Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Well Enough to Cook

Even after a few days of recovery, writing has proven itself difficult. It has nothing to do with the physical ability; typing isn’t rock science. Regardless, even after a week of doing absolutely nothing, these few sentences are hard to put into words.

Maybe the muck monster was offended that I put its offspring with the vegan muffin in such a negative light. Maybe it was just a matter of time that my self-fulfilling prophecy of my crashing led to my... well, crashing. Maybe it was a lot of factors that formed into the infection that my parents contemplated sending me to the ER for.

I was bedridden because of a sinus infection. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. I thought a sinus infection meant a sniffle and a runny nose, maybe take a day off from work and exercise, and then I'd be right as rain a day or two later. This wasn’t your typical sinus infection, though. It was the debilitating kind. The kind that started off like a minor case of springtime allergies and slowly progressed into something terrible. By the Easter weekend, I had lost my ability to smell and taste, and my Easter weekend “Hot Crossed Buns” recipe left me in a slump because I couldn’t tell if it was a winner or not. I developed such a tremendous toothache I thought my upper right wisdom tooth was growing in. (The sinuses had gotten so inflamed they started applying pressure to my jaw, giving me the worst toothache imaginable.)

These tasted better than they looked, I swear.

By the following Monday, I went with the community center to the Natural History Museum, and it was a miracle I could stay upright. My nose was red. My eyes were bruised. My head was spinning. My patience was limited. Sadly, this was only the beginning.

I was able to get an appointment with an ears and throat specialist on Wednesday, and I was in such bad shape I couldn’t even drive myself to his office or drop off (and pick up) the medicine he prescribed. I entered the waiting room with my frontal, sphenoid, and ethmoid sinuses so swollen, the pressure turning me into a sobbing mess. For days I was crying because it hurt so badly, and the Neti Pot only provided temporary relief. The skin around my eyes was purple, and my face looked like I had gotten into a fight… and lost.

After I had gotten the medication to treat it, I had to deal with the side effects of the prescriptions. Thankfully the mental stuff went away in twenty-four hours, but I was emotionally sensitive to everything for days. I found myself angry with people for no fault of theirs, and crying when they made a joke or said something in the attempt to be lighthearted. I was weak and fatigued and felt terrible about myself for not blogging or exercising. I couldn’t stand for longer than a few minutes before becoming winded and dizzy. Sunlight physically hurt, and I’d lost all sense of a constant body temperature.

It has been over a week, and I’m finally able to write, to go to work, and (hopefully) exercise by the weekend. I was able to make dinner the past few nights, and my restlessness to go out into the world has been seen as progress in the most positive and obnoxious way. 

I peeled AND deveined them myself! First time too.
Fluffy Pancakes, mango chunks, and df banana-almond butter syrup

But being sick does gives you time to reflect, whether you want to or not. There’s not much else you can do when you’re bedridden. There were moments where I was really down and feeling sorry for myself. I was upset that I was sick and in pain, yes, but I was more upset with what I couldn’t do. I couldn’t do yoga, run, rock climb, or go outside. I couldn’t blog or cook or take pictures. I could feel all of my hard work these last few months of getting in shape melting away as I ate and slept and not much else. I could feel my body getting softer, my stomach getting rounder, and my arms weighing me down.

I tried doing the little things to keep me active (i.e., clean my room, laundry, doing dishes, going up and down the stairs), but the inability to stand for more than a minute and feeling so crappy nipped that idea in the bud. On a positive note, I noticed the amount of food I ate was similar to the amount I consumed while exercising, the only difference being that I actually felt satiated and didn’t wake up hungry. I now have a baseline of what I can eat when I am sedentary, a foundation to build up the necessary nutrition for when I’m active.

As I said, being sick gave me time to reflect and observe the present. I’m not feeling sorry for myself anymore, and the things I want to do for the world don’t seem impossible.

Bangin’ Banana Bread

120 g Quinoa flour
120 g Garbanzo bean flour
80 g Unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
40 g Honey
1/2 – 1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Cream of tartar
120 ml Almond milk (unsweetened vanilla), room temperature
 2 Large eggs, room temperature
120 g Unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 – 2 Ripe bananas, mashed  

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the flours, leavening agents, and salt in a mixing bowl.
In a quart measuring cup, blend together the applesauce, honey, almond milk, and eggs until you have a smooth consistency.
With a hand mixer or a whisk, add the wet ingredients to the dry until just combined, and then slowly pour the butter until all has been added.
Fold in the mashed bananas (if you don’t want clumps, I suggest blending it with the wet ingredients and stirring until smooth) and pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until the blade of a pairing knife inserted in the center come out clean.
Let it cool in the loaf pan for 15 minutes before popping it out onto a cooling rack.

Makes 1 loaf, or 12 thick slices. Remains soft in the refrigerator, and is ideal at any temperature. 

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