I was inspired by a guest on our retreat who was a wheelchair user and had made a great effort to attend. She had a lovely bright bubbly personality and intended to use living food to heal from her injuries following a car crash, and wanted additionally to be able to avoid further surgery. This subject took on an added dimension on the Sunday morning of the retreat. I was going downstairs at 6-30am to get the wheatgrass juice going for the guests, and fell down a flight of 9 steps, landing with a crash on the stone floor below! My left foot and right hip were somewhat traumatised and I spent the rest of the day wondering how I was going to run the Great South road race 7 days later… Indeed, I am sitting in A&E whilst writing this, waiting for an Xray on my massively swollen and bruised foot, since I now can’t actually walk! With all this in mind, it got me thinking: how can living food help us to recover faster from physical injury, and is there any particular food or process that can help to speed everything up? Here we go!
Time, of course, heals everything. But for impatient people such as myself, who don’t just want to sit it out, and prefer to take an active role in their bodily repairs, let’s take a look at what else we can do to speed up the process.
Living food speeds up cellular repair. If we think about it, it’s obvious. Our bodies are made of nutrients. Our tissues, both hard (bone, cartilage) and soft (muscles, tendons and everything else) are built from what we eat. Repair and regeneration takes place continuously, whether we are actually physically injured or not. During physical injury, bruising, swelling and inflammation occur. This is the body’s natural response to trauma, and has a purpose. After 48 hours though, this has served its usefulness, and what follows is where nutrients are most important. We need good blood flow to damaged tissues to bring about repair, since that is how all nutrients are taken to the point of damage. In addition, we need oxygenation! So my first recommendation will always be daily wheatgrass juice. Love it or hate it, it is an essential component of healing, so get it down you! Two fluid ounces (a shot glass) is all you need, once or twice daily. If grown in enriched soil, it can bring you as many as 92 minerals, and a complete spectrum of proteins. This is important, since we need protein for repair to all tissues.
Antioxidants are also very important, since damaged tissue can, if left unchecked, release further toxicity into the already damaged area. It’s really important to have a whole food derived antioxidant that gives you a full spectrum of all the known and unknown antioxidants, in addition to a diet that is rich in antioxidants. I’m currently on a double dose of my whole food supplements!
Getting the damaged tissue oxygenated is vital. To improve the circulation, we can use food such as garlic and ginger, and also cayenne pepper. Remember that garlic thins the blood and reduces blood clotting, so it isn’t a good idea to have lots of it in the first 48 hours after injury, but after that just go ahead! Cayenne dilates the blood vessels and will allow more blood to be delivered to the tissues that need it.
If you have muscular injury, protein is a vital nutrient for healing. Good sources of complete protein, in addition to wheatgrass juice, are green juices containing sunflower greens, pea shoots and blue green algae. For something more substantial, a smoothie containing Sunwarrior protein powder or chia seeds would fit the bill.
For tendons and ligaments, which contain collagen (a structural protein), a good source or sulphur is important. Sulphur rich foods include the cabbage family, and Sunwarrior protein contains amino acids which have sulphur in their structure. Sulphur also reduces skin scarring, if you have skin wounds. Supplemental dietary sulphur can be obtained from MSM (methyl sulphonyl methane), a soluble crystalline supplement which you can add to your juice or drinking water.
For hard tissues (bone fractures), certain nutrients can make or break (excuse the pun!) your recovery. Whether or not you need surgery on your damaged bone, you need to feed bones properly to get them to repair quickly. Why not take a look at my bone health book “Top 10 Raw Food Tips for Osteoporosis”? It isn’t just for post-menopausal women with brittle bones, and I only have 3 copies left before it goes out of print!
Breathing exercises aid in tissue oxygenation. For those with serious injuries, and access to specialist facilities, hyperbaric oxygen can be used. Foods that detract from tissue oxygenation include all animal products and cooked fats.
Enzyme supplements are fantastic for reducing the effects of tissue trauma. In the book “Enzymes, the Fountain of Life”, the authors indicate that soft tissue traumatic injuries in karate fighters healed 70% faster when using enzymes than without them. It’s hardly surprising – systemic enzymes break down damaged structural proteins and allow healing to take place.
In the book “Earthing”, by Stephen Sinatra and Clint Ober, the beneficial effects of earthing on athletic injury were discussed. Whilst no specific clinical trials have been conducted (which would be difficult anyway since no two injuries are ever the same), if the concept of earthing mats and grounding sheets appeals to you, this is an option that certainly does no harm. I choose to sleep on an earthing sheet every night, injured or otherwise.
Energy medicine techniques such as Reiki (universal life force energy) have been used in healing for centuries. I was fortunate, at the retreat, to be given Reiki by a master practitioner guest just before giving my morning lecture on the day of my accident. Injured or not, the show had to go on! I managed to limp through the day and make the 3 hour drive back that evening without too much difficulty. The following day I could not walk. Did the Reiki get me through the day? Was I just running on adrenaline which got me through? I have no idea, but since right now I can’t walk at all, I guess it had benefits. Why not give it a try next time you are injured?
Never underestimate the power of your thoughts. After all, the brain controls everything! Why not send your injury some healing energy or visualisation? It could be the one thing that makes all the difference, once you have your nutritional status covered with living food, fresh green juices and appropriate supplementation. Dr David Hamilton relayed a story, in one of his lectures, of a man confined to a hospital bed with a severe hip injury. He visualised a team of tiny people inside his hip joint, smoothing off all the rough, damaged edges with fine grade sandpaper until it was completely smooth. The doctors were, apparently, amazed by the follow up Xray a few weeks later. They told the man: “We can’t believe the difference – it doesn’t look like your hip at all. It’s just as if you have had it all smoothed off with fine grade sandpaper.” Coincidence? I don’t believe so. What do you do if you have had an injury?
Do you have a special hint or tip for others? Do share!