Archive for February, 2010

The Dreaded “S” Word

Okay, so I hate to admit it and was in denial up until about yesterday morning when I could no longer deny it, I’m SICK.  I always get into this place of denial about it because I think something not so succinct, but basically, “I’m an Herbalist, I’m invincible, right?”  Yeah, well this seems like it should work in some sense, but no…  I’ve learned the hard way that, just because I know how to be healthy, doesn’t mean the health is going to absorb, like osmosis, through my cells.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that, just like everyone else, when I stress out, don’t get enough sleep, and ignore my own needs, I get sick.  Hmm, you’d think I’d have learned that lesson already.  Apparently, though, this is not a rare lesson to have repeatedly to learn in the Herbalist field, and actually probably one of the lessons that has created many Herbalists.

Today I had to make an executive decision to cancel a workshop I was supposed to teach this Saturday.  I really didn’t want to because I was worried I’d seem flaky.  However, my oh-so-wise elder Herbalist mentor pointed out that I wouldn’t be a very good example if I taught a class while sick, besides the fact that I probably wouldn’t teach very well and possibly pass on my germs.

My throat has been on fire for a couple of days and I’ve been on the verge of laryngitis.  I’m trying not to beat myself up, once again, for letting the lack of self-nurturing get so extreme that my body had to get sick to force me to rest and nurture.

I’ve also been wondering what the significance is of the illness being in my throat, because I’m like that.  There’s a great book by Louise Hay that’s on the top of my bookshelf, called “Heal Your Body A-Z: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Way to Overcome Them.”  In the book, Louise says that the probable cause of a sore throat is: “Holding in angry words.  Feeling unable to express the self.”  While I can definitely see some of that in myself recently, things are never that simple.  Of course, everything means something different to everyone.

Then again, maybe it’s more simple.  Maybe, since it’s hard and painful to talk, I need to be more quiet, more restful.  Considering that I’ve been working nonstop lately and getting ready to move, I think this would probably be great advice to give myself in hindsight.

When I was listening to the radio the other day, I heard a musician talking about getting the nodes removed from her vocal chords.  It was one of those strange, perfectly timed coincidences, serendipity or synchronicity.  She said the 2 weeks following the surgery were some of the best weeks of her life.  She realize how much of what we say on a daily basis is superfluous.  I feel that way, like a lot of times I talk just to talk, to fill space.

What’s in that space that we’re missing?  If I was quiet and just listened, what would I be able to hear?  Would I be able to hear what my body was telling me before it got sick?  Double hmmm……

So, though my throat hurts a lot, I’m enjoying the time to just be and listen, nurture myself.  Last night I felt like the most nurturing thing I could think of was a bowl of warm, creamy, spicy squash soup.  I was trying to figure out how to make it just drop from the sky.  When that seemed pretty improbable, I realized that it wouldn’t be that hard to make with, lo and behold, the leftover squash in the fridge.  Though the idea of putting out the effort to actually make it didn’t seem very appetizing,  the actual action was nurturing in the way it let me experience another one of my passions, cooking.  I love being able to combine 2 things I love: cooking and health.  One day I’ll write a cookbook of healing recipes, but for now you get all the benefit.

Leftover Squash Get Well Soup

2T  coconut oil &/or ghee

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1t curry powder

pinch ground cayenne (optional)

1t ground cardamom

3 carrots, diced

leftover roasted acorn or butternut squash removed from skin (seasoned with ginger and cinnamon)

1/3 can coconut milk

1c chicken or vegetable broth

2T miso

1t raw ginger, minced

2T maple syrup (or to taste)

salt and pepper

Warm oil in stock pot or sauce pan.  Add onions and saute on medium low for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and spices (except for ginger, salt, and pepper).  Saute for 1 minute.  Add carrots and saute until barely soft.  Add squash and saute just until warm to imbibe with the flavor of the spices.

Move everything to a food processor or blender and add the coconut milk and broth.  You may have to increase the amount of liquid depending on how much squash you have; mine was half of a small acorn squash.  Dissolve miso in 1/4c warm (not hot) water, while stirring.  Add to food processor with the ginger and syrup.  Blend until desired consistency; I like mine just a little chunky.  Move back to pan and heat just until warm; you never want to boil miso or coconut milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

This soup was so soothing and nurturing!  All of the ingredients are very nourishing.  I used the cardamom because I read in James Duke’s book, “The Green Pharmacy,” (which I also love) that it has a compound called cineole in it which is helpful for laryngitis.  The spices help to warm you up and move that pesky mucus.

Click on the book to go to Duke's fantastic site

Let me know what you think of the recipe and what you do to nurture yourself.  And, please, take it from me, nurture yourself now.


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