The Email That All Doctors Should Send You
I recently had a patient ask me for advice about diet and lifestyle modifications to help treat persistent low back pain, body aches, and fatigue. As I responded to her email, I realized that so many others would benefit from reading my reply. So, I've decided to share my email reply with all of you! Here's the email that I think all doctors should send to their patients.
The goal of changing your diet, is to eliminate inflammation in your body, improve your immune response, and improve hormonal balance. Without a thorough, micronutrient test, it's hard to recommend or state what exactly your body is saying/lacking/needing. So, many of these recommendations are in "general terms."
I think you should begin by eliminating highly inflammatory foods such as sugar (including carbs), decrease your dairy and gluten intake. I would also eliminate alcohol because it does a number on your liver, kidneys, brain, and hormones just to name a few. But, don't freak out, this is only temporary. Again, start eliminating foods in small doses, so it isn't a huge shock for your body and so it isn't so stressful on you emotionally.
If you are stressing out about what you should or should not be eating, this becomes counterintuitive. A body under physical and mental stress ends up releasing a lot of inflammatory markers-ultimately decreasing your immunity, wearing down your body's own ability to fight infection, inflammation, and disease.
I would focus on increasing your daily water intake, increase anti-inflammatory foods such as dark, leafy greens and dark fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. I like to make a smoothie in the morning made with both fruits and veggies, as well as adding an all natural, raw, vegan, plant based protein supplement. The one I use is:https://www.sunwarrior.com/store/warrior-blend-natural-500g.html
You can add a Curcumin with Bioperine (black pepper) supplement, 500mg daily, to your diet. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and has more potency with Bioperine. Curcumin is highly anti-inflammatory. Pure Encapsulations has one that comes highly recommended:http://www.pureencapsulations.com/curcumin-500-with-bioperine.html
Magnesium is a great natural pain and stress reliever. I most often times recommend Natural Calm by Natural Vitality http://naturalvitality.com/natural-calm/ as well as using Magnesium Bath Flakes to relax muscles and joints. Magnesium Bath Flakes are different from Epsom Salt in that Magnesium Bath Flakes are compromised of Magnesium Chloride, which comes from seawater, and has more potent, absorptive properties than Magnesium Sulfate or Epsom Salt.
Before you go grocery shopping, try to plan out your meals for at least the next couple of days. Planning is half the battle when it comes to eating healthy...trust me on this one! Because I'm not much of a meat eater, I tend to look for vegetarian/vegan recipes. I really enjoy The Simple Veganista blog http://www.simple-veganista.com/. It is a vegan recipe blog, BUT, feel free to substitute in some meat. If you want to include meat in your diet, try to buy grass fed, organic meat. The happier and more nourished the animal, the better for your body! Your body tends to process and digest grass fed, organic meat much better than animals eating corn/gluten/antibiotics/etc. Plus, wouldn't you feel better knowing that the beef you are eating is coming from a cow that lived a long, happy and stress-free life?
When my husband and I were in New Zealand, we experienced what "real food" truly is. All the cattle and sheep are pasture raised, grass fed, and treated humanely. No GMO, hormone, or antibiotic driven farming. We learned that if the animal is stressed before taken to the butcher (even in moments prior), the animal released more steroids and epinephrine (an adrenaline hormone) into it's blood stream instantaneously. This in itself will change the quality and protein makeup of the animal to be eaten, ultimately changing the quality of nutrients you put into your body.
Once you have planned your meals, make a list of all the things that you will need. Try to visualize the grocery store isles that you go to and make a list based on those isles. So that when you enter the store, you can go directly to each section, in order, to grab all the items you need. For example, list all your produce items under one column. Organizing your shopping list, makes grocery shopping a breeze!
Next, make sure you are looking at the ingredients of the items you are grabbing off the shelf!! Labeling laws in the US are very loose. Meaning, they can pretty much put any marketing gimmick on the product you are buying. For example, I went to one store and noticed a package of "gluten free, cholesterol free, heart healthy" muffins, "proven to lower cholesterol!" So, you would think they were healthy, right? Wrong?! There was about 20 g of sugar in 1 serving size. Want to know what the serving size was? 1 muffin, which was half the size of a standard muffin. Sugar wasn't the only draw back, the ingredients listed had to be about 10+ with names I couldn't even pronounce. If the item has more than 5 or 6 listed ingredients, most likely with foreign names, it probably isn't good for you!
As far as trying to calm the spirit and clear the mind, I would highly recommend downloading the Headspace App https://www.headspace.com/. It's only 10 min per day and if done regularly, can have unbelievable effects on your brain and body. Remember, that stress wreaks havoc not only on your mental health but also on your physical well being. Take time out of the day for YOURSELF.
I know this may seem overwhelming at first (I never said it was going to be easy), but if you're persistent and patient with yourself, your body and mind will thank you for it!
I'm here for all the support you need!
Susie Gronski, DPT, PRPC
The blog content on this website is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding treatment, medications/supplements, or any medical diagnoses. This information is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way to substitute the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.