When I work with clients, regardless of whether they are trying to lose weight, normalize blood sugar or cholesterol, dealing with arthritis and joint pain or some other health issue, inflammation is at the root of it. Chronic inflammation has been proven to be the underlying cause of heart disease, not cholesterol levels.
Here are links to two previous newsletters where I dealt with inflammation and digestive health and how emotions influence inflammation in case you’d like a bit more info.
Inflammation is caused by oxidative stress, which in turn is triggered by emotional or physical trauma, nutritional or environmental pollutants. There are many things known to cause chronic inflammation, including:
Processed and fast foods
Pesticides and herbicides
Prolonged stress and emotional upset
Prolonged, intense exercise
Excessive alcohol intake
I want to share an experience I had over this past Thanksgiving that I hope will really clarify this for you. Normally, I do not eat sugar and grains. I pretty much follow the detox weeks of my Today is Still the Day plan 5 days a week and then eat what I want on the weekends. That being said, I still pretty much avoid refined sugar and most grains. This is true except during the holidays. While I bake with healthier flours and use organic sugar or coconut sugar in my holiday recipes, I don’t deny myself anything and I enjoy every bite. I go right back to normal eating within a few days.
This past Thanksgiving that’s what I did. I noticed that following Monday when we went for a walk on the local trails, my left knee was extremely sore and painful as we walked. I never have pain when I walk so this was new and definitely concerning.
As I do whenever there’s any muscle strain or pain, I started taking a turmeric supplement and within two days was perfectly fine. When I really thought about it, I realized that it came on suddenly after eating a lot of carbs. Thanksgiving is definitely a carb-heavy meal and very different from my normal pattern. Once I got back to normal eating and supplemented with turmeric, the knee pain totally resolved.
I thought that was really interesting so I decided to do an experiment over the Christmas holiday. I still ate all the cookies and holiday foods I cook once a year and definitely look forward to, but I supplemented with turmeric throughout the holiday season. I only enjoyed all the cookies and goodies for the two days of Christmas Eve and Christmas day (who doesn’t love the left overs?), and I did not experience the joint pain this time.
I realize this isn’t scientific, but it is definitely evidence-based and the results were clear to me. Excess sugar – even organic – and grains, even organic or heirloom flour that has less gluten, was still inflammatory to my joints. And turmeric was definitely protective.
If you experience regular or periodic joint stiffness and pain or any other inflammatory symptoms, pay attention to your diet and see if there might just be a connection. It’s a simple fix. Why not try it?
Could your diet be increasing inflammation in your body and causing symptoms?
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When I eat sugary foods my joints hurt, Ann. Thank you for another great article!
Thanks for the confirmation Debbie. It’s amazing isn’t it?
I just said to Diane a couple of days ago that I’ve got to cut back on sugar because my knees were bothering me.
The most telling thing about the post was your two day Christmas season. Our Christmas begins at Thanksgiving and doesn’t end until mid January. We usually have candy in our stockings that takes weeks to eat. Very different deal. We did cut back on the candy and desserts this past year. The previous year I think we had 3 different desserts in the house, maybe four and that did not count cookies and candy.
Well then that may just be behind the achy knees for sure, Ivey.
wonderful information, thank you!
Thank you for reading and commenting! Glad it was helpful.
bless you! 🙂
Very timely and thought provoking
Thank you Cynthia.
Wow, that’s REALLY interesting Ann! Both Jer and I get annoying pains sometimes. Now I’ll have to pay attention to what we ate. I always love reading your posts!
Thanks Holly. Yeah – It took me a couple of days to put it all together but it was pretty clear the sugar was the culprit.