Some Like It Smooth

I had a good afternoon yesterday. I managed some lunch, a smoothie snack, and a bit of shopping. (I left the house. For non-medical purposes. Hours after the end of an episode.) I needed to pick up a few – temporary – things that fit right now. I backslid a bit in the evening. That seems to happen a lot after morning episodes, but I’m not sure what to do to prevent it.

Smoothies are something I’ve only started making since getting the NJ tube inserted. I experienced considerable difficulty swallowing during its first day or two, and smoothies were one of the few things I could keep down. I’m continuing them now, even though I’ve managed more solid food, because they seem easy on my stomach and they’re a good way to get some vitamins in.

so let’s turn up the blend till we…

This was yesterday’s selection. I blended a frozen banana with a bunch of frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries), a splash of grape juice, crushed ice, and a good measure of almond milk. Almond milk is my favorite non-dairy milk, but I haven’t acclimated myself to the taste of it straight. I like it on my hot rice cereal in the mornings and I’ve used it to bake with, but I’m not crazy about simply imbibing. I want the calcium and vitamin D my almond milk is fortified with, so I’m looking for different ways to use it. (Any suggestions?) It worked really nicely in yesterday’s smoothie, so I think I’ll keep that up.

While ill, healthy takes on a new set of associations and meanings. Healthy isn’t necessarily about eating the cleanest, getting the most exercise, or eating lots of salad (though even while well those things can be taken to excesses!) Healthy, for better or worse, becomes not sick. In general, I am eating quite clean, because most of what I can eat is clean, and I react badly to some things that aren’t. (Nitrates, dear nitrates, we are not made for each other. Remember that time you gave me that episode with the worst neurological symptoms I’ve had in an episode?) Right now, my stomach is even more sensitive than usual, and some things I’ve always enjoyed are impossible. Sayonara sweet potatoes; it was nice knowing you. Lettuce and raw spinach? You can come back when you stop setting up camp in my stomach every time you enter. My vegetable consumption is mostly limited to summer squash right now. It’s a good thing I love that squash and it abounds locally right now.

(I have been curious about green smoothies. I wonder if blending the spinach might make it easier to digest. It would be nice to get those nutrients in. Does anyone have experience with this? I also wonder if you can make green smoothies using cooked spinach. My other concern would be one that might seem vain, but can be crucial when dealing with nausea: the color. I couldn’t face a brown smoothie at the moment.)

Exercise presents some similar dilemmas. My doctors have encouraged me to engage in some gentle exercise when I feel up for it, but for the last few weeks I most certainly haven’t. I’ve currently avoided the emergency room and admission to the hospital for almost two weeks. (Thirteen days. You better believe I’m counting.) I’m having shorter and slightly less frequent episodes. I’m receiving a nutritional base through my NJ tube at night and I’m getting food in by mouth as well. It seems like a good time to try to get moving a little bit and rebuild some strength. I think I’m going to try some gentle yoga in a little bit and see how that goes.

I’m still reading An Infamous Army and I’m almost finished with American Studies. You know you live in a slightly unusual household when you’re reading the latter at the breakfast table and your father walks in and exclaims, “I’m so glad you’re able to read something fun!” Having my mind back after stopping Reglan is nice.

What’s your favorite smoothie combination? Do you do green smoothies?

What do you do for gentle exercise?

What are you reading now?

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