The only sound I could make, other than some rather unpleasant rumblings from my convulsing tummy, resembled that of Lurch from The Adams Family. You know, that long, deep monotone, guttural sound somewhere between a groan and a moan. I’d awoken with a start from a deep slumber to make a mad dash for the loo at 5AM with intense stomach cramps, nausea, the trots, chills, fever, and aching all over. Daisy helped blaze a trail with me – her big brown concerned eyes never letting me out of her sight. She’s a good nurse dog and I was quite grateful. Food poisoning has a way of making you feel like a frightened five year again – I wanted my mommy to hold my hand. Her paw was the next best thing.

Dog nurse of the year, Daisy

Dog nurse of the year, Daisy

As I lay spent in my bed, still in the grips of the nausea (a sensation I detest more than any) with an overall malaise that persisted after my body had been completely emptied, I couldn’t help thinking of the first vacation in Ibiza that the ex and I took decades ago. Nick, his manager Michael Berrow, and Monique St.Pierre all ordered oysters at dinner, then teased me over how they’d be feeling frisky and I wouldn’t. I had the last laugh when they were all kissing the porcelain throne for the remainder of the trip. I might have been more empathetic had I known just how dreadful food poisoning actually feels!

Mr.-Mrs.-Rhodes-in-Rhodes copy

Now I have a little more empathy, Nick

So, what does one do when stricken with food poisoning? It’s vitally important to rehydrate, but in a couple small sips every half hour. Your body has most likely lost serious amounts of fluids and electrolytes. Most of us consume at least one liter of fluid a day, and get another liter from the food we eat. Since the stomach has stopped working and you won’t be eating, you need to get at least two liters of fluid back into your system. Stick to water and clear liquids (no dairy or caffeine).

Not that food would appeal in the slightest, but don’t eat for at least three hours after the last time you were sick. The stomach shuts down after being violently ill and stops contracting to digest food, so it will make you vomit. When you do start eating again, stick to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) for a day or two. These foods are easy to digest, binding, and the bananas are high in potassium which helps replace those lost nutrients. As you start to feel better you can start adding other bland foods back in, but steer clear of  dairy, fatty, or sugary foods for a few days at least. I guess the upside is I got a head start on that diet I’ve been planning to do.

A sickie selfie with Daisy

A sickie selfie with Daisy

I can’t thank my friend Norel enough for making a mercy trip to the pharmacy to pick up some anti-nausea medicine my doctor had called in for me, Tylenol for the fever and aches (aspirin or ibuprofen can irritate your stomach lining), and some Gatorade to help replace my electrolytes. I started feeling much better that evening, but rest is important too. Even after a lot of sleep, lounging in bed watching both seasons of Orange Is the New Black, drinking the recommended fluids, and eating only rice and bananas all weekend my stomach was still queasy on Monday morning.

Food poisoning is serious and can be life-threatening, so if you vomit for more than 24 hours, or diarrhea persists longer than 48 hours, or you have symptoms of extreme dehydration you should consult your doctor, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room. FYI, pregnant women, people with diabetes, and children can get dehydrated much quicker.

Dinner with a friend before turning into Lurch

Dinner with a friend before turning into Lurch

There are many different causes and forms of food borne illnesses. Mine came on after a meal I had at a local restaurant on Friday night, but if you think yours might have come from canned goods, or you experience double vision, trouble swallowing, breathing or muscle weakness you may be suffering from botulism and should get medical help immediately.

As a public health safety measure, you should also report the illness, so they can identify and track food borne illnesses. Trust me, once you experience how hellish the symptoms of food poisoning can be, you won’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate. Be prepared for a little bureaucracy – it took seven calls before I reached the correct department.  Meanwhile, I’m going to brave adding a few cashews and asparagus to my rice tonight.

Cashew & Asparagus Pilaf

 Cashew & Asparagus Pilaf

Turn ordinary rice into a colorful, delectable side dish. Whole wheat spaghetti adds a surprising texture and bit of color to the rice along with the cashews, red pepper, and asparagus.


Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


Cashew & Asparagus Pilaf

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 red peeper seeded and chopped, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 2 ounces whole wheat spaghetti broken into 1
  • 2 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound asparagus trimmed, and cut into 1
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cashew & Asparagus Pilaf

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the rice, spaghetti pieces, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, bring to boil, stir and cover; lower heat to low and cook 18 minutes.
  3. Stir in the asparagus and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat, but keep covered, and let steam an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the cashews, and fluff with a fork. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Mandarin Glazed Filet Mignon or Orange Glazed Chicken.

Heat To Eat

Vent lid of container and heat in microwave 2-3 minutes, stirring midway to distribute heat evenly; or heat in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through, about 10-12 minutes.


Try substituting peas or snow peas for the asparagus.

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  • June 24, 2014
    12:12 pm

    I’ve had terrible food poisoning before… it is awful to deal with. I am hopeful you are now feeling better. Not exactly the best way to start a diet though… Hugs

    • June 24, 2014
      10:04 pm

      Oh, I wasn’t suggesting someone try to get food poisoning to start a diet – I just meant since you have to lay off sugar (my last remaining addiction), and fatty foods anyhow for a few days – I might as well stay off them.

  • June 24, 2014
    9:29 pm

    Hope you’re feeling a lot better by now! Being sick like that is not fun and it does take more than a few days to get back on your feet. The BRAT diet does help and is bland enough that you can tolerate it. Flat ginger ale is another favourite of mine when the stomach is playing games. I didn’t know about drinking the two litres of fluids, so glad to know that. Meanwhile, take it easy and feel better with the help of Nurse Daisy. I’m sure she’s a lot nicer than Nurse Ratchett. In case some don’t get the reference, she was the horrible nurse in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  • June 24, 2014
    10:01 pm

    I am much better, thank you!

  • June 27, 2014
    7:23 am

    Oh how awful Jewels. I know the feeling…..been there a couple of times before and it is not good at all.
    Poor Daisy 🙁 she must have been so worried. Glad to hear you are much better now. I guess you will not be going back to that local restaurant for a while. Sending you cyber hugs, take care.