Drink ideas for pain, inflammation, and weight loss

April 3, 2024

People often ask what I eat since nutrition is very important to me, especially as it relates to helping control pain and other symptoms of dystonia. I also used to weigh well over 300 pounds (340 and now 170) so when people learn that I lost over 150 pounds, “how did you do it?” is a common question.

Below are pictures with my nephew from 2006 and 2016. I barely recognize the version of me on the left. It’s as if that were a different life, one filled with deep emotional and physical pain from a life turned on its axis when dystonia took over my entire world. I was so heavy, you can hardly see the awkward posture from my dystonia.

You may have seen this blog before, but I did a revision because I made a few modifications to my drinks. Also, in recent weeks, I have been discussing different drink ideas with people who are looking for healthier alternatives, so I wanted to share it again because it seems be coming up more often.

I don’t eat for my specific health condition. I eat to be as healthy as possible to lower my chances of developing other health conditions because living with chronic pain from dystonia is enough! I don’t want anything else on top of it. I was prediabetic when I was obese. I plan to never be back there again. I also want to stay healthy as possible to reduce my chances for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, high blood pressure, etc.

I don’t want to go into great detail about everything I eat. More about my personal eating habits and how nutrition in general relates to pain, dystonia, and weight management are in my two books. For now I want to focus on two healthy drinks I have daily that I think will be of help, no matter your situation in life.

Every morning for breakfast I have a fruit smoothie protein drink, but you can have it for any meal. I want to stress “protein” because many people will have a fruit smoothie and leave out this vital ingredient. Protein is critical for keeping blood sugar stable, among many other functions.

This smoothie is easy to make, easy to drink, and easy to clean. From start to finish, I can be done with all of it in less than 15 minutes. I mention this because for many people who have chronic pain and/or dystonia and other movement disorders, preparing food, eating, and cleaning up can be a major challenge. For most people, this drink is an easy, healthy option for any meal. It is the main reason I began making it. The pain in my neck and back was too unbearable to prepare and eat anything else. I also had trouble sitting or standing for long, or swallowing solid food. Below are my ingredients, but feel free to play around with different ingredients that suit your taste and specific caloric needs.

1 banana
10-12 oz. frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries)
10-20 raw soaked almonds or other raw nut of your choice (almonds and a few other nuts, seeds, beans, and grains contain a substance called phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of essential minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium in their pure form. If you soak them in water, the phytic acid is released, making them healthier to consume and easier to digest. I always keep my almonds soaking in fresh water in the refrigerator for this reason).
1/2 – 1 avocado (a dynamite source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals)
Protein powder (I like plant based protein powders so I use pea protein powder isolate. Hemp protein and egg white protein powder are alternative options. I always use unflavored powders to ensure there is no added sugar or sweetener, but use whatever powder you like)
2 tablespoons collagen powder (for skin, hair, nails, joints, tissues, bones, muscle, heart health)
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds (Check them out! Chia seeds are a major superfood!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Cinnamon is an awesome anti-inflammatory, loaded with antioxidants, good for heart health, and helps regulate blood sugar, among many other things – Here is an additional resource from eMediHealth)
1 tablespoon flax seeds (great source of omega-3 fat and fiber)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds (great source of protein and omega-3 fat)
1-2 tablespoons ground ginger (super anti-inflammatory properties- more about ginger below)
1 tablespoon cacao powder (packed with antioxidant flavonoids, and may lower blood pressure, improve circulation, manage cholesterol, boost immune health, and improve cognition)
Water (I use water to keep calories down and because I am not a dairy drinker so I don’t use milk)
Mix in blender, Nutri-Bullet, Ninja Blender, Vitamix, etc.

To make preparation even easier, you can put all your ingredients for one drink in separate bags and store them in the freezer. Just grab a bag, put the contents in your blender, add liquid, and away you go!

Pre-made smoothie bags

I have this drink for breakfast, but it is ideal for any meal or in between meals. It is filled with healthy protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, and antioxidants, and has a low glycemic index. You can also make it and take it with you if you are a person on the go.

I call my other drink a “ginger/apple blast”, which I have during the day. I drink it for the anti-inflammatory properties found in ginger root. I add apple because of its health properties and I like the ginger/apple taste, but any fruit will do. I use spinach or kale to add more vitamins, minerals, and fiber to my diet.

Fresh ginger root sliced (about the size of a lime, which for some is a hefty amount, but use as much as you like per your taste)
1 small apple sliced
1 cup fresh spinach or kale
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix in blender, Nutri-Bullet, Ninja Blender, Vitamix, etc.

Ginger is most well-known for stomach discomfort, but it is also one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory foods available. Ginger also has an anti-diabetic affect and cholesterol lowering properties, as well as many other health benefits. It also helps reduce hunger cravings. Turmeric/curcumin is another fantastic option, but my preference is ginger which is easier to find in most grocery stores.

As an example of the potency of ginger, years ago I had very bad knee pain from playing baseball in college. I was a catcher and developed tendonitis in both knees. I also broke both ankles twice. When I graduated, I had a desk job. Every time I got up I was in too much pain to walk upright until about the 10th step. Less than a month after having this drink every day, I was pain free and able to walk without a problem. I was amazed!

When pain from dystonia set in a few years later, I knew I had to turn to ginger again and it has done wonders for my neck and back. I am not suggesting you will experience the same satisfaction, but please consider the possibility of this powerful spice. It helps even more if your overall diet and lifestyle are healthy. Using any kind of supplement won’t help much if the rest of your food and lifestyle are unhealthy.

These are just 2 ideas among MANY healthy drink options, so choose ingredients you like best. The important thing to keep in mind is to eat healthy sources of protein and carbohydrate, healthy fat, fiber, and foods with a low glycemic index.

We have to be much more responsible for what we put into our bodies. We have an overburdened healthcare system and multi-billion dollar food and drug industry that doesn’t care much about our health. They handsomely profit from our poor choices  overeating legal addictive substances they peddle such as sugar, flour, salt, and alcohol, among others. I refuse to eat in such a way that makes me unhealthy and puts more money into the pockets of greedy, thoughtless individuals and companies that make billions from us eating ourselves into disease and infirmity. We have an obesity epidemic unlike anything in history, as well as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and arthritis. It is our responsibility to change this by starting with the person we see in the mirror.


Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and the author of 2 books: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers NetworkThe Mighty, and Patient Worthy. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his books (also on Amazon), or schedule a free life coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram. 









4 responses to “Drink ideas for pain, inflammation, and weight loss”

  1. Camille Bussotti says:

    I have been trying a protein-based powder for my smoothies, but it must have some type of milk product in it based on my reaction. Any recommendations for a powder that is absolutely lactose free. Thanks.

  2. Patricia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m very excited to try these smoothie recipes. Good for you for losing all that weight while dealing with a chronic illness! Do you do weight loss coaching as well?

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy the shakes. Yes, I do weight loss coaching! It is one of the things I enjoy doing the most. It’s great to work one on one with people and help them achieve their goals. Thanks again and all the best!

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