Maybe it’s the anticipation that the all-too-brief cherry season is about to hit, but I’ve been on a major kick with dried and frozen cherries lately. I am loving the “black forest” flavor of cherries and chocolate, as evidenced by my last blog for cookie dough balls. While I always try to incorporate as many detoxing and antioxidant rich foods into my diet, that’s especially important now, as I’ve recently embarked on a healing journey from chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. I’m doing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and it forces toxins out of your cells as it forces oxygen into them. Unfortunately, even though I have my Chronic Lyme Disease in remission, it still inhibits my body’s ability to detox, so toxins being pushed into my system = me feeling even worse. Therefore I am embracing antioxidant and detoxifying foods with extra vigor… but of course I still want them to taste good. With this smoothie, I’ve combined red kale with organic frozen cherries, protein, and cacao powder into a shake that tastes more “dessert” than “detox.”
Note that while I’m big on drinking smoothies, I am less big on making them, and I like to use a lot of ingredients, so I generally make enough for 2-3 servings at least. This recipe yields 36 oz, enough for two meals and one snack.
Black Forest Bliss Smoothie:
1 cup milk of your choice
1/2 head red kale
6 oz frozen cherries (a little over 1/2 a 10 oz package)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/3 of a medium banana (enough to add texture and flavor, not enough to make the smoothie a sugar factory)
3 scoops chocolate protein powder
3 tbls cacao powder
1 tbls coconut oil
1-2 droppers chocolate-raspberry stevia
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
In the VitaMix, prior to blending
Note: Acute carbon monoxide poisoning = getting exposed to a high level of CO and passing out or vomiting or whatever quickly, and chronic poisoning indicates a smaller dose of exposure over a prolonged period of time (in our case, six months for sure, and potentially up to eleven more at our old place across the hall).
Also note: this is a very serious issue, and I spend a lot of time on the verge of tears. I’m not making light of anything that has happened, but rather, trying to use humor and sarcasm as a coping mechanism so I don’t go even crazier than I already am.
1. While acute poisoning is totally “normal,” chronic CO poisoning is considered “controversial,” and you have to fight for treatment. That makes not one, but TWO controversial illnesses I’ve had in recent years! Remember: it doesn’t matter what they say. As long as they’re talking about you, that’s what counts. I’ve always loved controversy, even if it is only with my insurance provider right now.
2. My musical tastes have been opened up. While my inner feminist would never have been able to look past Eminem’s grossly offensive lyrics, said inner feminist is in a bit of an intellectual coma these days, and poisoned me has been spending months having a passionate musical relationship with Eminem. I love his voice, his intonations, his lack of caring what others think of him, and his catchy beats.
3. I’m a fucking survivor, yet again. Now, at the tender age of 34, I have survived everything from devirginizing teenage date rape to a disease many people never recover from to six months of freaking chemical POISONING. And those are just the things I’m willing to share publicly!
4. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers. If you thought of Michael Jackson when I said those words, you thought correctly. They are the treatment for CO poisoning (both acute and chronic), and starting Monday, I get to spend 1.5 hours a day, five days a week, for 30-50 sessions being cool like him. Besides him being dead, the King of Pop, and likely a child molester, Michael Jackson and I are pretty much the same. How cool is that?
5. I do not ever say, “Damn you auto-correct!” like everyone else does. As someone who only remembers her name these days because she has to pronounce it so often for people who can’t comprehend ARE-ee-en, my spelling has gone way downhill in recent months, and if it weren’t for auto-correct, I probably just wouldn’t be able to text or write at all. Then where would I be? Stuck actually TALKING to people? Right. Because I’m super talented at THAT, lately, too.
6. As soon as I don’t have a headache anymore, I am going to be SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO excited to not have a headache anymore. I’ve had a nonstop headache for four, maybe five months now. Are YOU excited to not have a headache? I didn’t think so. You just take it for granted. You probably couldn’t even care less that you don’t have a headache. But I, I am going to be REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY thrilled whenever the big giant who has been squeezing my head all year loosens his grip. And there is little more that one can ask for than to have things to be thrilled about.
7. After the Lyme, I was a very grateful person. I felt full of love and cherished every step I took without pain, every clear thought I had, every time I put on a small-size pair of pants and they fit. Now I will be infinitely more filled with gratitude when I get all that back… again.
8. I am learning how to cope with decisions you can’t reverse. Ever since we found out what happened in here, the issue of Bill dying has been more traumatic than ever. While I don’t tend to say it, the wish that we hadn’t moved across the hall into what seemed like a dream of a three bedroom apartment has been eating away at me. Ace mentions it regularly, and I tell her to not feel guilty, we didn’t know, we can’t change anything. Inside, though, I feel that same guilt, as well as the guilt of saying, “I’m sure everything is fine,” every time Ace said that something smelled funny in here. I can’t go back. I can’t say, “You know what, I can’t really smell it like you can, but we need to figure out how to get this fixed RIGHT NOW before anyone dies.” That is so hard to live with. And I have no choice but to figure out how to live with it, and to forgive myself because the best we can do in life is the best we can do. We were already months into being poisoned, my decision making skills had plummeted, and I never fathomed that we could be getting gassed on the daily in our own home.
9. My suddenly poor math skills are understandable now, so it shouldn’t be a big deal when I say that in my head, I totally had ten good reasons thought out. But I’m all out of them.
10. See number nine. This was the best I could do. I hope I figure out how to stop wishing we never moved here, I hope Ace recovers fully, I hope my headache stops and my joint pain lessens and I stop getting my period every six weeks with PMS for three of those weeks and every other symptom I can’t remember without referencing the paper I wrote them all on goes away too, and I hope that if anyone else is ever in this situation, they speak up, as loudly as they can, as soon as they can, and they DEMAND that no stone be left unturned until their home is returned to the 100% clean habitable environment that EVERYONE deserves.
I guess I failed at staying humorous, and got a little political there. Maybe my inner feminist will make it out of her coma eventually after all.