition such as infection, an uncontrolled autoimmune condition or severe tissue damage.
It is recommended that we limit our alcohol intake to 1 beverage for women and 2 beverages for men per day. More than that can develop bacterial toxins that contribute to a condition in the intestines referred to as leaky gut, that spreads inflammation throughout the body and can lead to organ damage.
Do you find it difficult to give up fun food?
I understand. Food is so many things besides sustenance. It’s comforting, it’s social, it’s celebratory, it provides a temporary pleasure that feels good when we’re feeling down. All of this is true, however that feel good feeling is temporary. Once you swallow it, it’s gone and then the pleasure is over.
Fun food is only helping you while you’re eating and then when you’re finished, it can make you feel bad. If you are young and still resilient, your body might be able to handle it. But as the years go by, the body becomes less tolerant of bad/fun food and can create suffering.
You have to make the decision whether you want to feel good for a few minutes and lousy for the rest of the day, or do you want to feel good most of the time?
Eliminating these inflammatory foods…
…Is doable. You just have to make the decision to commit to a healthier life style that will enable you to do more in your day to day. If you can follow an 80/20 principle to start, that makes it a little easier.
Some people do better with cutting things out cold turkey and the truth is, if you can cut sugary and sweet foods and beverages completely, it makes it a lot easier to stick to a plan that can cleans and detoxify your body. As soon as you eat even the smallest amount of sugary sweet food, the cravings start all over again and that makes the whole process a lot more challenging.
How to Eliminate the bad/fun foods and adopt a healthier way to eat
There are so many diets out there that work, it’s just a matter of deciding what you can commit to. The Mediterranean diet, the paleo eating plan, and the Keto plan are my favorites. Pick any one of them and follow along. Your body will change for the better as long you eliminate all the bad foods mentioned above.
If it all seems too overwhelming, just start by cutting out one bad thing. Say you want to cut sugars first; instead of drinking a six-pack of Pepsi throughout the day, try cutting back to 5 Pepsi’s and one glass of water for 2 days, then 4 Pepsi’s and 2 glasses of water for 2 days, then 3 and 3 and so on. Pepsi does contain caffeine so you have to either replace the caffein with a healthier alternative or wean yourself off of it a little slower. As long as you commit to making an effort every day, no matter what, you can make a positive change.
There are plenty of books on the market that can help you with various types of eating. One of my favorites that I reference in one of my posts, will really clean up your life. It’s called The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry.
Another one of my favorite books on the Keto style of eating is called The Coconut Ketogenic Diet. I found this way of eating to be fun and quite satisfying. It might make the whole process of changing your eating a bit easier.
I also love The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners since it’s not as restrictive and it’s simple.
I’ve heard clients tell me that they don’t know how to cook or don’t have the time to prepare their meals. I understand, so in an upcoming post I will share with you some wonderful companies that can prepare your meals for you. All you have to do is pack them in your cooler and take them with you. Fortunately, many restaurants now offer healthier choices on their menu giving you that option as well.
I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you’ve done to modify your eating to feel better and how it worked for you. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Yours in Good Health,