Mary woke up craving a hearty breakfast. She decided to make bacon and scrambled eggs fried in butter with white bread toast and raspberry jelly. And her favorite beverage to wash it all down? Make that V-8 Tomato Juice. About an hour after eating, the back of her head started to ache. The aching got worse all morning long. But 10 A.M., she couldn’t take it anymore. Out comes the Ibuprofen. Mary thought “Gee, I felt great when I got out of bed. Now, I feel just awful! Could it be what I ate?
So, what do you think? Can your diet make your neck hurt? The answer is definitely “yes”. Let’s take a stroll through food land and see what foods cause pain and what foods relieve pain.
TIME TO HIT THE GOOD FATS!
It seems that everyone knows that fish is good for you. Well, actually, that’s not quite true. Wild caught fish is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and good for your noggin. Farm raised fish are fed synthetic fish food and sometimes recycled fish poop (think Tilapia). The end result is the farm raised fish is much lower in Omega 3’s and often carries a high load of toxins, which we will discuss later. It is a fact that toxins are pro-inflammatory and cause pain.
Coconut Oil contains medium chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), which are ketone bodies (for you organic chemistry fans) that are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory. Many health benefits come from coconut oil including weight loss, possible Alzheimer’s treatment and improved skin. And, yes, coconut oil helps dampen down pain.
Olive oil is another great oil to use in cooking (just don’t heat it up to its flash point) and in salads. It’s very healthy for you and is very much anti-inflammatory.
Good old butter has been smacked around for years as the guy that clogs up your arteries and lands you on a slab in the morgue. Not true! It is a very healthy fat that is also anti-inflammatory and pain reducing. And, oh yes, you don’t get fat from eating butter! Another interesting fact is that your cholesterol level has almost nothing to do with your diet. In other words, you can eat all of the healthy fats you want and it won’t raise your cholesterol level. Just don’t tell this to your doctor since most physicians are trained to believe just the opposite.
STAY AWAY FROM THE BAD FATS
The bad fats contain Omega 6 fatty acids, which are the evil twin of the Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and thereby cause pain. The oils that fall into this category are:
- Canola Oil (made from the Rapeseed plant)
- Peanut Oil (sorry, you turkey fryers)
- Safflower Oil
- Soybean Oil (seems to be in EVERYTHING!)
- Vegetable Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
If you have any of these oils, stop using them and THROW THEM OUT. Most of the above oils are GMO and are sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate). Both of these things add to the drawbacks of these oils.
CARBS AND SUGAR: THE KEY TO BEING FAT AND IN PAIN
Beware the “three whites”: white flour, white rice and white sugar. All three will spike your blood sugar. The rapid rise in your blood glucose forces your pancreas to release insulin to bring the level down. This roller coaster effect on your blood sugar level has profound inflammatory effects on your body. This leads to pain and sometimes swelling. White potatoes also have a high glycemic index (raise blood sugar) and cause pain. If you love your potatoes, try a sweet potato which has a lower glycemic index (and put butter on it to slow the absorption of glucose). The rapid changes in blood glucose also cause your body to convert sugars into fat and store it in adipose cells, resulting in weight gain.
And, don’t think that using artificial sweeteners is the solution to your sweet tooth. Equal, Nutrasweet and Splenda are just a few of the many sugar substitutes. They fool the body into thinking that you just ate sugar, since they are sweet. However, since they are not sugar, they do not raise blood glucose levels. But your body doesn’t know that and has your pancreas release insulin anyway. This crashes your blood glucose level which makes you feel ill and causes inflammation and pain.
BEWARE THE NIGHTSHADES!
Nightshades include: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, white potatoes and tobacco (which I assume is not eaten very often). The reason they cause pain is due to their high alkaloid content. In fact, at one time, most nightshades were thought to be poisonous and were not eaten.
TOXINS, TOXINS AND MORE TOXINS
Believe it or not, the average middle age adult has over 800 foreign chemicals in their body! This includes pesticides, fungicides, BPA (from cans and cash register receipts), fluoride, chlorine, mercury, cadmium, etc. The toxins are everywhere…in the air, water, food, clothing, cars, carpeting, sofas and many other places. It is virtually impossible to avoid all toxins. These chemicals gum up the workings of your body and cause pain. You can fight back, though, by doing the following:
- Buy organic produce whenever possible. Shop the periphery of the grocery store and avoid the highly processed junk food in the middle.
- Buy a reverse osmosis water filter (available for a little over $ 100 at the hardware store) and filter out the fluoride, chlorine, pharmaceuticals and lots of other nasty chemicals from your drinking water.
- Follow a regular, daily detoxing protocol to help remove some of these nasties from your body. One good method is to take 5 – 10 grams of Vitamin C daily. You want to be just below what is called “bowel tolerance”, which is the point you develop diarrhea. Another good method is to take 2 – 3 grams of Modified Citrus Pectin (made from the rinds of Citrus Fruit) daily. This is a potent detoxifier for a wide range of heavy metals and many other chemicals. However, it does not remove important vitamins and minerals from your body. It is available in convenient capsules or powdered form.
- Sleep with a HEPA air filter in your bedroom to help remove dust, dander and chemicals from the air.
- Avoid canned foods! The lining of most cans contains bisPhenol A, which is an endocrine disruptor and probable carcinogen. Substitute frozen foods for canned foods whenever possible. Avoid handling cash register receipts too. Also be aware that many items that claim to be BPA free use a chemical called BPS, which is just as bad for you.
- Use organic fertilizer and natural pest control methods in your yard. Milorganite makes for a better choice as a fertilizer (dried human poop). Essential oils mixed with dish soap and sprayed on pests will often work as well as commercial insecticides.
SO, LET’S ANALYZE MARY’S BREAKFAST!
Bacon: If minimally processed, it is perfectly fine. High fat + high protein = no pain.
Scrambled eggs: hopefully organic. High protein = no pain. Eggs are the perfect food.
Butter: Great stuff! The perfect fat = no pain.
White bread, raspberry jelly: Carbs and sugar = pain.
Tomato Juice: a nightshade = pain.
If you find this information useful and would like more tips and tricks to deal with your chronic neck pain, please visit stopneckpain.wpengine.com.
P.S. – If you know of a fellow neck pain sufferer, please do them a favor and forward this article to them. Information is power and by having all of us work together, we will beat neck pain! Thank you 🙂