I remember when I was in the hospital recovering, I refused to eat the hospital food that was served to me. I remember drinking a lot of water or eating the iceberg lettuce salads that was on the menu. It wasn’t the best food, but it was something. At times I was fortunate to have my daughter, son, a cousin, or my uncle and aunt bring me a home-cooked meal more nutritious than hospital food.
When I was released from the hospital after 45 days and went home, the thought never occurred to me that I could not cook anything healthy to eat. Everything I wanted to prepare for a nutritious meal required me to cut something up, stir or flip it in the pan however because my right side was paralyzed, I could not make it happen. I was fortunate to have an in-home occupational therapist who pushed me to do basic household things such as fold my clothes, make my bed and cook for myself. I will never forget Angela! Angela made me reach for my ultimate recovery goals which was to be self-sufficient. Angela would not let me give up on myself! She helped me to remember how to be independent. ( Angela if you’re reading this I will always remember you!!).
If anyone knew me before the stroke they would tell you I love to cook. I love food and my life’s passion prior to the stroke was to teach people not only to grow their own food but teach them to prepare foods in healthy ways. Now that I am two years post-stroke I’m definitely better than I was two years ago. My brain is much stronger and I clearly remember recipes that were embedded in my brain that I have used over the years and that my grandmothers, great aunt, and aunts taught me. Even though I don’t have the full strength of my right hand at this time, but household appliances such as the food processor allow me to create my meals easy. I can get certain vegetables and fruits pre-cut which makes most of my meals simple and easy to make. Yet I am getting stronger every day and preparing my food is getting easier.
Beans have been my go-to favorite thing to prepare because it doesn’t require too much chopping and I can put my beans in the crockpot and walk away. I love all kinds of beans, Black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, lentils (lentils are not necessarily a bean) white bean, green beans, etc. Additionally, beans are nutritious and can be prepared on a budget.
It is very important as I am recovering that I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables because they are brain foods. Most of the items that I eat comes from my garden or other local growers. Shopping at farmers’ markets allows me to get out of the house. I try to select items that have been discounted before they get too ripe and I can freeze or refrigerate them to use for another day.
Because I do not eat meat on a regular basis, I can keep my food cost down. I would have you to know for almost 10 years I was a strict vegan however, since the stroke I have indulged in fish and poultry occasionally. I can tell a big difference the way I feel when I eat fish and poultry. My body feels very weighed down when I do indulge in those foods whereas fruits and vegetables make me feel light and full. Local fruits and vegetables also help me do my part in saving the environment.
Soups and stews are the main ‘go-to ’ for recipes for a hearty meal. I can put all the ingredients in my crockpot and waalaa!! Soups Done! I have a meal fit for a Queen in a couple of hours. I can also eat the leftovers for a couple of days or freeze them for a later time.
I always keep staple items in the pantry and the fridge, such as black and wild rice, quinoa, celery, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, squash, garlic, onions, and any type of green leafy vegetables. Gardening has its privileges! Just this week I made a butternut squash soup with a roasted seasoned sunflower seed garnish and it was delicious! After I washed the squash, I baked it in the oven. I was able to peel it and remove the seeds. The hardest part was spooning it into the food processor.
Every rising I start my day with a glass of water, followed by my healthy juice concoction, and a cup of herbal tea. Nowadays, you can buy herbal teas right in the grocery store. If I have a lot of leftovers, I can freeze or dry in a dehydrator to use later. I make my juice mostly from my harvest from the garden; with rainbow chard, beets (leaves included), strawberries, blueberries, apples, and ginger root. I also include a teaspoon of powders from ashwagandha, moringa, and turmeric.
This new life that I have is not easy, yet I am getting better every day! I am getting stronger every day! I eat well, I am well-nourished. To all my stroke surviving peers, there’s always a brighter day! Never give up! You got this!
My name is Trazana, I had a stroke! I Am a Stroke Survivor! I am a Phoenix Rising!
The second annual Stroke & Aphasia Awareness & Alternative Stroke Recovery Fund planning for 2020 is underway!! Your support is graciously needed! Thank you in advance!