Tuesday, May 31, 2011

3 Week Anniversary

Today marked the 3 week anniversary of my bike accident.  If I would’ve known breakfast that Tuesday morning was going to be the last real meal I ate for the next six to ten weeks, I surely would’ve eaten more than a cup of oatmeal, half a banana, and some PowerBar gel blasts.  Even dinner before had been small because between my evening swim and commute back home on the subway, I did not want to eat anything too heavy before going to bed.

Although my jaw didn't get wired shut until 3 days after the accident, the doctors were evaluating the x-rays taken of different body parts and trying to determine the best course of action for the worst of my injuries - a severely fractured jaw.  I was allowed to drink a few smoothies over those 3 days, each spaced apart more than 12 hours just in case surgery took place and they needed my stomach completely empty for the anesthesia.  I was lucky to have good friends and my aunt provide those smoothies to chug into my famished body whenever I was given a green light.

I'm normally a very easy going person who passionately enjoys eating and exercising (especially in the outdoors...I'm from California).  Being starved while the doctors made up their mind was no fun and I became quietly "cranky" (according to a good friend of mine who made the trek to the first of my hospitals) with each passing hour.  Finally, after countless delays and my third healthcare facility, the surgeon and his team wheeled me into the operating room to perform a closed reduction and stabilization of my mandible fracture (i.e. wire my jaw shut).  They were nice enough to play 2Pac's California Love even though I was only alert for a minute or so before the anesthesia won me over.

The doctor and his nurse had quickly briefed me the day prior to my surgery of the procedure and my limitation to liquids that I could consume through a straw once I was wired up.  Their recommendations of drinking broths and juices lasted about 2 days before I felt so weak that I essentially parked myself in my tiny NYC kitchen with my head in the fridge every other hour searching for food I could blend and slurp down.  My high metabolism from training 6-7 days a week was yearning for fuel and the recommended liquids just weren't cutting it.

Today also marked my first day back at work and it took all of my strength to last 9 hours.  I had worked at home last week so that today would be less daunting.  Granted my job is essentially a chained-to-the-desk kind of job, it was still exhausting as I had hundreds of emails to review and of course continue to feed my starving body.  If there's anything that I've learned thus far is that my "hungry" status from any occasion before pales in comparison to the starving and often famished status I'm often in now.  The firm was nice enough to purchase a heavy duty blender for the office kitchen. I brought in 2 bags of groceries with me to blend for the next 2-3 days.

Among the smoothies that I blended up today were the following:

Sunflower Seed Butter, Banana, & Pear Smoothie
- 2 tbsp sunflower seed butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup yogurt of choice (I used vanilla flavored today)
- 1 banana
- 1 pear

Sunflower seed butter is a good alternative if you're allergic to peanuts. I'm not, but I've been using peanut butter in so many things that I opted for variety. I also experimented with pears as there are no seeds to worry about like with berries which I typically have to strain out.

Protein Milk with Berries Smoothie (Multiple Options - Each Makes 2 Smoothies)
Option 1:
- 1 can/bottle of protein milk (MuscleMilk or equivalent)
- 1/2 cup berries of choice (I used strawberries)
- 1 cup plain or flavored yogurt
- 1 cup juice of choice (I used cran-raspberry)

Option 2:

- 1 can/bottle of protein milk (MuscleMilk or equivalent)
- 1 cup berries of choice (I used raspberries)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of coconut water (based on taste preference)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp flaxseed oil

Canned or bottled protein milks/shakes often taste very pasty. However, they can be a great source of protein that is easily blendable because it is already liquid base. I found canned protein shakes at Trader Joe's that ranged from 20 to 35 grams of protein in one can alone! The additions above are to augment taste and nutrition value. Flaxseed oil is a good source of Omega-3 fatty nutrients for a healthy cardiovascular, circulatory, and immune system. Coconut water further boosts potassium.

Sweet Potato Smoothie
- 1 baked sweet potato
- 1 baked yellow potato
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper to taste

Pretty much your standard mashed potatoes, however, I did some preparation the night before. I overbaked (1 hr+) a bunch of different potatoes to have the option to mix them in the blender. Each potato was smeared with butter (olive oil is an alternative) and foil paper wrapped. I found that wrapping them individually results in softer potatoes that are easier to peel. Also, by baking them, more moisture is conserved versus boiling. Once baked, I refrigerated the potatoes still wrapped in foil into a zip-lock bag for today's use. I heated up the potatoes prior to blending them with the ingredients listed above and the smoothie was perfect to slurp thru a straw.

Seasoned Chicken Smoothie
- 2-3 sauteed chicken breast tenders
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)

Trader Joe's sells seasoned chicken breast tenders which are very handy for quick cooking. Chicken was sauteed in olive oil and cooked in less than 20 mins. I also purchased regular chicken breast tenders which I cooked separately in a huge pot with 6 cups of water, carrots, onion chunks, salt, pepper, and Goya Adobo seasoning (this cooked for 45-60 mins). This allowed me to have more chicken for blending later as well as create a savory stock of chicken broth which I used when I blended the seasoned chicken breast tenders.

In between my food smoothies, I drank 3 big glasses of Kefir Cultured Milk. My breakfast consisted of 2 oatmeal smoothies (will write up my creative recipe later), glass of OJ, and a Starbucks iced chai tea latte w/ a scoop of Whey Protein. Other than water, just about everything has to have some nutritional value. Consumed 4 more smoothies at home post-work and prior to bed.

My mission:
I am a "broken" athlete determined not to lose more weight and strength and to discover ways to fuel my starving body while my jaw is wired shut. Stay tuned for more blending adventures.