Combat Disability-Related Health Issues with Specific Nutrients

By Joanne Smith, B.A., BRT Dip, C.N.P and Kylie James B.Sc. (O.T.), C.N.P

We are two Canadian nutritionists whose lives have both been personally affected by spinal cord injury. Through our personal experience and professional practice in working with clients with neurological conditions, we realized that despite the prevalence, awareness and negative consequences associated with many common and potentially life-threatening secondary health complications, there is limited information available focusing on nutrition and its impact on preventing, addressing and managing them.

Blueberries: Foods for Specific Conditions

We recognized that if we were having trouble finding this information, so were others. In 2011 we received a grant from the Paralyzed Veterans of America to write this first of its kind nutrition book, Eat Well, Live Well with Spinal Cord Injury & Other Neurological Conditions.

We are very excited to be presenting at the first Abilities Expo in Canada! Our workshop, Nutrition: Combat Disability-Related Health Issues with Specific Nutrients will cover material from our book.

Breakthrough Book Links Specific Foods with Prevention and Management of Certain Health Issues

Eat Well, Live Well with Spinal Cord Injury & Other Neurological Conditions is a comprehensive, practical nutritional guide written specifically for individuals with spinal cord injuries, as well as their families, friends, caregivers, health and medical professionals.

This book contains 16 chapters, each focusing on a specific secondary health condition. This includes digestion, pressure sores, bladder infections, constipation/diarrhea, osteoporosis, pain, fatigue, respiratory infections, anxiety, stress, fatigue, sleep, liver function, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Each chapter explains why this condition may develop with neurological conditions and provides information on how nutrition can help prevent and manage these health issues, through specific nutrients (foods, supplements and herbs). There are also easy to prepare nutrient dense recipes and reference charts of specific nutrients and supplements recommended for each health condition. 

It is our hope that this workshop will focus attention on the important, therapeutic role nutrition plays in the lives of individuals with disabilities and inspire future research in this area. Most importantly however, we hope this information will help you empower yourself to have greater control over your own health and enhance your independence in an easy, practical and cost effective way.

More information can also be found at

About the Authors:

Joanne Smith B.A., BRT Dip, C.N.P is a graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, holds a degree in psychology from York University, as well as a diploma in radio & television broadcasting from Seneca College. As a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Joanne runs a successful nutrition business specializing in providing optimal nutritional health for people with disabilities. Her expertise in the disability community comes from her personal experience of living with a spinal cord injury for twenty five years, as well as her years as host and producer of two national television programs that focus on telling in-depth stories about Canadians with disabilities, the Gemini award winning CBC show Moving On, and Accessibility in Action. Learn more at

Kylie James B.Sc. (O.T.), C.N.P. graduated from Auckland University in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Health Science in Occupational Therapy in 1996. She has worked for over 15 years as an occupational therapist in New Zealand, England and Canada. Kylie is a registered Nutrition consultant having graduated with first class honors from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Canada. Kylie runs a successful nutrition business specializing in neurological conditions, mental health, weight management and digestive issues. Kylie has specialized working in the field of illness and injury, in particular with people living with spinal cord injuries, chronic pain and brain injuries and various other health issues both as an occupational therapist and as a nutritionist. Kylie became increasingly dedicated to researching nutrition and spinal cord injuries when her one and a half year old nephew sustained a tetraplegia in 2009. Learn more at

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