Creativity Born of Pain

Creativity doesn’t always have to come from pain.  But last week it did in my case.  If you read Monday’s blog post, you know I had mouth surgery last week.  And it’s still painful.  And as I said, a girl's got to eat.  So, before my surgery, I made a list of foods I thought I could make and eat post-surgery.

(c) Kathleen Thompson - The LIST

(c) Kathleen Thompson – The LIST

My plans didn’t exactly turn out as expected.

I knew the food would have to be soft.  And also neither hot nor cold.  Just right.  Like Goldilocks likes her porridge.  I also knew it had to provide enough protein and fat to be filling.  And low in sugar.  At the same time, the color had to look appealing, and it had to taste good.

That’s a tall order for sure.  But I figured – how hard can it be?

I knew smoothies would be at the top of the list.  They’re easy, are liquid, can be made with vegetables, and I could add protein powder.

I also figured baby food and eggs would figure prominently.  After a few days, maybe fish or steamed chicken.

Here’s what I found.

  1. Baby food is awful – even the organic kind. I bought 5 jars, and only ate half of one.  I got the kind with the meat to try and get protein.  I don’t recommend it.  I spoke to some young mothers at church this week, and they all said they made their own.  I can understand why.
  2. If you add protein powder to a smoothie, you’d better make sure there’s an ingredient that’s got strong enough flavor to offset the taste. I made one that was supposed to be mango.  I added protein powder to it.  It was gross.  It tasted like tangy protein powder.
  3. If you’re not careful, you can gain weight. It’s important to add fats like avocado and almond butter. But when you’re drinking your calories, it’s easy to consume more than when you have to chew. I had to carefully regulate what I drank so that didn’t happen.
  4. Puree individual foods separately unless you’re making a smoothie. I made a bunch of vegetables, black beans, and some ground meat.  I pureed each separately so I didn’t end up with an unappealing mess.  Seeing the bright colors layered almost like a parfait made me actually want to eat it.
  5. It was important to make enough food for the first few days, as it took most of my energy to recover from the surgery. If I hadn’t done that, I would have been scrambling and probably not have enjoyed it as much.
  6. A small spoon really helps. I used a jelly spoon.  It has a long handle and a small spoon end.  A baby spoon could work too.
(c) Kathleen Thompson - Pureed food

(c) Kathleen Thompson – Pureed food

(c) Kathleen Thompson - The Jelly Spoon saves the day!

(c) Kathleen Thompson – The Jelly Spoon saves the day!

The most important lesson?   —When something challenges you, don’t waste time being resentful.  Use it as an opportunity to get creative.  Even though I’m not enjoying the pain, I am having fun experimenting.  Seeing what I can come up with.  And I have to be prepared to doctor it up if I don’t like it (like I did with the mango protein powder smoothie).

In case you ever find yourself or someone in your family with mouth surgery, or even mouth pain, I’ve compiled some of the recipes I used or created onto a page.  You can access it here.  You might want to bookmark it for future reference.  I’ve also got a Pinterest board with some of the smoothie recipes I tried.

Have you ever had a challenge that you turned into fun?  Maybe like Mary Poppins, you turned it into a game?  Share in the comments.  And if you have any recipes you’d like to share, add those too.  If they’re not your own, please reference the source.

P.S., Check back every once in a while.  I might add new recipes to the page.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kathleen…I am so sorry you have had to go through this! Mouth pain is no fun. When i first woke up from my last brain surgery, my mouth and tongue were completely numb. I had to get creative as well. I applaud you for finding so many options! I wanted to recommend a protein powder I found when researching chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s called Immunplex Undenatured Protein Powder. I get it on Amazon. It is Vanilla flavored and even when added to vegetable juices just tastes pleasant. It doesn’t change the taste of things much at all and is good for boosting the immune system. Prayers for continued healing! <3

    • Hi Linda,
      My naturopathic doctor recommended pea protein for me. It’s higher in protein I believe. As you read, though, it doesn’t taste great. I’m glad you found one that worked well for you.