Over the last several weeks we’ve been fighting the War of Inflammation. If you’re just joining us, the War of Inflammation is an epic fight between your body’s internal defense systems and a whole host of toxic invaders. If it were a movie, it would be an Avengers sequel.
For most of us, most of the time, our bodies are winning. Virus cells come in through the air and our bodies wrap them up and flush them out. Various forms of the flu have laid siege to your lungs and you didn’t even know it, because your body’s security team recognized the threat, isolated the invaders, and beat them ugly. You didn’t feel a thing.
But, as we discussed a couple of weeks ago, it’s possible to overwhelm and eventually crush your internal security team, rendering them bound and helpless in the broom closet. In fact, it’s possible to drive your security team so crazy that they actually turn and start destroying your body themselves. It seems like I’m being silly about this, but it’s an (oversimplified) analogy of what is really happening in your body when it is inflamed.
Fibromyalgia is a perfect example. In the case of fibromyalgia, your body has been working so hard to fight off toxic invaders that your immune system has begun to destroy itself, as well as your muscle and joint tissue. It hurts like crazy because it interferes with the impulses of the nervous system. In fact, we use the word, “inflammation,” because it often manifests as a burning feeling, redness of the skin, or swelling of the joints. In some cases, the tissue feels hot to the touch.
If you’ve ever suffered from asthma, leaky gut, arthritis, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or Chron’s disease, you know how much you have suffered. But do you know why?
Know Your Toxic Invaders
It would be easy to blame one thing or another and camp out on that as our go-to excuse for inflammation, but the fact is it’s a little more complicated than that:
- If you have mold in your house, your body is under attack and will let you know it.
- If you work all day with harsh, corrosive chemicals, it will take a toll on your health.
- Constant exposure to radiation (your microwave needs to go!) will break down your cells.
If you never get relief from the invaders, they will destroy your cells over time.
But it’s also possible to sabotage your body from the inside. Refined sugar is like a laser gun blasting through your immune cells. That boxed, over-processed junk food you find at most grocery stores is like a tank breaking down your defenses. Even stress can cause your body to break down. And as we found out last week, obesity itself can break down your body’s ability to defend itself.
Metabolic Syndrome is a disorder where three or more of these systems in your body are failing at once. The conditions most commonly associated with Metabolic Syndrome are:
- abdominal obesity
- high triglyceride levels
- high fasting blood sugar levels
- high blood pressure
- high LDL cholesterol
- low HDL cholesterol
People diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome are at a critically high risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Your lifestyle can kill you.
You Can Protect Yourself
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your health, reduce your pain, and extend your longevity. Just look at the people in the Blue Zones studies! People all over the world are not just living to be 100 years old, they are living vibrant, active, healthy lives right up until the day they die – not crippled or incapacitated for years in a wheelchair or a hospital bed.
There is a tragic misconception in America that you have to be sick to die. It’s not true. You can live to be more than 100 years old and just decide that you’re ready to cash in your chips. You can take your time, get all your family affairs in order, say goodbye to everyone you want, and then close your eyes and slip into eternity.
You might ask, why would someone do that?
If you know what you were put on earth to do, you can know when you’ve accomplished it and be satisfied that it’s time to go home. Death isn’t something to fear. It’s just a graduation. In the meantime, we have generations of people who are both terrified of death and racing headlong into it. Isn’t that crazy? They are afraid to die because they don’t know what’s on the other side, and they don’t know what they are here to do. Meanwhile, they make unhealthy lifestyle choices that feel good but accelerate their demise, like smoking, keeping a sedentary lifestyle, and eating garbage. Insane.
But that’s a topic for another time.
My point is, you don’t have to be sick. While there may be some things you can’t prevent one hundred percent of the time, there are ways to set up a strong defense and improve the odds in your favor. We dealt with them in depth in previous articles, but I want to highlight a couple of things here.
First, eliminate the junk from your life.
If you know there is a traitor in your camp sabotaging your work, you find them and kick them out. I can identify the traitors sabotaging your health: refined sugar and flour, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, sodas, and trans-fats.
I get it – you don’t want to let go of these. They taste good.
In the interest of full disclosure, I enjoy Coca-Cola. But I also know what it does to my body when I drink it, so I let it go (most of the time). For over 70 years, chemists in white lab coats have been formulating food to taste good to the receptors in your brain. MSG, nicotine, dextrose, aspartame, and high fructose corn syrup are chemistry experiments that have found their way into your food supply. Scientists have been studying the effects for years. Consider yourself a lab rat. It’s time to escape the lab.
All of these ingredients are toxic invaders that overwhelm your defenses, break down the healthy cells in your body, and cause inflammation. Your favorite food may be killing you. Let it go. You will lose weight, your skin will clear up, your headaches will diminish, your joints will hurt less, and your insulin will level out. Your doctor will be able to back off most of your meds. You will sleep better, concentrate better, remember things better, smell better, and have more energy.
It’s worth noting that if you eat everything you see promoted on TV, you will never live a day without a prescription drug. It’s not an accident – it’s a business model.
Second, add fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes to your diet.
Give your body the fuel it needs to reproduce healthy cells. Add a krill oil supplement to your smoothies for omega-3 fatty acids and a spirulina supplement to lower your blood pressure. Some nutritionists will tell you to avoid meat. I disagree. Red meat contains amino acids and B-complex vitamins your body needs to produce healthy cells.
Take a 30-minute brisk walk after work. Get a stand-up desk at the office. Find a long staircase (like a stadium) and run up and down for 20 minutes. Start the “Move Right Monday” exercise series. Burn your belly fat through high-intensity interval training: 30 to 60 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 30 to 60 seconds of rest. Lather, rinse. repeat. And skip the treadmill: long-distance cardio training has actually been found to have a negative impact on your health.
Fourth, drink water.
If you don’t like the taste of water, I’m so sorry, but you’re going to have to get over it. Please, give it a few days. If you will make a commitment to improving your health, your taste buds will adapt.
Several years ago, a friend of mine went cold turkey on sugar. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he was grazing from a veggie platter and came to the sudden shocking revelation that green peppers taste good. He had given up a three Cokes a day habit in favor of clean, fresh water. He lost 30 pounds the first month, got rid of his headaches and sore joints, and found a deep reservoir of energy for each day.
If you will do these four things, your body will begin to heal itself. But be prepared to take the long view: if you’ve spent your whole life abusing your body with junk food and a sedentary lifestyle, it will not heal itself overnight. At the same time, you will be shocked at how quickly you feel better just by getting the garbage out of your system. You will likely have a few days of headaches as your body flushes out the chemicals you’ve been addicted to – sugar is usually the worst. But hold on, because you will not believe how healthy you will feel on the other side.
A Great Year
We’ve had a great year here at Fundamental Health Solutions. If you’re new to the family, welcome! We’re so glad you found us. This blog is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health with simple choices and activities that you can do anytime, anywhere. If today’s article was helpful to you, we invite you to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and then take a few seconds to share it. You might be amazed at who you know that is looking for an answer for the way they feel. This might just be the answer they’ve been searching for.
If you live in the Southwest Florida area, I invite you to stop by my office in Naples for our next “Fundamental Foods Night,” Thursday, January 12 at 6:15 p.m. The November and December dinners were amazing – we had a great turnout and a terrific discussion (to say nothing of the awesome FOOD!). RSVP on our Facebook page to secure a seat because they are filling up quickly! I’ll look forward to seeing you there.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas