Start Here: The Healing Diet
The Healing Diet
Excellent nutrition before and after surgery is a lot more important than people think. During recovery your need for good nutrition, hydration and rest skyrockets. We developed the Healing Diet over 14 years ago which has gone on to help tens of thousands of our members have better recoveries from any surgery.
We've had people limp along, literally for months with large wounds they could not heal. But given half a chance on our healing diet and their months long problems miraculously healed up in 7-14 days. This story has repeated with countless people. While they have been thrilled with their results, their plastic surgeons have been downright astonished. A wound they would have thought they'd be treating for 6 or 7 more appointments, or worse, require further surgery, is suddenly under control and healed in record time.
All of this means better care for a patient. There is less risk of infection when you can get a wound to close in ten days rather than 3 agonizing months. There's always the possibility of more surgery, and even more healing, if you can't resolve it. It's also more cost effective for the surgeon, as well as the patient, to battle this from the inside out. Not only does it take very little time to learn what to eat, you can receive unlimited one on one help throughout your recovery as a member of BreastHealthOnline.
How It Works
We have a healing diet for meat-based as well as all plant-based diets. Keeping your blood sugar as stable as possible with regular meals of high quality proteins, leafy greens and plenty of water is the key to your body healing. This diet is based on the American Diabetic Diet as well as the diets given to burn victims. It is geared to create the perfect healing environment. Long chain carbs over refined and processed carbs will work with protein to keep your blood sugar stable.
Things like the addition of a half of a banana a day for much needed potassium, as well as mineral rich cantaloupe and fresh lemon juice will all work towards your recovery. As a side benefit, you will feel better overall - more calm and less stressed. Many people continue the tenets of the Healing Diet for a lifetime.
Keeping food prepped and on hand will help you to have what you need, when you need it and we'll teach you how.
You'll also need to be drinking 10-12 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and flush the surgery meds, as well as dead cells from surgery out of your system. This can help prevent fat necrosis from forming. Professional and Self Lymphatic massage will also help.
You don't need, and should not drink, excessive amounts of water as it can deplete your electrolytes and put you in danger. 10 - 12 glasses is the max. If you're drinking our Lemon Tea (simple lemon and water recipe) you will include that in your water count for the day.
Bear in mind you should check with your physician before embarking on any diet - even though this is not a weight loss diet.
As a registered member, you can receive unlimited one on one help with our Healing Diet.
Note this is not a time to lose weight. We'd also like to caution you against fried, refined or fatty foods at this time, as well as most protein drinks, powders and bars. They will hamper your healing.
Don't restrict your caloric intake at this time of the foods we recommend. Just eat what you need to eat. Truth of the matter is, if you follow this and don't over stuff yourself, a side benefit of balancing your blood sugar is we find many patients will drop quite a few pounds despite this not being a weight loss diet. Heal correctly and get trimmer - what could be better?
We have an entire food section dedicated to the Healing Diet, with a variety of choices, beautiful full color photos, and options for meat as well as plant-based diets, so check it out, but be sure to read our food overview on your personal eating style so you're building the knowledge you need to make it all work.
What to Eat the Day Before Your Surgery
There is an aspect most people don't think about that can greatly affect post op nausea, vomiting and your immediate operating room recovery: Minding your diet the day before surgery.
For starters, being well hydrated before surgery will help your IV insert far easier. Typically, you will have to stop eating and drinking by midnight the night before your surgery. The mistake a lot people make is that they spend the day before eating as if it's their last meal ever. They eat heavily that day, they don’t necessarily hydrate themselves properly, and they eat up until midnight, even when they normally would not eat at those hours.
Here's What Will Help
Drink up to 16 eight ounce glasses of water that day. Space them out so that you drink your last one at the last minute before your NPO (nothing by mouth) order kicks in - usually midnight. It is possible to drink too much water and flush your electrolytes out so 16 glasses is plenty. Anything over 20 and you may put yourself in danger.
During the day before surgery avoid: red meats, garlic, peppers, onions, tomato based sauces, heavy pasta, cheeses, heavy cream based soups, CORN and apples (very hard to digest) lemons, limes, coffee, caffeine, sodas, 'Red Bull', salads, dairy, chocolate, candy, sweets, donuts, etc. I know, quite a list! But people who follow it don't tend to throw up in the recovery room. So what will you eat?
Melon for breakfast, some toast and light butter, even an egg. Eat a clear style chicken or vegetable soup for lunch. Noodles or rice in it is fine, but nothing with beef, cream or cheese. Eat melon, such as honeydew, throughout the day. It is easy and fast to digest. It will trump up your hydration levels quickly, and get you through the no water period better, as well as improve your IV insertion.
Don't eat after 6-7 pm latest. For dinner select soup again if you can. Herb tea is fine. If you’d like more information and help, please join us! We’re happy to help you customize a plan.
Pre Op & Post Op Nutrition, Hydration, Healing & Rest
When your body goes through surgery it views it as major trauma. Regardless of how darling your new little breasts are, your body thinks you were hit by a freight train. It is trying feverishly to repair the damage it sees while you are leafing through the latest Victoria Secret catalog in sheer bliss. It's also why we tell people to not overdo, because you are taking away energy your body desperately needs to repair the damage. You'll get tired a lot more quickly, and that's your body telling you to slow down because it can't keep up. Don't burn the candle at both ends - it's so easy to do. Don't rob yourself of healing energy. You do not want to have a healing complication and/or prolong your recovery. A large percentage of recovery is done during your sleep and rest. You will need more sleep and more rest in general. If you feel tired, and want to put your head down, heed your body's need to recuperate.
You can greatly facilitate your healing:
Prior to your surgery, being well hydrated will help make you more comfortable during the time when you can have nothing to eat or drink, as specified by your plastic surgeon. Most importantly however, it will help to move the anesthesia and other surgery drugs more quickly out of your body after surgery. You also should continue to drink water after surgery for continued removal of these substances, as well as facilitating your healing. Increase your water consumption to 10-12 glasses of water per day in the weeks before, as well as weeks following your surgery. Maintaining proper hydration is essential to your healing. It will also help reduce water retention which can make you unnecessarily uncomfortable at this time.
If you follow a standard diet and eat meat, increase the amount of high quality protein you consume in the weeks before as well as the weeks following surgery. Increasing your protein will help your body to do the repair work it needs to do, a lot more effectively and quickly. Select high quality protein such as chicken, fish and eggs and try to avoid fried greasy foods. If you are a vegetarian make sure you are meeting your protein needs. Do this through more leafy greens and less carbs and fats. High protein diets are used to heal burn patients. It works and it will work on your wounds too.
Incorporate dark leafy greens into your meals the weeks before your surgery if you can, as well as in the weeks following your surgery. It is as important as increasing your protein, if you’re a meat eater. This may be hard initially, but in conjunction with the water and protein it will truly boost your healing rate. You will not be sorry you did this. Kale, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, green leaf and romaine lettuce, as well as broccoli and asparagus will all make a world of difference in your recovery. If you are having trouble incorporating these and would like some help, please join us and we’ll be happy to help you develop a personal plan.
Eating a banana a day for one to two weeks before and after surgery would be a good choice; you need the potassium. Cantaloup and pineapple are also good choices for natural vitamins and minerals that will all contribute to accelerated healing. Some people eat pineapple following surgeries to keep their scars from becoming wide and angry looking, thanks to the bromelain they contain. Try it - you'll be amazed.
Additionally, ask your plastic surgeon for his advice regarding anything you might do to help yourself heal better as well.
The Importance of Water - Are You Drinking Enough?
1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
2. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
3. One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a U-Washington study.
4. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
5. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
6. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
7. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.