Popcorn and Chocolate


popcorn and chocolate



As a patient, when you hear Dr. McCall say you should stay away from popcorn and/or chocolate to help with your musculoskeletal pain, I bet your reaction was “What? Why?” or “I don’t think I can do that!” You are not alone in feeling this way! Some of us have no issues getting rid of one or both of these, but if you’re anything like myself…there was no way I could get rid of chocolate, I mean it’s chocolate!


There have been quite a few patients, myself being one of them, who have ignored Dr. McCall’s recommendation until they were personally ready to change their diet. It took me 2 years to decide to make a switch! I still eat chocolate, but I limit the amount to about once or twice a week now, and because of that my pain has decreased. I don’t wake up with a sore or stiff neck or any back pain anymore unless I’ve had just a bit too much chocolate the night before.


The two most important foods to focus on is popcorn and chocolate. I find the valve is more sensitive to them. If you cannot get someone to treat this condition you should try to eliminate the popcorn and chocolate, completely, for two weeks. Drink more water if you forget and eat these foods. What you are looking for is any change to your symptoms in the two weeks and then re-introduce the chocolate and popcorn and see how your body responds.


Now what is the Illeocecal Valve? I will let Dr. McCall explain this one!


There is a sphincter between your large and small intestine. It opens after your small intestine has absorbed all the nutrients it can from the food (and other things) you eat. At this point the food you consumed should be totally liquid, which is called chyme. The ICV (Illeocecal Valve) will open and let the chyme pass to the large intestine. Your large intestine will draw out the water and other minerals that will leave waste only.

This valve is designed to become stronger to back pressure of the large intestine, much like a one way valve. This means the valve becomes tighter to the flow from the large to small intestine and opens easier from the small to large intestine. The location of the valve is next to your appendix and this area of our bodies has the highest concentration of bacteria than any other location in our bodies. If and when the valve opens and closes properly it will not only allow the digestion to run unhindered but will maintain the barrier of bacteria from entering the small intestine. If we lose this protection our bodies defenses become ramped up and our nervous system, immune system and our lymph system now must deal with the “invasion”. Nerves become more agitated, the immune system makes inflammatory agents and our lymph system will swell and become boggy. Yet, even then, you may never notice a thing in your abdomen!  


Chiropractically this condition shows up with extreme pain without a reason for it. “I bent down to tie my shoe and the pain knocked me to the floor.” Or it will show itself if a patient tells me that they slept funny. The simple lack of valve support causes the nerves to become irritated by the failure of the ICV to function properly, then, a simple non-traumatic action sets the stage for pain.  


Illeocecal Valve symptoms include: Shoulder pain, low back pain, pain around the heart, flu-like symptoms, sacroiliac pain, unresolved chronic low back pain, headaches, bursitis, tendonitis, and bowel problems. The intestines will rarely have pain when they are inflamed but will show up in the tissues with more nerves for pain such as the muscles, tendons and joints.


I, to this day, do not know how chocolate can irritate the valve. However, I have some idea about the popcorn. Popcorn has hard and edgy kernels that can lacerate the intestine as it passes through. It is very tough on our digestive tracts. People with diverticulitis (inflamed pouching of the intestine) are told to avoid popcorn and nuts and seeds.


If you experience any and or multiple of these symptoms, you may want to see if you are eating a lot of the follow: Chocolate or cocoa, All roughage foods, such as: popcorn, potato and corn chips, nuts, and seeds, Spicy foods such as: chili, hot peppers, tobasco, or any other hot sauce, If you’ve had more than two alcoholic beverages a day, or more than two caffeine drinks a day.


If you do experience any of these symptoms and do not wish to eliminate any of the above listed foods, you can still always get an adjustment with Dr. McCall to help with your pain, but it is not a permanent fix to the symptoms you may be experiencing.


*This is a collaboration between Dr. Michael McCall and Jessica Carn