They say that for something to become a tradition, one needs to only do something twice. Well, that’s what my Aggie husband says, at least. I think. Heck, I’m going with it. Anyway, it seems we have created a rather unfortunate tradition of our entire family catching the same stomach bug/food poisoning/bubonic plague after at least one of our group gatherings, and this year was no exception. Nothing can prepare you for taking care of a baby, who obviously didn’t receive the “sick day” memo, while feeling more than under the weather. The only thing worse than trying to take care of said baby is when Mom and Dad are both suffering and are unable to temporarily hand off the duties of parenthood for a little R&R. Our day involved taking turns lying on the ground around Baby Boy’s play-mat groaning baby talk to him and forcing smiles at him through our nausea. We managed to survive our first guerrilla warfare of a stomach bug while keeping Baby Boy happy and alive, but not without the help of Grandma who came to save the day.
Now, amidst this illness, Husband and I were determined to stick to our Whole 30 Challenge that we started at the beginning of June. It wasn’t too hard at first since food was the last thing on our minds, but once we braved the thought of wanting to nibble on something, the nostalgia of Mom’s chicken noodle soup, broth, grilled cheese sandwiches, saltines, 7-UP, and Ginger Ale on sick days came flooding into our brains.
If you haven’t heard of Whole 30, it is a 30 day elimination diet challenge in which certain food groups that are common irritants are avoided and then slowly reintroduced to determine if, perhaps, something in your diet is causing inflammation, weight retention, pain, etc. The foods that are omitted are common food sensitivity triggers such as grains, glutens, corn, beans, legumes, dairy, sugar, refined oils, etc. There is a great book (“It Starts with Food”) that explains why certain foods can cause the aforementioned symptoms and how hormones are really what dictate your current weight status. The book is an easy read and a good option for anyone who is beginning or wants to begin a journey into a healthier lifestyle.
I have had several of my clients with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, etc., try out this challenge with tremendous results. Not only were symptoms reduced, some of my patients were able to decrease and, in one case, eliminate medications they have been on for years. Changing their diet was the key to managing their ailments.This makes total sense! Diseases aren’t caused by medication deficiency, they’re caused by something going array with our biology, our genetics, our cells, our bodies. All of these functions are dependent on nutrients and all of these nutrients are derived from food. To truly treat oneself, improving the quality of what you eat is absolutely necessary.
Husband and I pretty much follow a Whole 30ish diet to begin with, with the exception of our tortilla chip addiction, so opening up our fridge and seeing nothing but greens, vegetables, fruit, leftover ground beef, water, and the chicken liver pate (yuck!) Husband made earlier in the week was almost enough to resume our nauseated state. Reminiscing about the foods that Mom used to give us when we had a stomach bug, like saltines, Ginger Ale, and chicken broth, was enough to make Husband muster up the courage to brave the grocery store. (Which, thankfully, is practically adjacent to our apartment!). Being that I am gluten sensitive, saltines and any other cracker were out. The popular ginger ale brands don’t even have ginger in the ingredients (Seriously, it’s: water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate, “natural flavors”, and caramel color). Store bought chicken broth is a concoction of MSG, salt, MSG, and more salt. This does not add up to a very effective health remedy in my book!
So, what were we left to do? Thankfully, we had some bone broth we had made in bulk earlier in the week stored in the freezer. (Bone broth has so many magical healing powers that I promise I’ll devote an entire blog post to it!). We wanted the anti-nausea effects of ginger without the chemicals and corn syrup found in canned ginger ale, so ginger kombucha it was! (Kombucha is a fermented tea that has beneficial bacteria in it that promotes good, healthy gut flora.). And, while they’re not the healthiest food in the world, plantain chips to get us through the day with a little “bulk” in our bellies. Plantains are a good source of resistant starch that actually helps to replenish and feed our good gut bacteria, which is always welcome when battling a stomach bug. (I’m sure these plantain chips have a little less resistant starch since they’re cooked to death, but hey, whatever works!)
There you go, our new Fennell Family Sick Day Toolbox. Hopefully you won’t need it anytime soon, but just in case, no excuses!