Hello! I’m back after a two-week hiatus from blogging, and I have to say I’ve missed it! Almost two weeks ago, I had an unexpected surgery to remove my infected appendix, so I’ve spent the last ten days focusing on recovery.
If you’ve been following my blog for long, you know that my passion is health, nutrition, and taking care of my body. Ever since I had a rough bout with my health about 10 years ago, it has been my quest to build my body up strong. I am a doer – I like to get stuff done. I also have countless interests to pursue, and my list of round-to-its keeps getting longer. So feeling good and healthy is a necessity for me! And one that has developed into a passion for healthy food, recipes, and practices that nourish my body.
Even though all of this sounds like a very positive thing – and I think it still is – I also realize now that it had led (without me being aware) to the feeling that I can control my life, my health, my body. When my body was sick years ago, I had no control, and it stunk. So the more effort I put into my diet and taking care of myself, the more control I felt I had.
Well, how wrong was I! On Tuesday, May 7th I did not feel good. I just lacked energy in general. When I think back, my energy level had been lagging for about 2 weeks. Those close to me remember me complaining about being tired. So what did I do? Assuming my seasonal allergies were causing inflammation, I focused on what I put into my body.
But by the evening of May 7th, I hurt. I had a constant pain in my right lower abdomen. Thinking it was a cyst on an ovary, which I’ve had before, I took an Advil and went to bed. I tossed and turned until about 12am. The pain was pretty terrible at this point, so after a couple of hours of gritting my teeth, I told Rob I needed to go to the ER. I had the feeling that something needed to come out of my body – a cyst, my appendix – who knows, but something.
After receiving pain and nausea medicines through an IV and having a CT scan of my entire abdomen and pelvis, I was sent home with the conclusion that I must have a terrible stomach virus coming on. I curled up in the fetal position on my couch until about 8:30 when the ER doctor called back. Apparently, when they double checked my CT scan, the second doctor found a little stone blocking the opening of my appendix. So back to the ER I went for more tests. By 4pm, the conclusion was I needed my appendix removed. I had a laproscopic operation (my first surgery ever!) to rid my body of my badly infected appendix.
Due to the nature of infection in an appendix, I was required to have IV antibiotics and follow up at home with 2000mg of two different strong antibiotics (8 pills a day!) for 10 days. Yuck. Have I mentioned how much I hate antibiotics? My body is allergic to 3 common groups of antibiotics – penicillin, sulfa, and quinolones – so it’s clear that I just don’t like them. I credit them (along with my gluten and sugar filled, nutritionally lacking diet) with sending my gut into a tailspin 10 years ago. I believe the gut is the foundation of good health, and I was currently completely wrecking mine and all the work I’d put into building it back up over the years.
Hospitals are a great place to pray. I prayed. The smart part of my brain knew just how life saving these antibiotics were to me. The controlling part of my brain was just plain ticked off. Why was my body sick again? I’m so good to my body!!
Back to my prayer. God, I know you have a plan in EVERYTHING. And I trust you. I sat next to a woman on a plane to Albuquerque for a girls getaway about a year ago. This was probably at the height of my “anti-medicine, I can control everything” moment. She struggled to have children because of a health condition, and she has to be on a strong medicine for the duration of all of her pregnancies. She was on her way to a conference where a holistic doctor was the featured speaker. At a previous event, she had the chance to personally talk to this holistic doctor, and she asked the one question she was troubled by – is it okay that I am taking this medicine while pregnant because I do not want to harm my baby. The doctor gave her this advice “Every day before you take that pill, hold it in your fingers and thank God for this medicine that has allowed you to live a healthy life and be the vessel that brings this new life into the world.”
I’ve never forgotten that story. So, I looked up at the two antibiotics dripping into my veins, and I thanked Him for those medicines.
As of yesterday, I am off the antibiotics and now I begin the quest to heal my gut. I actually began this project while taking the medicines. I took three maximum strength probiotics each day, two hours after each dose of antibiotics. I’m happy to say, by the grace of God (because I can’t control anything, remember?!), that I made it through without stomach upset, yeast infections, or diarrhea.
For my first recipe blog post back in the saddle, I chose to re-post. Creamy asparagus soup was the first thing I craved while recovering. My sweet mom (thank you Mom!) did what moms do – she got on a plane the day of my surgery – so she was here to help me, starting by making me this soup. I had so much fluid in my abdomen and all over (I felt like a football player!), so the asparagus helped take a little of that off. Plus, one of the antibiotics changed my taste buds and left me with a horrible taste in my mouth. The tangy taste of this soup was the only food that sounded good to me.
Good thing it is one of the simplest to make. Start by soaking raw cashews in a little almond or coconut milk in the large Vitamix container.
Second, zest a lemon and add the zest plus the juice to the Vitamix. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Next, cut the asparagus and the onion into one inch pieces, and peel two garlic cloves. Place the asparagus, onion, and garlic in a medium saucepan and add four cups of organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegan soup). Let it simmer for about an hour.
Last, add the broth with cooked veggies to the Vitamix, and blend on high for about a minute. Before turning on the Vitamix, cover the lid with a towel to avoid injury. Serve immediately or chill before serving for a cold option.
creamy asparagus soup
Recipe type: appetizer, soup
Serves: 2 – 4
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup almond or coconut milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small purple onion, cut into pieces
4 cups organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegan soup)
2 cloves garlic
In the Vitamix or other blender, combine the cashews, almond or coconut milk, olive oil, zest and juice from a lemon, sea salt, and pepper. Do not blend, but instead let the cashews soak in the mixture.
In a saucepan, combine the broth, asparagus, onion, and garlic cloves.
Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.
Carefully pour the contents of the saucepan into the blender.
After putting the top on the blender, place a towel over the top to avoid injury.
Blend all the ingredients until creamy, at least 1 minute.