Friday, June 3, 2011

Helpful Hints for living alone with CFS

Those of us who live alone have very different challenges from those who have family nearby to take care of them.  The biggest one is: how do you eat when you're too sick to get out of bed?
For a while I was going steadily downhill because the effort of getting to the kitchen three times a day to fix something healthy to eat required more energy than my body was able to make.  A trip to the farmers market for fresh produce would result in the food rotting in the hallway because I didn't have the energy to carry it all the way to the kitchen on arriving home; I'd collapse into bed for 3 days and eat nothing.
Finally it dawned on me that fresh veggies decomposing before I was well enough to cook them were not as healthy as just eating something for nourishment.  While I certainly wouldn't recommend a steady diet of PopTarts to anyone with an option, they do have a surprising amount of nutrition in them.  They don't need refrigeration or cooking, and you don't need to wash a plate and fork after you eat one, so ideal for the bedridden single person. 
My local grocery delivers, so I ordered a lot of shelf-stable things like PopTarts, packets of crackers pre-spread with peanut butter, dried fruit, trail mix, nutrition shakes, Gatorade, bottled water, and stored them next to the bed.  That was the turning point ... I had enough energy to walk to the kitchen once a day to make a healthy dinner, but because I could get breakfast and lunch without getting up, my energy consumption was finally less than my energy production and I was back to putting into the bank rather than overdrawing every day.
Safeway has recently started carrying Horizon Organic shelf-stable milk in individual servings.  On sale, I've been getting it for $9.99 for a pack of 12.  That's one more thing that I can keep in the bedroom for emergencies.
Sometimes you have to think outside the box.
While eating the quantities of processed food I do is not ideal from a nutrition standpoint, it is certainly better than doing without food for several days because I used all my energy shopping for healthy food that went bad before I next felt well enough to cook it.

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