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5 Nutrition Principles To Follow Post-Surgery Nutrition

5 Nutrition Principles To Follow Post-Surgery Nutrition
Any surgery, whether major or minor, is essentially causing some pretty serious trauma to the body.
After the doctors have used their skilled hands to repair whatever damage has occurred the real healing process can start and neglecting your diet during this time will not  be doing you any favors.

My Story

A complete fluke is what sent me for emergency surgery as a rare birth defect had built up scar tissue in my small intestine. If not treated this could lead to organ failure which can have a domino effect to the other organs. Not something I would have on my wish list. The pain hit me completely out of the blue at work one day and thinking it was a stomach flu tried to let it pass.

When it was clear this was something serious, I went to the hospital for maybe the third time in my life where I had to take a whole lot of tests. An MRI revealed what was happening inside me and it was a damn good thing I had got to the hospital when I did. I had to be rushed into surgery and before I knew it I was waking up in an operating room unable to walk or do much else for myself. The healing process would not be easy, but having my background in fitness and nutrition I wanted to tackle this head on.

Focusing On Post-Surgery Nutrition

The first few days after surgery are not exactly pie in the sky. I woke up from surgery feeling pretty great but I chalk that up to the amount of pain killers I was hooked up to. I had a laparotomy so my abdomen had been cut right through and sitting up, let alone walking, was almost impossible. I was hooked up to Iv’s, catheters and oxygen for the first few days and my only source of nourishment was the 5-star culinary experience that is hospital food…(enter sarcasm here..)

I knew when I got home I would have more control over my diet and could set up a real game plan to recover as best I could. Here are 5 things I focused on to heal.

1. Bone Broth

You will probably not have much of an appetite the first few days after a surgery but this is when nourishing yourself is paramount. Enter in bone broth. Bone broth can be used in easy to eat meals like soups and stews as it has some amazing healing properties.  Bone broth is full of minerals such as:

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium

  • Phosphorus

  • Silicon

  • Sulfur

  • Trace minerals

Since it is full of minerals and gelatin extraction from the simmering bones broth can help with:

  • Healing the lining of the gut

  • Inhibit infection

  • Reduce joint pain and inflammation

  • Promote strong healthy bones

These are some pretty good things when you’re looking to heal.

2. Make Sure You Are Taking In Enough Protein

Protein does a lot of things including helping to make hormones and enzymes along with immune function but we’re all aware how it is important in tissue recovery. Muscle repair and recovery is most people’s main use of protein but rebuilding and repairing all tissue is of key importance for those looking to heal from surgery.

Your goal after surgery for protein requirements should be to intake around 1.5 grams per kg for a minor surgery and up to 2 grams per kg for more invasive and major surgery.

3. If Taking Antibiotics Focus On Taking In Probiotics

You’re probably very conscious about the damage antibiotics can do to the gut but at some point during medical issues infections can happen and antibiotics are administered. This was my case and I made sure to introduce a lot of gut healing probiotic foods to help rebuild my “good gut bugs” as best as possible. Besides using a probiotic supplement your best food choices will be:

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kombucha
  • Kefir

  • Kimchee

  • Miso soup

  • Pickles

4. Eliminate Inflammatory Foods

This one is more about something you don’t want as opposed to the things I’m listing that you do want. At this point it would make a lot of sense to avoid those foods that cause more inflammation in the body. That would include:

  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Added sugar
  • Vegetable oils
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Trans fats
  • white pasta, bread and rice

Your body is trying to heal and consuming inflammatory foods is just going to make things worse and make it tougher for your body to heal itself. You are missing out on nothing by not consuming these foods and will be better off in the long run.

5. Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water

Water helps regulate body temperature, aids in digestion and absorption and helps with circulation among many other things. In the case of healing, it is also involved in flushing toxins out of the body. When you’ve had surgery you’ve had a lot of pretty foreign stuff floating around in your body that you’re probably wanting to get out. Water helps to flush out and cleanse, keeps you hydrated and allows the body to run smoothly.

Find the purest form of water you can and look to drink half your body weight in ounces of it each day.

Keep Moving Forward With Your Nutrition

These are tips that can not only assist in helping someone get on the road to recovery but also are great tips for those at any stage in their health looking to make positive changes. The foods that heal your body after a surgery are the same things you would want to include on a daily basis to keep yourself functioning optimally. When you combine this with the elimination of detrimental foods you’ve got a good combination that can result in better health.

Featured photo credit: Frann Leach via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Personal Trainer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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