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Appetite


This a snap from our holiday in France last year - near Avignon (too hot to breathe) - but unfortunately bears no resemblance to anything I'm currently eating! I love wine and cheese especially sitting outside at the end of a sunny day and I'm looking forward to getting my appetite back for both. Maybe I'll ask my husband Martin to plan a special bottle of Burgundy.

Until then here is a short post on my preoccupation with food....

Today I had a visit from a very nice dietician called Karen. I’ve made good progress on the Ensure drink and have put on 3 kilos. I now worry that I’m filling myself up with a diet that is quite high fat and sugar. But apparently it‘s more important to get some weight on so I don’t need to worry about that for now; I am going to add hot chocolate, nuts and cream to my diet.

Every day I try to cram in as much as I can which makes eating a bit of an ordeal. I’m either getting ready to eat, eating, or thinking about what to eat next. And constantly drinking water to keep hydrated. I was surprised at how long it takes to put weight on; I’ve averaged a kilo a fortnight I think. Although being breathless uses loads of energy despite otherwise being inactive. People with COPD need up to 10 times more energy to breathe then people with healthy lungs according to COPD.net

Having the dietician - as well as the respiratory nurse and physio - visiting is really helpful. I think I am fairly well informed about food and nutrition and normally eat a reasonably well balanced diet but getting some help with how to counter a poor appetite - breathlessness together with lungs that are hyper inflated and don’t leave enough room for the food in your stomach - is important to get some encouragement.

Maybe most important is feeling supported; it is quite isolating not being able to get out and about particularly as until recently I was driving around 1,000 miles a month and seeing lots of people everyday but I have had a few visits this last couple of weeks.

If I had a cafe, that would be on the menu. The Respiratory physiotherapist Jenny also visited and has started me on some exercises so I must persevere to try to build some muscle. My sister Pen brought some delicious home made chocolate brownies last week which I’ve been enjoying every afternoon with a cup of ginger tea; i

I don't usually like any tea other than black with milk - and it has to be a special blend of Assam, Darjeeling, and Sri Lankan Uva that isn't widely available even online. Postcard Teas is a lovely tea shop that sells some obscure and esoteric teas as well as very expensive teapots. I haven't had any appetite for coffee for weeks but usually enjoy a macchiato or an espresso. Maybe I have enough stimulants in my system what with the steroids and inhalers. A coffee craving would be a good sign that I'm coming back to life.

I am sure that the antibiotics interfere with your taste buds so now that I have stopped the last courses maybe I will get an appetite back for some more 'grown up' things. There is according to Psychology Today a science behind comfort foods although predictably it's all about emotion; and an apparently scholarly article in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science also focuses on mood. I wouldn't routinely refer to either of those but I was interested - fleetingly, not doing any more research! - in what was influencing my appetite.

I am sure that they are right but there must also be a physiological connection that also determines what we feel like eating; for example it doesn't make sense for me to expend energy grinding away on rocket (btw how/ why has rocket invaded all sorts of food? It seems that any destination goes for the stalky not-very-easy- to- eat herb; BLT with rocket is wrong).

One victory for food sense is the Advertising Standards Authority finding last week that Pret a Manger has been misrepresenting the qualities of its bread. Shout out for the Real Bread Campaign who referred Pret to the ASA. Disappointing as at least Pret puts some half decent food out there in a few service stations, although given standards are so low that's not difficult. Their sandwich bread has always been obviously bad - pappy and processed, as are their pastries- but palatable salads. Hold on, I forgot about their execrable coffee. Anyway, if they've been called out for their bread maybe it will encourage them and others to improve, so maybe some comfort to be had there.

Day by day I am gradually feeling better and have even had a few outings; more on those next week.

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