Daily pain is something that I have been accustomed to my whole life. Childhood memories of pain are still a big part of my psyche to this day. Of course now that I am getting older the pain is getting worse. Clubfoot pain is very common for most children and adults living with this deformity. While surgeries and casting correct the look of the foot I am finding that many people with post clubfoot correction are dealing with pain regardless of updated medical procedures and pain medications.
I think this blog is over do but timely as many of my fellow “clubbies” have asked how I manage or control my pain on a daily basis, especially being an athlete. I put a lot of demand on my feet and body. Pain is ever present after each training session and race. First, I think it’s important to mention that what works for me may not work for someone else and it’s always important to talk with your doctor before staring anything new in the context of pain management.
Growing up I was a meat and potatoes kind of kid. My family always had some kind of meat or dairy product in the house and the occasional burger and steak was not uncommon. I ate meat and loved every ounce of it. I was a big fan of dairy and put cheese on everything.
I was not very active growing up because my clubfoot pain was too much. I wanted to be like others so I played sports but was never really fast or good at what I was doing.
When I graduated high school I was really unhealthy and I was not very active. I saw my weight balloon to 260 pounds at 5’8. After my first child was born I decided to change my bad habits and get myself into shape. Today I have lost over 100 pounds and I am Ironman triathlete making a living at something I thought I would never be able to do. I contribute much of my success to my strict vegan diet. My pain levels have decreased and I am able to recover and endure the demands of Ironman racing because of the benefits of my vegan diet.
Inflammation is a major cause of many of our lifestyle diseases and the cause of pain. Inflammation is defined as the first response of the immune system to infection or irritation. The symptoms of chronic inflammation can be swelling, redness and pain.
Swelling and pain is very familiar to those suffering with clubfoot. It’s not uncommon to have the foot swell with pain after a simple task like standing or walking for any amount of time. I have completed numerous triathlons and have felt a tremendous amount of pain during and after an event. Since I have become a vegan I have seen and experienced less swelling and pain on a daily basis.
So what foods do I eat in large amounts to control the pain and potential damage I am doing to my feet? Part of being a plant based vegan is making sure that all the six major nutrients are met daily from food sources that are natural or organic. Most of the foods on the market are highly processed, void of any nutrients and grown with pesticides. Below is a chart of foods that I eat daily which counter inflammation and foods that contribute to inflammation. I recommend that if your diet is void of these anti-inflammatory foods that you begin to slowly incorporate them into your daily diet and eventually make them a everyday part of your life.
FOODS TO AVOID
All green vegetables ex: broccoli, brussels sprouts and greens such as kale and chard.
All fruits:ex: apples, berries and avocados
Nuts and seeds: ex: Almonds, sunflower seeds and walnuts
Oils ex: Coconut and olive oil
Drinks: ex: teas and water
All Herbs and spices ex: basil, cayenne and oregano
Eat as much organic foods as possible. Eat all the above in their natural state and avoid overcooking or heating which can kill off the majority of nutrients that aide in controlling inflammation
Sugars ex: Soft drinks, candy, snacks and desserts
Common cooking oils: Vegetable oils, cottonseed, corn and sunflower oils
Dairy products ex: milk, cheese, and hidden dairy in breads, crackers and most cereals
Red meat and processed meats
Alcohol in excess
Refined grains ex: White rice, White breads, white noodles and pasta including pastries.
Artificial food additives. Most foods that are commercially grown and packaged contain large amounts of additives to extend self-live and flavor.
As you can see the majority of foods that counter inflammation and pain are foods such as fruits and vegetables in their natural state. Unfortunately the majority of the food on the market is highly processed and full of additives that have very little nutritional value.
Most commercially grown meats are feed a diet of grains such as soy beans and corn that is high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acid but low in Omega 3 fatty acids. Most of these animals gain a significant amount of fat (SATURATED FATS) while enclosed in their tight environments. These animals are also injected with hormones and fed with antibiotics which make them grow faster, fatter and less sick.I choose not to eat meat for these above reasons.
Go ahead and give it a shot and see if any of these foods help. Don’t expect results over night but begin to make eating these foods a daily part of your life. I highly encourage a vegan plant based diet but understand that it may not be for everyone. Below I listed a couple books and documentaries that I recommended highlighting this topic in further detail that helped shape my decision to be a vegan.