Sunday, June 14, 2009

Overcoming Chronic Inflammation

I am excites to introduce Greg Carver to you. His extensive knowledge in Health issues will bring much value to Funk Roberts Fitness. Read more about Greg below the article.

Article by Greg Carver

Time magazine has called “inflammation” the secret killer.

From personal experience, I can say the magazine article is probably dead-on correct. While I had heard that chronic inflammation had been linked to everything from heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s – I’ll admit that it didn’t register right away. But when I started to develop my own chronic symptoms that couldn’t be explained, and didn’t go away – I started to pay closer attention to the subject.

It’s hard to believe that only three or four years ago, I was plagued by pain in my joints and leg muscles. I was in a stage of my life where I couldn’t get past a single day without taking Advil or another pain-relieving drug. It’s almost embarrassing to admit now, but less than four summers ago I was eating Advil almost like it was candy, because every four to five hours the pain would return. Multiple trips to various physicians didn’t shed much light on the problem, tests came up negative and all they could do was to continue to monitor my situation.

Frustrated, I took my case to functional nutritionist and homeopathic doctor Bryce Wilde. I wasn’t so much interested in homeopathy, but I knew that Dr. Bryce approached problems from a holistic perspective and, based on his reputation and successes in treating people, I was intrigued to see what he could do with my case.

After a thorough consultation, booked in several sessions where we covered my individual issues, history, habits, lifestyle, etc., an evaluation was completed and a plan for treatment was given to me. While chronic inflammation wasn’t the singular culprit that was nagging me at the time, it was certainly thought to be paramount. Given the link between diet, nutrition, and inflammation, Dr. Bryce wasted no time in sorting out my ‘gut’.

Digestive support was the first thing to tackle. We started with a pharmaceutical-grade probiotic to restore the healthy bacteria in my stomach. I was given a list of nutritional supplements to take, and instructed to take two teaspoons of fish oil per day. Marine oils are the kings of well being! Finally, I was given some general guidelines for an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet.

What a difference a few months made! All joint pain, leg pain, creaky knees, stiffness in the joints disappeared completely. I was able to stop taking pain relievers within a month of starting the treatment – and haven’t taken a single dose since – almost three years later. When I started adding regular exercise into my regime, things improved even more (I’d been ‘going to the gym’ for years, but was sidelined for a long time due to pain). Squats, deadlifts, presses, kettlebell workouts, general physical preparedness (GPP) training, metabolic conditioning, muscular endurance routines, cardio workouts, tabata intervals, yoga – I hit it all now. And my joints and muscles have never been stronger or healthier.

What can you do to keep inflammation at bay?
Proper nutrition plays a key role, as many foods are inflammation protagonists.

Here are some pointers:

i) Take a good fish oil supplement twice a day. I use liquid Nutra Sea fish oil from Ascenta Health.

ii) Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from natural sources, including fresh wild salmon or canned sockeye salmon, sardines, herring, omega-3 eggs, avocados, hemp seeds and/or ground flaxseeds.

iii) Include nuts and other seeds in your diet, including walnuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Restrict consumption of peanuts (they are a legume, not a nut).

iv) Avoid trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, margarine and vegetable oils and shortenings like the plague. Use olive oil for salads and low-temperature cooking.

v) Avoid processed or manufactured foods at all costs. Jack LaLanne used to say “If man made it, don’t eat it!”

vi) Reduce intake of foods high in saturated fat. Not all saturated fat is necessarily bad (in fact, your body requires it), but saturated fat should be eaten in moderation. Better sources of saturated fat are coconut milk and virgin coconut oils, organic meats (non-steroid, non-hormonal, pesticide-free fed sources), and limited amounts of natural organic dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt.

vii) Eat carbohydrates with a low glycemic load. This will mean the majority of your carbohydrates will come from vegetables, and to a lesser extent, fruits. Restrict your consumption of grains or grain products. When you do eat grains, stick to whole, unprocessed grains, and preferably consume them directly after exercise. That’s when your body can make use of them to replenish its glycogen stores.

viii) With every meal, choose a lean protein, a vegetable, and a good source of fat (preferably a source of omega-3s). Load up on the fresh vegetables, and include plenty of greens, as well as the other colour groups. Eat lots of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Limit consumption of the nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, etc.) until the inflammation is under control.

ix) Eliminate all sugary drinks, including juices. Drink water and green tea instead. Avoid diet drinks and beverages that are filled with chemicals and additives.

x) Regularly eat ginger and turmeric, and include these spices in your recipes. They have been shown to lower inflammation.

xi) Supplement your rich diet with a good anti-oxidant vitamin formula. There are some specific immune support formulas that are excellent too; consult your natural doctor.

xii) Choose organic and local produce, where possible. Eat clean and stay well!

Following these guidelines helped me, and I hope they help you as well.

Greg Carver

Greg Carver has a passion for inspiring others to achieve their own fitness goals. An enthusiastic teacher and coach, Greg runs regular boot-camp sessions in Toronto and conducts private training sessions for individuals and small groups. Interested in total-body fitness, Greg makes use of kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells and bodyweight in his workouts and focuses on functional exercises using unique and challenging routines.

Known for his straight-forward and holistic approach, Greg combines practical, effective workouts with sound nutrition and lifestyle habits. He’s used the system to successfully overcome his own past health challenges, and now helps others transform their own lives, regardless of age or physical condition. He credits his own success to the motivation he gets from others, be they mentor, coach or client. “I’m driven by other people’s enthusiasm, and love showing people how to look and feel their best”, he says.

Greg is an AKC Kettlebell Instructor and a certified Level One CrossFit trainer. He created and runs the Minotaur Bootcamp in Toronto and when he isn’t fitness training he’s teaching traditional Greek dance for the performing group “Papaflessas”.


  1. Hi, Thanks for your great post, there are much nice information that I am sure a huge number of guys and gals don’t know.Ascenta NutraSea HP

  2. 3 Studies SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you literally burn fat by consuming coconut fats (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medical magazines are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world around!