Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chugging for My Health

I have discovered the joy of drinking my veggies. I highly recommend it.

James at Headache and Migraine News posted an item about green smoothies that left me blending in earnest. I had recently been considering my nutritional intake, and how it plummets when I feel bad. I imagine it doesn't improve anything to be borderline anemic and living off of peanut butter and jelly. But what could I do? The worse I feel, the less likely I am to cook for myself and relying on my personal slave, er, boyfriend to create healthy meals and snacks at my every whim seems like a good idea, but he does have a life, and it doesn't revolve around my appetite. Then came James with his green smoothies and a new era was born in my house.

I was instantly hooked. I stand in my kitchen for 10 minutes every morning, washing and chopping as needed, then pouring liquids and dumping in solids, then blending. I concoct based only on my mood and how my body feels. One day it's a metric ton of chard, a super tart apple, some pomegranate juice and a little honey, for a powerful taste. The next day I may go milder with a half-head of romaine, some peppermint tea and orange juice and a handful of strawberries. I like to add yogurt or soymilk to make it a little creamier. I've found that banana can mask even the strongest green taste and that I don't need to add even a half of the amount of fruit that I initially thought, to keep it palateable.

I go to a farmer's market every weekend my head allows. I used to be afraid of getting too much produce. I hate watching food spoil, but when one is surrounded by organic, fragrant fruits and vegetable, it's hard to imagine that they will turn into a murky swamp of badsmell when you've forgotten them in the bottom crisper for two weeks because you've been flat on your back and unable to even open your eyes when the fridge is open, let alone cook something. After this happened a few times, the farmer's market became less of a candy store and more of endless rows of potential fridge-mush. I stopped buying so much produce, just apples (which last forever!) and strawberries (when I felt brave), and maybe some corn or artichokes. (Which wouldn't always get eaten on time, either, but at least they only dry out and don't actually liquefy.)

Things have changed. The farmer's market is a candy store again. I walk out of there struggling under the weight of my cloth bags. And nothing has gone bad for weeks.

You see, not only are the smoothies making it easier for me to get my veggies and fruit, but getting all the nutrients I've been missing for so long is making me feel better. I have more energy, my mood is improved and I feel stronger, mentally and physically. I can cook, clean and socialize more than I could two weeks ago. I read a book for the first time in months yesterday. I went to a family gathering last weekend, cooked for it, and still managed to have a good time.

The improvement is phenomenal, but by no means has drinking my vegetables cured my headaches. In fact, I suspect that the jump in blood sugar may be triggering, a bit. It seems that a few minutes after consuming a smoothie, I get a temporary spike in head pain, which is accompanied by a strange buzzy feeling. It fades within an hour, and then I feel almost normal again. (Normal being relative, of course.) This possible trigger hasn't dissuaded me from my new smoothie kick, since the pros are so heavily outweighing the cons. An hour-long headache? Please. That's a drop in the ocean.

I recommend everyone start blending, or juicing. There are too many options to to be afraid of the taste, and you can't beat the simplicity. If I can blend up a smoothie with a migraine, you can too! (Just don't forget your earplugs!)