By Kali Clark

Consider this phrase by Heather Morgan MS, NLC: “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”

When I coach clients, give presentations or plan meals for my family, I think about this phrase. You may read it and think it’s intense, has little relevance to your situation or makes you feel defensive.

I get it; food has feeling associated with it, but the physiological impact it has on our bodies is very real.

My job is to educate you, because you may not know how or why your food choices are feeding or fighting disease.

But disease? This is all about orthopedics, fixing joints and bones. You’re not wrong — but what if I told you your food choices could improve your healing and potentially shorten healing time after an injury or surgery? It’s true!

Our standard American diet starves us. We are overfed and undernourished. A diet lacking in nutritional benefits could even be the reason you got injured or have arthritis in the first place.

Do I have your attention yet?

I’m going to keep this simple. Below are two food lists. One column is foods that nutritionally starve us. They hurt our joints, brain, digestion and so on. The other column contains foods that we NEED to thrive.

Starving

Soda, juice, energy drinks
Conventionally grown meatz
Chips, veggie straws
Fruit gummies, fruit-flavored snacks
Bouillon cubes, soup packets
Sugar- and fat-free products
Cereals, processed grains products

Thriving

Water
Local, pastured meat and eggs
Baked potatoes, raw veggies
Fresh fruit
Bone broth
Meat-, dairy-, and produce-based fats
Whole-grain products

Healing beyond injury occurs when we regularly consume thriving foods. What I mean by that is you may begin eating differently to assist in healing for a specific reason (surgery, injury, or weight loss) but it becomes systemic. Digestion improves. Your brain fog lifts. You have increased energy. Any look of puffiness and inflammation dissipates.

These are real, tangible results of simply eating well. No magic shakes, pills, or restrictive short-term diets. Just. Real. Food.

But how? How do you make this happen? Below is a guide of daily nutrition basics that include the things listed above.

Let’s be realistic here and remember that achieving this need not be taxing — and you don’t have to be perfect. A goal of hitting it at an 80/20 rate is ideal (80% well, 20% eating all the fries and a cookie).

  • Vegetables at every meal. Raw, steamed, blended, pressure cooked, baked — however you like
  • Protein at every meal. Local and pastured meat, eggs, dairy products, beans, spinach, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, tempeh, nuts and seeds, quinoa, bone broth
  • Fat at every meal. Meat-, dairy-, and produce-based fats from local, pastured meat and fish, and full-fat dairy like cheese, yogurt, and butter. Also nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and chia seeds
  • Grains and starches at two meals a day*. Grains include wheat, white rice, corn, lentils, barley, oats, quinoa. Starches include white and sweet potatoes, white rice, beans, peas, and rutabaga 
  • Water. At least half your body weight in ounces

Now, finding the appropriate balance for you is another story. That’s where nutrition coaching comes in. If that’s something you would be interested in knowing more about, please reach out.

My position in the Bridge Program is to provide nutritional support throughout your orthopedic journey. This is a small but impactful piece of the wellness puzzle that could send your results over the top.

Coach Kali can be reached at:
contactcoachkali@gmail.com
715-630-1201
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*The grains and starches recommendation is a guideline and needs to be based on personal needs. Please seek professional, nutritional guidance for a better understanding of this macronutrient need.