After surgery, our bodies are on the miraculous adventure of regaining our strength and healing our bodies. Humans are unique and we have an amazing regenerative capability in our tissues. Did you know our liver is the only organ which can regenerate from as little as 25% to its entire mass potential. This is a healthy liver to which I am referring.
Wellness strategies to bounce back from surgery will go a long way in minimizing the recovery period. If we struggle to heal after surgery, our blood is weak and we may be prone to longer periods of recovery and infection. This covers all invasive surgery and tissue healing, in general.
As always, partner with your medical doctor in all aspects of your wellness strategy. Any contraindications to medications are best advised by your physician. Suggestions, here, are general health and wellness additions which foster ease in stress of invasive procedures and also facilitate good blood flow and rich opportunity to relax and repair. Here are a few basic considerations before going in for surgery or any in-office procedure:
Make a plan.
Prepare for your post-op experience with setting up a plan for meals. Do you know someone who can prepare home-cooked soups? If not, make some ahead of time and freeze for eating after surgery.
Ensure that your pantry includes fresh ginger, turmeric, lemons, rice, peas, carrots, and other simple, easy to digest ingredients. Adding flavorings of ginger, turmeric, basil, tarragon, fennel, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and sea salt will stir feelings of hunger and increase your appetite while you are eating. Sometimes after surgery, we may find that we lose moisture and our appetite can wane.
Nourishing our bodies is imperative to the best possible healing of tissues after any procedure or invasive surgery. Liquids of water, tea, soups, coconut water and some juices hydrate and increase the function of our digestive organs. With good hydration, we are better able to absorb nutrients and build good blood.
Broths & Liquids
Good blood nourishes tissues and organs and is needed for a speedy recovery with no risk of delay or infection. Blood flow and vital healthy blood can be improved with additions of bone broth and small portions of red meat. Additions of liver may be a big boost to instantly improve vitality.
Vegetarians may find the substitutes of garlic broth with kombu may go far to heal tissues while carrrying a clear conscience into mealtime. However, there is no substitute for the tissues of another animal to revive the energetic mass of tissues which are calibrating to repair and heal post-surgery.
Magical ingredients in broths like these offer boosters to your immunity and provide dynamic support for recuperating. Check out these wonder ingredients:
- Chag mushrooms
- Reishi mishrooms
- Holy basil
Additions of water, and simple easy-to-digest foods give ease to the digestive work your body needs to do to make healthy blood full of nutrients. Warm, simple foods give way to ease digestion. If you have a slow blood pressure, facilitate adding minerals through adding sea salt, ghee, bone broth, sea vegetables. Sources of electrolytes of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate also facilitate enzymes to complete reactions in the body (digestion, hormone function, immunity). These carry electrical charges which elevate the performance of muscles and nerves through stimulation. Electrolytes help to retain the correct amount of water for plump, vital tissues.
If you have high blood pressure, certainly check with your doctor before adding electrolytes. Take a careful approach to partnership with your medical doctor during this critical time of healing well. For those with high blood pressure, additions of cooling liquids like pomegranate, cranberry juice, and coconut water add a cooling nature with additional jolt of nutrition in the required liquids we need to heal ourselves. Coconut water is one of the nutritional best sources of potassium and also includes all of the other electrolytes mentioned above.
Other water-based food sources to include:
- Banana/date/coconut water smoothie
- Carrot juice
- Spa water (water flavored with herbs or fruits)
- Teas of ginger, lemon, lime, chamomile, hibiscus, mint, licorice root, and other herbal varieties
Vitamin D - Vegans can rest happy!
With the importance of adding electrolytes to our diet to regulation reactions, we can't leave out an important factor in absorbing these effectively to maintain normal blood calcium levels, which build strong tissues, bones, teeth, hair, and eye health. Getting outside in the sun is an effective way to naturally add Vitamin D to our diets. Between a simple routine of going on a daily walk in the sunlight and eating a balanced inclusive of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified juices and milk.
If you are a vegan, you'll need need to add mushrooms to get a healthy food source with good dose of Vitamin D. Maitake and portabello contain more Vitamin D per IU than fatty fish. This is a great reason to embrace mushrooms in your diet, even when taken as tea.
Oftentimes, the elderly also need to be out in the sun, as time indoors can be safe for those with limited mobility. Ayurveda teaches us that year-round time outdoors offers opportunities for fresh air, connecting with the elements, and orienting to nature is a healthful activity. Vitamin D and enhanced healing can be a great benefit to daily time outdoors.
Food Combine for optimum digestive fire (agni).
Be mindful of food combinations and the order in which you eat a variety of foods. During this special time of post-operative care, be careful of incompatible foods as outlined here. Some food combinations which are produce ama and are not well known and commonly part of American diet are these:
- Fruit are incompatible with all dairy, fish, and eggs.
- Hot drinks with fruit, yogurt, fish.
- Beans and fish (watch out for fish tacos).
- Eggs with bananas, milk, fish, cheese (watch out for banana bread and caesar salad)
- AVOID nightshades: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, all peppers (these can be acidic, starchy, and difficult to digest) -- these are also incompatible with dairy, cucumber, and melon (watch out for Greek Salad, tomato-watermelon feta salad)
Rest & Relaxation
Rest and relaxation are important in the early days of recuperation. Allowing time to heal and rejuvenate naturally, we must rest. When a few days have past, it is important to get moving. Again, partnering with your doctor care team is important during this time.
Moving the body facilitates continuous blood flow, avoiding stagnation of energy and is the best action to take in healing. Simple movements of standing, walking, and shifting weight from one leg to the other can offer a balancing treatment of healthful activity. As you improve your strength, your activity will increase naturally as you heal. Offering yourself time to work through pain and know that it won't always be like this is important for your mental health. A breathing and meditation practice can help detach from pain and elevate your moment-to-moment experience.
Enjoy the company of visitors and friends. Being social is uplifting and builds strong relationships. Bonding with friends and family during this vulnerable time will deepen relationships and help you feel supported during a time when you really need it. Accept company for short visits and let them know you need rest after a good chat and catch up. Enjoy feeling admired and cared for.
At this unique time, you may need to splurge a bit and hire folks to help you. Friends and family can only do so much. It may be time to reach out online for services to help make life easier during these weeks and months after surgery. Adding a meal delivery service like San Francisco's Good Eggs or even Amazon can alleviate grocery visits. There are a myriad of meal services in almost every area of the country. My dear sister let me know that she enjoys Hello Fresh in my hometown area of rural Tennessee. It has never been simpler to make your life a little easier!
Well Pantry services are available in San Francisco. We provide needed support to individuals seeking to curate ingredients to optimize healing during this fragile time of recuperation. Check out our Pre & Post Surgery package to enjoy the luxury of meal preparation in your home. Food prepared in your home offers the freshest ingredients with little consideration of time-temperature matters of food safety. At this time of healing, eating foods prepared outside of the home open up risks to immune-compromised individuals like a post-surgery patient.