CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Type 1), is a change in the nervous system that's usually triggered by a very painful episode. The bad kinds affect the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, metabolism, circulation, and fight-or-flight response. Lucky me; that's what I've got. ... But life is still inherently good (or I don't know when to quit; either way) and, good or not, life still goes on.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Recipe: Even Brain Food Shakes evolve

As my digestion has gotten more frail, I've had more and more trouble with my Brain Food shake.
I went to a powder, because organic kale was hard to find and unwieldy,  and the nonorganic kind smells like a chemist's armpit. And was still unwieldy.
But those shakes still hit my stomach like a cannonball.
J listened to me complain for the second day in a row and said, "Don't eat fruits and vegetables together. Of course it's impossible to digest."
I stared at him a moment. "I used to know that," I said with chagrin.
That was over a month ago and I think I've finally figured out how to make the greens taste like something other than pond.
So here are the current incarnations of my Brain Food Shakes, the simplest way to get maximum nutrition with minimal effort:
Morning Shake:
- 1/4 pound Trader Joe's frozen Wild Boreal Blueberries (high anthocyanins, low toxins)
- heaping soupspoon almond butter (good oil, protein, minerals) (TJ's is cheapest)
- Cal-mag supplement (for nerve transmission, teeth and bones; 1 tablespn Lifetime brand, blueberry flavor)
- 1/8 tsp clove powder (massive antioxidants, calms nerve pain, and I love clove)
- ~3 oz apple juice concentrate (malic acid helps clear cellular detritus)
- stevia (stabilizes blood sugar, cuts any lingering bitterness)
Whizz it until the flakes of blueberry skin are more or less uniform and quite small.
I've recently added:
- fat pinch of schizandra berries (massive antioxidants, seems to stabilize neurotransmitter behavior; whole berries take extra time in the blender)
- lecithin (improves digestibility and oil uptake)
Once everything's whizzed down smooth, I add at the last minute:
- 1/2-3/4 cup blueberry kefir (I really like Lifeway brand, blueberry or plain)
The point of blenderizing is to chop open those cells so the nutrition is easy to get to, but with kefir or yogurt, the cells only work if they're intact. So I whizz in kefir just until blended, maybe 2 seconds.
I mix in blackberries and fresh local berries when I can. On the road, I use dried currants, which are an overlooked "antioxidant powerhouse", in modern marketing lingo. They can make the sweetness overwhelming, though.
This afternoon (fruit is more appropriate in the morning, veg in the afternoon) I tried something like this:
Afternoon Shake:
- Vegetable juice (TJ's Garden Patch, but I'm open to suggestions)
- Scoop of green powder (I get distinct results from Garden of Life brand Perfect Food Raw; brain really perks up)
- 1/4-1/2 an avocado (cleans up blood vessels, great oil)
- 2 handfuls chopped kale (most nutritious veg per calorie; thanks to TJ's for taking the work out of prepping organic kale)
- 1 handful sliced cabbage (sulfur for brain, glutathione precursor; also, does something magical to the kale so it tastes smooth and mild)
- salt (reduces ANS/POTS symptoms of dizziness and wonky bp)
- lecithin
- 1-2 individual grains of Epsom salt, a.k.a. magnesium sulfate (sulfur for the brain, magnesium for nerve transmission and electrolyte balance)
- water enough to make it go
Has a wonderfully fresh, pleasingly grownup flavor. A bit of cilantro, onion and lemon, and you could call it gazpacho.
I'm considering a pinch of curry powder, for the antiinflammatory circumin and that wonderful taste. It doesn't need it, but it could add a bit of variety. 
I've often said that it HAS to taste good, or I won't be able to keep doing it. And, since I test regularly (that is, try to do without), I know I have to keep doing it.
And as long as it tastes this good, I'm happy to do so.


  1. That's like astronaut food. What happens if you don't take it? And has your stomach improved since you started doing the veg and fruit separately.

    I love kale - steamed and then turned in the frying pan with some garlic and olive oil and a touch of chilli.

    BTW. I'm glad you're moving the blog because these days when I open this site some other windows try to pop up too.

  2. Raw fruits and vegetables are particularly difficult to digest. I dealt with IBS for a while and was advised to leave them alone. Have you found that the foods intended to help nerve transmission are actually helpful?


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