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Nutritional Guides-Heal with Mike!


We have been working with a certified Health Coach, licensed through the Institute for Integrated Nutrition to help develop some basic guidelines on nutrition that aim to help the Scheuermann's Disease community be their healthiest. 

Here is a little bit about Mike Fiddle:

"I am 28 years old and a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I was going to school to become a Physical Therapist, after completing pre-med courses at New York University. Severe pain initially prevented me from taking that road so I deferred my acceptance a year to continue to work on myself and study my body.


While working and studying at a PT practice that won National Practice of the Year, I was then diagnosed with Scheuermann's Disease. This explained all the years of unrelenting pain and discomfort. Sadly, it was then obvious I was headed towards a large fusion surgery and a career as a PT was not suitable to my body.


That’s when I switched and completed courses with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I knew eating healthy was paramount to dealing with a rare and painful disease. In that coursework I also learned how important meditation practices and mindfulness can be in dealing with pain. 


I enjoy working with clients 1:1 as a certified health coach, but I am so knowledgeable about handling Scheuermann's Disease and going through the surgery. I am coaching people to prepare for the corrective fusion, as well as helping those non operative and post operative make lifestyle changes to be their healthiest. I know this is the community on which I can have a very positive impact."


Mike will aid our community by helping us with some of our nutritional needs, pre and post operative, and creating a 30 day pre surgery meal plan with grocery shopping lists. 


CONTACT MIKE to work with him 1 on 1 to discuss your nutrition and get coached to reach your optimal health!
He can be reached at and at his website,
Since Mike has Scheuermann’s Disease himself, all first sessions are free and session rates are discounted for other members of the SD community

Scheuermann’s Disease Grocery Shopping Guide

By Mike (@HealWithMike)




As a holistic nutritionist, the below grocery shopping guide indicates how I eat on a regular basis. My food principles include eating tons of real and whole foods, while limiting the intake of processed foods, added sugars, and refined grains. These are some of the main pillars of any anti-inflammatory diet. As SD patients, our disease puts stress on our spinal structures, creating a level of chronic inflammation and often leading to symptomatic pain. Therefore, it is imperative we consume food that actively works to reduce that inflammation. 


I HIGHLY encourage consuming these foods and following these food principles for 30 days both pre and post operation to get your body to its optimal healing capacity. Going through the surgery puts your body into immense physical trauma. You want to start with as little inflammation as possible, and give your body food to heal, not food to further inflame, once the surgery has occurred.


Lastly, I subscribe that nutrition is bioindividual, meaning the foods that work for one person may not for another. This is not a one size fits all approach. Some people follow specific diets, such as being vegetarian/vegan, and some people have certain restrictions due to religion/culture, access to certain foods, and even taste/texture preferences. 

Mike’s Supermarket Hacks



  • Do not walk in hungry.

  • Walk in with an idea of what you want, a list is great.

  • Know what you already have at home to work with (I take a picture of my fridge and pantry before going, just to make sure I don’t forget).



  • Grab the smallest basket (that you can physically handle), you’ll stick to buying the necessities and saving money.

  • Walk the perimeter before going up and down the aisles. The healthiest food is on the edges of the grocery stores (produce and refrigerated sections).



  • Subscribe to Thrive Market!!! More info below

  • Frozen vegetables can have more nutrients than fresh vegetables, because they keep the water in which contains many of the vitamins and minerals

  • Know about the Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen.

    • Clean Fifteen are the 15 cleanest conventional (non-organic) produce items to buy so you can get them non-organic and know they do not contain high pesticide residue

    • Dirty Dozen are the dirtiest 12 conventional produce items that should be bought organic or non gmo if possible



  • It's a trap! Do not get anything in grabbing distance of the cash register, unless its a water






Buy whatever you want here. All fruits and vegetables are great things to add into your diet. Here are some highlights and lowlights for me



    • Bananas (potassium for muscle spasms)

    • Berries, specifically blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries!

    • Apples, in the red vs green taste debate, I’m going red, but either are great

    • Pineapple (highly anti-inflammatory). The trick to telling if a pineapple is fresh is to try and rip the top leaves off, if they come out easily, it's ready to eat

    • Cantaloupe and honeydew melons

    • Kiwi

    • Peaches




    • Seedless grapes and raisins- can be inflammatory because of the way they are grown

    • Strawberries- sugar to antioxidant ratio is less favorable than other berries



When it comes to vegetables, you want to think about it as if you’re eating the rainbow. Try to eat a variety of colors so you get the most amount of nutrients, health benefits, and vitamins in your bodies. The color of a vegetable correlates to different health benefits, from bone health to brain health to boosting your immune system. Food is powerful!


    • Leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula, red leaf lettuce is a personal fave, etc)

    • Broccoli (frozen is a great option here)

    • Sweet Peas (frozen is a great option here)

    • Onions

    • Bell Peppers 

    • Celery (great for bones!)

    • Cucumbers

    • Beets (great for blood and circulation)

    • Brussels Sprouts

    • Asparagus 

    • Avocado

    • Eggplant (great for the brain! I recommend you roast, saute, or bake, but don’t fry!)

    • Ginger (a powerful anti-inflammatory)

    • Turmeric Root (another strong anti inflammatory root)

    • Mushrooms

    • Sweet Potatoes

    • Zucchini

    • Squash (Butternut, Yellow Squash, Spaghetti)


VEGGIES THAT SHOULD BE EATEN IN MODERATION: (I try not to stack them together on the same day- because they are high in starch/sugars.)

    • Potatoes (sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes)

    • Tomatoes in sauce/crushed form


Oils:  A variety of oils provides a variety of healthy fats and omegas for the body. I suggest extra virgin olive oil because it’s not refnied or processed and can be used to cook or in sauces/dressings. I also use coconut oil in moderation to be enjoyed in baked goods or on sweet potatoes., Avocado oil is a great oil option to use when sautéing or baking at high temps. Ghee, which is clarified butter that is lactose free (which can be okay for most dairy free people) is another great option to sub in for butter. Fun fact - ghee has an insane amount of healing properties and is often blessed by its maker before it is bottled and sold, so you will absorb their blessing when you eat it. Google it!


I suggest you avoid vegetable oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil (especially non-GMO or organic)  because they can become very inflammatory. 


Meat/Poultry: the higher the quality, the better the health effects (and a reduction in the negative side effects of these foods). Important label items I often look for on meat and poultry include:

  • Organic 

  • Antibiotic Free- not given antibiotics directly or in their food products, which eventually make its way to our food

  • Grass Fed- helps to ensure the animal is not consuming harmful ingredients (hormones/antibiotics) in its food

  • Cage Free

  • Hormone Free : important to note this only applies to cow’s because hormones cannot be added to chicken or pigs, often things like eggs will say hormone free but that’s just marketing because no eggs have hormones, they’re legally not allowed to


Chicken is the meat I eat the most often, followed by turkey, and then beef. 

    ** This is also in order of the leanest of these animal protein options. 


Fish: a great source of protein and omega 3s

  • Wild caught is better than farmed, it will have more nutrients

  • Many “fresh”fish you buy at the grocery store was previously frozen, so don’t hesitate to buy the cheaper pre-frozen options and defrost them yourself 

    • I order online customizable boxes from the company SizzleFish, which sources sustainably caught seafood and flash freezes them to maintain nutrients and taste

  • Fish skin and bones, and fish like mackerel and sardines, are some of the best and most absorbable calcium sources (great for bone health!)




Plant Based Proteins

  • Hemp Seeds - a complete protein, meaning they contain all the amino acids that make up all the different types of proteins. Great to be used on salads, smoothies, cereal, granola, etc.

  • Beans - high in protein and fiber, especially great post op option when protein is essential and bowel movements can be difficult

  • Peas - another nearly complete source of protein and a green. Packs a punch and adds a crunch

  • Leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.)- don’t forget that Popeye the sailor got his muscles off canned spinach

  • Quinoa- a whole grain that is also a complete protein option and can be enjoyed with roasted vegetables

  • Lentils


Whole Grains

Ones I eat

  • Quinoa

  • Brown rice

  • Oats - gluten free and organic is what I recommend because these can be refined and processed with chemicals, but the gluten free organic options are the unprocessed kind (and they are inexpensive) 


One I avoid

  • Wheat, because it is almost never served as a whole grain, even when it is marketed as such. It is pulverized into a flour (wheat flour), which reduces many of its nutritional values and leads to issues like sugar spikes and inflammation


Natural Sugars vs. Added Sugars

  • I get all my sugar intake through fruit, honey, and the occasional maple syrup or coconut sugar (not refined sugars)

  • Oftentimes products add sugar to boost flavor while reducing the cost of production. Make sure to read ingredient labels and check for added sugar in things you would never expect

    • Added sugars can be hidden in labels like sauces, dressings, granola bars so look up this list of common sugar terms and know that terms ending in -OSE (lactose, fructose, glucose), are just another way to say sugarAdded sugar is one of the most direct causes of inflammation in the system, reducing sugar will help reduce inflammation




Must Have: salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, rosemary, basil


Nice to Have: oregano, thyme, turmeric, ginger powder, onion powder, white pepper, 


Not good: spice mixes that have dirty ingredients in them!! I love a good spice mix, but not when there are things like sugar or cornstarch (typically an ingredient made with GMO corn), yuck! Check those labels!


Dairy: I personally avoid dairy, because it is so hard to find clean dairy products. A single milk carton can have hundreds of hormones found in it (because cows can get hormones directly injected into them). Even organic milk can have up to 60 different hormones found in it (because cows not directly injected with hormones are often fed food that contains them and still be considered organic). Yikes! I am not anti-dairy as a health coach, I just believe you should be careful about which dairy products you are choosing and where they come from. I go to a local farmers market where there is a meat/cheese vendor, and I often get his meat because I know it is clean and locally sourced… this is a dairy option I would trust.




Things I ALWAYS have stocked in my Kitchen

  • A variety of oils

  • Variety of spices

  • Frozen Vegetables (Peas, Broccoli, Spinach)

  • Uncooked Brown Rice or Quinoa (frozen is a great option for these too)

  • Cans of Beans (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas)

  • Frozen Fish (Sizzlefish)

  • Honey

  • Plant Based Protein Powder (I use Vega One)




THRIVEMARKET.COM: this is an online grocery service that delivers only shelf stable food, and at a significant discount! Most of their items are 25-50% off what they are sold for in the stores. I get all of my kitchen essentials from Thrive Market, like oils,grains, beans, and protein powder. Here are some additional products and brands I love from Thrive Market.


1. Elmhurst Nut Milks (the 2 ingredient options) - cashew milk is a favorite plus any other nut milk you like (almond, hazelnut)


2. Ceremonial Grade Matcha (GREAT FOR BONE HEALTH AND HEALING)


3. Superfoods - freeze dried blueberries, goji berries, chia Seeds, flax Seeds, hemp seeds


4. Nut Mixes - almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, walnuts (whatever you like Isuggest you make a homemade trail mix since most of the he mix blends include chocolate or added sugar)


5. Hu Chocolate (if you're a chocolate person, this is a great chocolate option with no refined sugar added)


6. Canned beans/tomatoes to make sauces/soups/chilis/etc. 


7. Spices


8. Ginger Tea


9. Plant Based Pastas: Tolerant Lentil Pasta Elbows is my favorite and should be way higher than 9, it's amazing


10. Pans mushroom jerky. A splurge snack, but delicious plant based jerky with clean ingredients.The zesty thai and applewood bbq flavors are delicious 


11. Larabars: date based bars with real and whole ingredients. The apple pie is my favorite flavor.


12. Seaweed snacks - the brand I order is GIMME and these are great to satisfy any salty craving 


13. Coconut Sugar:a great non-refined sugar option to use in baking instead of cane or white sugar


14. Canned prune juice (for post surgical constipation)




Post Surgical PT: Spinal Fusion/Scheuermanns Disease

This video and the exercises that are performed are for demonstration purposes only!

Prescribed physical therapy plan following spinal fusion as a result of Scheuermann's disease

The video involves exercises developed for Mike by a trained and licensed physical therapist. These were done immediately following Mike's spinal fusion surgery and performed for the first 8 weeks. The exercises get progressively harder in each section (Abs, Shoulders, and Hips), as you will see. 





Disclaimer: This video is based on Mike's experience, research, and knowledge of physical therapy and recovering from fusion surgery.

Every person is different, heals differently, and needs a plan developed for them by a skilled professional. This exercise plan was prescribed for Mike by a trained and certified physical therapist. Please make sure you are evaluated by a medical professional and contact your treating physician before performing any of these exercises.

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