We have recommended the Chiropractic Lifestyle for our patients for quite a long time now.
The basic building blocks of the Chiropractic Lifestyle are:
"The Six Facets of Health."
5. Positive Mental Attitude
6. Spinal Balance
Each facet is equally important in order to achieve our goal of 100% health. Nutrition, however, seems the most complex and confusing to patients. Fortunately, it isn't nearly as complicated as it seems at first glance. Many patients are confused because there are so many "diets" being recommended now (SouthBeach, Atkins, high protein, low carb, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.) For the most part, they are all anti-inflammatory in nature and that is why they work. The good news is that you don't have to adhere to strict calorie counting, fat watching, food measuring or "point" counting. The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a "diet" at all, but rather a new way to look at food.
I'm sure you realize that our society is suffering an epidemic of chronic illness (arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, disc degeneration, etc.). Most chronic diseases have one thing in common; they all create or increase inflammation. This inflammation is the driver of pain and is usually treated with anti-inflammatory medication. You don't have to look far to see all the stories of serious complications from the regular use of anti-inflammatory medication. Fortunately, there is an alternative to the side effects of this medication and that is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet.
The food choices you make will either drive inflammation or decrease inflammation in a very powerful way. I believe that most chronic illness can be helped with simple dietary changes. Instead of looking at calories, fat, protein or carbohydrates, I want you to become educated about essential fatty acids (EFAs). To make a very complex subject simple, here's the Reader's Digest version.
EFAs are necessary for proper health and can be divided into three basic types: Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. Omega is typically written "n" and, therefore n3 stands for Omega 3. The n3 fatty acids are essentially anti-inflammatory. The n6 are essentially pro-inflammatory and should be avoided. The n9 can be thought of as neutral as far as inflammation is concerned. NOTE: There are anti-inflammatory n6 fatty acids, but there are far more pro-inflammatory n6 fatty acids. To keep things simple, we'll think of n3 as good and n6 as bad. The n3 fatty acids are found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and grasses (including sea weed) and any animal that eats these. The n6 fatty acids are primarily in grains and "vegetable" oils, especially corn oil. Therefore, you can use the following chart to help you make better food choices:
|Good n3 Foods||Bad n6 Foods|
|Green Leafy Vegetables||Bread (including whole grains)|
|Organic Butter||Food Cooked in Vegetable Oil|
|Omega 3 Eggs||Rice|
|Organic or Wild Meats||Bakey Goods|
|Coconuts and Coconut Oil|
It's not so much that you need to eliminate the n6 foods, but we certainly should decrease our consumption of these inflammation drivers. Ideally we want a 1:1 ratio of n6-n3 fatty acids. Most people have diets that are 25-1. The closer we can get to equal consumption of n6 and n3 fatty acids, the more we can control our internal inflammation. In order to get closer to the ideal ratio, I recommend that you only eat one meal with a high concentration of n6 fatty acids per day. In other words, only one meal with bread or pasta. If you plan to have pizza for dinner, don't have bread or cereal for lunch or breakfast. If you have oatmeal for breakfast, you shouldn't have bread or pasta later in the day. Note: If you must have oatmeal or cereal for breakfast, get ground flaxseed or chia seeds to sprinkle on top. Flax has a 1:1 ratio and chia seeds have the highest concentration of n3 fatty acids of other seeds. This will add healthy n3 (anti-inflammatory) fatty acids to your n6 (inflammatory) cereal.
To increase your intake of n3 fatty acids and decrease your internal inflammation, you should eat as much n3 foods as possible. You don't need to count calories, fat, carbs or proteins! Just eat the right food. Salad with various types of lettuce, broccoli, organic cheese (not low fat!), walnuts, pine nuts, tomatoes, carrots, almonds, peas, etc. with home made dressing made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar is awesome. Today's pre-washed salads in a bag are easy and nutritious. Get ground Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds to sprinkle on salads, fruit, etc. These are an excellent source of n3 fatty acids. Have various fruits available, pre-washed and ready to eat. There is no reason to eliminate eggs. There are Omega 3 eggs available in all grocery stores these days. This is a healthier choice than regular eggs. (The hens are fed with flax seeds, which are high in n3 fatty acids.) If you eat eggs more than twice per week, use one yolk per serving.
You can eat Organic yogurt, which can be found in any grocery store. Organic is best because the cows are allowed to graze, which increases the likelihood that they will eat grass instead of grain feed. You can have Organic cream, but in small quantities. It is excellent on fresh fruit sprinkled with ground flax seeds and coconut shaving. This is an excellent dessert!
Don't use vegetable oil when cooking. This is like pouring fuel on the fire! Switch to Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Walnut Oil, or Organic Butter. Olive Oil has a low smoking point, which makes it a poor choice at high temperatures. Walnut Oil can be used at higher temperatures. Coconut Oil is very high in n3 fatty acids and does not have as much of a taste as you think. Try it. Organic Butter is good for the same reason that Organic Cream is good. Organic farmers are more likely to let the cows graze on grasses than traditional farmers.
When choosing meats, try to find grass fed beef. This is hard to find, but is becoming easier and less expensive all the time. Grass fed beef has n3 fatty acids. Regular beef is primarily corn fed and does not have high quantities of n3 fatty acids. Bison is generally high in n3 fatty acids as well. Free range chicken is excellent as well and for the same reason. Again, it is becoming easier to find all the time. Fish, especially salmon, is the best source of n3 fatty acids. The farm raised (Atlantic) salmon does not have as much n3 fatty acids as wild (Pacific) salmon due to the corn feed that the farm raised fish is given. Avoid Great Lakes Salmon due to the high mercury content.
I am a big fan of Fruit Shakes. They are excellent and satisfy my sweet tooth and, most importantly, the kids love them. I use frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.) because it is easy to handle and more convenient. I put in Organic Yogurt, Frozen Fruit, Coconut Shaving, Grape Juice (for the anti-oxidants), and Ground Flax Seeds in a blender. I add Organic Low Fat Milk (Skim or 1%), a little Organic Cream or water to bring it to the desired thickness. This will depend on how much frozen fruit you use. This is a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast. My 12 year old makes his own.
Spicing your food is an easy and tasty way to add natural anti-inflammatories to your diet. Ginger, Hot Peppers, Tumeric and Rosemary are potent anti-inflammatory agents. Ginger adds a pungent, sweet taste and Tumeric adds a peppery taste. A slice of Ginger can be added to Green Tea while it steeps for a delicious, satisfying cup of tea. The Capsaicin in Peppers has both anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. In fact, there are topical analgesics that use Capsaicin as their active ingredient.
Due to the difficulty in getting all of our nutrition from our food, we also highly recommend nutritional supplementation. There are certain key factors that are highly effective for dietary inflammation control. First and foremost is a high quality multivitamin that will give you at least 100% of the RDA of each vitamin. There are numerous companies that offer affordable, high quality multivitamin supplementation. Fish oil supplementation is also absolutely recommended for almost all of our patients. You want to make sure that you're getting 1000mg (1 gram) of EPA/DHA combination from your fish oil supplement. Every supplement differs in the concentration of EPA and DHA. The more EPA/DHA a product has the less capsules you'll have to take to reach the magic number of 1000mg. We offer Anabolic Labs Concentrated Omega-3. Two capsules will deliver 1200mg of EPA/DHA. Natural Orange Oil is added to mask any fish taste. Pregnant or nursing mothers should ask their medical physicians prior to starting any fish oil products and those patients who take prescription blood thinners should not use large amounts of fish oil. Many patients are concerned about the amount of mercury in fish. The mercury in fish is held in the flesh, not the oil. Fish oil products do not contain mercury, so they are safer than eating fish.
For those patients who do not like to spice their foods with Ginger and Turmeric, we offer a product from Anabolic Labs called PRO ENZ. It contains Ginger, Turmeric, Rosemary, Boswellia and Bromelain. The Boswellia is a natural, botanical anti-inflammatory and Bromelain is a digestive enzyme to better utilize and digest the spices.
In short, your diet is potent driver of internal inflammation. This inflammation is absolutely necessary for your body to go through the inflammatory process to heal damaged tissue. Unfortunately, most of us have way too much internal inflammation and it is creating devastating effects in our bodies: Alzheimer's disease, Arthritis, Cancer, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, and other chronic diseases. Proper dietary control to change the balance of n6 to n3 fatty acids can have a dramatic effect on these conditions and will likely limit their expression significantly. By following the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, you will feel better and be healthier. Remember, for specific recommendations or to discuss other health related matters, just speak with your chiropractor.
For more information, go to www.deflame.com.