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Eating Right For Brain Surgery

Dinner from the Bonney Brook Farm on Orcas Island photo by Kimberly Adams
Farm to table - Bonney Brook Farms, Orcas Island, WA

The Journey - Going on an anti-inflammatory diet.

When I found out I had a brain tumor, my energy levels were extremely low. Advise from a friend was to shift to an anti-inflammatory diet. They shared the reality that so many foods we eat can cause inflammation. It was more the mind-shift of quality over quantity. When we eat, the food should be working to improve our health. Eat as much as you want, but fill your body with food that works with you.

What I can share from my personal experience, is that when I shifted to being more mindful of the foods I ate and being out in nature. I felt better. I simply felt more energy and reduced the headaches and other issues I was experiencing. Anything would help to prepare my body for one of the biggest surgeries it would experience.

The Shift in Diet - Say goodbye to old friends and welcome some new ones.

DAIRY. This is different for everyone. For me, I removed dairy from my diet. Living in the United States I noticed eating dairy caused bloating and upset my gut, not something I experienced consuming dairy when I travel to Europe. My husband however, can eat dairy anywhere - no problem. I also have an allergy to almonds, so I chose Oat Milk as a replacement. The brand I use is Elmhurst. It has three ingredients: water, oats and salt. Most other brands have sugar. Elmhurst also has a variety of milks as alternatives.

SUGAR. The biggest adjustment was removing sugar from my diet. I didn't realize how much processed sugar I was eating. I would read labels, if it had sugar or high fructose corn syrup I wouldn't eat it. Instead I would have a cup of berries each day. I would also go the market and have an adventure trying the different types of fruit our markets offer. This was fun finding new recipes for smoothies and desserts. I eventually replaced the craving for sweet treats with berries. This shift took time, but after a week I didn't miss eating the chocolate and other sugary foods.

CORN, TOMATOES, BELL PEPPER, & POTATOES . Removing these from my diet was tough. However, my friends that have been on an anti-inflammatory diet shared these can cause inflammation. On my mission to be as healthy as I could going into surgery, I opted to remove these from my diet as well. I replaced them with sweet potatoes or yams, beets and leafy greens such as kale. It was tough in restaurants as many serve these in their dishes, but scroll through the menu and you will find items that fit your palette.

Farm to table - Bonney Brook Farm, Orcas Island, WA Meal by Inese Westcott

WHITE RICE. Replacing white rice with brown or jasmine rice. This was the easiest shift of them all, as I prefer the taste of jasmine rice over others. This side dish also creates a great pairing for most dishes.

PROCESSED MEATS. No more salami or bacon. Gasp. This was something I thought would be tough to give up. But surprisingly, there are so many other things to eat that it wasn't that difficult. I would choose fish and occasionally chicken. Once in while I would eat red meat. My son is a strict vegetarian and would adjust meals for him, so I don't eat meat that often. But it's something that I felt my body needed so I kept this in my diet. I would also be mindful of what sauces I added to the meats and how they were prepared. Opting for olive oil over butter.

If this is something of interest to you, I encourage you to do some searching online or skim through anti-inflammatory recipes. There are a lot of wonderful things to eat. Spend time picking foods from the garden if you can or fresh foods from the market. I wanted to share my adjustment in diet as it helped me feel as though I was doing something to help my body prepare for surgery, plus I felt the benefits from it right away.

In addition to placing focus on food that promote an anti-inflammatory diet. Going outside and being in nature is one of the healthiest things we can do for our body. It could be taking a few minutes to breathe fresh air or walking outside. Take advantage of these moments when you can. Your body will show it's appreciation with a big energy boost, like big bear hug that lifts you off the ground with love.

Written by Kimberly Adams Tremper, February 22, 2023

Kimberly Adams holding a small pumpkin
Pumpkin Picking Suyematsu Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA photo by Eva Vernitska


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