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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

More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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