After minor surgery on my knee, I have made some dietary changes to help with recovery. I have tweaked what I eat and have also been taking extra supplements. I was healthy and active before the operation so progress has been good, but I decided to add the supplements to support the healing process and make sure I can get back to full fitness.
Here are some of the tweaks I have made:
No mater what your goals, you have to start with what you eat. There is no point supplementing with A, B, C and D if you’re not eating the right food to start with. Think of food as the foundation to everything. It really is the best medicine.
I believe in a balanced diet but there is no doubt that certain foods can contribute towards inflammation in the body. Because of this, in the first two weeks I cut out certain foods. In week 3 I reintroduced them in small quantities and by week four I was back to my normal balanced diet.
What I cut out:
What I increased:
I normally drink a reasonable amount of bone broth but in the first 4 weeks post op I had a cup a day of homemade bone broth. The broth is packed full of goodness like collagen which helps restore cartilage and amino acids that reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
Here’s my recipe:
2 sticks Lemongrass
1 bulb Garlic (cut in half)
1 Onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
4 Kaffir lime leaves
1 Red chilli
2 Star anise
2kg Chicken carcasses
2 liters Water
Put everything into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiled reduce to a simmer for 2 hours then pass through a sieve and chill. You can then freeze it in ice cubes and just take them out and boil them up from frozen as you need them.
As well as drinking them, they are great to chuck into a curry or soups to add extra flavor and goodness.
I have added in a daily amino drink to help regenerate muscle tissue. Having crutches and being non-weight bearing for two weeks took its toll on my huge quad muscles! I have noticed a big difference in muscle development since taking this as it increases growth hormone production.
Fish oils are one of the main supplements I have used over the past few years to support my joint health. Training and competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu takes its toll on my joints and so I need the extra support, especially as I am not getting any younger!
CBD oil has many benefits but the most relevant to me in my recovery is its ability to relieve pain and inflammation. I have been researching CBD oil for a while and know other people who have had huge success using it for injury recovery so if you would like to read more and get a better understanding of how and why this is so effective, here is a useful link (beware though, it’s a scientific overload!)
The good thing about curcumin is that it is one of the most researched spices out there, so there is a wealth of information about its benefits. Originally, I started taking it for its anti-inflammatory properties but whilst researching, I realized it is also a natural antioxidant. Antioxidant supplementation has been shown to speed healing where oxidative stress is causing addition cellular damage, for example following an injury… see where I’m going with this?! My knee has been injured and undergone surgery aka cellular damage and so antioxidants are vital for my recovery.
We use garlic in many dishes at Sulston’s Kitchen and eating garlic is a good strategy to contribute towards inflammation reduction. However, to have a measurable anti-inflammatory effect, the recommendation is to take 600-1200 mg of supplemental aged garlic extract, which you can get in an odorless form. This would be the equivalent of eating about 4 cloves a day, which unfortunately doesn’t come odorless. Your choice!
Simple and effective – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off every night.
In the first week post op, I completely rested my knee, like completely. In week two I started walking with crutches. In week three I began cycling on a static bike and as soon as I started this, I felt my knee move in a range of movement that I didn’t think possible. After not really moving my knee for two whole weeks, I was able to cycle for 10 whole minutes and it felt so good.
I added rowing in week four, which pushed the range of movement in my knee that bit further by bringing my heels closer to my bum. After 5 minutes on the rower I just rocked back and forth slowly trying to get my heels and bum to touch, still a way to go but I’m getting there!
I can’t wait for the next stage, which will be re-building. The aim is to build a better and stronger me minimizing the potential of future injury. I also aim to create more of a balance in my training by including mobility work, kettle bells, yoga, cycling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Onwards!