PushLiving Nutrition for an Optimized You:
How your diet can make your “Push Living” easier and less complicated.
Having a disability that affects your mobility can create more health concerns and complications if your diet is not optimized to aide you, but instead is a contributing factor in what ails you. Some of the common complaints often complicating quality of life and work for so many in our Push community include:
- Skin breakdowns,
- Bacterial infections (urinary tract infections being a main one)
- Pain in joints/stiffness
- Low blood pressure
- Blood sugar issues
- Stomach issues such as bloating, spasms, pain, constipation or diarrhea
- Weight gain due to lack of activity
Then there are the “beauty and aging” factors that we would all like to optimize:
- Clear, bright eyes
- Healthy, shiny and thick hair
- Supple skin with fewer breakouts
- Less wrinkling and sagging of skin
- Less dark circles and eye puffiness
- Strong nails
You may exercise, take vitamins and supplements, and think you are eating a healthy diet, but you could still be feeling lethargic, depressed, and tired without knowing why. It could all be based on your diet and its effects on “elimination.” Yep, we are going to be talking about a diet that revolves around the best practices for eliminating poop.
Having a disability is enough of a challenge, so this is about learning to give yourself and your body the best chance to feel good and work well, while preventing future injuries and complications by eating foods that optimize your well-being.
Based on years of research, and travel throughout the globe, the bestselling author featured in this article highlights how some of the above issues can be addressed via food. Kimberly Snyder is most famous for giving high paid movie stars and celebrities the edge they needed before a movie to look their best, stay youthful and maintain their highly sought after beauty. But don’t use her celeb fame against her, she is also a clinical nutritionist who has done extensive research.
So with her guidance, her personal exploration of many cultures, as well as documented medical and scientific research in her many books and lectures, I put together some great tips that may give those of us with limited walking abilities, or wheelchair users, the edge we need to stay our best and even reverse damage and health issues.
Tip # 1. It is all about “unclogging sludge” in the bowels and intestines. This sludge creates toxins, takes up energy, affects your organs, and all functions of your body.
It is the cause of poor, improper, non-facilitated digestion. Digestion can take up more than half your energy and helping it along will be the key to feeling better, more energized and losing unwanted weight.
Fix: You can help digestion by eating high content of mineral, enzyme and fiber rich foods (Green is Good! Green vegetables are among the MOST nutrient-dense of all foods) to cleanse and unclog sludge and keep digestion flowing effectively.
Once sludge is gone, your body can then properly absorb nutrients. When you don’t get the nutrients you need, this is one cause for feeling hungry: “overfed, yet starving.” Eating foods that are over processed and contain chemicals, additives, refined sugars, dairy, animal protein and white flour can clog the tiny hair like villi that line the walls of intestine and produce mucus, yeast and fungi in body, displacing needed probiotics.
This leads us to Tip # 2. Eat more fresh (not canned) veggies and fewer animal products. Yep, you have heard it before, and no, you don’t have to give up your meat and fish. You should be adding more nutrient dense greens and all color vegetables (more raw) to help purify cells and making the proportions of your meal plate shift to non-wheat complex carbs (see tip # 7 for sources) and plant based foods.
Tip # 3. Drink more water,but not with meals. Drink lots of water when you wake up and add lemon (good for liver with vitamin C) to get your body moving, give energy and to help your blood pressure rise if you have low blood pressure due to loss of muscle tone. When you eat, however, let your stomach digestive enzymes and juices break down food without diluting it with water. Drink lots of water at least a ½ hour before or after meals. Help to create a “waterfall” effect that will help move food through your system easier and prevent constipation.
Tip # 4. Limit animal protein: Those who did the Atkins Diet reported 68% constipation, 63% Bad Breath, 51% headaches, 10% hair loss and increased menstrual bleeding. They may have lost weight, but it doesn’t sound very sexy now does it? Not to mention that animal protein leads to a 53% calcium secretion in the urine (A side of osteoporosis with that steak?) and overworking of the liver and kidneys. It also takes twice as long to digest animal protein. If your body is already slow to digest due to lack of mobility, the idea is to eat foods that don’t add to the sludge drudge.
So, if you want to eat meat, it is recommended you seek organic, hormone free meat and eat it only once a day and preferably at dinner. Even better, limit animal protein to only 2-3 times a week.
Tip # 5. While fish is generally a good choice, it can be the most polluted food and many sources contain mercury.
Also, limit to a maximum of 2 times a week, and choose these less polluted types: Alaskan salmon, mahi, sole, tilapia, trout, sea bass, haddock, halibut and whitefish. Sushi can be the most toxic fish unfortunately due to the type of fish used most commonly such as tuna and salmon.
Tip # 6. Drink your breakfast! A green smoothie which contains whole fruits and veggies allows you to reserve energy (and doesn’t allow your digestion to lower blood pressure if you are prone to “orthostatic hypotension”) for the beginning of your day. It is easily digestible and full of fiber (don’t juice –blend to retain the integrity and fiber of the whole fruits and veggies!)
Tip # 7. Ditch the dairy! This was hardest for me, as I loved cheese, yet it was the best decision I made for my body and I am so glad I stuck it out. My belly doesn’t bloat to 5 month pregnancy proportions daily (a complaint of so many wheelers!) and I don’t have to “run” to the bathroom anymore during the middle of the day! I have even lost the 20 pounds I packed on over the years. I was not even aware at the time I gave up dairy of half the reasons why it was a good decision for my overall health and digestion.
Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk, has been strongly linked to the promotion of cancer cells (The China Study). The casein, which is 300% more in cow’s milk than in human milk, coagulates in the stomach and makes it very difficult for your body to digest. Dairy has been found to double the risk of prostate cancer (Harvard 2001 research).
Dairy causes excessive mucus which can harden and build up in your intestines…slowing digestion. This puts a burden on your body in trying to digest the dairy and you can develop such side effects such as pimples, phlegm (you always heard not to drink milk with a cold right?) and weight gain.
A more natural, better way to get your calcium is via green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds like almonds, broccoli, spinach, dates, sunflower seeds, oranges, watercress kale, collard greens and romaine lettuce.
Drink Almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk instead for a nutritious and easy way to replace the “milk” needs in things like coffee, cereal, baking etc.
Tip # 8. Take probiotics for your belly health, just not in yogurt!
Probiotics are huge business and you don’t have to eat dairy filled yogurt to get them. Take a supplement every day before breakfast and you will see many benefits, including helping your immune system-to stave away dangerous colds and flu that can wreak havoc on those with limited lung or coughing function. Here are some more benefits:
- Improve digestion, which will help with diarrhea and constipation
- Improve liver function
- Improve resistance to allergies
- Increase energy
- Improve absorption of nutrients
- Help eliminate heartburn and bloating!
Tip # 9. Add a digestive enzyme to your day, not to replace raw plant foods, but as an aide to help digest any poorly digested food that is left to ferment in the body and harden in the digestive tract. This undigested food can stimulate growth of unfriendly bacteria and create toxins which can be absorbed into blood and tissue.
Tip # 10. Eat fruit…but on an empty stomach. Fruit provides the most pure readily available source of energy fuel and has the highest water content of any food and has vital vitamins, minerals and amino and fatty acids. Basically eating it after you just ate, say for dessert (like I always did!) causes it to ferment, causing a slower digestion of food like starch and proteins and acidifies the meal. So eat fruit as an appetizer or as a snack a few hours before your next meal. It digests the quickest of all foods in only 20-30 minutes.
Tip # 11. Avoid gluten! Gluten intolerance can be responsible for many disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism and liver disease. Eliminating this highly allergenic food can quickly help you eliminate cravings, lose weight and control inflammation that causes joint pain.
Replace bread and pasta with better choices like:
- quinoa or brown rice pasta (Vitacost.com is a great way to shop for gluten free/dairy free items)
- gluten free baking mixes (make a killer carrot cake with a spice cake mix from Vitacost!)
- starchy vegetables like winter squash, yams and sweet potatoes
Then you can have beans, black eyed peas, chick peas and lentils. You can always treat yourself to the occasional salty tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole! Yum.
I personally haven’t had any bread in over 4 years other than the rare bite of birthday cake or my weakness, fried calamari. It is hard at first and especially in restaurants when you arrive starving (I am hypoglycemic so it takes time to learn what carbohydrates to eat) and they bring out the bread and butter! But if you just wait, you will be so proud of yourself and you will leave satisfied and better off for not eating the extra 400+ calories of refined white flour (bloating sludge maker)!
Tip # 12. Nix the sugar!
Refined sugar, (high fructose corn syrup, agave, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate) is one of the worst things you can feed your body. It is a fast aging, joint inflaming, tissue damaging, adrenal taxing, cell robbing, depression and anxiety causing waste of calories. If that isn’t enough, it is addicting and constipating.
Use Stevia, raw organic honey, pure maple syrup, and dried fruits like figs and dates instead for baking, teas/coffee etc. (Regarding coffee…replace with tea or drink only 1 cup a day-in morning to help raise blood pressure if needed. More can tax stress hormones and overload the liver). Try white, rooibos or herbal teas instead as they have the extra benefit of being packed with antioxidants.
Final Tip # 13. “Progress Not Perfection”
While some things should be eliminated right off and some habits added straight away, each thing you do to make an improvement counts. Whether you just start drinking more water, or eating more greens, start today. Your body will eventually, if it hasn’t already, punish you for not giving it the vital nutrition it needs via possible infections, pain, skin breakdown, weakness, constipation, hemorrhoids, and pain. It will begin to reward you when you give it what it needs to work with you, not against you.
In conclusion, I found this author, Kimberly Snyder, C.N. to be one of the first that actually emphasizes what is on the inside…and I mean deep in the “bowels” of our bodies…in relation to beauty and health.
Rarely do diets emphasize digestion. Detoxification is actually one of the first issues looked at in other countries. If you are sick and visit a doctor in Nepal or India, what is often overlooked in our country (and where pharmaceuticals are most often prescribed to treat symptoms of ailments instead), is “poop.” “How is your poop” is a question you may be asked first. You may discuss “toxins” and be given a suppository and told to come back once toxins are removed. “Constipation is the mother of all Disease” is a common saying in India.
Optimized digestion has a profound Impact on health and if properly functioning, can better heal and rejuvenate. If the organ is tired and congested, it will affect skin, waist, and aging. When clean and clear, only then will you be able to achieve your best possible health, and the added bonus of glowing and healthy skin and hair.
To learn more on how to beat cravings, free up energy, boost mood, with no drugs, supplements or diet tricks or gimmicks read the thoughtfully written and well researched books and new video programs on http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/. I would highly recommend you read “The Beauty Detox Foods.” While beauty may be in the title, I assure you, it is more than skin deep. I contains more detailed information regarding the “Tips” above and the research behind them as well as recipes, including a “Glowing Green Smoothie” to start your day.
I hope each of you will choose to begin to optimize your health and thereby beat the odds and the many common ailments and life altering health issues that can ruin our quality of life. As differently mobile individuals, we must continue pushing to be the best we can and getting the most out of this life while we can.
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