Saturday, February 5, 2011

Food For Trying Times

Though I wouldn't wish times like these upon you, most likely you've had them, and if you haven't, you will. I am talking about those moments when life appears in sharp focus as we deal with crises. Everything happens in slow motion as we, wide-eyed, become vigilant and strong.

Personally, we've had a tough week. Some of you may know my teenage son suffers from migraines. In addition to the health issue we are used to, on Thursday night my boy was beset with excruciating abdominal pain. He has been in the hospital ever since as the doctors work to determine the cause of his pain. My husband and I have been tag-teaming so that one of us can always be in our son's hospital room with him. It makes him feel better and also we would hate to miss a doctor's visit or a decision about pain management or diagnostic tests.

So as we go through this time of uncertainty, balance and health becomes very important. I am grateful, once again, that my vegan body speaks very clearly about what it needs for nourishment. This morning, as I was readying myself to relieve my husband at the hospital, I realized my usual morning coffee wasn't calling my name. I wanted something milder, more subtle and slightly sweet. I made myself a Yerba Matte with a splash of silk nog from Christmas (yes, it's still good!) The warm drink was delicious and calming. My nerves didn't need any help being on edge.

Before I left for the hospital, I knew I would need to pack a lunch for myself. There is NOTHING at the hospital for a vegan. So ironic -- My son can opt for low carb, low sugar, low fat, diabetic, gluten-free and more, but no vegan, no vegetarian. Here's an idea:  How 'bout cancer free, high blood pressure free, heart disease free?  In other words . . . vegan!  Yada yada, I could write another post on that topic. Back to my lunch today:

This is an enormous lavash bread (about 11"x14") spread with roasted red pepper hummus, a large handful of arugula, some leftover quinoa and a few slices of Follow Your Heart vegan mozzerella. I rolled it up, actually expertly (I was shocked) into a perfect big old honkin' burrito. I was in such a rush to get to the hospital that I forgot to take a photo of the assembled burrito, but trust me, it was a sight to behold. It was also quite delicious and sustaining. In the evening my daughter and I returned home for dinner, leaving my husband at the hospital, intending to return for a couple of hours before bedtime.

So, at home and in a rush once again, I did my version of vegan fast food:

This is my crispy collards, only 5 minutes from crisper to plate. I quickly wash, de-stem and chop about 10 large collard leaves, throw them in a pan over medium-high heat with olive oil and a small forkful of minced garlic from a jar. I keep it all moving with a couple of wooden spoons for about 2-3 minutes and it is finished. A tiny sprinkle of kosher sea salt finishes these veggies beautifully. With my crispy green-leafies I had:

An Amy's frozen bean and rice burrito, some more leftover quinoa and more "cheese" melted slightly over the top. This was quick and hearty healthy comfort food.

As it turned out, when we were hopping back into the car for the hospital, my husband called to tell me my son was finally asleep and so he was going to unfold his convertible chair they brought him and try to sleep himself. So it's time for me to cuddle up with my daughter and a chick flick, and then an early night so I can be back in my son's room bright and early.

My vantage point of having many years under my belt has afforded me the realization that "this too shall pass". Of course I still worry about my sweet boy, and the uncertainty is very unsettling. But staying strong, healthy and focused, myself, is one thing I can do to reduce the stress on the family. If you are so inclined, we could use some of your prayers, good vibes, angels, karma or whatever you've got. Thanks, and I'll keep you posted.


  1. i'm so sorry to hear about your son. at 23, i am just beginning to have the thoughts of "this too, shall pass." it's still difficult and so i offer my thoughts to you and your family--having each other is a blessing in itself. :)

    hang in there.

    also, i'm surprised the hospital does not have any vegan options. my dad was in ICU for a bit and i was happy to see they had some nice options on the menu. one day i hope!

  2. Oh Cheryl, I am so sorry your boy is suffering!
    I will send you positive thoughts and prayers.
    Of course your food looks great and I hope you were able to rest. I truly hope they find out what is causing these ailments. You are right, for being a hosptial, they have no clue about true health food.

  3. I'm so very sorry Cheryl. My best friend's 16 year old daughter has regular migraines. She recently had a migraine for days, throwing up, abdominal pain etc. She was in and out of the emergency room 2 times, and they just sent her home with a migraine pill that did not work. Then she had a seizure. She went back in, and it took them 2 days to final figure out she had viral meningitis. So, I tell you this story because I want you to have him tested for that.
    I lived in Alpharetta from 1995-1997. Wish I was there right now to give you a big hug!

  4. Oh Cheryl! I am so sorry to hear about all you have been going through! Please know we are keeping you all (especially your sweet, sweet son who I am praying for now by name...omitted here!) in our thoughts and prayers.

    How wondrous your body's instincts...that lavach bread dish looks AMAZING!

    Please keep us updated, Sweet Lady.

  5. Yikes, how scary! :( I hope he's resting comfortably and can come home soon. In the meantime, I'm glad you're taking good care of yourself. Sending good thoughts and warm fuzzies your way!

  6. Ladies -- I'm so grateful for your good wishes, prayers and vibes. Thanks so much. Will update on the next post.