Back in early March, I wrote about changing my approach to treating my Plantar Fasciitis. You can read all about it HERE.
Since this post:
- I’ve dropped 12+ pounds.
- I’ve stopped taking any and all pain medication.
- No supplements.
- While my pain hasn’t permanently disappeared, it has been reduced to a level I can live with—for the rest of my life if that’s the case. On a bad day, my pain is at a 4 or 5 out of 10, ten being the worse. (Before my little experiment, I was consistently in greater pain, while also popping high doses of Ibuprophen.) And Now? Well…most of the time, I don’t have to think about whether or not I’m in pain.
I’m not a doctor, medical professional, or scientist. Even still, since I’m experimenting with my own health and how diet relates to pain management, I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of some of my variables. I started using the Clue App to track my cycles, weight, and other aspects of my health. (I am NOT being sponsored by the folks at Clue. I just like their app.) *As a side note, I didn’t fully appreciate how much sleep, or lack of sleep, directly affects my emotions and productivity until I had the data sitting in front of me! A few hours of lost sleep can significantly slow me down and put me in a foul mood for 2-3 days. Who knew?
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
- It’s inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia) leading to severe heel pain.
What causes inflammation?
Lots of stuff, including:
- Infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.
- Chemicals from our own white blood cells.
What are anti-inflammatories?
- They’re substances or treatment that reduces inflammation or swelling. This includes anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, certain herbs and spices, some foods, and the topical use of ice.
Theoretically, if you reduce your inflammation or swelling, you should also be able to reduce and manage your pain. (Hence the reason why I used to pop Ibuprofen pills like they were candy at the expense of my stomach, liver, and kidneys. Not a smart compromise. I do NOT recommend doing this! You can survive with pain, but you can’t live without your vital organs.)
Anyway, back to the causes of inflammation…
I can’t control what my white blood cells are doing. I have limited control over most of the stuff that causes inflammation. I can control the amount of sugar (glucose) I consume.
Did you know that insulin, an anti-inflammatory hormone made in the pancreas, is the ONLY glucose-lowering hormone in the body?
So what happens to your blood sugar levels—your glucose levels—when you consume too much sugar? What happens when you over-work your pancreas, over the course of a lifetime, to counteract these high sugar levels? How does this effect your inflammation and pain?
Again, I’m not a doctor, scientist, or member of the medical community, but I can make an educated guess based I what I know. Theoretically, if I reduce my sugar levels, my pancreas won’t have to work as hard, I’ll reduce my inflammation, and I’ll be in less pain.
What does this mean? What am I eating? What am I avoiding?
First of all, Let’s not overcomplicate things. I don’t believe in eliminating anything COMPLETELY from my diet. If I tell myself, “No more chocolate,” then the only thing I’ll want is chocolate. But I can GREATLY reduce the amount of refined sugar I put in my body.
For the past TWO months:
- I’ve stopped putting sugar or sweeteners in my coffee. I use a splash of half-and-half. That’s it.
- I’ve started eating fish for breakfast on a nearly daily basis—especially sardines, packed in water, with the skins on. Sardines smell bad, are not appetizing to look at, and will ostracize you from your work lunchroom. (Which is why I eat them at home, at the start of my day.) They’re a great source of Omega-3s, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, B12, and protein. They’re low in mercury, sustainable, and budget-friendly. Plus, they have anti-inflammatory properties. If I’m having an owie morning, my feet usually feel better within a half hour after eating a can of sardines. (Oftentimes, to the point that I’m no longer in pain! I NEVER had these results with Ibuprophen.)
- Breakfast also consists of a heaping bowl/plate of vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach) as part of my new routine. (This is my biggest meal, so we’re talking 2-4-servings of vegetables in one sitting.) Since vegetables are low in calories, I can eat my fill without any guilt. I use butter or cheese on my cooked vegetables, and salad dressing if I’m eating raw spinach.
- Snacks are often a piece of fruit. I really like oranges because they’re so portable. I no longer drink fruit juice. Too much sugar. Not enough fiber.
- Lunch and dinner are light meals. They usually contain more vegetables, perhaps a little protein, and may or may not contain grains or carbs. I haven’t eliminated carbs completely, but I don’t eat anywhere NEAR the amount I used to eat. I try to eat whole grains whenever possible.
I eat when I’m hungry. I drink water with my meals and throughout the day, but not enough that my new hobby is peeing. LOL
If I go too long without eating, I notice that my feet will hurt and I’ll crave sugar, carbs, or BOTH. If I give in to these cravings, my feet will often feel worse. If I grab a piece of fruit, I don’t seem to experience any adverse results. I would guess this is because fruit contains sugar, but not NEARLY as much as candy or junk food. I’ve also noticed that I crave salty snacks when I’ve been too busy to drink water.
Am I surprised by my cravings?
Not at all!
It’s also interesting to note that I don’t seem to have as many cravings when I take better care of my nutritional needs.
Since I changed my eating habits, I’ve noticed fewer problems with depression and ZERO carpel tunnel pain. My knees feel great. Overall, I feel really good, better than I’ve felt in years.
There’s nothing controversial here, but it is a different way of looking at a common problem:
Keep your blood sugar levels low, be kind to your pancreas, and hopefully, your pain levels will drop, too!
Let me know if you’ve tried this approach to pain management. What were your results?