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Kristen and the Accidental Liquid Diet

healthy-smoothieI’ve had jaw pain before. It was mild, and on the right side, and my dentist instructed me to take a couple ibuprofen before bed each night, pop in a mouthguard (to avoid clenching and grinding my teeth in my sleep), and do my best to relax and destress. I did as I was told, and, like magic, it was gone in a few days.

So, when my jaw started hurting on the other side, I did just what I’d done before. Imagine my surprise when, several days later, it was worse. Much worse, actually. On Monday morning, for the first time in my life, I called the dentist to make an appointment for something other than a cleaning. Normally, I go to the dentist and get to hear about how pretty my teeth are. This was different.

Long story made slightly less long, I got to the dentist and was barely able to open my mouth. After about a minute of painful prodding, I had my diagnosis: temporomandibular joint disorder (commonly known as TMJ).

“Let me guess. You’re kind of Type A, get things done and are very competent, but tend to internalize stress,” my dentist ventured to guess. “Yep,” I replied, sulking. The thing is, that used to be me, but I really thought I had that whole stress thing under control. My jaw would beg to differ.

She started talking about the different drugs I would need (a “mega-anti-inflammatory” and a muscle relaxer to take before bed), and that I’d need to come back in a week to A) see if I could open my mouth yet, and B) if I could open my mouth, be fitted with a special retainer. I thought that was the bad news, but then she dropped the bomb.

“Until then, you’re on a liquid diet,” she said. “Only liquids; not even mashed potatoes. And I want you to cut out any inflammatory foods, like coffee or tea.”

Buh buh buuuuuuhhhhhh.

Unlike Jenn, I’m not a huge smoothie maker. I don’t have a fancy blender. I don’t have a fridge filled with things I can’t wait to blend and mix. Well, let me rephrase—I didn’t have a fridge full of those things, but I’m pretty well stocked up now. I have soy milk, almond milk, chocolate milk, orange juice, hemp protein, plain Greek yogurt, and a heap of frozen fruit and frozen spinach. I also bought creamy peanut butter and made sure I had plenty of honey. I still don’t have a fancy blender, but on the recommendation of a friend who just had to go through 23 days of liquid dieting after an operation, even ordered a new, $24 blender (it arrives tomorrow!) because, well, mine has seen better days.

When it comes to making smoothies, I’ve got the basics down—I know what flavors work well together, and I know that frozen spinach and hemp protein mixes pretty well into just about anything. A friend lent me her Super Smoothies book, which I intend to read cover to cover and make a shopping list from later tonight. But, one thing has really surprised me —I’m not hungry.

I joked to my husband, who was on the road when I got the liquid diet instructions, that he was lucky—I was probably going to be hungry, and, well, when this FBG gets hungry, she gets crabby. Really crabby. But, I guess the extra effort I’m putting into making sure my smoothies (and the soups I’m eating) are super clean and packed with fiber and protein and other good stuff is paying off—I’m eating way less than usual, but not feeling the ill effects. Wiggy, I know.

Hey, if I have to deal with a liquid diet, the least I can get out of it is losing a few of the pounds that have been hanging around as of late, right?

Now, I don’t go back in to the dentist until Tuesday, at which point I may or may not be cleared to chew. In the meantime, I’m totally open to suggestions. Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe, or a trick for making the creation and clean-up a little easier? How about items that are good when I’m on the go? —Kristen

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  1. Courtney says:

    Ginger Pear Smoothie: Pear, skim milk, dark chocolate, ginger, oats
    Green monster: Spinach or kale, honey, blueberries, greek yogurt

  2. Lisa G. says:

    My morning smoothie is 1 scoop of Synthrax Nectar Sweets Chocolate Truffle, 1 banana, 1 c skim milk, 1 tsp of chia seeds, and 2 tbsp of PB2 it’s like a peanut butter cup – yum! I use a Cuisinart blender that allows me to blend into travel cups as well as a full blender pitcher. The travel cups are much more convenient and easier to clean – a quick rinse does it for the blade and the cups can go in the dishwasher.

    Hope you’re on the mend soon!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Hey there!

    I’m no smoothie connoisseur, but I do have certain things I know that I like. I often do cocoa and peanut butter mixes (with banana and milk added in). I’ll also add chia seeds, flax seeds or oats sometimes.

    Best of luck with your jaw and the liquid diet!

  4. Mara Froemd says:

    I start my day off with a smoothie every day, and here is my favorite one….(vegan)…

    8 oz soy milk or almond milk

    One scoop of Sun Warrior protein powder (vanilla) http://www.sunwarrior.com/products/sunwarrior-protein

    One spoonful of ground flaxseed

    One frozen banana

    3 frozen strawberries

    Half cup of frozen blueberries

    One handful of spinach

    2 icecubes

    I have sworn by smoothies for year, and this combo is perfection. Sun Warrior protein is heaven. Enjoy.

  5. Mara Friend says:

    btw, my last name is Friend, not Froemd….Oops.

  6. Alyssa S says:

    My favorite: almond milk, banana, spoon of tahini, fresh ginger root (to your taste preference) and spirulina! Enjoy and good luck!

  7. Similar to Mara’s recipe above, my favorite combo is to blend half of a frozen banana, 5 frozen strawberries, one cup milk (skim or almond), one scoop protein powder, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 1/4 teaspoon vitamin C powder, and a handful of spinach. (http://www.beembraced.blogspot.com/2012/01/diet-is-dirty-word-try-clean-eating.html)

    I also love an avocado smoothie: (http://beembraced.blogspot.com/2012/02/adventurous-start-to-morning.html)
    Blend together:
    3/4 cup cup unsweetened almond milk
    1/2 cup kale (torn into pieces and stems removed)
    1/2 frozen avocado
    1/2 frozen banana
    1 Tbsp. flaxseed
    1 scoop vanilla protein powder

    I swear by the Magic Bullet blender- so easy and quick to clean and use! (http://beembraced.blogspot.com/2012/02/adventurous-start-to-morning.html)

  8. Kerri OMalley says:

    Here are recommendations for on the go, the second two would be more of a snack than a meal.

    bolthouse farms vanilla chai tea — warning there is a ton of sugar in this but its a super tasty treat. most of their drinks are very good though– in market where OJ/juices are

    stonyfield organic super smoothie drinks- these are good, not too thick. I have some friends that drink the kefir drink, but its too thick for my taste — in market with yogurts.

    EAS myoplex carb control chocolate shake – its not chocolate milk but I drink these often after working out, shake ALOT before drinking and chill. – sold in store RT with cliff bars and stuff

    Also, my roommates have to-go containers for theirs so they make the drinks in the AM and then take them with them for later. I would recommend a wide brim container (like the kind you make protein shakes in).

  9. Amani says:

    I use a hand full of spinach, 1 banana, 1 apple (sliced), a half cup of frozen grapes or however many you want, and a mango or papaya. It taste delicious sometimes I put in some soy milk for smoothness.

  10. I blog about smoothies and juicing (among other things). I can feel for you! I am currently doing a 7 day juice – by choice! Rather than leave a bunch of recipes, if you go to my blog (www.PassionForExcellence.blogspot.com) click on the “Juicy Gossip” tab for recipes. I am preparing a whole batch of specifically smoothie recipes to post next week. But definitely check out the sweet green smoothie and blueberry oatmeal smoothie. Best of luck with your jaw!!

  11. You should check out the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead! It’s about a man who goes on a 60 day all juice diet. There are some really good recipes and recommendations. It even made me want to drink more liquid! It also shows you how to make sure you get all of the nutrients that your body needs so that you don’t feel hungry and sluggish during the liquid diet.

  12. Debbie says:

    Lots of good recommendations here. I found it helpful to have different things to make smoothies with like hand held blender, smaller Cuisinart blender with little portable cups, baby bullet-like blender (really small I could pack/travel with), and finally my nice full size blender (barely use now).

    Diagnosed many years ago (yikes almost 20 now), my dentist said eventually I’d need surgery. Painful but I cope. Worst part is biting my tongue when my jaw gets stuck! Hope your condition improves.

  13. Christina says:

    Hon, I know what you are going through. I was diagnosed like Debbie many years ago. I to live with it. No money for the surgery. I go to my chiropractor and he does this thing for it, makes it much better. Yeah, biting the tongue is the worst. I can’t chew gum anymore or eat certain hard to chew foods. My jaw cracks so bad you can hear it across the room. I have just gotten into smoothies lately my self to help lose weight along with the better foods. I bought a Ninja Blender and it is the best. Makes shaved ice so easily, have even made (good for you) ice cream. I got mine from QVC– http://tinyurl.com/7gbq3d8
    It comes with a booklet also..

  14. Stephanie says:

    Oh, and for cleaning, I only have 1 big blender. The best thing for me for cleaning is that right after I finish pouring out the smoothie, I rinse the jar with hot water, then fill it halfway up with water and put it back on the blender for 30 sec or so. Let the blender clean up after itself!

  15. Dona says:

    I have been on a green smoothie kick for the last two weeks or so. I just feel so healthy when I start the day with kale, greek yogurt, spinach etc. I find I want to put EVERYTHING in my smoothie: kale, spinach, blueberries, flax, chia seeds, ground oats, almond butter, greek yogurt, egg whites, almond milk,avocado,coconut milk-you name it and I want to put it in my blender! I need to start jotting down the combos that I love and try not to have a 600 calorie smoothie. Good luck with your jaw!

  16. Bethany says:

    Frozen mango, greek yogurt, and a splash of grapefruit juice! This tastes SO good and the mango also gives you a nice texture without adding YET ANOTHER banana.

    Also, I’ve heard you can blend oats into smoothies to give them more bulk.

  17. My favorite Pumpkin Pie Smoothie: 2-4 ice cubes, 1/2 cup (or more) pumpkin, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, 2 tbsp flaxseed, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It is high in protein and fiber and it tastes like dessert:)

  18. Marianne says:

    There is a liquid diet “cook book” available with weekly meal plans and buying guides with included nutritional data for a balanced diet available at http://www.savoroursolutions.com/ if you are interested in something like that.

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