Eat This: Concussions and brain injuries

We’ve all likely had a knock to the head at some point in our lives, and ended up with a sore noggin for a bit, whether it is a bruise to the flesh or a nagging headache. But then there’s the trauma to the head and brain that can be impactful to day-to-day life and life-changing but not necessarily for the better. That is an area where, in my experience, more of an integrated approach combining medical know-how and a functional medicine approach could be a game-changer. In the past, the effect of a concussion wasn’t really given the time of day – say of a hockey player’s head slamming onto the ice thinking that it’s part of the game. Or a child falling from the monkey bars at the park, or falling off the slide onto anything other than a foam-pit-like surface. I can’t imagine how many times I hit my head growing up, only to be told to get up, you’re fine, and stop crying. Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI for short comes from sports like football, wrestling, hockey, basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse. Then there are car crashes, physical altercations, and accidental slips and falls on ice or just while walking down the street or at home. It’s all a potential recipe for disaster, and with short effects including headaches, brain fog, dizziness, ringing in your ears, fatigue, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and sound, to long term effects listed as trouble concentrating, memory issues, irritability, and other personality changes, disturbed sleep, depression, and disordered taste and smell, it’s worthy of a conversation whether this speaks to you directly or an experience of TBI of a loved one. With the body’s incredible ability to renew and repair, what is there from a functional medicine approach and of course the food that is served that can support the best possible outcome?

Today on EAT THIS with Lianne, we welcome back Dr Davis Brockenshire to share his experience and successes with his patients of TBI, so we can learn too and know what’s possible. 

I know that I personally suffered from a TBI in a car accident in 2002, and likely before that many times. I’ve also watched my youngest daughter work through three concussions leading me to wonder about the knock-on effect of her mental health challenges. And most recently a very good friend’s son suffered a severe TBI in an accident leading to emergency surgery for the skull fracture and loss of motor function of one of his arms. Being witness to the trauma and also the ability of the body to heal itself is both stressful and miraculous at the same time. My go-to is nourishing the body with all the superfoods possible – after all that stress and trauma on the body, it needs impeccable nutrition of the most nutrient-dense foods possible–which let’s face it, is not coming from a hospital menu or kitchen. I’ll circle back to what meals and snacks that I’ve been making for my friends’ son, and why at the end of this episode, but let’s get to the star of the show, Dr B. You’ve heard on numerous episodes like one of the most popular episodes – ep 86 about the Vagus Nerve to ep 103 where he helped us understand our blood test results in a more useful way, and many others that you can search for. Please welcome back Functional Medicine Expert Dr Davis Brockenshire, from Innovative Health Solutions in Michigan, who truly impacts lives in ways that don’t go unnoticed. Welcome Dr B. 

In true fashion, Dr B didn’t disappoint. His insight and experience is impacting lives for the better and I’m grateful that he shares his wisdom with us. 

I promised that I’d share some of the meals and snacks that I’ve been making for my friend’s son while he has been in the hospital and rehab institute as he’s already a healthy eater, but that wasn’t happening with what was on offer. There’s a list of all these foods over on liannephillipson.com in the show notes there for you, but some of what I’ve made include the most antioxidant rich nutrients, the most nutritious and alkalizing greens, tons of fibre because strong meds like morphine cause constipation in most. Making it easy to digest most veggies needs a quick blanch or steam, so broccoli, green beans and peas for instance were all quickly steamed so they are easier to digest. Grains and chia seeds are all soaked, again for ease of digestion which can be sluggish while under so much physical and emotional stress. 

Focusing on all organic foods is optimal to lessen the body’s load of herbicides, pesticides and chemicals to deal with, process and detoxify. 

Salads

Super Greens – superfood mix of baby kale, spinach, chards, and beet tops. Good fibre, minerals and vitamins. 

Watercress – the most nutritious of all the greens out there. This one has a peppery or mustard taste to it with small round leaves and the stalks. 

Dandelion leaves (yes like they grow on your lawn) – rich in calcium, magnesium and supportive of liver detoxification. 

Mixed sprouts; pea, sunflower and radish – very rich in antioxidants, are the microgreens of the plant version therefore high in enzymes, minerals and protein. 

Carrots – rich in beta-carotene (an antioxidant that helps ease inflammation) and turns to vitamin A in the body, and fibre. Vitamin A is needed by the immune system and for healing. 

Red and yellow peppers – antioxidant-rich in anthocyanins (antioxidants), vitamin C and fibre.  

Fresh chopped mint – more healthy greens and a lovely fresh taste. 

Pomegranate seeds – antioxidant rich, fibre and colourful superfood. 

Green beans – a source of protein (needed for repair and healing). 

Broccoli – even higher in protein than green beans. Also a good source of magnesium needed for the immune system and for a good night’s sleep (and over 300 other processes in the body!).

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds – rich in good fats – Omega 6, fibre and minerals. Good to mix with the fish cakes which are high in Omega 3 as we need both types of essential fats. 

Dressing 

Cold Pressed Olive Oil – monounsaturated fat, good for energy and all cells in your body. 

Fresh lemon juice – alkalizing for the body.

Grated fresh turmeric root – anti-inflammatory. 

Grated fresh ginger – also anti-inflammatory and tastes good! 

Black pepper – to help activate the turmeric root and its absorption. 

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt – more minerals than iodized salt. 

Maple syrup – mineral-rich and tastes good!  

Sweet Potato

Baked with mixed herbs and olive oil. Sweet potato is high in antioxidants like beta-carotene, and high in fibre. 

Salmon Burgers – recipe in Sprout Right Family Food 

The antioxidants from all the veggies help to ease the inflammation and then the omega 3 fats in salmon will take that further. Salmon is also high in minerals like iodine, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and sodium. Vitamins include A, D, B6, and B12.

Ingredients: salmon, egg, oats, green onion, mustard, mayo, lemon juice, parsley, cooked in coconut oil. 

Chia Pudding – recipe in Sprout Right Family Food 

Chia seeds, oat milk, wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cacao nibs. 

Chia is off the charts in vitamins and minerals. Fibre too. All the berries are superfoods with all the antioxidants that help wound healing and protect cells from damage. Cacao nibs are from the cacao bean which is where chocolate comes from. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies – recipe in Sprout Right Family Food 

Oats, monk fruit sweetener/sugar, baking soda, Pink Himalayan sea salt, oat milk, dark mini chocolate chips. 

Oats are fibre rich and help to carry waste, heavy metals and broken down medication from your body and get it out! 

I’ve also made Curry Quinoa salad rich in protein, iron, and with the curry powder, turmeric which is antiinflammatory. The Delicious Lentil Dahl was fibre dense and packed a punch of greens with the chard and spinach leaves, as well as protein-dense when I put some chicken on the side. 

Take This by Lianne Supplements further to Dr. B’s suggestions found on sproutright.com. 

Skin Boost Superfood Powder read the ingredients, there are lots! 

Start with 1/2 scoop of powder in a cup of water. Stir well and drink. You can add 1/2 tsp of Alka C powder also. 

Alka C 

Buffered Vitamin C with minerals – 4000mg vitamin C per 1 teaspoon. This not only helps the body deal with stress, but also is imperative for wound healing and immunity. Taking too much vitamin C can lead to loose stools, so can be used as a laxative also. 

More about each one here.

There you have it. Another mind-blowing episode where I hope that you never need to know about all this, but the likelihood of that is fairly slim. Please share this one far and wide to help support all who need it, and know that you can keep in touch through my weekly newsletters – sign up on both liannephillipson.com and sproutright.com and send a message through social media at sproutright and liannephillipson handles. 

Thank you to Dr B, thank you to Chris for your input and of course your wizard production of EAT THIS with Lianne podcast and radio show. I couldn’t do this without you. 

So take it all in, listen a time or two and let’s hope to impact lives with this information and of course all while remembering to EAT THIS, one mouthful at a time.

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