Pumpkins, Goats and how a Kiwi almost killed me!

Dear All, my apologies for my lengthy absence, I had a severe anaphylactic reaction to a tropical smoothie followed shortly by a serious asthma attack  about 7 weeks ago and had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance. I am recovering still though I can’t get rid of the chest infection I picked up during my stay in hospital. I am so glad to be alive and would just like to thank everyone who took such good care of me, from my GP&her team, the paramedics, the trauma team, the surgeons, my immunologist and my respiratory consultant, the medical team on duty, the nurses [particularly the night nurse] and not forgetting the lovely dinner lady who was so kind to me. I would like of course to thank my family and friends.

It was a close call, the closest its been in over twenty years and I am astonishingly lucky to be alive. I have had to change my diet and lifestyle quite drastically while I am having tests done to see what I am and am not allergic to, but hopefully by christmas I will have a clearer picture of where I am set. So today’s post is about my journey of discovery.

Some observations that might be helpful:

If you do have to go into hospital or stay there a while, have a friend bring you some tea tree oil to keep superbugs at bay.

Be very careful when eating hospital food, don’t assume that what they give you, you have to eat, specific dietary requirements can be catered for.

If you have problems with pollen, ask your friends not to send you flowers. If you do get strong scented flowers, place them as far away as possible or give them to another patient.

If you are lucky enough as I was to get a bed by a window, make sure to open it a little during the day to blow away germs.

Don’t forget to keep using the sanitizing gel dispensers and have your visitors do the same.

You are your own best guide to your health, you know your body. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, its your life.

New Lifestyle

So I am going back to the diet of my childhood, Oats for breakfast, homemade barley or asparagus soup for lunch and either potatoes or rice for dinner. I now drink a mug of warm goats milk every night before bed[I’m lactose intolerant]which I find very comforting and which is my main source of calcium or if I’m feeling very under the weather,I might have a glass of my Elderberry tonic wine heated up to bring out the goodness. I am having a lot of mineral rich veg like parsnips, carrots, turnip, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato. Strangely enough, I seem to have gone off red wine but still enjoy a little glass of white at the weekends. I am trying to increase the amount of water [filtered of course] I drink.

I have discovered something remarkable, that if I listen to my instincts and to my first gut reaction to a food, I can become my own best guardian of my health. I have always had a strong aversion to kiwi’s and other fruits like grapefruit or melon and had never tried any until 7 weeks ago when I had that almost fatal mix of tropical fruits in a smoothie. The whole time, I was drinking it, I was utterly revolted by it but in an endeavour to ‘be more healthly’, I forced it down my throat! Learn from my mistake, listen to your instincts, your body does know whats best for you.

The experience has changed me on so many levels, on the physical, part of my hair turned SNOW WHITE about a week after [time for the henna!], I find I cannot tolerate the cold anymore, I tire easily and of course I can’t get rid of this cough I picked up in hospital. So if you find yourself recovering from an illness, there can some things you can do to help yourself recover faster.

  • Do stick to simple warm nourishing foods [particularly in winter]like pumpkin soup.I made some yesterday and am quite delighted with it. My recipe makes a lot but you can freeze the extra, which makes for a perfect quick ready-made meal with wholemeal brown bread and seeds to top.
  • Try to make meals from scratch,avoid eating out more than once a week
  • Sleep – if you have an electric blanket, try doing without it for a month and use hot water bottles and extra blankets instead, as apparently the electric fields generated can disrupt your body’s natural healing process while you sleep. This is what I am doing, I do miss it sometimes but I am sleeping a lot better.
  • Try not to eat much dairy or alcohol until you are fully recovered.
  • Take time out to relax, the less stressed you are, the faster you will recover

Other News

Samhain

I celebrated Halloween or Samhain as it is called here in Ireland with a simple dinner with a strong accent on turnips and seasonal foods. I had great fun carving out a massive pumpkin to decorate the table [ I froze most of the pumpkin flesh and some seeds, while I made pumpkin soup from the rest and roasted the seeds]. I also made gingerbread cookies in the shape of bats and ghosts. After watching a scary movie [obligatory of course in lieu of storytelling]just after midnight, I put out the traditional saucer of food for the spirits.

Foraging

I have been doing a little foraging, not as much as last year of course and have collected enough blackberries to try making Blackberry Wine. I also collected wild hazelnuts which I will be making into my own organic hazelnut truffles for christmas. I hope to collect some sloe berries at the weekends, there is very little this year, perhaps indicating a mild winter ahead. Very few hawthorn berries also, although Rowan is quite profuse. I of course am gathering fallen pine cones where-ever I find them as they are wonderful for starting fires or for – and turning into christmas decorations.

Christmas

I have started preparing for christmas and have made two porter cakes so far and intend to make a traditional christmas cake this weekend with marzipan and icing. I plan to make mini-christmas puddings this year[less heavy and not so daunting after a heavy meal] and am looking into alternative lighter but still festive desserts for christmas day like cranberry parfait or Port Jelly. Photos to follow of the results!

Recipes

Pumpkin Soup:

Ingredients: Large bowl of cleaned pumpkin flesh,salt,brown sugar pepper, ginger, coriander, 1 small onion, 1 medium carrot, 2 sticks of celery, vegetable stock, a little water, 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Optional cream.

Fry the spices until piping hot, add the chopped veg. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. then add the stock and simmer for another 15 minutes until the veg is softish. Once the mix has cooled, liquidise in a blender. Add a little sugar to taste and reheat. Serve piping hot with a swirl of cream or a dash of seeds. enjoy!

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