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Chowhound with the stomach flu...

I spent all of last week with the stomach flu and I was reverted back to eating Zesta crackers and sprite for a week! I was wondering, what kind of tastes do Chowhounders have when sick? Are our palates still elevated when we know we will puke it out in a few hours? At that point, does it matter how much trans fat are in the crackers? I remember by day three thinking...man, I would love some Thai food in the worst way, but I would probably never be able to eat it again! I was just curious what others eat when they are sick.

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  1. Hah. I crave salt and clear soda. I definitely don't eat anything spicy when ill. And once I get sick after eating something it takes me days, nay, years, to eat it again. :)

    I do have a strange craving for egg drop soup when ill, though--salty and clear broth with some protein thrown in.

    1. Oh, man, stomach stuff all I want to do is take phenergan and go to bed. The thought of putting ANYTHING in my mouth is just vile. If forced, I will drink chicken broth and ginger ale and can sometimes handle saltines, but anything other than that - forget it. When I'm sick at my stomach, I have trouble remembering why on earth I like food. Ever.

      1. Ginger ale, scrambled eggs, and plain white rice. Not all together. :-)

        1. Reed's ginger beer for any stomach thing, and especially for migraines. Hot milk with white rice, butter and brown sugar for anything that seems to require my mother's attention, since that's what she always made me.

          1. I'd suggest the BRAT diet for the next few days -- bananas, rice, applesauce, or toast. Ginger ale might also help that stomach virus you've got. Get well soon.

            1. Really spicy rasam. Don't know why, but for me it works!

              1 Reply
              1. re: litchick

                I'm with you on the spicy food. If I think I'm getting ill (which usually means I already am), then a good green chile or a spicy Thai chicken & ginger soup.

                Oh, and wine. A glass of wine to stave it off.

                Once it happens though, then nothing much but maybe a little jasmine rice or toast soaked in broth.

              2. Folks, if you've got food recommendations for unhappy bellies, share them here. Discussing the range of medical reasons that bellies might feel unwell is off-topic here.

                1. Chicken soup - just simple and plain, no veg (think egg drop w/o the eggs). SMALL portions - you want more in an hour, you can have more.

                  Count two blessings: 1: you may be able to keep it down. 2 - think of the weight you're losing.

                  1. I was sick throughout the holidays :( but I took it as an opportunity to check out all the various soup joints around town. I had my share of Japanese ramen, Chinese wonton soup as well as lots of ginger tea.

                    1. chicken broth (with or without rice noodles)
                      brown rice
                      of course that's my stomach problem list. I had glandular fever when at university and all I ate for 10 days was vanilla icecream... those were the days.

                      1. Whenever I've had a stomach thing all I want is tea and toast--the tea has to have sugar, the toast must be made from white bread, neither of which I never want.

                        1. Surprised nobody mentioned the BRAT diet.

                          Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, Toast. Recommended for stomach flu/GI ailments. The goal is to be able to keep the food down.
                          No oily, overly sugary stuff either.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: notmartha

                            Yes, the BRAT diet but the applesauce should be the store bought, not homemade and the toast should be dry or just a little jelly, no butter.

                            1. re: notmartha

                              I know it as the BRATY diet: Bananas, Rice, Half Apple Juice and half water to rehydrate, Toast and Yogurt to replenish the good bacteria in your stomach that was lost through antibiotics, throwing up, etc...

                              1. re: Feed Me

                                I was always under the impression that you should avoid dairy like the plague if you've had a stomach bug.

                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  Yogurt seems to not be part of that formula. It does seem to help around here.

                            2. With the stomach flu, not much. But will ask for ginger ale and ice water, and maybe peppermint tea.

                              1. actually thai food is one of the few foods I can keep down when I have stomach flu -- the spices really settle my stomach.

                                have you tried it while sick? get it a bit more spicy than you normally do, and be sure to get a lemongrass soup of some sort.

                                1. I had a stomach bug a few weeks ago (after not having had one for years) and I was VERY thirsty...craving ice-cold Coca Cola and juicy oranges, and also, strangely, really spicy Thai!

                                  1. chicken broth, chicken broth, gatorade, crackers.

                                    1. I have heard that eggs are more digestible when dealing with a tummy bug, but the last time I was sick with one the smell of eggs made it worse. I lived pretty much on ginger ale. That was it. After a while I tried some raisin bran, because I could sometimes get by with that when I was sick as a kid.

                                      My husband swears by milk toast.

                                      1. I've had the stomache bug since new years. All I've been able to handle is stale ginger-ale, saltines, water, and a bit of chicken broth.

                                        ah well I needed to lose some weight.....

                                        1. had the stomach flu for over a week. my doctor recommended the following combo: cream of wheat and gatorade.

                                          i've found that the maple syrup cream of wheat is surprisingly tasty, and is about the only food smell that doesn't make my stomach tie up in knots.

                                          lemonade gatorade, btw, is by far the most palatable flavor.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: loftin

                                            Oh yeah, maple cream of wheat is actually good stuff. I find that the X-Factor or whatever Gatorade flavors are pretty decent. Nice flavor, not quite so watered down. Rain is just nasty.

                                          2. chicken broth,ginger tea,mint tea and ginger ale--feel better

                                            1. Just getting over a vicious, though mercifully short, bout of stomach virus that I probably got from one of our New Years Day brunch guests (no one has confessed however). For the first 6 hours after my initial meltdown I had nothing. After that it was ginger ale for the rest of the day. This was followed, the next day, first by plain toast, then Lipton's chicken noodle soup from the package. That extremely salty fake chicken flavour with those funny little noodles is exactly the thing I crave when I'm sick. I progressed to real chicken broth with real carrots and real noodles later on, and finally today I'm ready for a very simple chicken stew with potatoes and carrots (which is on the stove at this very moment).

                                              For a coffee addict who loves spicy food, this is the perfect detox. I have not had coffee for 4 days and am not yet ready for even the simplest spice. Soon. Coffee maybe tomorrow.

                                              1. I hope everybody is feeling better! I had my bout on Jan 2. Plain rye toast was all I could handle at first, then a baked potato, then plain pasta. I was pretty much back to normal in a couple of days, but I still cannot tolerate the idea of anything with chicken broth - simply because Italian wedding soup was the last thing I had before it hit (you can fill in the next day's details I'm sure).

                                                1. White rice made with chicken broth. Jello. Saltines. Ginger ale. Camomile or peppermint tea.

                                                  If it's *really* bad, pedialyte. Way easier to keep down than Gatorade and better for you too.

                                                  1. I stick to what I had when I was a BRAT -


                                                    and room temp gingerale.

                                                    1. Fennel Tea for queasy stomach.

                                                      1. I know that this is way after the fact...but I always have sweet white wine when I get a stomach bug...it never fails me.

                                                        1. I agree with Andiereid, When i am sick and upchucking, I can't hold anything on my stomach. When i get to the point where I can, I want strawberry jello made by my mom. She used to do that for us when we were sick. Ginger ale always helps me as well

                                                          1. Ginger ale or ginger beer, as long as it's sat long enough for the bubbles to be almost all gone. (Vernors is my favourite, followed by Canada Dry).
                                                            Lemonade or 'traditional' gatorade for electrolytes
                                                            When I feel ready to eat something, dry toast with honey, canned chicken soup and a simple rice pudding (not together)

                                                            1. "ochazuke" when I need something rather bland, but filling (Japanese rice with green tea)
                                                              miso shidu (soup) when I need something savory. I put tofu and green onions in it for texture. This is a Japanese mother's remedy for what ails.

                                                              1. When I'm feeling really green and nauseated, the only things I can tolerate are Coke "Classic" over lots of ice and saltines.

                                                                For milder stomach wobblies (not infrequent when I'm hormonal), an old recipe from the Sicilian side of the family: put a bay leaf in a mug and fill with boiling water. Stir in a tsp of plain old white sugar and sip the brew off the spoon as soon as it's cool enough not to burn. Tastes really good and settles my stomach. It's pleasantly herby and very comforting.

                                                                Note: do not use California bay leaves for this! They taste like chemicals. Go Turkish.

                                                                1. >> I was just curious what others eat when they are sick.

                                                                  Blowfish. Just kidding. Hope you feel better soon.

                                                                  1. Okay, I have had this flu bug for 5 days now. My nausea is slowly starting to go away thanks to the medicine from the hospital. For the first 3 days I couldn't eat or drink anything without vomiting it up immediately. On day 4 I was able to eat a few popsicles, but still ended up vomiting. Today on day 5 I am finally feelin better an am able to have some broth. I also find that drinking heavy peach syrup is definately helping.

                                                                    My suggestion is to stay in bed, keep covered up good an don't drink water or Gatorade for the first couple of days.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Weeeee

                                                                      Thankfully, I have not had the flu in a long time, but the only thing I craved were sweet potatos, oatmeal cookies and popsicles.

                                                                    2. When I'm really sick (which I haven't been in a while. Knock on wood. . .), all I want is usually gatorade. That and okayu or some form of mild mild porridge. Actually, I like mine with umeboshi, which is supposed to be good for stomach ails.

                                                                      Sorbet is good too.

                                                                      Pretty much anything that doesn't have grease or fat and comes in a form that doesn't require laborious chewing. :)

                                                                      For mild stomach upsets, ginger tea seems to work for me.

                                                                      1. Ginger ale and soup. Lots of ginger ale.

                                                                        1. poached eggs on toast. and when I get to the point I just don't care - a grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                          1. warm apple juice and saltines seem to make me feel better. oatmeal with mashed banana and brown sugar is pretty good too, if you can stomach it.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: amac123

                                                                              Yes, whenever I'm better Oatmeal's GREAT!

                                                                            2. Usually I just have Triscuit crackers.

                                                                              1. Mashed potatoes,wonton soup,miso soup mixed with rice, dry cereal, popsicles, ginger ale, and peppermint tea.

                                                                                1. Dark beer, pumpernickel sans crusts and chocolate cheese cake -- you'll be right as rain.