Interlude: Vaccination Meals

 As I write to you now, I am nearly one week post-second-dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. I had planned to cook for myself before the vaccine so I'd be sure to have something to eat if laid up again with symptoms. The first round, I was sick for about 40 hours with a moderate fever (it peaked at about 101.4, but mostly was about 99.5 or so), and I knew there was the possibility (and great likelihood in my case) of being much sicker this time around.

And then something happened that caused me total emotional upheaval, and I wasn't able to manage a lot, and I had to shift my cooking-ahead to something a bit less labor intensive.

First up, chili mac. I felt a little ridiculous making this ahead of time to have leftovers, but after the fact was so grateful for it. I took a box of Annie's vegan cheddar-style macaroni and cheese, cooked it up according to the directions, added a can of Hormel vegetarian chili, mixed it all up, and heated it through. This was good for three meals, and tasted good, plus it had some good proteins in it (or so I, non-medical doctor, would believe--TVP and beans and whatnot).

Next up, at only slightly more effort, is a tofu scramble tater tot casserole. I followed the recipe at Veggies Save the Day, but used green pepper instead of red and didn't have any extra non-dairy cheese to put on top. With easy sides like toast and orange juice, plus generous amounts of ketchup (because of not having enough cheese and needing more flavor), this was good for a whopping six meals. (On it's own, I'd say this would be about 3-4 meals.)

There was a bit of a theme here. I also had some frozen dinners; this one happens to be more tofu scramble and potatoes, but in a different iteration, and I put toast alongside it. (It's Amy's tofu scramble with hash browns and stewed tomatoes, which is not only one of my favorite frozen dinners, but one of the very few carried by the grocery store I've gotten most deliveries from this year.) I also ate another one--some sort of dal and rice--in a feverish haze, and I'm pretty sure that at one point I had some ramen with a folded JUST Egg, but none of that was photogenic even if I had the strength to take photos.

In spite of all the challenges, I was so glad I had planned ahead as best I could, because that vaccine made me sicker than I can recall being in years. The fever was about as high as it is allowed to get without being dangerous (around 102), and held steady there. At times, the "aches and pains" were so overwhelming I was literally moaning (and glad to be home alone at that point!). 

As with all such things with me, this took a huge toll, and I will need a bit of time to get back on track. I'm doing better and I'll have some other things to share with you soon. I am so glad a vaccine was available, because in a little while I'll be able to go buy my own food and it will open up a lot of options, including not having to cook quite so much of it myself--I have zero shame about the joy I feel about getting to soon stock up on frozen goodies from Trader Joe's and maybe getting some Chinese takeout here and there.

If a vaccine is available to you and your doctor lets you get it, then get it! Just be sure to prepare yourself for a hard slog for a few days, if you, too, have an angry immune system.


  1. Congratulations on the vaccinations! I had no problems after the first but the second made me terribly sick. Like you, I’m grateful to have received them. I hadn’t been that sick in years. The pain was so intense that I cried at one point. Fever, chills and traveling skeletal pains. I was not wise to prepare food like you did because I’d never had a negative reaction to any shot. We can shop at different Trader Joe’s together in spirit. Glad you’re feeling better!

    1. Thanks--I tend to have extreme reactions to vaccines, which is why I don't often get them. I knew I was going to be sick. And yet nothing QUITE prepared me for what it was like! So glad I never had COVID. I'm now very sure I would have died.

      Glad you're feeling better, too!

  2. I'm still about 2 months away from my second dose (Astrazeneca is 12 weeks apart) and I am pretty stoked to be getting it. Though a little wary if the second dose will make me feel worse than the first one. But worth if to have the vaccine!

    Very wise to prepare easy food for the next few days ahead, sounds like it really knocked you around! <3

    1. I have had an unusually strong reaction to this, but that's expected based on my medical history. Most people have been more or less fine! But it's best to be ready anyway, I say. (Maybe it's just how I manage my anxiety about things.)

  3. I'm sorry your reaction was so strong, but glad you were able to get it! I'm with you—now that I'm fully vaxxed and finished with chemo, I am SO excited to leisurely peruse Trader Joe's and Wegmans to find all the new vegan goodies on offer. Simple pleasures! :)


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