Gastro on the Go

It’s moving time here in the Mid-south and as I prepare to head north I’m thinking of food. Of course. I will be packing it in one of those insulated boxes meant to carry beer – uh, make that iced tea – to the beach.

Options I’m considering:

Foods
Soy milk mix or a Quart of Almond Breeze, Rice Dream – the fresh stuff won’t last too long if not refrigerated. Skim milk too.
Low fat mozzarella cheese.
Yogurt cartons- smaller is better for sanitation purposes

Crackers I can tolerate.
Canned potatoes
Homemade banana muffins

Peanut butter
A low-fat turkey sandwich, for the first day traveling.
An egg salad sandwich for the second day out.
Canned, packaged tuna
Boiled eggs.

Pureed greens in a jar.
Small cans of carrots
V-8 or similar, cheaper option

Spiru-Tein Unsweetened Original Vanilla
Lotsa ice for cooling.
Lotsa water.

6-8 pack juice in those kid sized cartons.
Bananas

Stevia or other alternative sweetener.
Something special from the health food store. Asher’s chocolates?
Potato chips. The lunch size bag will cut fat. Calories. Not very healthy but may be a good “I’m-not-deprived” solution.
Some mini chocolate bars

A small whisk.
A table knife.
A sharp paring knife
Can opener
Take a couple of dish towels, at least 1 dish rag, 2 plastic bags, for garbage and/or leftovers.
Small cutting board.
Napkins
Anti- bacterial dish soap

Oh! I just remembered I want to take a few, cooked shrimp too.

The idea is to eat digestible foods you like, to maintain great sanitation by using fresh proteins first,
cleaning up to prevent cross contamination and plenty of ice, make sure it’s a healthy menu ( vegetables 2-4 times per day, fruit 2-4 servings a day, protein should be 9 oz. per day, Carbs maybe 6 -10 ,15 gram
portions daily and fats, well you need them for sure, but easy does it, no more than 30 grams per day added fat daily excluding that found in proteins. If possible make them healthy fats but I know that’s difficult while traveling. Nut butters are a good option and you might want to splurge
on this pricey pick. Make sure to store your food in the car- the trunk is too hot!

Enjoy the ride.

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Oatmeal and

Oatmeal with walnuts and raisins was my normal breakfast before the gastro diets told me I couldn’t eat it – any of it, but I could drink my accompanying glass of milk (8 oz.).

My new trick is too soak 2 T of raisins overnight in ½ c of water. Grind ½ c of oatmeal (dry) in my little coffee bean grinder for food and grind my walnuts (2 T) with the oats. Then pour the raisins’ soaking water into a small pan, add another ½ cup of water to that, bring to a boil, add oat mixture to that and bring to boil again and immediately take off the heat.

Chop the raisins in the coffee-bean grinder and spoon onto finished oatmeal, add your milk (I’ve used soy and almond milks without issue.

Soup

Hot or cold soup is always a perfect lunch accompaniment. Keep it in a small thermos to tote with you.

You can use canned soup, preferably low fat, by just dumping it in the blender and pulverizing it. If it’s veggie soup of any stripe. (Spinach ?) this works but no bean, lentil or any thing else that will slow your digestion down (I tried pulverizing black bean soup but the fiber hung me up). I also like pulverized canned, seasoned mustard, collard and turnip greens but caution vegetarians, if using the southern seasoned brands (standard in the US South) this isn’t vegan. It’s delicious but it has a bit of pork in it.
Or you can make your own with a strong broth (buy a can of chicken stock, slice in some mushrooms and onion powder, add greens and macerate.

For cold soups forgo the Vichyssoise, pulverize the Gazpacho.
Try this Armenian cucumber, yogurt soup

2 peeled cukes, seed if necessary
4 cups regular, plain yogurt
as much garlic as you can stand
dried onion powder , 2 t or more
pop it all in the blender
For a dip or salad dressing
Pulverize all but the yogurt in the food processor or blender
Mix with a 4 cup tub of plain, Greek yogurt.
Serve over lettuce salad or coat cooked carrots.
Creamy soups.
These soups are on the no-no lists basically due the high fat content of cream and whole milk. If you can tolerate dairy products try the fat free yogurts (plain and the Greek), Low fat to No fat sour cream and of course skim milk. Skim milk can always be thickened with about 1 T to 1 c milk, or more, if you want it thicker. ‘Temper’ it first by putting the cornstarch into a small cup and adding some hot milk T by T. Once you’ve added enough milk to make smooth paste, add a little more (say ¼ c milk) and you’ll have a slurry, a kinda shortcut poo-pooed by the more elite cuisiniers. But it works!

1. Tomato juice with low fat sour cream. Fresh dill.
2. Potato pulp (leftover mashed is fine), with onion powder , skim milk with a little cornstarch. Serve cold if you like.
3. Can of cooked clams, potato pulp- 1 cup, skim milk- 2 T onion powder.
as much garlic as you can stand
dried onion powder , 2 t or more
pop it all in the blender
For a dip or salad dressing
Pulverize all but the yogurt in the food processor or blender
Mix with a 4 cup tub of plain, Greek yogurt.
Serve over lettuce salad or coat cooked carrots.

Creamy soups.
These soups are on the no-no lists basically due to the high fat content of cream and whole milk. If you can tolerate dairy products try the fat free yogurts (plain and the Greek), Low fat to No fat sour cream and of course skim milk. Skim milk can always be thickened with about 1 T to 1 c milk, or more, if you want it thicker. ‘Temper’ it first by putting the cornstarch into a small cup and adding some hot milk T by T. Once you’ve added enough milk to make smooth paste, add a little more (say ¼ c milk) and you’ll have a slurry, a kinda shortcut poo-pooed by the more elite cuisiniers. But it works!

1. Tomato juice with lf sour cream. Fresh dill.
2. Potato pulp (leftover mashed is fine), with onion powder , skim milk with a little cornstarch. Serve cold if you like.
3. Can of cooked clams, potato pulp- 1 cup, skim milk- 2 T onion powder.

Sandwich Fillings, Lunch, Part II

Once you have a decent bread (that means one you like and can digest ) fill it up with easy fillings that are not too stringy ( alas,no corned beef) and not too fatty (goodbye cream cheese and black olives) and waddle down the middle way with deli type meats – the shaved and salty kind with God knows added to the mix. Better yet, make your own.

Sandwich fillings

You can use almost anything in a sandwich filling if you have a food processor, blender, and my favorite, a separate coffee bean grinder that I use for food only for a 1 portion size.

Tuna, mayonnaise in food processor with 2 T sweet relish, although many of you won’t need to go that far.

Cheese with a dollop of tomato sauce or paste. Add some basil too.

Chicken in the food processor with ¼ cup applesauce and celery or sweet relish.
Or add 1 or two Tablespoons BBQ sauce ( some of the original blends have less sugar than today’s blends) to the chopped chicken.
And, well chicken varieties are endless just make sure the chicken is macerated.

All of the above can be made ahead and frozen.

Have a hankering for Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato? Try fresh lettuce,
with 2 slices of cooked, crispy bacon (turkey or pork) pulverized with a T low-fat mayonnaise in your little grinder so it’s as smooth as you can make it). Or you can use some of those vegetarian bacos, soak ’em ’til they’re soft (15-30 minutes) in just a little water (to cover) then puree them with the mayo and spread on sandwich slice of bread, puree ½ fresh tomato with skin removed and some of the soft seeds if they bother you.
Spread on top of the bacon layer. Finish with your lettuce (or basil leaves?) Enjoy but no don’t freeze this one. Ditto for any other fresh ingredients.

Miracle Meal

Oh, I’ve been busy lately. Moving, packing, cleaning. Writing seems like a luxury. And I’m hungry and the money’s disappearing. What to cook that I can actually digest?

This concoction came from what’s left in the fridge. I call it a miracle meal.. It’s quick 15 minutes, tasty, healthy and a little exotic. Invite the moving man to dinner? Oh why not!

I’ll give you the ingredients I used and you can change almost anything you want that suits you.

Sauce:
1 cup milk
2 T Coco Loco (this was way in the back) or use coconut milk or coconut flavoring

2 T dried onions
2 T curry powder
A sprinkling of chili pepper (I used Slap Yo Mama out of Nola’s store in New Orleans)
½ cup peanut butter put all in a saucepan , heat on a very low temp. SLOWLY
Add soy sauce/ Bragg’s Amino Acids to taste (it’s salty tasting)

Cook 4 cups of noodles. Serves 2-4 depending on your appetite. Put the sauce on top.

Tonight I’m throwing in some turkey sausage (try Wall-Mart). Would also work well with chicken, beef
maybe shrimp. – shrimp might be a bit overwhelmed by the sauce above but you could cut back on the spices a bit.

Serving this over well cooked carrots might be a new taste sensation for you and/or your vegetarian friends.

Back to the moving man er van.

Blender Buzz

Now that you’ve chosen to have gastroparesis ( couldn’t help myself, lol) you will soon realize that some foods are on the do not eat list because of their texture. Your body may not handle peanuts but peanut butter is okay. (See http://www.gicare.com.) It makes sense then to reduce particle size for better digestion. You need a blender, a food processor and a coffee bean grinder.

Blenders are fairly plentiful. If you can’t afford state-of-the-art then hit the thrift shops or buy one on Ebay. (These can weigh enough to make your shipping bill very noticeable.) Ditto with food processors.
Coffee grinders, new, cost about $20.00. I recommend one for food and one for coffee beans.

These babies can serve to expand your diet choices. For example some veggies, like tomatoes, can be peeled (cut a small x on the bottom and dip in boiling water, then put them in a blender, with broth and other seasonings or veggies (do peppers the same way) and pulverize.

The coffee grinder is great for small amounts. I use it for making nut butters – peanut, almond, -walnut? Why not? It’s not easy cleaning it, but it’s great for variety. Also you can use it for some pastes – like tapenade, or some pureed red pepper to garnish your pasta, or to jell for a pretty salad, or. Well you get the picture.

Use the blender for liquidy things, like soups, smoothies, or any greens– cooked collards, mustard greens, chard – I throw my spinach in too as I usually find it twiggy. You might want to try any of the vegetables on the do-not-eat list, just peel and cook them first. I’m thinking eggplant. Only eat a half cup serving and see how that goes.

My processor is used for larger amounts with little or no liquid. It’s not that you can’t use it for liquids, it’s just messy. I throw raw veggies in, fresh from the garden, to cook in my veggie soup.

You could make a cream of broccoli soup. (Fresh broccoli, chopped in food processor, or add broccoli to skim milk in your blender, a teaspoon or less of butter per serving and a tbsp. of corn starch, per cup, for thickening. Heat it slowly to a boil but don’t boil it. The operative word here is ‘to’.

Join the buzz today.

Peanut Butter, Banana Snacks Etc

These are quick to make but require a few hours to freeze. Tasty and of course there are variations. Nice, summery dessert. Your family may eat all of them, so either make a lot or lock them up.

Simple 10 piece version.
1 small banana sliced into 10 flat pieces (Trim those pointy ends so the pieces lie flat.)
Set on small plate or pie tin or– something that will easily fit into a prepared! place in your freezer.

2 T of peanut or other nut butter (more about nut butters in another blog) divied up so you’ll put about 1/2 t on each banana slice.

Freeze. That’s it. I add a bit of sugar-free chocolate sauce for extra scrumptiousness.

Variations:
Different fruits both peeled and pitted, For example use canned pear slices or peach halves. (No berries unless you can handle the seeds.)

Nut butters – you can buy almond and probably other nut butters. Look for a smooth finish. No chunky style.

Various toppings. Smucker’s makes a sugar-free caramel ice cream topping as well as fudge. Look for it near the ice cream section. You could make your own by using cocoa powder, stevia and a little milk.

My mouth is watering now, just thinking of a peach with caramel topping, filled with a walnut butter. Oh yeah.

If you eat 10 pieces using a banana, you’ll be getting 1 fruit exchange, maybe 15 – 20 grams of carbs depending on the size of the banana, 2 T of peanut butter is 1 high fat,protein exchange, 7 grams of carb and the sugar-free chocolate sauce, is only 4 grams of carb per 2 T (you may not need that much.)

As always, if you have diabetes, test your BG an hour after consumption

Gastroparesis and Food Part 2
4th of July
Surviving gastroparesis is not much fun especially since food plays such a major role in our social lives.
Planning for the upcoming 4th of July I was thinking about food not fireworks. That’s just how my mind works. I was wondering if I could eat fresh blueberries if I pureed them with water and let the blender do its thing for 10 minutes. Maybe add a touch of almond extract? Use 2% milk? (Hey it;s a holiday!) but I’ll need to check BG promptly all day. A small price to pay if it actually digests. Other flavorings might work as well. Papaya with orange juice? Water with ice cubes (with food colors of course!) Grape juice with yogurt? Suit yourself.

I’m making potato salad – no skins- tidbits of onion, low fat mayo, boiled eggs. Cut the potatoes in mini-cubes, or if you like mash them with no fat but the mayo, grate the onions and boiled eggs – add mustard to taste. Chill.

Choose a veggie you love, cook it , puree it and/or eat a small serving if it’s high in fiber. You can puree it with water or broth and drink it hot or cold. I’m having asparagus in a can. I’ll add a cup of chicken broth,cold, a packet of plain gelatin and putting it in a small, 1 cup dish. I’ll garnish it with some diced canned tomato. Make more bowls for others or a dish served the next day. You might want to add a tomato rose as a pretty garnish – but don’t eat it!

And chicken. Buy chicken tenders and cook in the microwave in a small bowl with a little Liquid Smoke and BBQ sauce. I find the original or old fashioned varieties usually have much less sugar. Of course you could make your own and sub stevia for the sweetener. Cover the bowl with a plate and you’ll have a mini oven. It takes only a minute or two to microwave 1 3 oz. Serving., a whole chicken thigh, or several will take more time of course..

Have ice milk or yogurt for dessert, maybe a dollop of sugar free strawberry preserves on top. Or a slice of pound cake with reduced butter, or use angel food cake fresh from the store :>)

You can have your holiday food without too much fanfare- put a sparkler on top and a smile on your face.

Jellies and Jollies

Flavoring products for those with gastroparesis and diabetes are somewhat limited. It is easier to flavor drinks with chocolate sauce or cinnamon
than it is to find sugar-free, no-fiber low-fat fillings for many desserts. I like Smuckers selections to add fruit fillings to thumbprint cookies even your children will like. (www.Smuckers.com/products). You can find a few flavors that aren’t at the local Kroegers, such as Guava and Black Raspberry.

They even have a seedless strawberry jelly which would make a good filling for a jelly roll. I’d jazz it up with a thick vanilla pudding made from scratch or a packaged mix made with 1 1/2 cup milk instead of the usual 2.
Spread it on the flat jelly roll before the jelly, not all the way to end – it spreads as you roll.

You’ll need a jelly roll pan, that’s the ‘cookie sheet’ with the rim around the edges. You might get away with a a 13 x 9 casserole dish, or even a rectangular roasting pan! Prepare your fillings first! A jelly roll made as it is with a sponge cake, doesn’t take long to bake. (10 minutes or less @ 350 degrees). I use a parchment baking sheet to help unmold it later.

Sponge cake recipes abound and some are easier than others. Joy of Cooking recommends a Hot-Milk sponge and you can make this in a multitude of flavors, including chocolate, which is as you may know, the foundation of the infamous Buche de Noel, a Christmas tradition. For those with diabetes try Smucker’s Hot Fudge topping as a frosting substitute. You’ll need to find your own recipes – they’re simple but depend on technique. I recommend making a few small cakes before having a grand presentation. You might be serving scrambled eggs with flour and chocolate topping ! Surprise! You betcha.

Sprinkle powdered diabetic sugar on top. Buy some xylitol at the health food store. Take 1/3 cup and put it in your clean coffee bean grinder.Zap ’til it looks just like…

If you do this right, it can be a stunning centerpiece, but in any case it’ll taste yummy.

Getting Through Gastoparesis with Food, Part 1

A stomach that is partially or fully paralyzed demands special treatment.
Hints that you have it depends really on how you feel. A little nausea was how it started with me. I ate a lot of saltines in those days. Some people can eat little to nothing without tossing their cookies. They can get by on nutrition drinks without fiber (think health food store Spiro-Tein in dozens of flavors and some without sugar), they may have sugar but that might help you even with diabetes – you’ll probably need those extra calories.

Your aim is to get at least 1200 calories a day, 200 more if you’re a guy.
You can also try drinks like Boost and Glucerna. Read the label. I made the mistake of buying a version of one drink that turned out to have a goodly amount of fiber (4-5 grams). If you have diabetes and are on insulin this doesn’t work well. The insulin gets into your blood faster than the food and you may go so low you pass out.

If you do have diabetes and take insulin, unless your doc is an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes, you may have to ask for a gastroparesis test yourself. Docs aren’t great with this, neither are Certified Diabetes Educators. That’s because this is gastroenterology issue that is interfering with your diabetes. This is the doc that does your colonoscopies and such. Check out the site on www: gicare.com for some introductory diets.