“My body is my home and the door to my soul”

by Gail Dubinsky, M.D.
Healing from R.S.I. is greatly influenced by what we put into our bodies. Our choices regarding food, beverages and other substances can either promote health and healing or stress our bodies on a cellular level, slowing or even preventing recovery. The following are my opinions regarding the most important points on this topic.

First and foremost:

  • Avoid processed foods and beverages with artificial colors, flavors, and excessive preservatives. They do not support your healing. Junk food and diet soda have no place in your recovery! Aspartame (Nutrasweet) has been shown to damage nerve cells.
Food
  • There is no one right diet for everyone, but probably one or more that are right or wrong for you.
    Hi-carb, lo-carb, "zone", "caveman", "blood-type", vegetarian, vegan, -- all have proponents claiming their virtues. Research, trial and error, and intuition will help you choose.However, the following apply for all of us.
  • Increase fresh, organic if feasible, vegetables and fruits -- for essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants.
  • Include moderate amounts of beneficial fats/oils-- monounsaturated (olive) and omega 3 (coldwater fish, flax or hemp seed) -- for tissue building blocks, neurotransmitters.
  • Avoid partially hydrogenated trans fats (margarine, shortening) and deep fried food-- destructive fats oxidize and break down tissue, particularly nerve cell membranes, and promote inflammation.
  • Decrease refined sugar in all forms-- can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar, increasing fight-or flight response; also can increase edema (swelling).
  • Consider possible food allergies- you may need to try an elimination or rotation diet. Wheat and dairy products are common "allergic" substances promoting swelling and inflammation.

Beverages and other substances

  • Increase pure water to 8 to 12 twelve ounce glasses a day. Good tissue hydration is essential for optimum health, healing and detoxification. Most people are suffering from sub-clinical dehydration! Your bladder will adjust!! (Besides, what better reminder to take those breaks?!) Have water on your desk or worksite, and in your car at all times. Try to do most of your drinking before evening. Some of this allottment can be herbal tea.

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(Beverages and other substances cont’d)

  • Decrease or eliminate alcohol- it is an irritant and toxic to nerves at higher doses, but for overly sensitized individuals any amount may aggravate symptoms. A three week elimination and subsequent challenge (i.e. one or two glasses of wine or drinks with dinner) will tell you if your normal intake of alcohol is aggravating.
  • Minimize or avoid caffeine (in teas, sodas and chocolate) and coffee-- it activates the fight or flight response. In addition, coffee contains several ingredients besides the cafeine that are irritating to tissues, including high concentrations of pesticides in non-organic coffee. Again, overly sensitized individuals may not be able to tolerate any without symptom aggravation. Try elimination and challenge to see if that’s the case with you.
  • Stop smoking-- besides promoting cancer and heart disease, and other toxic effects, nicotine is particularly damaging due to constriction of small blood vessels thus decreasing circulation to the tissues, accelerating tissue breakdown, and inhibiting healing and repair.
  • Reduce or eliminate marijuana-- chronic significant use may help with the pain but does not enhance tissue healing.

Nourish not just the body, but the soul

Love and respect your body and its limits, which may change from day to day.

Clarify and attend to the needs of your heart and soul.

Spend as much time as possible enjoying the beauty of nature.

Cultivate a sense and appreciation of the interconnectedness of all beings on the planet-- indeed, even the universe. We are all part of a greater Whole, One, or Self-- that is the ultimate teaching of Yoga!


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