Stunting is dangerous work.
In preparing for a big show, Iâ€™ve been learning all sorts of new acrobatic moves, many of which involve highly ballistic moves that my tendons and ligaments arenâ€™t quite accustomed to doing.
I poorly executed a stunt in practice the other night (see right) and strained some of the ligaments in my lower leg upon landing, resulting in more acute injury on top of the accumulating chronic stress of practice. With a big stage performance 5 days away, it was time to pull out all the stops and get a little crazy in the kitchen.
In homeopathy, there is a concept called the law of similar. It essentially means â€œlike cures likeâ€. For the purposes of nutrition, we see this in a cut carrot, which looks like an eye, complete with iris â€“ and is good for eyesight. A tomato, is red and contains four chambers â€“ just like our hearts. Tomatoes are packed with vitamins and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Walnuts look like little brains (with right and left hemispheres!) and contain omega-3s and other nutrients which facilitate the creation of neurotransmitters and overall health in the brain. These examples are all around us and have been used as signs in the food as medicine model for thousands of years.
For the purposes of building up my tendons and ligaments, I went straight to the source. I went to my local organic butcher and brought home about 3 pounds of lamb knuckle and marrow bones.Â Nothing will give my body the building blocks for collagen and bone like collagen and bone! I boiled them into a stock for several hours with herbs, salt and pepper, then removed them, folded them in a kitchen towel, and proceeded to pummel them with a hammer.
Lesson one: Knuckle bones are tougher than I am.
Despite an overall failure, I was able to chip some of the firm tissue off the knuckles, and broke a leftover turkey leg bone to pull out the marrow inside. I wrapped the bones in cheesecloth and set them back inside the broth to stew with the veggies I was going to add. (Note â€“ if you try this, make sure it is not on tile or easily damaged surfaces! Also â€“ try a sledgehammer and wear goggles. That may work better. While your Vitamix may make some headway on the bones, it isnâ€™t worth the risk of damage to the container)
Tendons and ligaments need several nutrients to maintain their integrity. Sulfur, vitamin C, Vitamin K, and many others. I added seaweed to the broth to increase the mineral content, and chose cruciferous veggies for the bulk of the stew. Cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy contain sulfurophanes, which break further down into sulfur when eaten. Sulfur plays a key role in creating connective tissue. Bok choy also contains large amounts of calcium â€“ and the calcium present is better absorbed than the calcium in dairy products.
To season the stew, I added turmeric, cumin, and ginger. All these herbs are powerful anti-inflammatories and contain wonderful compounds that facilitate overall health. Your spice cabinet is a veritable medicine chest!
The result â€“ pretty good! Admittedly, Iâ€™ve never sat down to eat something like this before, but I do prefer to eat my nutrition whenever possible. I am not stopping there, though. Â My arsenal for anti-inflammatory, connective tissue healing includes the following, daily:
3-6 packets of Emergen-C per day (or divided doses of Vitamin C to 6,000mg)
1 tbsp fish oil
1500 mg. bromelain, divided into 3 doses, taken on an empty stomach (when taken with food, it acts as an enzyme. When taken alone, it gets into the GI tract and acts as an anti-inflammatory)
6 oz. Zrii â€“ an Ayurvedic blend which has a high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effect on the body and helps reduce the stress response physically and mentally
Now, if crushing bones on the back porch isnâ€™t your style, you can purchase collagen as a supplement to add to this regimen, or make aspics â€“ those popular jello molds from the 60â€™s and 70â€™s that graced many a potluck. Aspics are made with gelatin, which is derived from the bones and tendons of animals (howâ€™s that for a new take on Jell-o?)
Iâ€™ve also gotten acupuncture, received reiki, and had my ankles braced most of the time for the last 4 days with alternating heat and ice applications. All this commotion in the kitchen doesnâ€™t take away from the basic principles of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE)!
So far so good! The test comes on show day (tomorrow) â€¦ I will be taped for extra support and will continue this regimen for the following 6 weeks or so (about the time it takes for ligaments and tendons to heal).