Eating Well With NMO
Last updated: November 2022
Having nutritious snacks handy can help when you reach that exhaustion point where cooking seems impossible. Fruit—grapes, apple slices, sections of orange, berries—in the refrigerator, washed and ready to eat, or boiled eggs, sliced cheese, or peanut butter can keep your appetite in check until you can get a meal, so eating a cookie or candy isn’t necessary or nearly as tempting.
There may be specific measures that restore you when you’ve overdone. Noting the effect of heat on people with NMO, I discovered having frozen food available can be very helpful. After a chilly morning ramble turns into a sunbaked race to the house to get out of the heat, my first stop is the freezer and my sugar-free popsicles. When I’ve crunched through 2 frozen bars, my woozy weariness dissipates. I’m not ready to face heat again, but I am comfortable and cooled and can concentrate on less demanding tasks. (BTW, if you tear off the top of the paper wrapper around the popsicle, you can hold it by the stick at the bottom still in the wrapper and avoid getting drips and stickiness on your hands!)
Food prep with NMO
But then there are those bad days that string together, making functioning difficult to the point that the complete kitchen is cluttered with dirty dishes and silverware that is caked in dried-on daubs of everything you’ve eaten or found you couldn’t eat for that string of days. And the pans–more pans than you thought you owned are crusted with scorched remnants of that same food. No matter how excellent or simple the meal you plan is, it’s hard to eat if there is nothing to prepare the food in and nothing to eat it off of if you can figure out a way to prepare it.
Easy clean-up tricks
Finding the plates and utensils, pots, and pans in which to fix or serve a meal becomes such an overwhelming task that preparing the food becomes improbable. Paper is not only great to use for writing lists of food, but disposable paper plates, paper bowls, and paper towels, along with plastic utensils, can be the answer to the kitchen supply quandary. Putting plates, cups, and tableware in the garbage rather than preparing and putting them in the dishwasher or sink is truly a relief and can clear the mind and the table.
Disposables don’t have to be the only answer. Rather than lifting heavy stoneware plates, I changed to Corning Ware and Melmac. Later I used paper plates, plastic utensils, and cups to lighten my load during a stressful time with lowered energy. I have rearranged parts of my kitchen, putting all the things I need for cooking by the stove, for cleaning by the sink and so on. I can hold on to a solid surface as I walk from place to place, anywhere in the kitchen. I added shelves to have the canned goods I use regularly close by rather than in my storage area.
Eating healthy with NMO
To say "be healthy" when you have NMO seems like an oxymoron, but having good food does help sustain the many organs and systems necessary to keep our bodies working and to protect those functions that are already under attack. We can help ourselves by preparing beforehand so no matter how we feel, we have good, healthy food available, ready to be eaten. It is comforting to know I am ready when I feel a crash coming on. It eliminates stress, gives me time to rest, and gives me great satisfaction knowing that despite my NMO, I can still eat good food and enjoy it.
Has NMO impacted your ability to keep a job?