Cerebral Palsy and Biomechanical Diet. 7 Essential Commonalities Between the Biomechanical ‘Feeding’ and Strategic Nutritional Plans.
Cerebral Palsy and Biomechanical Diet. 7 Essential Commonalities Between the Biomechanical ‘Feeding’ and Strategic Nutritional Plans.
In the previous post I have introduced the idea of the Biomechanical Diet for the children with Cerebral Palsy together with concepts of ‘mechanical foods’ and ‘biomechanical nutrition’…
I must say, that I was positively surprised by the response and how well this idea connected and took hold. Thanks a lot for your comments and observations – they really help a lot in shaping the ABR educational message.
Today I’ll take these ideas of ‘Biomechanical Nutrition’ a bit further by showing 7 essential commonalities between the biomechanical ‘feeding’ and strategic nutritional plans that might help you to integrate the notion of the Biomechanical Diet deeper and might be helpful on the level of implementing it in practice for your child with special needs.
Of course, the commonalities do not end with these 7 – but this scope provides a good start.
So, in order to make navigation easier –I have arranged the most obvious commonalities between the Biomechanical Diet and Nutritional Metabolic Diet into a numbered list that is by no means exhaustive:
1. Spontaneous doesn’t work. ‘By design’ approach is always superior to the ‘by default’ one.
If you want best results – you need to design the specific diet targeting the specific metabolic needs of a person taking into account the individual aspects of the ability to eat, to digest, to process and to absorb different foods as well as the ability to evacuate of byproducts and ‘leftovers’. As the parents of Cerebral Palsy kids you are very well aware how disregarding just one of these components might cause tons of trouble.
The same thing is true for the Biomechanical Diet – if you want the best results and if you want to stimulate your child’s development to the maximum possible potential – you cannot afford being aimlessly floating and simply hoping that things will turn out to better by themselves or via sporadic ‘treatments’.
Both metabolic and biomechanical nutrition require active intervention and effort on your behalf in order to maximize the outcome for your child.
Active specific intervention is the key mindset both behind the metabolic diet and behind the Biomechanical Diet.
2. You need to know what you are doing. Being strategic – assembling the set of tools and using them wisely as the means towards the goal– not just simply trying every fad that comes your way.
Diet is very much like chess – your game plan could be better or worse but you definitely need one. Without a plan, i.e. the strategy of cause-effect, you are guaranteed to lose.
That’s why the people with the mindset of seeking ‘the new best opportunity’ always end up being the biggest losers.
You have probably met such fad-followers. Today they are on this “great” diet, tomorrow – they hear the hype about another one and switch allegiances altogether. Such people are especially prone to manipulation when they hear of the “hottest opportunity on the cheap ”– that provides and absolutely irresistible pull.
The other day I was made aware of the press release – “the stem cell treatment is now available in Dominican Republic for 40% off the prices elsewhere”. Unfortunately, I am quite sure there will be a bunch of people who are going to fall for this and waste their very limited funds on this useless chase.
However, let’s get back to the diets: What is the result of constantly being on the lookout for the “hidden hottest opportunity” in dieting? – Failure and burn out.
The world of metabolic diets illustrate this principle incredibly well and you do not even need to look at brain-injured kids – just look at the friends and family around you – for sure there would be enough examples of failed ‘opportunity chasers’.
I want you to realize this principle very clearly – ABR is just one of the possible Biomechanical Diets. Speaking about Biomechanical Nutrition I am referring to a high level general concept – not to ABR particulars.
So there are a couple of essential conclusions:
a) All therapies for Cerebral Palsy that includes regular physical inputs – starting from the assumption that “the legs of a spastic child have to be kept forcefully straight in order to minimize their tendency to get crooked and distorted” (obvious bullshit by the way…) to the attempts to “train the walking in a space suite” – are Biomechanical Diets, or Biomechanical Nutritional Plans, whether their proponents realize this fact or not. You need to be aware of this and ask yourself: ‘Does this particular Biomechanical Diet benefits my child the most and why?’
You need to try to make an extra learning step by digging into what exact impacts does any therapy deliver to the musculoskeletal system of your child in order not to be fooled by unrealistic promises.
b) Be strategic – do not fall for chasing “hottest opportunities” – develop a plan, set the pre-determined dates to re-evaluate the progress, but in between those re-evaluation dates – follow the plan.
I remember a few years back in Russia there was a diet that was crazily successful in bringing the weight-loss. People flocked in droves – but few months later it was discovered that the pills actually contained a parasite worm that took life in a body. Sure enough dieters lost weight – but at which cost??
3. The nutritional plan has to be balanced. Compatibility and synergy towards the strategic goal are key to the success.
You, the parent, are the person who chooses from the “menu” of Biomechanical Diets – i.e. therapies for Cerebral Palsy. My message is simple – try to avoid mixing the unmixable and be strategic: learn the cause-effect and compare the underlying assumptions of a given therapy vs. its factual biomechanical effects.
More is not necessarily better. The same ways that the foods have to be compatible to make a sensible nutrition plan – so does the Biomechanical Diet.
I always feel sorry for the parents who pile the incompatible together thinking that firing more guns will bring better results.
If you are doing ABR and at the same time put your quadriplegic child on the “inclined plane crawling” or into any sort of ‘suspended walker’ – that’s nonsense. Telling yourself that one is “for the structure” and the other one is “for the function” just shows the lack of effort in trying to learn about the underlying fundamentals of the methods.
If ABR impact increases the chest capacity and the spacing between the ribs leading to the correspondent release of the spastic pectorals – then forcing a child into artificial drag against the surface –falsely called ‘crawling’ instead of “inclined plane dragging” – does exactly the opposite: it leads to the further stiffening of already spastic pectorals of such a child.
That’s not synergy – that’s having a healthy breakfast with bran, fruit and greens that is followed by a visit to a nearby McDonalds with supersize fries, burgers and fizzy drinks…
I mean – you are welcome to believe that supersize fries are good for your child since they are so full of energy (calories)… As an exercise in formal logic it is not difficult to justify why supersize fries are good for your child: he needs energy in order to move, right? fries are full of energy – so fries are good, the more the merrier.
Logical – yes.
Complete? – Far from, because all the negative aspects associated with those fries are being left out of the analysis.
However, as I said earlier – you are the one who chooses from the menu of Biomechanical Diets. Feel free to choose whatever concept appeals to you more – but, please, be consistent – do not try to mix diet elements that have the opposite cause-effect assumptions.
If a parent believes that supersize fries are good for a child – one should be prepared to face the consequences…
4. There are nutritional elements that could be substituted and there are the nutrients that are irreplaceable.
I’ll start with a historical reference– scurvy. I’ve chosen the scurvy as an example because historically it was the first triumph of the vitamin concept that proved the presence of essential nutritional elements that cannot be substituted.
Short reminder. Scurvy was a disease of the sailors. The sailors ate dry foods for months – so the absence of Vitamin C led to all sorts of horrible consequences. For centuries scurvy was responsible for something like a quarter of all deaths among sailors if not more – until accidental discovery that lemons took care of it. First it was discovered empirically and only much later the presence of the Vitamin C was understood.
The same is true for Biomechanical Nutrition.
The proper development of the musculoskeletal system of your child with Cerebral Palsy depends on the presence of some vital ‘biomechanical nutrients’.
What are the conclusions:
a) Any therapy for Cerebral Palsy that is not biomechanical – misses the essential part of your child’s development completely.
Hyperbaric oxygen, amino-acids, acupuncture, those stem cells, biofeedback, swimming with dolphins – whatever… Without even considering the specific pros and contras of these therapies – they have one thing in common – completely missing the boat on the Biomechanical Nutrition.
It’s simple – if your child’s developmental deficit manifests through deficiency of movement control, weight-bearing inability and other physical limitations that exhibit themselves via the musculoskeletal system –you are wasting your efforts if you haven’t started with fundamentals first …
Choose a program of Biomechanical Nutrition as the starting point, make sure that you are happy with it, and only then start eyeing the potential bonus extras.
Otherwise, you are like a person who goes for a fancy wine tasting once a month whilst starving for the rest of the days.
b) Among the biomechanical nutrients there are some that are more important to your child than the others.
c) Some biomechanical nutrients come land in your child’s body naturally – by virtue of spontaneous interaction with the mechanical environments – and some could only be delivered specifically.
Spastic superficial muscles – feed themselves via the reaction forces in everyday movements.
Deep fascial core – needs to be targeted and get proper ‘Biomechanical Feeding’.
5. There are staple foods – essential nutrients, and there are – palate tingling fancy tastes.
This aspect very much continues the previous one – know what’s important and take care of it first – but from a somewhat different angle.
Before entering the discussion of how does the particular wine “tingles the palate” – take care of the staple foods first.
That refers both to 3 main budgets:
- Your mindset budget – where are the directions that you are searching for the maximum return on your investment of your efforts and finances.
- Your time budget
- You financial budget.
Again, my advice is simple – make sure that you have enough of each budgets allocated for the staple foods/essential mechanical nutrients for Cerebral Palsy Biomechanical Diet before venturing onto some expensive ‘wine tasting tour’ that leaves you broke.
Unfortunately, I see families missing this point completely and chasing miracles all the time.
That’s my main problem with stem cells – not only I do not see any major progress (besides of some sort of awareness improvements) from stem cell treatments but I see families who stretch their funds so thin and respectively put so much hopes on these ‘miracle’ cells – that when the thing doesn’t deliver the expected miracle – families just get completely burnt-out.
At this point one might say that I am tooting my own horn – since ABR is about the ‘staple foods’ – essential Biomechanical Nutrients–mechanical stimuli delivered to the deep fascia core.
True – but I’d invite you to look at the issue from a different perspective – promoting staple foods is far less exciting or rewarding than “all-new magnificent flavor ”. It’s somewhat boring and lacks flair of excitement – but that’s what all the fundamentals are…
So actually with ABR we have to work extra hard to deliver our message to the families of Cerebral Palsy kids comparing to ‘dream merchants’ but that’s what I see as my duty– someone needs to talk sense and remind parents that the foundation of long-term success lies with the essentials – not the fancy tricks.
6. Daily implementation of the diet and the nutritional plan.
Humans need food every single day – your child needs proper mechanical nutrients daily as well.
a) This one is as obvious as it is important.
To begin with it’s simple. One can survive a day without food or two – but that’s not normal – that’s starvation and depletion of reserves. By the same token – your child needs the biomechanical nutrients delivered to the deep fascia core structures on a daily basis.
b) Any plan’s success depends on implementation. Even the most sound and wise strategy is going to fail if it is not backed up by daily action.
The change of the daily routine and the creation of the situations that facilitate proper action are key for the success.
This is true for the nutritional plan and equally true for the Biomechanical Diet as well.
You know it well with your child – if you leave all these tempting sweets and other “palate tingling” foods around – it’s difficult to stay on course of a healthy diet.
The same is true for the routines – being consistent about feeding times establishes the proper response loops within the digestive system and facilitates the long-term success of the nutritional plan.
In essence it’s simple – the people who fail to build a comfortable daily routine around the new nutritional plan – fail with their diets and revert back to the old habits.
It is equally true for the Biomechanical Diet – the families who achieve the most out of ABR are the ones who have managed to organize a new daily routine around it and have found a comfort zone in doing the exercises in pre-determined time slots and in a dedicated place in a house.
7. Nutritional Plan is a part of a new lifestyle – not a temporary measure.
This is where we arrive to the difference between the Diet and the Nutritional Plan.
A lot of people tend to interpret the term “diet” in the narrow sense – as a temporary measure.
A diet “to drop a few pounds” or a “detox diet” or “pre-summer” diet or anything like that.
I tend to use the term ‘diet’ in a broader sense of a ‘Nutritional Plan’.
It is well-known that temporary diets – rarely work. The people who consider a diet as a ‘restriction’, ‘sacrifice’, ‘withdrawal of freedom’ never succeed. Their mindset is focused on the short-term goals and their perception of ‘normal’ doesn’t change.
What I see among the ABR Families the way that most of you organize the food intake for your kids – belongs to the category of well-thought and balanced ‘nutritional plans’.
What I see among people who try to ‘slim down’ – is usually no more than a temporary diet mindset.
Temporary diets – fail.
Balanced and strategic nutritional plans – bring tremendous benefits.
Well, things are exactly the same for Biomechanical Diet, or to be precise Biomechanical Nutritional Plan.
If you think of a temporary therapy for a Cerebral Palsy child – and all the restrictions and sacrifices you are making for it all the while thinking for yourself “When is this going to end and the normal life is going to begin?”– I am sorry to disappoint you: your chances of success are incredibly slim.
Proper Biomechanical Nutritional Plan has a remarkable progress potential for your child despite the presence of the brain-injury but only in the case when you are thinking long-term and when you are willing to make a transformation of your mindset and your lifestyle.
Exercises that deliver the essential mechanical stimuli – providing the mechanical nutrients to the depleted and weak elements of your child’s body – have to become integral part of your daily routine and your new lifestyle. Then and only then the positive ‘seeds’ will take hold gradually growing into better and better ‘roots’ for your child’s development that eventually will start bearing ‘the fruits’ of controlled movements and functions…
So these are some key similarities between the Metabolic Nutrition and Biomechanical Nutrition – I hope these parallels help …
And I am happy to hear about any ideas and analogies that you might have along these lines.