The human body is an amazing corporation.
That’s probably not the first analogy you would have thought of, but hear me out, and think of your body as a factory:
- The brain is the management team, sending out signals and overseeing all the day-to-day operations.
- The lung team receives oxygen and uses the blood system to transfer it to all the other organs.
- The kidney and liver teams filter and purify the blood, disposing of waste.
- The gut team extracts nutrients from the food that comes in and gets rid of all different types of garbage.
- The immune team is the security detail for the entire factory.
Immune Delta Force
Now imagine, if you will, that the security team has been fighting off invaders 24 hours a day for weeks and parts of the factory are so damaged by the constant fighting that they are not usable anymore. Do you suppose that would interfere with daily operations?
Then imagine that the security team has been so traumatized by PTSD from the constant onslaught that they start attacking the employees.
It sounds horrible, doesn’t it?
This is a very basic description of rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s also a useful way to think of asthma, Chron’s disease, colitis, diarrhea, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease Alzheimers disease, and dozens – if not hundreds – of other chronic conditions.
When Good Things Go Bad
Inflammation has its place in the body. In fact, inflammation is your first line of defense against the myriad of diseases that lurk around you every day. Your immune system was designed to recognize, surround, and eliminate toxic invaders like a good security team.
What we usually describe as “inflammation” is the sensation of redness, warmth, pain, swelling, and stiffness that often accompanies an injury. When you injure a muscle, break a bone, or sprain a joint, it’s typical to experience inflammation for a short time.
But it’s not supposed to stay for long.
The security detail is supposed to do it’s job, eliminate the threat and go home.
Chronic inflammation is when the battle never stops. Your body recognizes a never-ending stream of invaders and fights it off without stopping. This kind of fight is like spraying acid on the wall for hours at a time – it destroys cells in the inflamed area, and can damage your muscles, joints, bones, organs.
So, why does the battle continue?
A Never-ending Stream of Invaders
There are several things that your body considers a threat: viruses, allergens, pollution, and even your food. For most of us, certain foods are toxic to our bodies.
I like to describe food this way: if God made it, your body knows what to do with it; if it came from a petri dish, your body considers it a toxic invader.
So much of our food is made with sugar, which is one of the most toxic substances you can put into your body. Your cells need glucose to survive, but white refined sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), saccharine, aspartame, and other sweeteners are not glucose. They are chemicals that have been synthesized to mimic sugar. Your body considers it a threat, so when it sees a sugar cell moving through your blood, it surrounds and attacks the cell. You experience it as joint pain, fibromyalgia, colitis, asthma, or diarrhea, but it’s your body fighting off sugar.
Processed and Packaged Foods
If you get your food from a box, realize that it was produced with a series of preservatives to keep it from rotting on the shelf. Your body hates preservatives and often demonstrates it with intolerable joint pain, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, or heart disease.
Fried Foods/Vegetable Oils
Foods fried in vegetable oils and trans-fats are highly toxic to most people’s bodies. Most of them contain high amounts of omega-6 fats and no omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory. Most cooking oils turn rancid when heated.
Dairy allergies are very common. You probably know someone whose kids can’t drink milk or they break out in hives. I’d be willing to bet that they could handle unprocessed raw milk. Most of the milk products on the market have had all of the nutrient value stripped out of them, and what you are left with is bovine growth hormones and the protein, casein. If you feel bloated after consuming dairy, your gut may be releasing histamines to fight the casein.
The other common food allergy your kids see at school is peanut allergies. These are sometimes so intense that even having a peanut in the room can cause a child to suffer anaphylactic shock or death. It’s absolutely evil. Why didn’t this kind of thing happen fifty years ago? The pesticides were different then. Your kids may not be allergic to peanuts at all, but to the pesticides farmers spray over them. Peanuts grow right at ground level, so they spend month marinating in chemicals.
You already know how I feel about fast food; that’s not a secret or a surprise. You might as well eat the packaging it comes in. It has higher fiber content.
Chronic inflammation will ruin your health. It’s not just about a rash on your skin or sore joints. Inflammation can act like the flu. You might have shortness of breath, bloating, fluid retention, high blood pressure, or even kidney failure.
The thing about it that is so frustrating to me as a healthcare provider is that most of this pain and suffering is preventable with proper food choices. Next week, I want to dig into some things you can do to win the battle with inflammation and keep it at bay, but I can give you one simple tip that will reduce your experience of inflammation pretty quickly: determine which foods are making your body hurt and stop eating them.
Many of my patients have gone a 28-day cleanse journey with me. In a nutshell, we take all the food out of your diet for a few days and gradually add it back until we find a food your body rejects. If you’d like to know more about it – and you live in the Naples area – call Julie in my office and set up a time for us to talk about your health history, dietary issues, and goals. I would love to meet you and see how we can help you achieve optimal health.
Speaking of living in Naples, did you make it to our first Fundamental Foods night last week? We had a terrific turnout and we’re looking forward to these growing month by month. Our next one is in December, and it’s going to be an eye-opening night for just about everyone who attends. I hope to see you there. Be sure to RSVP on our Facebook page.