Cerebral Palsy
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How important do you view nutrition and healthy eating?

NoahNoah Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
edited August 2016 in Cerebral Palsy
Just thought I would start a conversation about nutrition and healthy eating,

Would you consider going to see a nutritionist?

Do you ever think about the link between food and how it makes you feel?

Have you found some foods helpful in managing your condition?

Replies

  • nicebootsniceboots Member Posts: 196 Pioneering
    I think nutrition and healthy eating is hugely important....
    I was once told that people with cp use 3-5 times more energy just moving around than someone without, therefore to maintain energy levels require more calories...
    Growing up I took that as an excuse to skip healthy food and reach for cakes and sweets, but more recently I have gone for a more nutritious approach.
    I have taken a lot of inspiration for my diet from sports.... I live on a lot of carbs!!! bananas and pasta are great!!! as are cereals (oats are my favourite!) as they release energy slowly rather than the extreme peeks and troughs of sugary foods... I Think the main thing is a balanced diet!
  • htlcyhtlcy Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    Very important, especially because fatigue can often be a huge problem with long-term conditions such as CP. I always try to make sure I have a balanced diet and include plenty of fruit and vegetables (though I do have a treat every now and then...everything in moderation!)
    I tend to eat what I fancy to eat, and find this works well for me. So even if I fancy a burger I'll make my own with lean minced meat, fresh salad and maybe skip any bacon/mayonnaise to make it a healthier meal. I frequently make oven baked potato wedges, which are in my opinion just as good as the fried version of chips. Baked sweet potato chips are also delicious! I think you can make many things healthy if you try to, and hopefully it'll keep your body working as well as it possibly can.
    I'd see a nutritionist if I thought it'd help but for now I feel like I'm doing the best I possibly can do.
  • NoahNoah Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    Thanks for your comments Hylcy.

    Sorry its taken so long to reply, I have been offline for a while.

    Yes I agree with you, that you can make many things healthy if you try.

    A condition such as CP certainly does mean one uses a huge amount of energy to do everything, and it is so important to try and keep the body working as best as it can. Correct nutrition is so important.

    Like you, I just try to eat as healthily as possible. I have recently been experimenting with cutting out certain food groups to see if it helps me feel better and have more energy. Since April 2015 I have avoided all added sugar, which has helped improve my energy levels. I'm learning all the time, how it is possible to still enjoy a variety of yummy food while also having quite a restrictive diet.

    I think its great that you make your own burgers - that way you know exactly what is in them!

    I have found a very helpful little health food shop not far from where I live, the owner has been a great source of advice to me, as I continue to try and achieve optimum nutrition to help manage my CP.

    Noah
  • NoahNoah Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    All good advice - Niceboots. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you are now taking a nutritional approach to diet, I'm interested in what you say about taking inspiration from sports. Have you read you any research that you can share with us?

    Noah
  • nicebootsniceboots Member Posts: 196 Pioneering
    I've not read any research into nutrition, I have a friends that are very sporty and generally take advice from them and pick up bits of general advice/knowledge from sports based media.
    I also do a lot of packet reading to work out amount of energy foods would give me, looking at the carb content, sugar and fat content... I also look at the amount of protein I consume to maintain muscle mass and help repair any mild muscle damage I pick up.
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,725

    Scope community team

    I think that nutrition is very important. I try to avoid processed foods especially sugar. Slow release energy foods work well for me.
    Scope
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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  • NoahNoah Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    Thanks for all your comments. Avoiding processed foods certainly helps - and yes I have also found avoiding sugar and eating lots of slow energy release foods helpful.

    Noah
  • pjakpjak Member Posts: 9 Listener
    A lettuce from the garden (with no Monsanto!) will wilt  in a fridge in 2/3 days, but, including the reaping, the logistics, time on shelf and it's sell by date ! plus you expect it 'fresh', by the time you get one home from your superarket, it's probably more than the '3 days'. So how do they do it ? They've no real idea and we're the guinea pigs, well our death certificates may say ! ! !
  • he1enhe1en Member Posts: 1 Listener
    edited October 2018
    Hi,

    I’ve been trying to find out about CP and calorie intake - like another poster, I’ve just eaten whatever I’ve liked thinking I could do that with CP, but was weighed last week and noticed that I’m veering closer to ‘overweight’ in BMI terms than ever before. I downloaded NutraCheck and have been using it to keep track of what I eat. It’s great in that it’s making me think about what I.eat, but am afraid I’ll lapse!

    Also, I’m not sure how to weigh myself at home as I’m in a wheelchair with little balance. Can’t exactly pop to the hospital and ask to use their scales! Any ideas?

     Thanks!
  • Jean_OTJean_OT Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    Hi All,

    Good nutrition is really important for all of us if we are going to be as physically and mentally healthy as we can be, regardless of cp, but it is certainly true that cp can present some additional challenges to maintaining nutritional balance especially for those with complex needs.

    The 'thing' about people with cp needing to eat more calories gets mentioned regularly but maybe it would we clearer if we added the caveat "people whose muscles are doing a lot of work need more calories" . So certainly people who have a lot of spasms or other uncontrolled movements or (for example) use a lot of muscle energy to compensate for their walking gait, may need to consume more calories than the general population. 

    Of course cp is a very diverse condition and some people with cp have comparatively sedentary lives so require fewer calories. There are a significant number of people who struggle to maintain an appropriate weight and need support to avoid excessive weight negatively impacting on mobility etc.

    Of course weight isn't necessarily an indicator or good nutrition (the correct balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients) It is perfectly possible to be the ideally weight, or be too thin or too fat and still be diagnosed with malnutrition, if your diet is of poor quality or your body struggles to absorb what you need for some reason. Some studies have suggested that in the region of 35% of children with cp have malnutrition.  For those that want to read a bit more this article discusses some of the reasons why that might be: https://www.indi.ie/diseases,-allergies-and-medical-conditions/disability/389-cerebral-palsy-meeting-nutritional-needs.html

    With any concerns relating to cp and diet/nutrition I would say ask your GP for a referral to a Dietitian:  https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/how-can-i-find-a-registered-dietitian-or-nutritionist/

    I think @he1en raises an important point about how difficult it can be for wheelchair users to get weighed. The cost of appropriate scales is coming down but they are still a lot more expensive than  most people would be able to pay to have their own set at home, see:  https://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/bathing/wheelchair-scales-1317-p/ However really not the expensive for a GP surgery or health club to consider buying so I hope that such places will become more inclusive by obtaining wheelchair scales, seems like a very reasonable adjustment to me! 


    Best Wishes

    Jean

        

    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at: https://community.scope.org.uk/categories/ask-an-occupational-therapist

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