Nutrition and Surgery

Before Surgery:

Begin increasing protein intake a few weeks before surgery to build up both your strength and your tissues. Eat high quality proteins such as fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds. High-fiber foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes), calcium-rich foods (nuts, fruits, some leafy greens, molasses and small amounts of dairy products), and foods containing essential fatty acids (some nuts, seeds, or vegetable oils) are also helpful.

Try to avoid a lot of dairy products, sweets, and baked goods as well as high saturated fatty foods such as fried foods, heavy meats, and cured meats. Your diet can usually be a little lighter a few days before surgery, emphasizing more fruits, vegetables, and liquids. This will help ease the stress on your digestive system. Avoid stimulants such as coffee and sedatives such as alcohol prior to elective surgery.

After Surgery:

Eat small, light, low-fat meals throughout the day when recovering from surgery. This can include foods like whole wheat toast, yogurt, kefir, custard, pudding, fruits, soup, half-sandwiches and fortified shakes. If a soft or liquid diet is necessary following surgery, consider protein and/or nutrient powders, broths, fresh juices, light soups, and pureed fruits or vegetables such as carrots, squash, mashed potatoes, bananas, or applesauce.

Eat fresh, healthy foods that are rich in nutrients and trace minerals. Protein is particularly important as it will help build your tissues. A protein-rich multivitamin shake may be a good way to start getting more protein after surgery. Eating fiber can help prevent constipation. Good natural sources include prunes, prune juice, figs, apricots, berries and other fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids a day unless your doctor tells you that you need to restrict fluids. This helps prevent dehydration, helps fiber work better and flushes out the bladder. Drink caffeinated beverages sparingly. Avoid junk food, especially foods that contain processed fats such as hydrogenated oils. Olive oil is excellent for easing inflammation following surgery.

For help in choosing healthy foods click here for Dr. Andrew Weil's Anti-inflammatory Diet Pyramid.

Learning the Relaxation Techniques:

Now let's experience the following relaxation techniques. It is strongly recommended that you do the breathwork exercise first, since breathwork is the foundation of any stress management practice, and especially if these techniques are new to you. If you are confident you already know the breathwork, then you can move on to any of the other techniques.

In this section you will also learn how to monitor your practices to see firsthand how they positively affect your body.