HPN 3: Curbing Sugar Cravings, Bladder Health, Nutrition For Surgery Recovery

January 8, 2019


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Welcome to episode 3 of Holistic Performance Nutrition (HPN) with Julie McCloskey, registered holistic nutrition coach, and Tawnee, a certified sports nutritionist and holistic endurance coach.

Rosalie asks:

In the event this is within the scope of your show, here is my question: Hello, my name is Rosalie Davis. I am 50 years old, I have been running for 20 years, mostly casually, completed 3 marathons and lots of shorter races, 5k, 10k and half marathons. The last two years were my most focused training / running and I had a blast. Unfortunately, I recently tore my meniscus and am having arthroscopic surgery to repair it. Here’s my question, what should my diet look like prior to surgery and afterwards? Close to surgery date so more concerned about diet after surgery. Looking for ideas to promote recovery and healing. Thank you for your time, great to have you back Tawnee and I enjoy the show.

The coaches say:

  • Varying animal products for solid amino acid profiles
    • Organ meats, sardines w/bones, nose to tail goodness
    • Bone broth with additional gelatin and collagen added
  • Lots of pure water, no carbonated bevvies, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Avoid high intakes of phosphorus
  • Increase minerals, especially calcium & silicon
    • Calcium: Kelp, sesame, almonds, figs, dark greens, alfalfa, most legumes
    • Silica: potatoes, alfalfa, peppers, beets, onions, dandelion, asparagus, hemp, nettle
    • Soak and sprout to destabilize phytates and oxalates they’ll be bound to
  • Easy to digest foods:
    • good protein powder, soups, broths
    • Antioxidant rich herbs and spices
  • PerfectAmino – Essential amino acid supplement with greater than 99% utilized by the body for body protein synthesis.
  • Bone broth – homemade is better or from a reputable source.
  • Meriva – bioactive curcumin supplement by Thorne can be as effective as NSAIDs as an anti-inflammatory without the side effects. Don’t take curcumin if you’re on a blood thinner though.
  • Organic CBD oil for pain – not addictive, no risk of OD, helps with sleep. Dosages range from 10 mg to 100+mg – start low and build. Try Thorne hemp oil.
  • Acupuncture – up to 2-3x a week initially as long as that’s not cost prohibitive.

Scott asks:

I am a 37 year old male runner in the UK about to train for my 4th marathon in Spring 2019. I start running about 5-6 years ago purely to lose weight and dropped from 35lbs within a couple of years and then ran my first marathon in Paris with a 3:29.  I managed to get down to about 160lbs for this marathon which, at 5’8” still left some work to be done on my weight (I appreciate it’s not just about numbers when it comes to optimum race-weight but I was carrying visible excess fat that needed to be shifted, especially around the gut). I improved in Spring of 2017 with a 3:10 and again this Spring with a 3:01 and I am now shooting for 2:50 in Spring next year.

My problem is not my confidence or my physical training. My current big problem is my sweet tooth and the inability to drop the final stone that I think will bring me on leaps and bounds with my running. I am a vegetarian and my diet really sucks right now but not because of this. We have biscuits, chocolates etc in our office on display all the time and I just cannot keep away. I feel like it’s becoming a real big problem as I am really overloading on high sugar junk food even though I am a firm believe in a low carb (not quite as low as keto but just not a high reliance on carb) diet. I am really struggling to find a method or approach that will see me go through a day without eating far too much cake and biscuits as our office is always full of them – I just keep telling myself that tomorrow will be a better day, the day I start eating healthy and getting rid of the extra bulk! 

The coaches say:

  • Sugar Addiction, is it real? 
  • Mind/Emotions – don’t restrict, go from “bad” to “better”, pay attention to how those foods make you feel and think about if you want to feel that way next time they are offered. The choice is always yours to make
  • Physical – high stress and not enough sleep will cause sugar cravings and hold weight centrally — a veg diet is gonna be high carb (most likely) in which case will beget more sugar, not enough protein will increase sugar cravings, not enough magnesium will increase sugar cravings. Also at risk for nutritional deficiencies because we never “get away” with eating refined foods at a biochemical level, our body will look for ways to make that biscuit “whole” and leach nutrients from our bones in order to do so.
  • Supplements – Chromium, magnesium, b-complex, and a fish oil are my favorites for blood sugar control. I’ll look for some studies on these babes
  • Be prepared with high protein safety snacks. If you eat all of your own snacks and STILL are craving the biscuit, do some deep breaths, take a 10 minute walk outside, and then go for half the biscuit if you still want it. Just a couple bites might do the trick and you’ll decrease your consumption in half without much effort
  • Mix your macronutrients to slow down absorption, add ceylon cinnamon (1 tsp. daily) to increase cellular uptake of glucose, eat a varied diet to feed good bacteria and calm down the bad ones, more omega-3s, more dark leafy greens.
  • The social pressure to indulge at work with co-workers, and learning to say no to unhealthy foods in social settings.
  • Food logging on MyFitnessPal or another platform to make sure you’re meeting calorie and protein needs for energy expenditure. Cravings often come when we’re underfueling.

Todd asks:

What nutrition advice do you have to support bladder health? Overactive bladder was plaguing my running and life overall. I have improved the situation through exercises (kegels and stretching/strengthening bladder supporting muscles) and drastically cutting back on obvious irritants (down to one cup of coffee per day and completely eliminated sodas). But I believe there is the potential for more progress to be made.  What other nutrition changes would help. I am mainly a marathoner, and working with a PT.  Doing squats with a band and other exercises to relieve pressure on adductors and increase utilization of glutes. Overuse of adductors probably increasing stress on bladder and hurting running efficiency generally.

The coaches say:

  • Identify and avoid foods you might be sensitive to – decrease toxic load
    • Food allergies can increase bladder irritability by increasing smooth muscle contraction
  • Decrease dairy – calcium is hard on the kidneys, also a top allergen. Magnesium def?
  • Increase kidney harmonizing foods
    • Alfalafa, blueberry, cardamom, cilantro, cranberry, pomegranate, asparagus
  • Drink unsweetened cranberry or blueberry juice
    • Will help acidify the urine and prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall
  • Increase antioxidants
    • Vit. C helps acidify the urine and kill off pathogens
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Retrain bladder, e.g. delay urination for a short period and try to stick to a schedule
  • Traditional Chinese medicine – in this study, acupuncture 1x a week for 1o weeks showed improvements

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