Something happened the other day. And it went a little something like this.
I was performing manual therapy to a patient in the form of dura mater-manipulating cervical traction (yes, I slipped that in as a selling tactic), when the patient asked me what I’d had for lunch that day. (It was 1:15pm, and my breath most likely smelled of previously consumed deli meat.)
Without hesitation, I replied, “I had a sandwich.” “And fries.”
It was at this moment that the spinal therapy was forced to an abrupt halt as said person’s vigorous attempt to make direct eye contact resulted in sudden facial musculature tension and cervical straining.
“You. Eat sandwiches???” “And FRIES?”
I suddenly found myself desperate for justifications.
Well, I mean, yeah, but I like totally haven’t had a sandwich in years (lie). And they were all out of fresh fruit (lie). And the meat on the death-plagued sandwich was 100% organic (lie).
But then.. I had a thought…I’m as healthy as a freaking pasture roaming, grass-fed, antibiotic-free cow, I can have a damn sandwich (and fries) every now and then. Shoot. After all, depriving oneself of the small joys in life is certainly not along the gateway to health. (Yes. Neither are sandwiches.)
So instead, I simply stated, “Yep. I do.” (Now what!?) “What did YOU have for lunch today, sir?”
“Grass-fed beef, organic potatoes and grapes.”
As it turns out, as far as the health spectrum goes, Mr. I-eat-healthy-everyday-all-the-time was right on par with his lunch that day. In fact, it’s entirely safe to go ahead and assume that the sandwich eating health practitioner taught him well.
So. While sandwiches don’t necessarily make the cut on the “Top Ten Healthy Food Items” list, here are a few (4) things that do.
Sugar, as in real sugar (glucose, fructose) available in tropical fruits, root vegetables, tubers, etc, is therapeutic in the sense that our cells require it for energy production, expenditure and metabolism. Sugar acts as the body’s primary (and preferred) source of energy. Proper consumption of sugar enables metabolic health, as well as inhibits stress reactions in the body, thus remains anti-inflammatory as it can reverse some of the established degenerative conditions that many of us suffer from today. A diet restricted of sugar has been known to cause debilitating pain and disease.
That’s right, I said it, salt is good for you. (And I could literally care less what anyone else says.) (Couldn’t care less?)
The most important point to remember is that salt, as in Celtic sea salt or preservative-free canning/pickling salt, is essential for maintaining adequate blood volume, and that it is almost always un-physiological and structurally irrational to restrict sodium intake. Reduced blood volume tends to reduce the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all tissues, leading to an array of problems, including that belonging to the function of the intervertebral discs.
Adequate sodium intake has a multitude of therapeutic uses, including reducing inflammation, inducing thermogenesis, increasing carbon dioxide levels, regulating blood sugar, and improving sleep quality.
There is a physiological chain reaction that I often enjoy referring to:
Salt helps with magnesium retention, magnesium is needed to balance the activity of calcium, calcium is beneficial in supporting thyroid function, proper thyroid function enables a functional physiology.
Let me guess. You’ve been told to avoid fat, and you did, and you’re still suffering with weight/health issues? Big shocker here: Eat fat, don’t avoid it.
Fats, as in saturated, as in coconut oil, real butter and grass-fed meats (protein option), are essential for optimal health and function. They are vital building blocks for the cells in our body, as well as for key hormones.
Fats are required for growth and development. The saturated kind aids in proper digestion and functioning of the nerves. So one could assume that adequate consumption of fat would remain ideal for both mental and physical stimulation.
Saturated fats even assist in the absorption and transportation of essential vitamins obtained (hopefully) in the life-maintaining foods we eat.
And no, eating fat will not accelerate weight gain. Oh. But avoiding it will.
If you really thought I could write an article without a coffee reference, then I’m extremely disappointed, and you don’t know me at all.
When done right (not consumed on an empty stomach and paired with a well-portioned meal), coffee is liver protective. Coffee elicits a “vitamin-like” reaction in the body and therefore aids in hormonal balance, metabolism, cancer protection, energy efficiency, nerve protection, and heavy metal removal.
Coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of thyroid disease, as well as protected against various types of radiation, chemicals and obtained viruses.
Coffee provides significant quantities of magnesium (in addition to other nutrients), which is essential to the human diet. (See Chain Reaction above.)
Coffee drinkers are less likely to contain stress-induced cells, and have even been linked to the prevention of nerve cell death and Parkinson's Disease.
So there you have it; consume sugar, salt, fat, and coffee, and your promise of a clean bill of health is undeniable. I’d say that’s a pretty fair list.
Oh. And just so you know, I went home that night (feeling ever so slightly guilty about my sandwich indulgence) and prepared a perfectly healthy, digestive friendly meal that included, but was not limited to, grass-fed beef, organic potatoes and grapes.