Feed Your Body!
Your Nutrition Program
This 15 week nutrition program will help you to develop the foundation of the healthy eating habits you will need to correct malnutrition, correct weight, reduce pain and inflammation. These nutrition challenges have been specifically designed to set you up for success so follow the program, do your best and you will be rewarded with improved health.
How it works: This is not a diet! These are specific recommendations that you gradually introduce into your already existing diet in order for them to turn into healthful habits. Each week integrate the challenge into your life. If you are already doing it then great! Just move on to the next week. Just be sure to maintain the habit from the previous weeks as you progress through the program so that at the end, your diet is very healthy and supportive of living well with chronic pain.
Keep track of your progress! Download the Progressive Mastery Worksheets by clicking here.
"A journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step"
Week 1 (Hydration) - Drink 2 Liters (Quarts) of Water Per day. Many people are chronically dehydrated and do not even know it. Water is crucial for every function of your body and when we are dehydrated we will suffer increased pain and inflammation. For the next week make it a priority to drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day.
Week 2 (Timing) - Eat your Largest meal at lunch. Most people eat their largest meal at the end of the day when they don't need as much energy. Eating late stresses the digestive tract as well as increases the likelihood of gaining unwanted weight. So give your gut a break and eat your big meal when you need the energy the most.
Week 3 (Timing) - 3 hours between eating and bedtime. Give you gut even more of a break and make sure your food is mostly digested before you go to bed. Making this a regular practice will help to reduce inflammation and improve you sleep as well as manage your weight.
Week 4 (Vegetables) - Leafy green veggies with dinner. Kale, chard, spinach, bokchoy, arugula...they are all great for you and include some vital nutrients that reduce inflammation, reduce muscle tension and provide good fiber and pre-biotics to keep your little gut microbes happy.
Week 5 (Vegetables) - Eat colorful veggies with lunch. Red, orange and yellow vegetables are very nutritious and reduce inflammation. They also help to manage blood sugar and regulate insulin production which will keep your energy consistent and prevent the "3 pm crash."
Week 6 (Vegetables) - Leafy green veggies with breakfast. Starting the morning off with some leafy greens provides your body with some vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals you just can't get from most breakfast foods. This way you have the energy you need for your day and it is nice to know you started it off with something good and nourishing for your body.
Week 7 (Protein) - 1 serving of protein with dinner. People with chronic pain and inflammation have higher protein needs to repair cells and to help deal with the stress of chronic pain. Some good healthy sources are: eggs, beef, lamb, small fish, chicken, whey, and vegetable protein powders. Avoid soy and tofu if possible.
Week 8 (Protein) - 1 serving of protein with lunch. In addition to providing amino acids for tissue repair and regeneration, protein is also a good source of sustained energy. By eating protein at lunch you will have more sustained energy and will avoid the midday crash.
Week 9 (Protein) - 1 serving of protein with breakfast. Breakfast protein provides good sustained energy and nutrients early on. It also does not affect insulin as much as starches and sugars so you will have less energy fluctuations. Consistent energy is imperative to increasing your resistance to stress which reduces your pain.
Week 10 (Good Fat) - Coconut oil for cooking. We need good fat in our diets in order to be healthy. Fat provides the building blocks for many of your hormones including testosterone and human growth hormone which are needed to repair injuries and reduce pain. The fatty acids in coconut actually increase good cholesterol while decreasing bad cholesterol which is good for your circulation. The easiest way to include coconut oil into your diet is to cook with it.
Week 11 (Good Fat) - Olive oil. Add this to everything just don't cook on high heat with it. Olive oil is anti-inflammatory, has antioxidants, is good for your heart, promotes good sleep and positive mood, decreases bad cholesterol, helps to balance hormones and can help to prevent or treat diabetes. Plus it is delicious!
Week 12 (Sugar) - No sugar before bed. The no sugar thing is a hard one for most people and yes sugar is bad, results in diabetes, damages your teeth and increases inflammation and pain. That being said, a little here and there is ok. For this week's challenge just remove all sugar and sweet foods from your diet for 3 hours before bed.
Week 13 (Sugar) - Replace sugary foods with fruit, nuts and seeds. Here we are trying to take away your sweets again! I'm not asking you to give up sweet completely, just make sure that if you eat something sweet, it is also rich in nutrients and antioxidants like in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, plums, apples and bananas.
Week 14 (Starches) - Reduce wheat to 1 or less servings per day. Yes, unfortunately the breads and pastas that we love so much do have a negative effect on our pain and inflammation, not to mention our waistline. You can still enjoy them in moderation but where you would eat pasta, substitute a veggie instead.
Week 15 (Supplements) - Take a multivitamin and Omega-3 daily. There are a lot of vitamins and supplements that can have a positive effect on improving your health and reducing your pain. A good holistic doctor can give you some guidance in this, but at the very least, take a multi and some fish oils. Fish oils are potent anti-inflammatories and more!
By completing this foundational program you have created some excellent behaviors and habits that will greatly enhance your health and reduce your pain. You will may have noticed some changes in your energy, mood and pain already, but the best part is yet to come. After about 6 months of being consistent with these dietary changes you will notice progressively increasing benefits to how you feel so keep it up and be sure you are integrating your dietary program with good mobility training and mindfulness practices for the best results.