Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Getting a little bit personal....and a recipe for tomato basil soup

You may have noticed that I have been somewhat quiet on the blog over the past few weeks. I have been debating whether or not to share with you all the very personal reasons for my absence; and after much soul searching, I have decided that if there is even one person out there that can learn from or benefit from my struggles, then I should post about them.

Easier said than done.

I am an extremely private person, and sharing my problems with others is not something I have ever been very good at. In fact, it just took me half an hour to write that first paragraph. In fact, a lot of my family/friends do not even know what I am about to tell you all, so please bear with me.....

(Deep breath) I have two health conditions, both of which can make living very difficult when they flare up. One is Lupus, which I'm sure many of you have heard of, and the other is Familial Mediterranean Fever, which, if you are anything like I was at the time of my diagnosis, you probably have not. My rheumatologist tells me that to have both of those diseases is almost unheard of, and one is more likely to win the Powerball than they are to have them both; I have not won the Powerball.

Without getting into too many gory details (I will provide links if you would like more information), I can tell you that both Lupus and FMF are both diseases that deal with inflammation. They both leave me weak and sore. They both cause arthritis. They both leave my body riddled with rashes, and my hair brittle and dry. The stress of one flareup usually causes the other to flare, so I never know where one symptom starts and the other ends, but I do know that there are days when I literally cannot get out of bed,

So why keep it all a secret? I think I am so secretive about my conditions, in part,  because I am afraid of sympathy. When others sympathize with your situation, it is so much easier to feel bad for yourself. I have no time to feel bad for myself. I have school, kids, a husband, house, and dog to take care of. Also, I just don't like complaining.

So why share now? Well, I have been researching, and implementing lifestyle changes that may help ease the symptoms of these two diseases without the use of medications. Recently, Ally has been showing signs of having FMF, and we are beginning genetic testing to (hopefully) rule it out. (Unfortunately, each of my children has a 50 percent chance of having the defective chromosome that causes FMF, so diagnosis is not unlikely.) A lot of my researching has led me to take a second look at the foods we eat, and how they are prepared. Since this blog serves as a diary of sorts for me, I will be posting some new recipes and healthy ideas on here from time to time. I hope you all don't get too bored with it all and leave me. :)

My first new healthy change that I have made includes eating soup at least once a week for dinner. I have read up on the benefits of eating healthy soup, and just to share a few of the benefits:
  1. People that eat soup eat less, so it aids in weight loss.
  2. Soup can be loaded with lots of healthy vegetables, and most veggies have very high anti inflammatory factors. I will talk more about that in another post.
  3. Soup is inexpensive to make, and a lot of the time, you can just use what you have on hand to make it.
So, since this post is already too long by my standards, I will share the recipe for the soup we ate last night. It was a hit, is easy to make, and yielded lots of leftovers. (Which I love.)

Tomato Basil Soup

1 (28 oz) can of crushes tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 (14.5 oz can of low sodium chicken broth
12 fresh basil leaves, minced1/2 packet of Goya sazon (or other seasoning of your choice)
1 cup of heavy cream
4 Tbs butter or margarine
black pepper, to taste. Combine tomatoes and chicken broth, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar, stir. Add remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly and cook until butter is melted.

I served this with grilled ham and cheese sandwhiches, and called it a day. Ally loved it so much, she requested it for lunch today. The only complaint I have about this recipe, is that the sodium content is high, but whenever you use canned foods, that is the result.

Oh! I almost forgot. In case you were interested, here are links with more information:
Familial Mediterranean Fever

**Just read over this post, and realize its kindof all over the place. It was really difficult for me to write, so I hope you all understand. Its off the topic of hair somewhat, but healthy bodies=healthy hair, so it's all related, right?**
1 1/2 tsp sugar


  1. Elizabeth,

    I know all to well about wanting to help inform without necessarily wanting sympathy. I am glad you shared this with us as you never know who it may touch. Everyone is dealing with something and how you handle things says a lot about you. I will be praying for you and yours.

    The recipe sounds delish and I hope to try it soon.

  2. Im sorry to hear about the obstacles you have to face and the possilbilty your daughter may end up having it must make it even more stressful. My mother in law had lupis for yrs before I met my husband, I dnt know how she was cured but I can find out for you if you want. Im no dr but I do believe that what you eat has a tremendeous effect on your health and Ive read people with cancer changing their diet dramaticly and changing their diagnosis around so I think your on the right track with your diet and I wish you all the best and I hope you and your family find a natural way to heal, plus Im looking forward to your recipes I always like trying something new (",)

  3. I'm sorry to hear about this, Elizabeth. I read up on it a bit at the link you provided, and I know as hard as it is for you, it's probably much worse to know that it may affect your children. I pray that it doesn't, and that you are able to find relief somehow... and that you DO win the powerball :) Thank you for sharing about this and the recipe. In one way or another, you've helped someone out there.

  4. Stay strong hun! You got this! #CTwarrior! <--smile :)

  5. Kudos to you for sharing in hopes of reaching someone who may need help and for taking the necessary steps to implement a healthier lifestyle. You and your girls will be in my prayers!


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