A pain-healthy diet is one that decreases inflammation in the body and encourages restorative healing. This is a flexible definition because what works best for some people may not work for others. Due to this, we’ve provided many resources this month that discuss ways to find a perfect pain-healthy diet that works for you.
Setting the groundwork for a pain-healthy diet: cooking
We believe that learning to cook is one of the single most important things you can do to ensure a pain-healthy diet. In our “10 Reasons Why You Should Be Cooking (Yes, You!)” post, we covered the various reasons why cooking is so important. These include:
- Your family will be healthier
- You can protect your kids (and yourself!) from obesity
- It’s a great money-saver
- No more mystery ingredients
- Cooking for yourself makes managing a pain or other health condition easier
- You can trust what’s in the food you make
- You gain independence for yourself and your family
- Cooking is fun and a good creative outlet
- It’s a good family bonding experience
- Cooking for yourself saves time
If the idea of approaching the stove still intimidates you, we’ve compiled a list of online and in-person resources for learning how to cook. As we noted:
“Based on popular media, you might think that professional cooks are born knowing how to dice, sauté, and flip an omelet in the pan with a discreet flick of the wrist, but this is just not so. Good cooks become good because they practice with technique and recipes, sometimes making delicious food and sometimes creating a disaster in the kitchen.”
Allow yourself that freedom to fail, to learn, and to practice, and we guarantee you’ll become much more confident in the kitchen. To help, we also compiled a list of kitchen hacks in our “Eat This, Not That” post that can allow you to create meals in minutes a day. From crockpots to freezer meals to meal planning, there are ways to make a pain-healthy diet easy to manage for you and your family.
Experimenting with a vegetarian diet
Research shows that eating a vegetarian diet can help pain patients, especially those with fibromyalgia. We encourage you to think of a vegetarian diet not as a label, but as another pain-healthy diet option to explore.
In our “12 Dos and Don’ts for Becoming a Vegetarian” post, we encouraged variety and flexibility. Keep these dos and don’ts in mind when starting out:
- Don’t be a junk food vegetarian. Do stick to healthy whole foods.
- Don’t restrict yourself to one kind of cuisine. Do try other cuisines that are vegetable-heavy, such as Indian and Asian cuisines.
- Don’t lecture everyone around you. Do share recipes and bring delicious vegetarian food to gatherings.
- Don’t change all at once. Do ease your family into it.
- Don’t treat it like an all-or-nothing proposition. Do try what makes you feel best.
- Don’t ignore how making the vegetarian switch makes you feel. Do keep a journal to follow how dietary changes affect you.
If you’re ready to improve your health, save money, and help save the planet, there are many resources in Las Vegas for vegetarians. We covered local CSA options, farmers markets, and vegetarian restaurants in our post on the topic.
Finally, if you’re not ready to make the jump to a vegetarian diet, there are still ways to eat a pain-healthy diet while continuing to enjoy meat. Practicing moderation, eating pasture-raised meat, and looking to the sea are all suggestions we made in our post on the subject. As we noted:
“Omnivores can still make better choices with the meat they eat, looking for specific animals that are ethically and sustainably raised. Making better choices in the type and quality of meat you buy is not only good for your health; it’s also good for the planet.”
Keeping up with the latest research
Part of maintaining a pain-healthy diet is staying tapped into the latest research about the foods we eat, the way our bodies gain weight, and the various lifestyle choices that can increase pain. You can keep up with this research by subscribing to our blog here or at any of the Pain Doctor sites.
This month we covered a few key topics related to a pain-healthy diet. Our post “The Latest Research on Obesity” covers many of the studies that are making us rethink the way we consider overweight and obesity. New research ranges from findings on obesity prevention in kids to new treatments for obese patients.
We also had research on our side when we tackled the question: Is wine actually healthy?
As our post illustrates, the answer is both yes and no. Again, what works for some people might not work for others. Those on pain medications should never drink alcohol if told not to do so by their doctor. Others, however, may find some healthful benefits in drinking a glass of vino with dinner.
March also hosts World Kidney Day, a day to raise awareness about kidney diseases and conditions, many of which can also result in abdominal pain. We noted in the post that:
“World Kidney Day was developed to raise awareness of the important role kidneys play in our overall health and to spread awareness on chronic kidney disease and treatment. This year’s theme is ‘Kidney Health For All,’ and it focuses on increasing access to important screening, education, and prevention for the highest-risk populations.”
We gave some suggestions for eating with a kidney condition in our post and we also compiled a list of kidney-healthy food choices in our “Eat This, Not That: Foods to Maintain Kidney Health” post.
To discuss eating options for abdominal pain sufferers as a whole, we gave even more suggestions for finding pain-healthy diet advice online in our “Top 10 Websites for Gut Health” post.
What was your favorite post on the Inside Nevada Pain blog this month?
Image by notyourstandard via Flickr