If there’s one comment I hear more than any other from my readers, it’s “for a chiropractor, you sure write a lot about diet and gut health.”
There’s a reason for that.
More Than Wellness…Wholeness
As I often share here on “Wellness Wednesdays,” wellness is not just a well-aligned spine. Your bones, nervous system, organs, glands, muscles, skin, and even your hair are all interconnected. Disease in one area diminishes your wellness in all areas. You can probably think of a time that a broken toe or a headache or a sore throat made you feel bad all over.
Plus, you are not experiencing total wellness (I like to call it “wholeness” or the Hebrew word, “shalom”) if you are suffering in your mind, emotions, spirit, finances, and relationships. You can probably think of a time that financial stress made your stomach hurt, or a broken relationship made you hurt all over.
I can get your spine perfectly aligned from your brain to your tailbone, and you could still be sick as a dog if you’ve been eating unhealthy foods.
The Food-Wellness Link
I’m always surprised at how many Americans have no idea that there is a direct correlation between their food choices and the discomfort they experience in their bodies.
They may recognize the correlation between candy and a tummy ache, but they don’t make the connection between fast food and arthritis. Or coffee and migraine headaches. Or between potato chips and psoriasis.
If this is a new concept to you, welcome aboard. You’re not alone. Most Americans haven’t been educated on how food affects their bodies. When they suffer pain in their bodies, they are conditioned to seek out a drug to alleviate their symptoms, instead of identifying the source of the pain and dealing with it.
Breaking It Down
When we eat, the food we take into our bodies breaks down into its component parts (nutrients and waste products) and our bodies distribute those pieces to where they need them. We learned that in fourth grade. Fruits and vegetables break down into vitamins and minerals, fiber, amino acids, and so on. Our bodies use those ingredients to build new cells and repair old ones. Every cell our bodies don’t use becomes waste material, which filters out through your liver, kidneys, and intestines, and out to the toilet.
Nothing surprising there.
Your DNA includes an encoded instructional manual that tells your cells what to do with the nutrients in plants and animal products. For instance, your body knows exactly what to do with Vitamin C cells in an orange, because the instructions are written into your DNA.
Some Food Is Not Food
The part that people don’t understand is that some of the things we call “food” are made of ingredients that our bodies were not designed to process.
For example, there are no instructions in your DNA for how to handle chemical preservatives like maltodextrin. Since your body doesn’t know what to do with it, it treats it like an invader. Your immune system organizes an assault team of anti-viral cells that identify the foreign invaders, surround and isolate them, then neutralize and eliminate them through the liver or the lymphatic system before routing them out through your colon, kidneys, or skin.
If you flood your body with cells that it considers toxic, you will eventually overwhelm and weaken your immune system. To keep up the fight, your body will take energy from less-essential processes and redirect it to fighting the invader. You might:
- Feel fatigue or cloudy thinking.
- Experience joint pain or tenderness as the fight moves around your body.
- Break out in a rash.
- Have a sudden intense headache or begin sneezing.
- Feel the need to clear your throat.
- Experience redness, swelling, and heat under your skin.
All of these are symptoms of inflammation; the evidence that your body is fighting off an invading army of toxic cells.
Recognizing Poison Is Not As Easy As You Think
If you were to accidentally drink industrial floor cleaner, your body would immediately recognize that it was under attack and work expeditiously to eject the invader through the nearest available exit. You would become very uncomfortable very quickly and take action to remove the offending liquid.
Unfortunately, there are some poisons that enter our bodies undercover because they taste good or they make us feel good. When something tastes good, we want more of it — it’s how we are wired — but it doesn’t mean that item is good for us. It might fool our senses, but it can’t fool our cells. If floor cleaner tasted good, we would have a serious problem on our hands. After all, rat poison tastes good to rats.
This is where the disconnect occurs for most people: they associate certain foods with pleasure because of how those foods make their five senses feel, so they don’t associate that pleasurable food with the displeasurable (is that a word?) pain of disease caused by toxic food. On the flip side, people who associate onions, kale, and Brussels sprouts with displeasurable taste miss out on the massive health benefits those foods provide.
We’re Not Being Educated To Know The Difference
I believe Standard American Diet and food regulatory agencies have done us a disservice. Our diet is overwhelmed with foods that overstimulate the pleasure centers of the brain while at the same time damaging our bodies.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the chemical that makes most Asian foods (and most American fast food) taste so, but it kills nerve cells and is highly addictive. I have seen countless patients who thought they had a form of arthritis or even Parkinson’s Disease because of the tremors they experienced in their extremities after exposure to MSG.
- Aspartame (more commonly known by the brand name, NutraSweet) is the sweetener is almost all food products that are labeled “sugar-free.” The studies are piling up that link aspartame to deterioration of the optic nerve, and the myelin coating that insulates nerve channels.
- Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and activates more pleasure centers in the brain. It not only rots your teeth, sugar is cancer’s favorite food. Sugar suppresses your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to viruses and infections.
- There are dozens of different cooking oils available on the market. Some of the most popular are the most toxic because they turn rancid when heated. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids convert to toxic omega-6 fatty acids, which are poisonous at high temperatures.
I’ve lost count of all the patients I’ve treated for food allergies, especially peanut, gluten, lactose, eggs, and even fish. You have probably heard stories of children who died suddenly from anaphylactic shock or asphyxiation because they were exposed to peanuts or milk.
If you dig into these stories, what we’re finding is that many of these cases are actually allergic reactions to pesticide and herbicide residues found in the foods. In an effort to maximize their harvests, many farmers will spray their fields with herbicides to kill the weeds that would choke out their crops. Herbicides are a fast and effective way to kill dozens of varieties of weeds, but they leave chemical residues on the very crops you’re trying to harvest. Those residues pass straight through to the consumer. If you wouldn’t drink a cup of it straight, you shouldn’t spray it on your food.
Then there are the foods themselves. Here’s the short version: living food rots over time. Any food that doesn’t rot over time is not alive. In order to keep food fresh longer, growers (or manufacturers, take your pick) will add chemical preservatives to the food. You may have seen the videos on YouTube where they put fast food items in a glass jar for months and they don’t rot. That’s evidence that there are no living cells in that food. At that point, you have to wonder if it should even be called “food” anymore. If it comes in a cardboard box, chances are it is kept fresh with chemicals or made entirely of chemicals.
So, Why Do We Eat?
Let’s set some definitions here. If the purpose of food is to provide nourishment to our bodies, then that rules out most of what you find in a grocery store. But if your definition of food is any item that brings you pleasure when you consume it, then the sky is the limit. Just about anything can be called a food. You can’t walk down the checkout lane at the grocery store without seeing items that are called “food,” but exist only to provide momentary pleasure without any nutritional value.
But consider the cost.
Please bear in mind that some of my favorite foods fall into the “pleasure over nourishment” category. I probably drank enough Coca-Cola in my life to float a boat. I’m not a nutritional zealot who doesn’t understand the pleasures of unhealthy food. Just read what I did for my birthday last year.
My point is that there is a better way.
The Better Way To Live Healthily
Foods that occur naturally are encoded with nutritional value for our cells. As I mentioned earlier, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, oils, and some animal products contain elements our bodies need to build new cells and repair old ones.
One of the keys to living a healthy, vibrant life is to minimize the amount of destructive food in our diets and maximize the amount of nutrient-dense living foods.
It Starts With Cleaning
I offer many of my patients a 28-day detox program, which is a process where we gradually eliminate toxic foods from their diets so that their bodies can begin cleaning out the residue from years of eating unhealthy foods. Obesity, heart disease, colon diseases, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even some cancers are linked directly to unhealthy eating, so why not cut it off at the root?
Forgive me for being crude, but if you leave a men’s room unattended for years, you will return to find some deterioration has taken place. It could take days or weeks to clean out, and walls and floor might never be able to be restored.
In the same way, if you make a habit of unhealthy eating, your body is going to break down eventually. There is no miracle flush that can clean out your plugged arteries (at least not without some terrifying side effects). It takes time to clean out years of abuse.
The first step is to remove the toxic foods. You will never get better if you don’t eliminate the problem. Your body needs to be able to stop fighting before it can focus its energy on repair and restoration.
The second step is to give your body a time of rest and rebuilding.
The third step is to add in nutrient-dense foods. Your body is programmed to recognize and absorb them.
Does It Work?
The testimonies I’ve heard from my patients who have been through this cleansing process would take the rest of the day to recite. Here’s a quick summary:
- Headaches disappeared.
- Brain fog cleared up.
- Fatigue vanished.
- Breath improved.
- Fat melted away.
- Psoriasis healed.
- Rashes disappeared.
- Acne cleared up.
- Hair regained its shine and texture.
- Joint pain and stiffness vaporized.
- Asthma cleared up.
- Cold and flu became obsolete.
- People slept better.
- Restroom difficulties subsided.
- Tumors shrunk (remember, sugar is what cancer loves to eat).
- Energy and stamina increased.
This is just the short list. The key to all of these was to remove the toxic foods and replace them with foods that heal.
Replacing Toxic Food With Living Food
I’m so excited to welcome my friend, Francie Bussing of Plant-based Radiance to our Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner tomorrow night, at my office behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road in Naples. She is going to take the baton from this article and give you a master-class education on the healing properties of foods we eat. There are many that you have always known are good for you, but Francie is going to show you a whole new level of nutritional value.
You may have seen the memes on Facebook that show the correlation between certain foods and your body:
- Walnuts look like your brain and are good for your brain.
- Tomatoes look like your heart, and they are good for your heart.
- Sweet potatoes look like your pancreas and are good for your pancreas.
That’s cute, but it’s kindergarten-level. France is going to show you how to get the maximum healing value from food. I wanted to spend this week’s “Wellness Wednesday” talking about it, but instead, I ended up setting the stage for Francie, and I’ll let her share her amazing expertise with you tomorrow. If you live in the Naples area, I hope you’ll join us. These dinners get more crowded every month, so be sure to RSVP on my Facebook page now and reserve your seat. I really think you’ll enjoy it.
In the meantime, I’m going to be taking good notes at the dinner, so maybe I’ll share some of my favorite take-aways next week.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas