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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

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

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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