So, What Happened?

What happened? How was Thanksgiving? How did my terrific organic vegetarian-, pescatarian-, and GAPS-friendly plan turn out? Did I rock the holiday table?

Here’s what happened Thanksgiving week.

Sunday afternoon, and again on Monday, my mother and I went shopping. Dried cranberries sweetened only with apple juice. Bunches of kale. Hazelnuts. Farm eggs. A bag of almost-ripe avocados. Fresh rosemary, and sage. Everything the menu required, we had. Except for the fish. The fish we were to purchase Wednesday.

Monday evening, three days before Thanksgiving, my brother Rudy and his friend arrived from California. Adrian and I stayed home while my parents retrieved the new guests at JFK. I fed and bathed Martin, got him to bed, missed the last step coming downstairs, and stubbed my big toe, hard. (That will become relevant. Really.) With Martin asleep, we adults sat down to a nice dinner.

By the time dinner ended, my toe had swollen and bruised, and I could hardly move it, so I took some ibuprofen. Other than the toe, I felt fine when I went to bed at 10:30 pm.

Around 1:00 am I woke, perceiving that something was terribly wrong but unsure what. My toe throbbed, a pain that radiated to my knee, and I felt as if my body were empty, without muscle or energy. I hobbled from bed to the bathroom and lay on the tile floor, bewildered. I didn’t need the bathroom. It just seemed like I belonged there. I don’t know whether I fell asleep, or whether minutes passed, or more. The next time I came to my senses, I was shaking. I crawled several feet and collapsed onto the shower mat, thinking it would keep me warm. When the shaking turned to convulsing, I realized I needed help.

This is a blog about Martin’s health, not mine, so I’m going to fast-forward past the dreadful rest of Monday night and Tuesday morning, and the circumstances that had me sent from a doctor’s office to the hospital Tuesday afternoon, and leave it suffice to say: Thank God my mother was visiting. Without her, Martin might’ve gone unkempt and unfed, and who knows what would’ve become of me? Some virus took hold and wrung me good: fevers, dehydration, dangerously low potassium. Doctors and nurses prodded and monitored me all night Tuesday, then released me from the hospital early Wednesday, after I had stabilized.

By Wednesday evening, the night before Thanksgiving, I was able to get out of bed. But I wasn’t going to be doing any cooking.

The elaborate menu of three breads, two entrées, four side dishes, and three desserts fell entirely upon the shoulders of my long-suffering mother, ably assisted by my stepfather. And what do you know? Despite doing her simultaneous best to take care of me, to feed my husband and stepfather and brother and friend, and to amuse Martin, she managed to prepare everything other than the pumpkin poppers and raw kale salad. To be sure, there were minor snafus. Instead of fresh fish, she prepared Vital Choice salmon from my basement freezer. The zucchini bread turned into zucchini muffins. The cauliflower, when mashed, produced about one-half the expected volume. Still! Hey! Thanksgiving dinner for everyone! (Everyone except me. I still wasn’t up to eating.) Martin particularly loved the zucchini muffins. He’s been eating them for breakfast ever since.

I am going to say that I felt pretty darn thankful. Thankful that if I had to get sick, at least I had my mother in the house. Thankful that everyone arrived safely. Thankful for a meal we all could eat together. Thankful that Martin conversed fluidly with the guests, that he’s doing so well.

Thankful that, along with the CAT scan and ultrasound, the hospital took the time to x-ray my big toe. It was bruised but not broken.

Bruised but never broken. That’s us.

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Let Us All Gather at the Table. How?

Sorry to be posting so much about food lately. Recipes. GAPS. Quinoa. Goldfish. Goldfish. Food and diet are what people ask me about the most. And now Thanksgiving is here, hands-down my favorite holiday. Like we did last year—since we have a house in the suburbs, we might as well use it for something—Adrian and I are hosting Thanksgiving in our home. At the table, along with me and Adrian and Martin, will be my mother, my stepfather, my brother Rudy, and a friend of Rudy.

The dietary breakdown—

Rudy’s friend: eats all foods.

Adrian and my parents: pescatarians, i.e., eat dairy, eggs, and fish, but no fowl or red meat.

Rudy and I: vegans, i.e., avoid all animal products, including eggs and dairy.

Martin: GAPS and casein-free, i.e., eats fish, meat, and eggs, but no dairy, grains (except for a smidgen of quinoa), refined sugar, or starchy foods like yams or potatoes.

Also, Rudy is allergic to most tree nuts. He can eat almonds and hazelnuts.

Try menu planning for this crowd. Go on, try! After much contemplation, I have decided that I will, for Thanksgiving, eat recipes that contain eggs. Rudy has agreed to do the same. With that, I think I have come up with a decent, if non-traditional, menu. Some of the recipes came from The Heal Your Gut Cookbook. Others I found on-line, on “paleo” or “no grain” websites, and modified the ingredients as necessary. The lentil-nut loaf calls for a special shout-out to The Simple Veganista and Oh She Glows. Finally, a couple recipes (mashed cauliflower and roast Brussels sprouts) are favorite old creations of mine.

My aim was to ensure (1) that everyone was happy and satisfied, and (2) that Martin could partake in every food on the table. Without further ado, here are the dishes I plan to serve, with ingredients:

Breads

almond flour zucchini bread

ingredients: almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, eggs, honey, banana, shredded zucchini.

coconut butter bread

ingredients: coconut butter, eggs, coconut oil, sea salt, baking soda.

pumpkin poppers (mini-muffins)

ingredients: coconut flour, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, eggs, cooked pumpkin, cooked carrots, coconut oil, honey, vanilla.

Main Courses

fish (for the non-vegans)

ingredients: not yet known; what fish I buy, and how we prepare it, will depend on which Martin-safe(r) fish is freshest and available.

lentil-hazelnut loaf (for the vegans, and anyone else who wants some)

ingredients: brown lentils, vegetable broth (I make my own), flax meal, olive oil, fresh garlic, onion, red bell pepper, carrot, celery, gluten-free oats (not GAPS-compliant, so I may look for a substitute), hazelnut meal, thyme, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Side Dishes

quinoa stuffing

ingredients: quinoa, squash, onion, celery, bay leave, fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh sage, apple, raisins or dried cranberries, chopped toasted hazelnuts, apple cider vinegar, fresh parsley, cumin, olive oil.

garlic mashed cauliflower

ingredients: cauliflower, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic.

raw kale salad

ingredients: curly kale, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds, red onion, avocado, salt and pepper.

roast Brussels sprouts

ingredients: Brussels sprouts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic.

Desserts

carrot cake with vanilla ice cream

ingredients: coconut manna, honey, carrots, cinnamon, shredded coconut, sea salt, baking soda, vanilla, eggs

ice cream: Raw Ice Cream (this has some raw agave and so does not comply entirely with GAPS; also, Rudy can’t eat it because it contains cashews).

chocolate pudding pie

crust ingredients: hazelnut meal, salt, baking soda, palm-coconut shortening, honey, vanilla

filling ingredients: avocado, honey, cocoa, apple cider vinegar.

Yes. I am going to try to prepare that menu. My mother and stepfather have already arrived from Texas, so I will get help from them. Still, if by chance I fail to blog any day next week, you will know why. When I ran the menu by Adrian, three nights ago, he said, “That sounds fantastic! You know what I think?”

“What?”

“I think if you’re going to pull that off, you’d better start cooking now.”