The 4 Pillars of Health That Can Lead You to a Happy, Drug & Pain-Free Life!
By: Brittney McGetrick
I see it all the time, drug commercials with healthy young people in them, normalizing prescription medication for seemingly young, fit, healthy people. Good RX starts out their ads with “Kate takes a prescription, and her son Max does too”. A child, on medication, presumably for life?? When did we let this become a new normal? And is it “normal”?
Common does NOT equal normal. Many aspects of modern society that we humans have grown accustomed to are not normal, despite them becoming more and more common. Autoimmune disease on the rise, chronic pain, our bodies failing us as we grow old, taking prescription medications for conditions that are preventable through lifestyle changes, hormonal imbalances that lead to painful & irregular periods and migraines, all of these things I am seeing more and more of in my patients, however, it is not how our bodies are made to function. Our bodies have the blueprints for health. Everything our body naturally does it does in an effort to make us feel and function our best. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to help it along the way. The steps we can take to help our bodies are simple. Are they easy? That is for you to decide. If you are coming from a radically different lifestyle that has not been honoring your body’s innate ability to be well, then some changes might seem hard at first. But I promise, once you start feeling how you are meant to feel (ie: fantastic!) The changes will become part of your lifestyle and you will hardly have to think about them once they are integrated into your life.
My name is Dr. Brittney McGetrick and I believe in the body’s ability to heal itself, and in it’s innate ability to be as healthy as possible if we give it the right tools. With the extra time we have been given in this quarantine state of 2020, what better time to take care of the only place that will always be with you for the rest of your life? (your body). There are 4 main areas that I believe have the biggest effect on your health:
1. Your nervous system
2. Your diet
3. Your movement
4. Your mindset
When all 4 of these areas are optimized, so is your health. If all 4 of these areas are optimized and something is still going awry in your health, that is when I feel it is time to seek out western medical approaches. (note: I am not acting as your personal doctor, I am simply telling you what I personally do for my own health with the knowledge that I have about healing & the human body. Consult your doctor before taking advice)
Your Nervous System
Your nervous system controls every single thing that happens in your body. It is what tells your heart to beat, your cells to divide, your immune system to turn on, and your muscles to move. Nothing in your body happens unless your nervous system tells it to. Sounds pretty important, yeah? The goal of chiropractic care is to optimize the function of your nervous system. Think of the communication between your brain & the rest of your body (which happens through your nerves) as a safety pin. When that safety pin is closed, it is a circuit of communication that operates smoothly. When that safety pin is opened, communication is blocked. That communication block is what happens when you have a misalignment in your spine. It can show up in your physical body as a tight neck or sore back, or it can show up as extremely painful periods or poor digestion. Regular, quality chiropractic care is the first pillar to health because it effects the control center of your body: your nervous system.
There are many varieties of chiropractors out there, and choosing the right one for you is important. I specialize in the Gonstead Technique, there are only about 500 doctors in the world that do what I do. Gonstead doctors are different from other chiropractors in that we focus on adjusting one bone at a time, so we really focus in on what the problem areas are rather that just hitting everything high & low in your spine. The other biggest difference is that Gonstead doctors will never rotate the spine when we adjust. I will never lay you down face up and twist your neck from side to side. Gonstead Chiropractic is a great technique for people who are scared of chiropractors. I will never let someone twist up my spine, and I will never do that to any of my patients either. We are able to fix the problem in a way that serves the biomechanics of the spine and nervous system.
We know that food affects our health. While you probably don’t need me to tell you that, let me give you my perspective as a Registered Dietitian, and human, who has tried everything from vegan to paleo to full carnivore.
My story: I spent one year of my life vegan and 6 as a vegetarian, and I can tell you that I have never been healthier than when I incorporated red meat back into my diet. I did it for my joint health, because as a vegetarian, I had chronically inflamed wrists. They would get so bad that I could not do yoga, I would get them adjusted which would help a little, but they still were in a lot of pain. One of my mentors had mentioned that he found, clinically, chronic wrist inflammation was linked to zinc deficiency. What is the best source of zinc in the diet? Red meat. So after 6 years of being vegetarian, I decided to give it a try. I incorporated red meat back into my diet for 1 meal per day and my wrists got SO much better. Within 1-2 weeks I was able to do all the yoga I wanted, the adjustments I got from my chiropractor actually held, and my wrists felt fine! After that I was sold. I transitioned to a more paleo way of eating and cut out gluten soon after, which also had positive health effects on my body. About a year after that I transitioned to a full carnivore diet. That is a whole other story that I would be happy to get into later, but for now let’s talk about what YOU can be doing right now with food to live a healthier life!
When it comes to eating in a way that fuels our bodies and gives us the building blocks for health, we need to think of two things: eating foods that are good for us and avoiding foods that are damaging to our bodies. “Everything is okay in moderation” is not my philosophy. Would you be okay with drinking some poison, you know, in moderation?
In my years of studying the human body, and experimenting with food in my own body, here are the basics for what I believe consist of a healthy diet: red meat, animal fats, vegetables, some fruit, very little grain, no wheat, no sugar, definitely nothing artificial (sweeteners, colors, flavors, etc.). Red meat is second only to liver as the most nutrient dense food you can consume. Animal fats are necessary for our brains to function and for our body to create hormones! Vegetables serve as nice complements to our meals, and fruit can be a good substitute for more sugary snacks/desserts like cookies, etc. In the late 90’s, the United States changed the way we process wheat to make it more shelf stable. It is for that reason that many people are “newly” sensitive to gluten. No, it is not a fad! It is a change in the way our food was processed. Gluten can affect your gut and it can also affect things like brain fog, and it is for that reason that most people would do right by cutting it out of their diet. Sugar is inflammatory, it is what actually leads to things like heart disease and diabetes. The human body requires exactly 0 grams of sugar to stay alive and healthy. Artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors are foreign at best, poison for our body at worst. They are on my never consume list, not even as a splurge, not even on your birthday. For example, things like aspartame (Equal) and MSG are neurotoxins, meaning they are toxic to your brain cells. Splenda is made from chlorine and has been shown to wipe out our gut bacteria. If you want to splurge, go for the real stuff and just eat some sugar!
If we focus on eating the real stuff: red meat, animal fats, vegetables, & some fruit, our bodies know what to do with that! They can take those foods and turn them into healthy cells in our body, cells who’s sole purpose is to help us live long, healthy, and happy lives!
Movement is medicine! Our bodies are made to move. The key here is to make it FUN! Additional benefits to quarantine 2020: there have never been more chances to try out a TON of different workout styles for free, right from your living room! Open up Instagram at any time during the day and you can almost guarantee there is some style of free fitness class going on. Yes, some combination of cardio, weight training, and stretching is a good idea to have on your radar. However, if your food intake is optimal, movement becomes a bonus. So just find something you enjoy and go for it! Here are the basics: move more days then you don’t, make it fun, and if you can, get outside at least a couple times per week! If you have more specific fitness goals, then a more tailored program might be right for you.
Last, but certainly not least, how you think and how you feel can be more important than the previous 3 points combined. Yes, you read that right. Our minds are POWERFUL, friends. For a deeper dive into this topic I highly recommend looking into work by Dr. Joe Dispenza or Dr. Bruce Lipton. What you say to yourself everyday has an impact. Do you trust the innate intelligence of your body? Do you celebrate your wins, like eating a healthy meal & moving your body? If not, that’s okay, but let’s try it. Make it an experiment for the next week to celebrate the heck out of every positive thing you do for yourself and every positive thing your body does right back for you. Able to move your legs and walk to the kitchen? Celebrate it. Able to take a breath and have air fill your lungs? WHAT A MIRACLE. Try it out and let me know how different you feel!
These 4 pillars are just a start. If they feel overwhelming, that’s okay. Start with one, do it until it feels natural, and then move on to a second pillar. This life is meant to be fun and lived to its fullest! The easiest way to do that is to start with a healthy vessel. If you have any questions for me or want to explore any of these aspects deeper, you can find me on Instagram “@dr.mcgetrick”. Right now I am teaching FREE IG live yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday’s at 11:30am Central! You can also find me in my Chiropractic practice located in the Music Row area of Nashville: Evergreen Chiropractic (www.evergreenchironash.com), and very soon I am launching a 5-week Carnivore Diet online coaching program for my dietetic services! (www.carnivorecountry.com).
Dr. Brittney McGetrick is a Gonstead chiropractor, registered dietitian, and yoga instructor! She is passionate about teaching people how to live their healthiest lives through chiropractic, nutrition, and movement. She sees patients in her office in the Music Row area of Nashville, and also does online nutrition consultations. When not in the office, you can find her hiking Edwin Warner park with her 1 year old black lab named Talus!