Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Mom’s Story

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Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comI should forewarn you that this is a very long post, but if you have a minute, I’d like to share with you our story and the battle we are facing with my mom’s health.

Let me start by saying that I’ve come to believe we were all created with this deep desire to know people and be known. I believe there is an innate longing in all of us to feel really known by other human beings, and more importantly, to feel loved and accepted for who we are.

I say all of this because while I don’t intend on sharing every detail of my personal life on this blog, it’s important to me to feel like I’m being authentic with you. I don’t want to only share the fun and exciting things, leading you to believe I live some perfect life. I don’t. Much like you, I have my own insecurities, fears, frustrations and trials to face.

This past weekend, my sister shared on Facebook about something very difficult that my family is going through. Close family and friends are away of our situation, but we’ve kept it sorta quiet and close to our hearts.

In short my mom has become very sick over the past year. She is 63 years old and up until recently has always been healthy and energetic. I’ve mentioned it on here before, but she is the very reason that I am so passionate about eating clean, whole foods. All my life she’s focused on trying to create a healthy home for all of us. Last summer we noticed she was unable to handle simple tasks that would have been no problem before. She became easily frustrated and quick to say “I just can’t do it”. She began to lose her short-term memory and had trouble concentrating. Things she’d done for years such as making a menu and grocery list for the week suddenly seemed overwhelming and difficult.

In October it got to the point that we felt it necessary to start seeing doctors. Unfortunately my parents did not have insurance as they had both been in good health and instead went an alternate route and chose to be apart of Samaritan’s Ministry, where they share bills with other Christians. Because they didn’t have insurance, we were careful what tests we requested and how we went about checking the things that seemed the most vital.

She had a check-up done that included blood work and tested her for some vitamin deficiencies, everything came back okay. She had an MRI done to see if there were neurological concerns, thankfully there weren’t. She then had a neuro-psych study done where she sat with someone for several hours as they asked her questions and analyzed her responses. This study focused on things such as memory, problem solving, systematic responses, among others. Eventually they diagnosed her with early onset Alzheimer’s and put her on a medicine to help her brain function as well as an antidepressant.

Clearly, we were heartbroken, but had hopes that the medicine would help. After a couple of months with no improvements, and feeling like maybe we didn’t have the right diagnosis, we took her to see a clinical herbalist, who specializes in using homeopathic and herbal remedies. The truth is, we all felt confident that if mom were herself, this is the route she would have wanted to go. She has always been in favor of treating things naturally if possible.

At this time, her short-term memory is severely impaired, her sense of coordination is very poor, her walk is slow, unsteady, and she is easily off-balance. She can no longer drive and has lost her job and her ability to work and care for her patients (she was an LPN who did Home Health care), her speech has changed and she has a hard time getting her words out. Truly, she is unrecognizable from the vibrant woman she was a year ago.

The clinical herbalist works by using a machine to read various pressure points on the body for different frequencies. He found that my mom has Lyme’s disease along with West Nile virus. There were a few other things to be concerned with, but he believe these were the two that were causing the problems. It’s likely she has had Lyme’s disease, which is contracted through a tick bite, for a while, and may have contracted the West Nile virus last summer or more recently, which is what began to break down her immune system allowing the Lyme’s disease to worsen. She is in, what they call in Medical terms, the late stages of Lyme’s disease as the infection is within the blood brain barrier, which is causing the cognitive problems.

He encouraged us to have a medical doctor do blood work to verify this if it would make us feel more comfortable, but we didn’t feel like that was necessary. He believes his remedy of homeopathics and herbal drops will help her significantly, if not clear it up altogether. She has to take these homeopathics and drops three times a day, every eight hours. The process to do this is more than she is able to do on her own, so  Dad helps her morning and night, while neighbors and friends from their church come during the day while he is at work. At this point, mom is three weeks in, and outside of one day of what seemed liked more clarity than she’s had in months, we have not seen a lot of improvements.

My sister and I (along with our families) are clearly worried and stressed over my mom, but we are equally worried about my dad. He is taking care of the bills, household chores, cooking, groceries, caring for my mom, etc., in addition to working a full-time, physically taxing, job. We swap up being there on the weekends to help as much as possible, but I’m afraid we are not able to get there during the week and his burden is great.

I share all of this with you because I’ve found myself pleading and bartering with God that if He will only heal her, I will shout it from the roof-tops, sing His praise and giving Him all the honor and glory. I do believe He can heal her, with one simple touch. We all believe that, yet up to this point He has not.

It hit me last week, after my sister had the courage to step out and share our story and ask for your prayers, that if I don’t share my mom’s story with those around me, and her need to be healed, how can I then boast of our God when He heals her, should he choose to do so. Isn’t our platform to bring Him glory all the greater if we share our desperate need for His rescue? And why am I not already praising Him for the things He has and continues to do?

The truth is, while I question why this is happening and where God is in all of this, simultaneously I see His hand at work. For instance, our family communicates and sees each other more than we have in years. Close friends of my parents have helped financially. Doctors have volunteered their services and rearranged schedules, willing to meet on a weekend. Friends have committed to helping my mom on a daily basis with the homeopathics while Dad is at work. And so many people have and are continuing to pray for her.

One of the biggest things God has revealed to me, is that people are good and kind. People care more than you think they do, more than you believe you deserve for them to. And I can honestly say that in the last six months I’ve seen the body of Christ operate, the way He designed for it to, more beautifully than ever before. He is at work and He is so good.

I share this with you because I’d love to ask for your prayers for my parents. I’d also love to feel free to share from time to time if I just feel sad, and not always taking on the role of “excited foodie”.

If you are still reading at this point, thank you. Thank you so much for listening to my story and for allowing me to be authentic with you.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comNow, I must say, at the very least, you deserve a tasty recipe for reading through all that, and these Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos are exactly that!

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comVegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comI made these a couple of Sundays ago for Josh and myself after flipping through my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook on our way home from church. I came across their Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos recipe, thought about my spaghetti squash sitting at home, and knew I had to give it a try.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comVegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comThe seasoned cooked squash somewhat mimics the texture of pulled pork, and is absolutely delightful paired with the black beans, Greek yogurt, tomatoes, and avocados.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comI was thrilled with the outcome of these vegetarian tacos, and I’m happy to say Josh was a fan, too.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comVegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comVegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.com In an effort to not take up any more of your time, I’ll leave you with these pictures and hope they entice you enough to give them a try.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comVegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comVegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos and My Moms Story  | LemonsandBasil.comThank you again for allowing me to be so honest and long-winded!

I hope you get the chance to enjoy these yummy spaghetti squash tacos, spring is coming and they’d be perfect for entertaining.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A Mexican favorite with a bit of a twist, replace the traditional shredded pork or chicken with seasoned spaghetti squash, black beans, Greek yogurt and all your other favorite toppings!
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Sixteen 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • chopped cilantro
  • favorite salsa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray pan with coconut oil cooking spray. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and roast the halves facedown on baking pan for 35-40 minutes or until flesh is soft.
  2. Once the squash is cooked, remove and allow to cool 5 minutes, then scrap the flesh with a fork to loosen and separate the strands. Add strands of flesh to bowl and discard skins.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt, whisk in lemon juice and pour over squash strands. Gently toss to mix seasonings throughout, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  4. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and warm tortillas one at a time until slightly blistered on each side, about 30-45 seconds per side.
  5. To assemble the tacos, transfer warmed tortillas to platter and add spoonful of black beans, scoop of seasoned squash, dollop of Greek yogurt, finely chopped tomatoes and avocados, then sprinkling with chopped cilantro.
  6. Add salsa, hot sauce or any other desired garnishes and serve. Or more importantly, EAT!
Notes
Nutrition facts listed includes four corn tortillas with toppings.
Use nutrition facts as a guide, info will vary based on your choice toppings and quantity used.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 402 Fat: 8 Saturated fat: 1 Unsaturated fat: 5 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 69 Sugar: 12 Sodium: 302 Fiber: 13 Protein: 16 Cholesterol: 0

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Comments

  1. Tessa says

    I’ll be in prayer for your parents and especially your mom, Kaylee. God will work everything out! Excited about this recipe, I need to try it out!

  2. Heather says

    As you already know, the hearts & souls of me and Mark are with you on your journey with your mom, and we will never stop praying!!!

    As for the tacos, where did you find a spaghetti squash?! I’m having the hardest time finding one lately! And I have everything for this recipe, so I must make it!

    Lastly…I love you always :)

    • says

      Thank you Heather, your friendship is absolutely irreplaceable and I cannot tell you thankful I am for you!
      As for the spaghetti squash, I picked one up at Trader Joe’s last week, I wish it were closer for you!
      Love you, too! :-)

  3. Amanda Musselwhite says

    Kayley, thanks for sharing…I am praying for you, your mother, and your family. My heart goes out to you in this difficult time. Your strength is inspiring. Keep up the great work on your blog…keep sharing your knowledge about nutrition and food…we all need to be educated on how important our health and taking care of ourselves is!

    • says

      Thank you Amanda! I appreciate your prayers more than you know! And thank you for your words of encouragement, I can honestly say that this blog has been a wonderful (and needed) source of distraction during the past several months! :)

  4. Jana says

    I love you and I’m proud of you for sharing our story. You have such a way with words that even as heart breaking as it is to read about mom, you ended it with the beauty of God’s work already at hand.

    And the tacos look delicious!

    • says

      I’ve said it before but I mean it with all my heart, I’d be lost without you! It is a blessing and an honor to have you as my sister. It is both humbling and encouraging, as we share our story, to hear of all the people who care for Mom and Dad and are committed to praying for them. Love you!

  5. says

    Hello, Kaylee. It’s so brave of you to share so openly and honestly and I would be happy to pray for you and your family. I look forward to an update about how your mum is doing.
    As for the tacos, your photos are lovely – so colourful!

    • says

      Thank you Helen, so very much! We actually have a follow up appointment this afternoon to see if there is any improvements from the homeopathics, we are praying for good news! Thank you again for your prayers, means a lot!

      And thank you for your comment on the tacos!!:)

  6. Judy says

    Sweetie praying for your mom and dad… Lifting you up as we serve a mighty God and the great physician …. Love and hug to you and your precious family…..Heather keeps me updated but thank you for sharing

    • says

      Thank you Judy :) The Great Physician, what a beautiful reference, thank you for the reminder of His power and love.

      I’m beyond thankful for Heather, her friendship is so special to me and so much of who she is, is because of who you are. Thank you for your prayers.

  7. Terri Miller-Pruitt says

    For many reasons I am touched by your story and I will be praying for your parents and your family…I also am going to try this recipe because I happen to have everything on hand…thanks!….Please keep your heart open and take care.
    Terri

    • says

      Thank you Terri! It’s an overwhelming blessing to have so many people praying for my family, I’m eternally grateful.

      So thrilled you are going to try these Spaghetti Squash tacos, I’d love to hear how they turn out!:)

  8. Andrea says

    This story touched my heart. I am sorry I hear what your mom is going through. I am sure things will get better, just have to keep believing!! I don’t even know here but she sounds amazing and she is lucky to have you as a daughter. Take care and keep your head up!!

  9. Tracy says

    profound and God lead is certainly how i am feeling about your post. i came upon this through foodqawker which i am slightly too obsessed with and saw the fantastic looking sweet potato pad thai recipe and then saw the one for spaghetti squash tacos, which lead me to this post and reading about your families painful journey and your ah ha moment about sharing. i’m sorry for the pain, turmoil, decisions, lack of answers, sadness…that you are going through. tears came to my eyes because it reminds me so much of my journey 3 years ago that in the end lead me to the Mayo Clinic where i received my answer within 5mins of my consult. i did not have to suffer long term without knowledge (6months felt like forever when your health is tanking but in the big picture it wasn’t that long). its so encouraging to hear that you are seeing God within this craziness and i want to encourage you as greatly as can be done by an absolute stranger that all these people you are meeting due to your mom’s failing health, you are planting seeds! i know that can’t take the pain, or lessen the sadness of seeing your mom ill but it is certainly part of the joy that kept me going and helps me as i continue to deal with my health. blessings to you and your family! i’m sure God is very proud of you for following his nudge and opening up about your journey. i will never forget a mental image given at bible study; there are buckets in heaven, one for each prayer request and every prayer is another drop in the bucket, we just don’t know how full they are or when they will tip over BUT every prayer helps.

    • says

      Tracy, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to not only ready my story, but to also share yours. Your comment and encouragement could not have come at a better time. Unfortunately, my mom’s health seems to be worse than ever. We have an apt this afternoon and are wrestling with what to try next.

      I am sorry to hear about your own health, I’m glad you’ve found what’s going on and I pray you are able to treat it and heal. I love the image of the buckets in Heaven, and how we never know when they will tip over, but that with each prayer, we’re getting closer.

      Thank you again Tracy, what a blessing you are!

      • Tracy says

        been checking out your new posts to see if there is any update on your mom; totally understand if you need a safe space like your food blog to forget about the struggles and focus on yummy things.

        • says

          Hi Tracy, it truly amazes me that someone who does not know me or my family cares so much, I am abundantly grateful for you!

          I started to give you the update on here and realized it was way too long, I’ll email you :)

          “Thank you” does not convey my gratitude!

  10. Dottie O. says

    I went to your receipt from pinterest, because I like spaghetti squash. I live in Ga. so it grows well here. I have three left from last autumn’s harvest and am always interested in new receipts. This sounds good, I will try it.
    Your writing about your mom reminded me of the years my Mom suffered. She broke both hips and one, a second time.
    She was in a lot of pain for three years. She was a Godly women, with great faith and loved the Lord with all her heart. She had a very hard life, from childhood till God finally took her home. People around the world prayed for God to remove the pain. The only answer we ever received was; “My Grace is sufficient for you”. Why we don’t know but, I do know, He gave me the strength I need to attend to her needs, and she is home with Him who suffered for her on a cruel
    cross but rose from the grave that she would have eternal life. No more pain, only victory!!
    I will be praying for all of you that, God will meet all of your needs; as He defines the needs. Blessings to all of you.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing your story Dottie, I’m sure that was excruciatingly hard to watch your mom go through all that pain and feel completely helpless. While I am sure you miss her every day here, how wonderful that she is now in her final home and no longer suffering.

      Thank you for sharing the strength you received through Him and for your prayers, mean so very much to me and my family!

      You are a blessing!

  11. Andrea says

    I’m sorry to read of your mom’s condition. I too was diagnosed with Lyme disease and took an alternative health route to recovery. There is a great book called “The Top Ten Lyme Disease Treatments” by Bryan Rosner. It was very helpful in my Lyme journey. I combined traditional and alternative medicines and consider myself very lucky to have had the educated people in my life who helped. I also feel the rife machine was very helpful to me. However every Lyme patient is unique. Best of luck with your mom. Prayers for all of you.

    • says

      Hi Andrea, thank you so much for sharing your story! Is your health restored today? There has been a lot of things that have transpired since this post and I’m afraid my mom is in the worst condition she’s been in to this date. BUT, we have recently met an incredibly intelligent doctor who has not only practiced as a conventional doctor for years, but has recently gone back to school for the holistic side and combines the two. He has really listened to my mom’s story and has not “lumped in her a box” as several others have. Not to judge those who have, I realize her condition is very similar to that of Dimentia/Alzheimers, but it doesn’t add up. They are running blood tests and have confirmed Lyme’s is present. We all remain hopeful, and hearing stories like your own is very encouraging! Thank you for the book recommendation, we’ll check it out!

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