Some people say sitting is the new smoking and, while it certainly has a case, I would put forth another candidate for the title: junk food. The processed foods of the meats-and-sweets heavy "Western diet," do damage to just about every organ in the body and are linked to dangerous conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. "But it tastes so good and takes no time to prepare!" I hear you saying. In essence, this response means that you are choosing the temporary appeasement of your brain's reward complex over the long-term health of your body. When we consume junk food, we are consuming only the bare essentials necessary for the body to keep processing, but none of the nutrients it needs to prosper. And what's more, it's making us irritable, lazy and decreasing our brain function at the same time. Conventional wisdom has gone against junk food for a while and, with the advent of the internet, there is more information and momentum than ever in the push back against junk food's domination of our food culture. But even as the paradigm shifts, the cravings still persist.
At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we believe that getting people excited about their own well-being is the surest way to keep them involved in the success of any health initiative they take on. Turning your back on junk food is not as difficult as you may think, but it does start with some concerted effort.
- Make a plan with a reason: "I want to live longer, with less chance of disease and chronic pain," may be not a good enough reason for you, but what is? Do you want to look better, perform better at work or in school. Ask yourself at a very deep level what your reasons could be and how your life could benefit from quitting junk food. Then create a plan centered around what kind of food you will eat and cook that will still satisfy your taste buds but not include all the extra negatives.
- Control yourself and your environment: this may mean making difficult decisions such as not taking that standard left turn into the McDonald's drive-thru; not picking up the candy from the convenience rack at the grocery check-out, etc.
- Let yourself be bad: once a week, allow yourself to break and have junk food. Call it a "reward," if you like, but in this way you don't completely deny yourself. Humans have a tendency to resent the notion that they are absolutely not allowed to have something. However, you will find that very quickly (in a matter of weeks), your body will adapt and develop a taste for the new healthy foods you have been eating.
The power is within you to leave the junk food behind and start on a path toward better health and longevity. Often all it takes is a conversation to help you get started and stay involved; with this, we can help. Along with our chiropractic treatment, we can help keep you accountable and motivated to achieve great changes.
Stress management means something different to everyone: some people bury it away until they burst; others exercise to let it go and feel an endorphin boost; others will just settle down by watching cat videos on YouTube. Whatever your unique stress management plan, the essential thing is that you have one. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we want to help you find ways to manage your stress before it boils over and one great technique for doing this is through diet. We are not suggesting a radical diet change, but rather a few simple foods that can help fight back against the stress using natural means!
- Green Tea: for the anti-oxidants and L-Theanine, a chemical which inhibits anger and promotes relaxation.
- Celery: to lower blood pressure, which is an important part of relaxation.
- Honey: for tryptophan and potassium, it is a boost for both the body and brain.
- Dark Chocolate: contains hormones that balance stress in the brain, tastes delicious and makes you happy.
- Gum: more specifically, the act of chewing it, which, studies show, lowers cortisol levels and reduces stress.
At our office in Sacramento, we focus on the root causes of your stress, beginning with a discussion and a musculoskeletal examination that will determine if there are any structural or muscular causes that may be contributing. As we begin to heal your body, the brain will inevitably follow, so we encourage you to not let stress stew insidiously in your life any longer- instead, give our office in Sacramento a call so we can start addressing your stress today!
Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.