Everybody loves it. We love it so much that we have made all sorts of variations on it. Pizza, bruschetta, paninis, sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, pretzels…I could go on.
That word it gives many pause. “You’re gonna make me eat gross stuff aren’t you? I’ll start my diet after the holidays. I love my sweets, Kirsten! And Grandma only makes this pie once a year.” Often, in a developed country, we think of good nutrition in the sense of restriction especially.
In it’s normal state, skin is pretty…normal. Not much to say about it other than guys (ok, and girls) like to see it and sometimes it’s different colors. Below is a simple non-technical explanation of what happens when it is damaged. (Sorry if it bores you, but I LOVE this stuff!)
“What’s the largest organ in your body? As a kid that might have gotten you; it’s your skin, which serves as a layer of protection between your inner tissues and the outside world.Because of its protective function, your skin must have an action plan for healing itself when you get hurt, no matter if it’s scratched, bruised, or wounded (or burned). The body’s self-healing properties are fascinatingly harmonious and rather beautiful (I agree). Various cells and mechanisms work together as though forming a puzzle (Gah! Love puzzles.), rebuilding your layers of skin.When the top layer — the epidermis — is broken by a light scratch, not much occurs. You might see some dead skin cells flake off. But when something cuts into the deeper, next layer — called the dermis — you’ll see blood, and your body triggers a four-stage process of healing itself. The skin has to respond to two major threats at first: the loss of blood, and the lack of a physical barrier (the epidermis) between your innards and the outer world. An open cut is an open doorway to bacteria and other pathogens, far more vulnerable to infection, so the body must act quickly to regenerate the epidermis.”
Here is the source of this quote and the video:
Basics of Simple Wound Healing
To state it in simple terms, bread is cheap calories. Bread is easily broken down by the body into a sugar–which is why it so quickly leaves our stomach feeling empty while actually increasing our waistline. Bread is a starch. Starch around the world is cheap financially and cheap nutritionally. The body breaks it down and uses it up pretty fast.
This is why we need to have a diverse diet. We needs vitamins from fruit. Fiber (and more vitamins) from vegetables. Protein and fats from eggs, dairy, beans, and meats.
“Good nutritional status is essential for wound healing to take place. Ignoring nutritional status may compromise the patient’s ability to heal and subsequently prolong the stages of wound healing. Glucose provides the body with its power source for wound healing and this give energy for angiogenesis and the deposition of new tissue. Therefore, it is vital that the body receives adequate amounts of glucose to provide additional energy for wound healing. Fatty acids are essential for cell structure and have an important role in the inflammatory process. Wound healing is dependent on good nutrition and the presence of suitable polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet. Protein deficiency has been demonstrated to contribute to poor healing rates with reduced collagen formation and wound dehiscence. High exudate loss can result in a deficit of as much as 100g of protein in one day. This subsequently needs to be replaced with a high protein diet. Vitamins are also important in wound healing. Vitamin C deficiency contributes to fragile granulation tissue.” Research source
“Jesus teaches us to pray that God would give us daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Obviously Jesus was not telling His disciples to pray only for bread. But bread was a staple in the diet of the Jews, and had been so for many years. Furthermore, bread was a powerful symbol of God’s provision for His people in the Old Testament. We remember how God cared for the Israelites when they were in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt. Life in the wilderness was hard, and soon the people began to complain that it would be better to be back in Egypt, where they had wonderful food to eat. In response to these complaints, God promised to “rain bread from heaven” (Ex. 16:4). The next morning, when the dew lifted, there remained behind on the ground, [Manna] “a small round substance, as fine as frost… . It was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (vv. 14, 31). When God miraculously fed His people from heaven, he did so by giving them bread.” Source
Since good nutrition is essential for skin to heal, we automatically start a certain category of our plastic surgery patients on the ship’s nutritional protocol as soon as we approve them for surgery and give them a date. One of our protein products, believe it or not, is named MANA.
On a Monday in late October, I and the rest of the dressings team were discouraged by the [lack] of progress in the healing of several of our patients. We had made sure they were on the appropriate nutrition protocol. We had identified infections and treated them as best as we knew how. We were “at our extremity” as Rees Howells would say. At the end of our rope and discouraged, we spent time praying for the patients who were struggling. One of them was Jonas. Not only was the majority of his skin graft not taking, he also appeared to be depressed and downcast. He rarely said a word, laid in his bed all day, and NEVER smiled.
“After the Korean War ended, South Korea was left with a large number of children who had been orphaned by the war. We’ve seen the same thing in the Vietnam conflict, in Bosnia, and in other places. In the case of Korea, relief agencies came in to deal with all the problems that arose in connection with having so many orphan children. One of the people involved in this relief effort told me about a problem they encountered with the children who were in the orphanages. Even though the children had three meals a day provided for them, they were restless and anxious at night and had difficulty sleeping. As they talked to the children, they soon discovered that the children had great anxiety about whether they would have food the next day. To help resolve this problem, the relief workers in one particular orphanage decided that each night when the children were put to bed, the nurses there would place a single piece of bread in each child’s hand. The bread wasn’t intended to be eaten; it was simply intended to be held by the children as they went to sleep. It was a “security blanket” for them, reminding them that there would be provision for their daily needs. Sure enough, the bread calmed the children’s anxieties and helped them sleep. Likewise, we take comfort in knowing that our physical needs are met, that we have food, or “bread,” for our needs.
This petition of the Lord’s Prayer, then, teaches us to come to God in a spirit of humble dependence, asking Him to provide what we need and to sustain us from day to day. We are not given license to ask for great riches, but we are encouraged to make our needs known to Him, trusting that He will provide.” Source
The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health | Julia Rucklidge | TEDxChristchurch
While praying for our patients, I had specifically remembered (thanks Holy Spirit) the scripture in which Jesus calls himself “the bread of life.” I felt very strongly that our patient Jonas needed to know. So later that week I finally worked up the courage, while doing his dressing change (literally right in the middle of it), to ask Hannah to read (he spoke pretty decent English) from John 6. Below is the scripture shared with Jonas: For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:33-35
When Hannah finished, I added that I believed that God would supply all He needed. I believed that God would fill in every nutritional gap that was inhibiting his wounds from healing. He nodded, but didn’t want us to read anymore. I wasn’t sure if the scripture had fallen flat or lacked relevance completely…
“If we find that God’s hand seems to be invisible to us and that we cannot discern His providential intrusion into our lives, that may be due partly to the way we pray. We have a tendency to pray in general. When we pray in general, the only way we will see the hand of God’s providence is in general. As we enter into prayer, this conversation and communion with God, and put our petitions before Him, pouring out our souls and our needs specifically, we see specific answers to our prayers. Our Father has invited us to go to Him and ask Him for our daily bread. He will not fail to provide it.”
Nutrition. Skin. Bread.
Well, soon after we prayed specifically together for the healing of several of our patients we started to see results. Within a week, Jonas’ wounds had turned a corner and his mood was uncharacteristically positive. He was smiling, shaking hands in the corridor outside the hospital, and just overall lighter in countenance! I really believe that what God did was some kind of miraculous nutritional deposit inside Jonas. His skin began to heal so drastically and his demeanor changed so suddenly we could hardly contain ourselves. When we acknowledged that we could do nothing else, God had intervened.
Journal entry 9 Dec 2016:
“Truly, God can do what he says he will do.”