What's Eating You?

This afternoon I walked... opps!... wheeled into my good friend and chiropractor's office and was blown away by an article which he had written and handed to me. Jeff's faith and devotion to God, his family, and his patients are always an inspiration to me which is why I asked if he would share his story with Expressions next month.

All that said, I thought I would give a short taste into that faith by sharing this weeks message from The Good Doctor:

We all know that what you eat has a direct impact on your health. It is true that you are what you eat! The food that is made by God (fresh whole food in its original form) is what we were meant to eat. The processed, refined, chemical-laden food that is made by man will actually cause illness and disease. Unfortunately, we in North America, are over-fed (we get plenty of calories) BUT extremely under-nourished (processed food lacks the nutrients needed for good health). This is one reason why we are getting sicker and sicker as a society.

But the fact of the matter is that, when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, what you are eating is less important than WHAT’S EATING YOU! That is, how much stress you have in your life has an enormous affect on your health. Stress can literally kill you. If you are under a lot of stress, your body tends to shut down its healing and restorative abilities just so that it can cope with the stress. Let me explain. When an animal is faced with a stressful situation or a stressor (a deer comes face to face with a cougar), it reacts in a very predictable manner. Its blood pressure rises pushing the blood away from the internal organs and towards the peripheral limb muscles. These help the animal move fast and have the power necessary to either fight or flee. This is why the stress response is called the fight or flight response. Less blood to the organs means that digestion, detoxification, and normal organ activity stops, immune organs are less efficient, and healing is almost non-existent. For the moment, this response can save the animals life. But as soon as the stressor is gone (i.e. the cougar leaves), the deer quickly returns to a normal state and its body resumes normal function and healing.

We too have this fight or flight response. Any time that we are stressed or worry about something, the same exact reactions take place in our body. Our blood pressure rises, blood flows away from our organs, our immune system slows, digestion stops, and normal organ function stops (to name a few). So you get into your car to go to work and…it won’t start! You have an important meeting to get to and you only have 15 minutes to get there. STRESS!!! Enter fight or flight response. You manage to catch a ride to work with your neighbor and arrive at the meeting a half hour late. Your boss is not happy. STRESS!!! Now in the animal world, when the stressor is gone (your car is fixed and your meeting is over), your body should resume normal function. But humans tend to “hold on to” their stress; we worry. We have big brains that can remember and rehash stressful situations. And as soon as we rehash the stressor in our mind, our body reacts as if it is the real thing. The result is that most of us are in a constant state of fight or flight! Our digestion, our healing, our normal organ function are affected on a massive scale. Blood pressure is through the roof, immunity is low, digestion is slow and painful, sleep is interrupted, irritability is common, and we tend to store energy in the form of fat (stress makes you fat)! No wonder there are so many sick and depressed people (it is estimated that 1/3 of North American adults are on antidepressants).

So the question is: WHAT’S EATING YOU? More importantly, how are you dealing with it? Chiropractic will absolutely help you deal with your stress better by allowing the nerve system (the system that was designed to help you manage stress in your body) to function properly. Chiropractic will also allow your organs to function more effectively. However, we must all make an effort to create more peace in our lives. Set your priorities; take control of your time; spend time with loved ones; do what you love and love what you do. It is not always how much stress we have but how we react to the stress that leads to ill health. A very wise man once said:

“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” - Matthew 6:25-27

So less worry and more peace, Dr. Jeff