As you know by now at Bisset & Holland we don’t promote plastic surgery or surgeons. Our goal is to support you in feeling good about the choices you make around surgery. One choice you’ll need to make is around eating healthy before and after plastic surgery. It’s common knowledge that when you consistently eat a diet rich in unhealthy fats, processed foods, high in sodium and cholesterol, your body and energy levels will reflect those choices. You will not look or feel good. It’s simple, you are what you eat.  In this series of blog posts I will share simple healthy eating tips to help you eat healthy before and after plastic surgery.

You can reverse enhancements made by having plastic surgery just by the way you eat and care for your body afterwards. Why go through all the trouble of having a procedure if you’re not going to be responsible for your health afterwards? It doesn’t make sense

 Let’s get started by first understanding the eating plan. This is NOT a diet; you will not have to buy expensive foods, or special shakes. What you will have to do is get your tail to the market and avoid most of the middle aisles. The Mayo Clinic supports this practice. Healthy eaters shop in the perimeters of the supermarket. Fresh produce, meats, seafood departments and the dairy case are all along the perimeters of most markets. Processed foods are generally the ones that are found in the middle aisles. Consider shopping this way for the long term; well after surgery.

The goal of this eating plan is promote quick healing, decrease inflammation, swelling, bloating and constipation after surgery. This series of blog posts and eating plan will support you in choosing healthy, whole, nutrient dense foods that make you look and feel GREAT.

Next, let’s break the eating plan into 2 phases:

*Remember to consult your surgeon to learn what foods or supplements you should avoid AND drink plenty of water during both phases*

Pre-operative Eating Plan (2-4 weeks before surgery)

  • We will choose foods rich in Vitamin C and Zinc that will boost our immune systems and speed recovery by helping wounds heal faster
  • We will choose foods rich in amino acids and proteins repairing and building healthy tissue and muscles
  • We will choose foods rich in iron and B12 or take a multivitamins rich in these ingredients this will help the body make new red blood cells that carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body
Post-operative eating (after surgery)
  • Immediately after surgery follow your surgeon’s recommendations for eating. Many surgeons will recommend a light, easy to chew, bland diet – so no heavy or spicy foods immediately after surgery
  • We will nourish our bodies with foods that have anti-inflammatory effects on the body
  • We will nourish our bodies with foods and supplements (as approved by your surgeon) that decrease swelling and scarring

 Today I went to the food market and I’m proud to say that I stayed clear of the middle aisles where the most of the processed foods are. Avoid the middle aisles of supermarkets! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has always been a challenge for me, yes even being a healthcare professional. Hey, nobody’s perfect. When I decided to have my procedure a few years back I began to relearn the basics of nutrition through the use of credible sources; some you will find referenced in this blog series. I credit the best parts of my recovery from plastic surgery to all the great choices I made around the food, keeping a positive mindset, and NOT laying in the bed. As a Registered Nurse with two decades of healthcare experience in diverse settings, I love sharing thoughts and ideas around my expertise. In this blog series Healthy Eating: Before and After Plastic Surgery you will find me deferring a lot to the experts in nutrition. We’ll also cover the role nutrition plays in healing after surgery. I am not a nutritionist or a health coach. I’m just like you – I want to live MY best life. I know to do that I need to be well and that includes choosing the right foods to fuel my body    

A few years back, one of the first patients I cared for as a part of Cosmetic Surgery Aftercare Services was a young woman who after plastic surgery planned to stay in a hotel for 2-3 nights. She had hired our services for transportation to and from surgery in Philadelphia. During the initial call to the patient I learned that she was going to be staying alone in the hotel and keeping her procedure a secret from everyone. I encouraged her to hire on nursing care but she was adamant she didn’t need it.   After ANY surgery it is recommended that you have a responsible adult be with you for at least the 1st 24 hours. Makes sense right? Surgeons and their staff need to be sure that patients are going home with care and not just assume they are – it could be disastrous.

Upon picking this patient up for the procedure I learned that she had brought with her a bag of hot dog rolls, water, and a soda…seriously. That was all she thought she needed for the 1st few days after surgery since as she said “I don’t eat a lot”. This made me very nervous. On the car ride to surgery we discussed the 4 Daily Habits to a Healthy Recovery and why nutrition is paramount to healthy healing. I shared with her that the hot dog rolls provided very little nutrition and could make her constipated on top of the pain medications she would be taking after surgery.

 

Throughout the car ride to surgery I learned more about her and also found out what healthy meals and snacks she enjoyed. As she was in the operating room I went to the grocery store and picked up the items. When we arrived at the hotel I checked her in and got her into bed, took vital signs, recorded any medications taken and encouraged her to sip some apple juice. “Where you get that from?” she asked and fell asleep.   I ended up staying with her because she was very weak, in and out of sleep; she could barely walk to the bathroom without my support. Later when she woke up I’ll never forget the smile she gave me when she realized that I was still there. I showed her the food in the fridge and the times on her medication schedule. I told her that I had made the decision to stay and keep her safe. She was very appreciative and it filled me with joy to be able to do it. This experience has changed the way we I did business. It not only helped me to understand how important it is to share valuable content for plastic surgery healing but also to protect both patients and our business    

This blog post will prepare you for surgery by helping you to understand how to choose the right foods before surgery. You will learn how to nourish your body for optimal vitality, energy, immunity and well-being. Eating healthy before surgery can help you feel better and recover quicker after plastic surgery.  We will focus on choosing an eating plan rich in protein, amino acids, Vitamin C, Zinc, iron, Vitamin B12 why it is important and how it will support your recovery  

Pre-Operative Eating Phase

Personally I’m not into cooking. I know how to cook I just don’t care to spend time doing it. I like to keep it simple and tasty.  Below is a picture of a meal I prepared for myself and my mom the other day.

 

Keeping it simple, I plated a Wegmans Harvest Salad (Vitamin A, C & other nutrients), organic turkey black bean burger (protein), then added fresh salsa on top for extra Vitamin C. Chapter 8 of Practical Plastic Surgery for Nonsurgeons is a great source for understanding the nutritional needs for healthy healing. According to the chapter, protein is probably the most important nutrient. It is broken down into individual amino acids, which are important building blocks for bone, muscle, and skin. Thus, adequate protein intake is vital for normal wound healing. 

All Protein Isn’t Alike

Harvard School of Public Health expert explains that protein is built from building blocks called amino acids. Our bodies make amino acids in two different ways: Either from scratch, or by modifying others. A few amino acids (known as the essential amino acids) must come from food. Animal sources of protein tend to deliver all the amino acids we need.

Other protein sources, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, lack one or more essential amino acids. Vegetarians need to be aware of this. People who don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products need to eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day in order to get all the amino acids needed to make new protein. You can find more information at the Harvard website http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/ 

Vitamins and Minerals Promote Healing

Vitamin C help wounds to heal quicker. According to the National Institute of Health, Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters; vitamin C is also involved in protein metabolism. Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in wound healing Fruits and vegetables are great sources of Vitamin C – you can find a listing of these foods at the NIH website http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#h3

Daily intake of Vitamin A will promote healthy skin and Vitamin B is a nutrient that supports healthy blood cells and the body’s nerves. Fruits, veggies, and grains are sources for these vitamins. Zinc is involved in numerous aspects  of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system. Oysters, red meat, crab meat, and some fortified cereals are great sources for Zinc – you can find a listing of foods rich in this mineral at the NIH website.   

At the end of the day eating healthy before and after plastic surgery is simple. Before your procedure be sure to stock your home with plenty of protein rich foods, colorful fresh fruits and veggies and improve your chances for a speedy recovery   Part 3 concludes with the 2nd phase of the Healthy Eating Plan: Post-operative eating. We will also close this blog series by tying together a few ideas:  

  1. Feeling good about the choices you make around plastic surgery begins with a true understanding of why you want to have surgery and equipping yourself with the right information to make informed decisions
  2. Understanding that the goal of this eating plan is to promote quick healing, to help decrease inflammation, swelling, bloating and constipation after surgery
  3. Remember, you CAN reverse the enhancements made through plastic surgery simply by NOT eating a well-balanced nutritional diet

Parts 1 & 2 of the eating plan covered how to make the right choices around foods that promote healthy healing. Part 3 ties everything together with resources for fresh, healthy recipes that are both yummy and a formula for good health today and long after your procedure  

Here are 2 healthy eating sites that I’d like to familiarize you with:

    1. Skinnytaste.com has low-calorie recipes that are rich in the nutrients that will support your recovery and they are very easy to prepare. The salad below is something that I plan to make for a vision board party I am planning with friends
    2. Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies helps to make healthy eating a bit easier and a lot more enjoyable

Check out these websites on your own. The most important thing that you can do TODAY is to begin to learn what foods helps to fuel healing and to understand that you are what you eat. Start eating healthy today. Your body will thank you for it

How drinking water benefits healing after plastic surgery

Confession: I don’t love drinking water, especially during the colder months. Even in warmer weather, there are times when I have to force myself to choose water over other drinks. It’s important to understand how drinking water benefits healing after plastic surgery.  After plastic surgery it’s important to hydrate the body. Hydration promotes good blood flow (circulation) which is necessary to deliver nutrients throughout the body.

Let me share with you what I did to safely increase my water intake after my surgery:

  1. Asked my surgeon before plastic surgery if I had any restrictions on fluids after plastic surgery
  2. Added slices of fruit to my water which adds delicious fragrance and flavor
  3. Learned how drinking water benefits healing after plastic surgery (this made me WANT to drink more water).

Read below to learn why hydration is 1 of the 4 daily habits you need to heal after plastic surgery.

Caregivers promote this healthy habit as per your surgeon’s orders.

Hydrate – Drink plenty of liquids, preferably water. Water regulates body temperature and provides the means for nutrients to travel to your organs and tissues. It also helps transport oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs. Taking in too little water or losing too much water leads to dehydration. Symptoms of mild dehydration include thirst, pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. Your caregiver should make sure that you drink water at each meal and in between unless it’s against doctors’ orders