It has been about 30 hours since I went through a full abdominoplasty to repair my abdominal wall. The first day was not too bad, except when my mom and sister came over and I tried to laugh! That was pretty darn painful! Once the Lidocaine wore off, the pain grew in intensity. It is not bad when I am lying down, but when I go to sit up, even assisted by my fabulous nurse (aka my husband), it is intense searing pain.
I have a little appetite because of the pain. Oxycodone and Ibuprofen were the two prescriptions I received to help with the pain and honestly, neither one does much for it, so I am not taking any more of them. I know nutrients are equally as important as rest now so here are the two meals I have enjoyed in the last couple of days with the goal of optimizing nutrient density.
Food: What am I eating to maximize recovery?
Day one–dinner: tuna, sardines, greens and herbs, jicama, winter squash, sauerkraut, and walnuts.
Day two–breakfast: Beef liver, winter squash, greens, cucumber, tomato, sauerkraut and pumpkin seeds
Failing to eat enough after surgery can slow healing and delay the closure of the incision. The body needs protein and other nutrients to build healthy new tissue and heal tissue injured by surgery. In fact, the recommendation is 15-20 calories per pound of bodyweight. I eat a Paleo-type diet which means I do not eat dairy or gluten-containing grains. Nutrients that are of utmost importance include:
Protein: high-quality protein is essential for collagen synthesis, blood vessel formation, tissue remodeling, wound contraction, and skin restructuring. Without adequate protein intake, all stages of wound healing and immune function are reduced.
Vitamin C: While all nutrients are important in healing, vitamin C is vital to wound healing and collagen synthesis. We cannot store Vitamin C so it is important that our diet supply a steady stream of this important antioxidant and vitamin. Vitamin C can be found in citrus, greens, raw cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and melon.
Copper: A less commonly discussed mineral, copper is a co-factor for connective tissue production, and collagen polymerization formation (or the linking together of collagen molecules) enhance scar strength. Copper also stimulates angiogenesis (or the formation of blood vessels). Copper-rich foods include liver, organ meat, nuts, seeds, oysters, spirulina, lobsters, and leafy greens.
Zinc: Another mineral that plays a huge role in cell proliferation and protein synthesis is zinc. Lack of zinc leads to reduced wound strength, reduced collagen synthesis, and decreased immunity. Foods high in zinc include red meat, liver, seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Vitamin A: A deficiency in this vitamin leads to impaired wound healing by impeding collagen synthesis and cross-linking. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, liver, egg yolk, dark yellow or green vegetables, sweet potatoes, and milk.
Fiber: It may sound odd to mention fiber healing foods, but pain medications commonly prescribed after injury or surgery can cause constipation. So aim for high fiber foods found in fruits and vegetables and non-gluten-containing grains.
Plan ahead for a successful nutrition plan
In order to reduce stress on the household, I have been preparing food for weeks. Every time I would make a dish, I would just prepare a double batch and freeze it. Fortunately, during the summer I only have the dinner menu to prepare as the kids are home from school. We are all mapped out through the end of July. The only thing we will need is to go to the grocery store/farmer’s market to replenish fresh fruit and vegetables.
How am I moving?
Here is an introduction to the exercises I am performing for the next three days:
Exercise 1: Breath
3D Maps lunges
First of all, yes, these are the same clothes I wore yesterday! Tomorrow I get to take a shower and change clothes! YAY!