Foods Health Recovery:
Important Steps for Health Recovery and Maintenance
Dr. Ben Kim
badly dislocating my left shoulder while playing basketball during my first year
of university, I began experimenting with a variety of strength-training techniques
for my shoulders. Over the course of several years, I tried numerous strength-training
programs that called for dozens of exercises with free weights and machines.
I benefited from each program that I tried, I eventually realized that some exercises
were more powerful than others in their overall effect on my physical strength.
For example, I found that doing just a few sets of full body weight pull-ups was
far more effective at strengthening my shoulder rotator cuff muscles than doing
a dozen or more sets of dumbbell exercises that aimed to work just one rotator
cuff at a time.
was an important lesson for me to learn - the idea that with any objective in
life, when a willingness to experiment and learn is combined with mindful observation
of one's progress, it is possible to discover action steps that will most
efficiently lead to desired results.
it comes to recovering from any chronic health challenge, there are a number of
steps that you can take to align your daily choices with healing. But some steps
can produce a greater positive effect on your health than others. What follows
are several action steps that I believe can most efficiently help you heal from
any chronic health challenge and keep you healthy:
Reduce or eliminate your intake of harmful foods.
that must be avoided, in my opinion, when looking to recover from a health challenge
dairy products - includes milk, cream, all types of cheese, ice cream, and baked
goods that contain pasteurized dairy.
fried foods - includes French fries, potato chips, fried chicken, tempura, donuts,
and frozen foods that were originally made by deep-frying.
shortening, and all products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated
processed luncheon meats and sausage.
food additives, especially MSG and aspartame.
that contain protein isolates - found mainly in protein powder products and soy-based
that should be eaten sparingly, if at all, include:
- includes baked goods and packaged foods and drinks that are rich in sugar, like
most commercially available breakfast cereals, fruit drinks, and pop.
portions (more than 3 ounces per day) of factory farmed beef, chicken, and pork.
seafood - includes crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, and oysters.
mark your progress: At the end of each day, take note of how many times
you ate one of the foods listed above. The goal is to start with one day per week
during which you do not eat any of these foods, and then to increase this to two
days per week the following week, and to continue with this gradual progression
of "clean" days of eating until you consistently reach six to seven days of "clean"
eating per week.
Strive to eat nutrient-rich foods that agree with your body.
every calorie that you consume, you want to maximize the number of health-promoting
nutrients that you provide to your cells; your body's self-healing and self-preserving
mechanisms are best supported by a regular supply of undamaged amino acids, fatty
acids, vitamins, minerals, and other plant-based compounds.
is a sample one-day menu of a nutrient-rich and health-promoting diet:
Smoothie made by blending 1-2 bananas, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup strawberries,
1-2 cups of unsweetened nut or organic soy milk, and any food-based powder supplements
that are available to you. (We add 1 tablespoon of greens
and 2 teaspoons of acerola
cherry powder to our morning smoothies.)
Salad consisting of any type of leafy green lettuce, avocado, and balsamic vinegar
sandwich made by spreading a generous dollop of creamy
hummus on a whole grain pita or other type of whole grain bread, and adding
some slices of sweet red onion and ripe tomatoes.
Plate of assorted steamed vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes, zucchini,
asparagus, and green beans with a tahini
made with organic eggs and chives, cooked over low to medium heat with a tablespoon
of extra-virgin olive oil.
Raw pecans, goji
berries, ripe fruits like mangoes and melons.
there are endless varieties of nutrient-rich foods that you can mix and match
to create health-supporting meals. The guiding principle to follow is to eat mainly
fresh, plant-based foods, and to consider eating small portions of one or more
high quality animal foods that your body is able to digest without difficulty.
mark your progress: As described in the previous section, aim to eat
only nutrient-rich meals at least one day a week to begin with. At a pace that
you are comfortable with, aim to get to a point where you are eating only nutrient-rich
meals at least six days a week. When you get to six days of healthy eating per
week on a consistent basis, if you don't have any health challenges, feel free
to enjoy a meal or two that may not be super healthy one day a week. Allowing
one "cheat" day per week in this manner if your health can handle it may be good
for your overall health for a variety of reasons, such as enjoying relationships
with people who are important to you but not as mindful of healthy eating.
the years, I've worked with a number of people who followed a nutrient-rich diet
but had significant issues with their digestive tracts. And a good percentage
of these people have benefited by prioritizing the habit of chewing their foods
put, this point is critical to supporting your health because thorough chewing
can dramatically increase the availability of the nutrients in the foods that
you eat to your cells. If you don't chew well, it's quite possible that many of
the nutrients in the foods that you eat are going right through your body without
getting into your bloodstream to nourish your cells.
cases where thorough chewing is not possible due to dental or other health challenges,
I encourage regular use of a blender or food processor to ensure optimal access
to the nutrients in the foods that you eat.
to mark your progress: Take note of how comfortable your body - particularly
your tummy - feels after your meals. Thorough chewing tends to promote comfortable
digestion with minimal or no gas production. Also take note of how long it takes
you to eat your meals. If you're able to eat an entire hummus sandwich and a green
salad in five minutes, you can safely assume that you're not chewing well.
Get as much physical rest as your life circumstances allow.
single most important experience in my personal health journey thus far was a
2-week water fast that I experienced in the late 90's, which was directly followed
up by a 3-week period of eating nothing but fresh fruits, vegetables, their juices,
and a few grain dishes.
a total of five weeks focusing on giving my body as much physical rest as possible
allowed my damaged and exhausted organs to recover and learn how to function optimally
physical rest promotes healthy endocrine function, including the release of optimal
amounts of health-promoting hormones like growth hormone, testosterone, and erythropoietin
- these hormones are essential requirements for your body to heal damaged organs.
body is always doing its best to restore your health with whatever
energy and resources are available within your lifestyle. Regular physical rest
guarantees that your body has sufficient energy and resources to devote to healing.
doing a water fast in a peaceful environment is a wonderful way to experience
rejuvenating physical rest, just arranging your lifestyle to allow for restful
sleep each night can make a huge and positive difference in your health.
mark your progress: You can know that you are getting adequate physical
rest if do not regularly feel tired during your activities of daily living. If
you make an effort to get more sleep but still feel tired, stick with your efforts,
as your body may need to catch up on many hours of sleep debt that you have accrued
Don't forget about getting sufficient emotional rest.
you're getting plenty of physical rest but experiencing significant emotional
distress on a regular basis, you are still using up precious energy and resources
that could otherwise be used to support your health.
distress equals greater activity within your sympathetic nervous system, as well
as greater output of stress-related hormones like cortisol. And higher-than-necessary
sympathetic tone along with a high blood level of cortisol can make it extremely
difficult to recover from chronic health challenges. In fact, these conditions
are likely to worsen existing health challenges, and even create new ones.
adequate emotional rest can be more difficult than getting sufficient physical
rest because it can sometimes require that you find ways to transcend deeply-rooted
emotional scars and issues. Getting over an abusive relationship or any other
emotionally traumatic experience may be one of the most difficult challenges that
you face during your lifetime.
you need help with this area of your life, here are some resources that may be
helpful to you:
Chronic Emotional Stress Can Ruin Your Health
to Protect Your Health Against Toxic Behavior
to mark your progress: Take some time each evening before you go to bed
to sit or lie quietly while you take note of how peaceful or anxious you feel.
It's fine to feel anxious about new and exciting experiences; what you don't want
is to experience chronic anxiety for any reason. The goal is to get to a point
where you feel peaceful and balanced more often than not.
Discover and pursue personally meaningful purposes.
difficult for anyone to stay motivated to make healthy dietary and lifestyle choices
without something to look forward to each day.
you currently do not have interests or passions that drive you to take good care
of your health on a daily basis, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about
times in your life when you felt deeply appreciated by another person. Whatever
you did to have someone else appreciate you is a great starting point when looking
to discover and pursue a meaningful life purpose.
more guidance on finding your unique life purpose, please feel free to read:
Your Unique Life Purpose
to mark your progress: Take note of how you feel when you wake up each
morning. Do you feel excited about the day ahead? If not, spend more time thinking
about personally meaningful pursuits, particularly those that involve helping
others help themselves.
Support your physical structure with regular physical activity and easily-applied
therapies like acupressure and stretching.
your daily responsibilities don't require regular physical activity, I encourage
you to find a form of physical activity that you truly enjoy, and strive to make
time for it at least a couple of times per week. Doing so will provide essential
stimulation to your entire body to stay healthy, but particularly to your bones,
muscles, ligaments, heart, blood vessels, and lungs.
guidance on how to use self-applied acupressure to support the health of your
nervous system, view:
Acupressure Points that can Significantly Improve Your Health
guidance on how to keep your spine healthy via passive stretching, view:
to Safely Stretch Your Spine
learn essential keys to preventing unnecessary injury while stretching all of
your major muscle groups, view:
to mark your progress: In striving to be physically active and using
tools like acupressure and stretching to your benefit, the goal is to feel light,
strong, and flexible, like you can work all day hauling bricks, or jog or run
several miles if an emergency called for it. Take note of how physically free
and capable you feel on a daily basis and modify or maintain your efforts accordingly.
the seven action steps described above, avoiding recreational drugs and
getting regular exposure to sunlight (without getting burned) and fresh air
are additional action steps that if taken, can quickly lead to measurable health
main idea that I hope has come across in this article is that it is
possible to be efficient in recovering from a health challenge and maintaining
good overall health. The action steps listed above are ones that I strive to take
every day to maintain my health. They're also the recommendations that I think
anyone with a chronic health challenge should consider following before resorting
to conventional medical treatments that involve drugs and/or surgery.
you're relatively new to the idea that there's no better way to support health
recovery and experience excellent health than to consistently make healthy food
and lifestyle choices, please feel free to spend some time reading the articles
that are referenced throughout this one. And if you are currently working to overcome
a chronic health challenge, I hope that this article helps to inspire and fuel
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