Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paleo And Healing: How Diet Makes A Difference

I didn't set out to become a case study of one, but coincidence dumped me here anyways. I've broken the same bone in the same place in the same arm two years in a row now. Common sense would say it's harder to heal from that injury the second time around, since tissues have already been damaged once. However, the first time I had to recover from this injury, I wasn't eating Paleo. Now I am.

I already posted about how bruises from my karate class fade within hours, clearly evidence that my body's ability to heal itself is greatly increased. But what about a fractured bone? The X-rays don't lie. It healed a lot faster this year (after 15 months of Paleo eating) than last year (back when I was eating a very "healthy" diet with lots of meat, veggies, and fruit, but that still included grains, legumes, and more sugar).

Here's what a radial head fracture looks like on a CT scan reconstruction (Note: this is not my arm, but my X-rays show a very similar fracture):

My orthopedist took a set of X-rays the week I broke it, and another set 3.5 weeks later. The bone was totally healed in that time. Many people are still wearing a cast, yet a month after breaking my arm I have near full mobility in the joint and a pretty decent amount of strength. Of course, I'm not testing that by doing anything too crazy (if you don't count a 1.5 mile lake swim as crazy, that is), but all in all the arm feels remarkably good. Last year's bone break did not heal near this easily, and I needed a lot of physical therapy to get to the point that I already feel I'm at now.

How many times have you heard "You are what you eat"? As it turns out, it's true. Feeling vibrant, full of energy, quick to recover, and easy to heal is our human heritage. The fact that most modern humans feel tired, wrung out, sick, or have to turn to the myriad drug offerings that litter our magazines, newspapers, and TV ads just to function says something about what's going on inside them.

If you needed that little extra nudge to try out the Paleo way of eating, or if you're wondering if all the changes you've been making really are reflected by changes deep down in your body, look no further. If a body can heal from big injuries so much more easily on a Paleo diet, what is happening at the micro level? What is happening with cell damage on a daily basis? What about the immune system? There's a reason that Paleo folks can jump out of bed feeling rested and full of energy day after day. What you eat matters, so why not feed your body the way it was meant to be fed?


Enrique said...

Interesting... I eat Paleo also. Haven't broken a bone yet, but good to know I might heal fast :)

Beth said...

would you be able to share what a "normal" day of eating looks like for you? As a person training for a couple of tri's and working full time as well as part time custody of 3 little kids, I feel like I feel like I cant think half the time, end up eating whatever and then usually am suffering in my swim, bike, runs. I know its due mostly to my diet.
Im curious about the paleo diet and read the one written for athletes but I would like to see an example of say a weeks worth of meals/snacks/etc if you don't mind.

Robin said...

Yes, I was just thinking of doing this! I'm keeping a food journal, and I'll put up a post about a typical day's food.

Beth said...

thanks Robin!