Keep Your Head Up
Growing up, my parents were the definition of hard workers. At just twenty nine years old the two bought an old- practically abandoned- stone house with hopes of morphing it into their dream home. Over the course of several months, my dad drove to the home after work to make it livable. He spent nights sleeping on the dusty floors and I know, put his literal sweat and blood into each hammered nail, tiled floor and support beam. Even after moving in, almost thirty years later, they are continuously updating rooms and taking time after work to translate their visions into realities. Not only in their home life, but in their work life as well, my parents illustrated a picture of what it is like to be hard workers.
With hard work comes tough love. My siblings and I spent countless hours outdoors and learned to pick ourselves up when we fell down. My aunt always recalls stories of us kids getting hurt. She would see one of us fall, or drop something onto our toes, and rather than screaming we would brush off the injuries. She would tell my mom “wow, your kids have high pain tolerances next to mine”. One story she loves is that of my sister, who was vomiting with the flu. While fussing over her, my then seven or eight year sister turned to her and said “Oh aunt Conny, just give me a bucket and I’ll be fine”.
The moral of these stories? I was raised to be strong and work hard. Upon awaking this morning at 5:55am for my twelve hour work day, I tried to keep that in mind. I felt weak, and my shaking body was burning up. Immediately after putting my scrubs on the for the day, I wanted to remove them as they were sticking to my body with sweat. As I continued getting ready for the day, I kept telling myself I was fine. At one point I called in to the hospital and hung up on them. (This may sound dramatic, but it truly did transpire). Finally, I was weakly walking to my bedroom- feeling like I needed to emerge myself into the snow outdoors in order to cool down- and realized that it wasn’t worth it. I thought of the cancer patient that I had yesterday- the one whose immune system has been eradicated. If I had the flu and got someone sick all because I was “sucking it up”, it was not worth it. So today I spent almost my entire day between the bed and couch, resting.
Breakfast in Bed
Not knowing if I had been struck down by the flu, I wasn’t certain if I would be able to stomach any breakfast. Luckily last night, I made some n’oatmeal, as I didn’t have ingredients for something more eccentric. This time I followed the flax seed, egg white and almond milk recipe, taking a twist on it. Rather than adding a mashed up banana with zucchini, I grated up carrots and mixed them with almond butter and unsweetened apple sauce. I then added half a chopped up apple, cinnamon and some walnuts to complete my Apple-Cinnamon take on the recipe. Overall, I enjoyed the minimal sweetness of the bowl, not to mention it did not make me sick eating it!! I did eat it in bed, where I remained until early afternoon. By then my “night sweats” had ended, and I simply felt weak and achy.
Romaine Lettuce Recall
While lying in bed, I chatted with my sister Maris on the phone-as I often do. In case you need a refresher, she is the one currently experimenting with a vegan diet. Lately, we send one another photos of our creations and stories of our failures (such as Maris cutting her finger on a can of chickpeas and ending up with three stitches). I had mentioned to her that I wasn’t feeling well and was glad I had meal prepped some food to take to work. “You know that romaine lettuce has a giant recall because of e coli right???”, was her response when I told her I had made a couple of salads. Apparently I would benefit from reading the news more regularly because I HAD NO IDEA. She sent me articles of the outbreak- over fifty present cases in Canada- all relate able back to romaine lettuce as the suspected culprit.
So feeling under the weather, I trashed my romaine lettuce and ventured out to get new greens. I refused to let this sick day interfere with my thirty days of consuming whole foods.
Knowing at this point that I did not have the stomach flu, I ate a salad of chicken, roasted sweet potatoes/ vegetables, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts and an avocado dressing. While it tasted wonderful, I longed for soup or a bowl of cereal with warm milk. When I am feeling unwell, those are my comfort foods. Unfortunately, I did not have the strength, ambition or ingredients to whip up a soup and cereal is off the menu for the next twenty three days.
What Do You Do With Pork?
Last night, I decided to attempt making Whole30 pulled pork. I figured it is simple to throw in the crockpot and generate a few meals worth of food. Using a Pinterest recipe- surprise, surprise- I threw all of the ingredients in the crockpot. Unfortunately, I tested the sauce and lost all excitement for my pork. It tasted like olive oil, with little flavour. That was 100% my fault, having substituted water for chicken broth as I had none. With lacking the flavour that chicken broth would have elicited, I was at a loss of what to do. Onions were my first solution, but naturally I had none. Do you see the pattern here? (I tend to never have any ingredients that recipes call for). Rooting through my cupboard, I came across apple cider vinegar and decided to take an apple twist on this. Adding three tablespoons of this vinegar, I then added 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce and half a sliced apple. I then shredded carrots into the mix because it’s Whole30 and I need my vegetables right?
When on the phone with Maris, I asked her what I was supposed to pair with applesauce pulled pork. One of her suggestions was to make portobello mushroom buns and eat them as sliders. I had always wanted to try that, knowing that I love mushrooms and tire of eating my burgers or sandwiches between pieces of lettuce. So I brushed each mushroom with olive oil and baked them for fifteen minutes on each side at 375 degrees. Perhaps I could have benefited from drying them off better prior to cooking, as they were quite juicy. Overall though, I was very satisfied!!