The brutally honest story of how I basically poisoned myself doing homestead chores, and a simple recipe for when you have to eat, but just can’t bear the thought of cooking.
I rarely get sick. I have a pretty darned good immune system. I attribute that to the fact that for years I have avoided most processed foods and have stuck to the philosophy of “Factories don’t make food.” If it was food a hundred years ago, it is food today. If it isn’t picked, harvested or butchered, it likely isn’t food.
On the very rare occasion that I do come down with something, it is usually short-lived. I treat everything naturally with foods, herbs or supplements. The only exception of course being when I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When every herbal & natural remedy book or website you read says, “Go to the hospital…see your doctor immediately” you do. I’ve even treated kidney stones by following natural remedy guides from my herbal books. (See some of my favorite natural/herbal health books HERE.)
But sometimes there are things that no matter what you do, you can’t help but succumb to.
That’s where the ducks come in.
Every morning, I get up and do morning chores. Afterwards, I come in and wash up. If I happened to pull my phone out of my pocket while I am out there, to take a picture or answer a call, I clean it too. When you have livestock, but in particular poultry – chickens, ducks, etc. – you have to be especially careful.
Salmonella and E. coli being the two most common reasons for caution. It doesn’t matter how clean your coop is or how pristine everything looks. There is bacteria out there. That’s why I wash my eggs before giving them to customers, or using them myself. Just because the egg looks clean, doesn’t mean that it is. Bacteria is microscopic.
Then this happened.
I was out there one morning, doing my usual chores. Chit-chatting with the ducks as I always do. We’d been getting a ton of storms (thank you Alberto) so the poultry yard was a mess. Mud and poop and everything else. Just awful. Well, when I do the water pans, I always spray them out first before filling them with fresh water. But this morning, something dreadful happened.
As I sprayed out the nasty, yucky pan in the nasty, yucky poultry yard…water shot up and hit me in the face. Dirty water. As I was talking to the ducks. My immediate thought was, “Oh no, I hope none of that just got in my mouth!”
Well, sure enough, my worst nightmare.
A couple days later, I started getting sick. At first, I thought I might have been exposed to one of my two food allergens, pineapple or cashews, because the symptoms started out similarly. But it didn’t take long to figure out that that wasn’t the case. Normally when I am accidentally exposed to one of them, the morning after is the worst, and around midday I gradually start to get better. After about 36 hours at the longest, I am back to normal.
In this case, my symptoms were getting worse. Here’s where the story becomes brutally honest. After two days, my symptoms were unbearable. I had to run to the bathroom over 30 times in a 6 hour period alone. Unfortunately that 6 hour period occurred between 9 pm and 3 am. Meaning, I got NO SLEEP. No sleep and I had to be somewhere at 7 am the next day. I was working a table at the Farmer’s Market and couldn’t back out. Mr. Smith actually came with me so he could watch the table in case I had to dash to the bathroom. Miraculously, I didn’t the entire morning. I’d hoped I was over the worst of it, but I still had a long way to go.
The next day brought 134 bathroom trips!!!
In the middle of the night, since I wasn’t getting any sleep anyways, I had gotten online and did some homework about salmonella and E. coli. Turns out their symptoms are almost identical, and basically have the same treatment. Stay hydrated and wait it out. Oh, and it’ll take a week to feel better, and could be a month before everything is back to normal.
Have I mentioned I was also about to go on a trip?
Guess who won’t be talking to the ducks anymore while cleaning water pans?
I continued to take fluids and tried to eat here and there, but it was difficult. I had no energy and the thought of eating really wasn’t that appealing. So I made a very simple soup. This soup only makes 2 or 3 servings, so it is perfect for one person who is under the weather.
It requires very little prep, and if you take note of the tips, you won’t even have to mince anything.
The soup utilizes three key ingredients:
- Garlic (anti bacterial and anti-viral)
- Ginger (settles stomachs)
- Turmeric (anti-inflammatory and helps your body use antioxidants more effectively)
- 4 cups chicken stock, organic preferred
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 dash white pepper
- 1 dash turmeric
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (see note below)
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger, or 1/4 tsp powdered ginger (See note below)
- 1/3 c uncooked white rice, jasmine or calrose - whichever you prefer
- In a saucepan, combine everything except the rice. Bring it to a boil.
- Pour in the rice, and stir.
- Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- That's it.
- Because this soup has no big chunks, you can ladle it into a mug and sip on it if you like.
Just a quick tip, I keep garlic paste on hand. It is an easy short cut for any recipe, but especially for a recipe like this. One teaspoon of garlic paste is equivalent to about one clove. No peeling or mincing needed. I use a couple of brands, including Gourmet Garden (found in the refrigerated cases in the produce section of the store) or Amore which I find in the Italian foods area.
I also keep the Gourmet Garden ginger on hand. Substitute equal amounts for freshly grated ginger.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 1269mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 15g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.
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UPDATE: Over the course of the illness, I did end up going and getting medical treatment. The lab work came back showing that it was neither E coli nor salmonella, but instead it was giardia. Sadly it too, is a “wait it out” sort of illness because most meds have little to no benefit. I was put on an antibiotic but saw no improvement at all until well after I had completed the course. After nearly a month, I am now finally almost back to normal, with one exception. People who contract giardiasis have a very common complication – lactose intolerance. For some people, it can even be permanent! I am praying that is not so in my case. But otherwise, I am finally “well” and my energy is back.