Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tasty Find! Red Mango Frozen Yogurt

I find a stroll after dinner helps with digestion.  In mild weather Hubby and I walk our neighborhood or take the dog for a walk at a local university campus. Since the evenings have turned cold and dark we’ve had to get creative with our post prandial strolls.  I like to do my errands on the weeknights and a stroll around Target or a quick walk around Whole Foods is usually all I need to help get my dinner moving and take my mind off that feeling of lingering fullness.  Then there’s window shopping at the mall and with 2 million square feet of floor space its the perfect location to walk off a meal on a cold winter’s night.  It also just happens to be the locale of my new favorite frozen yogurt place!

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really like frozen yogurt.  It’s like soft serve ice cream and I don’t like that either which is why I usually opt for sorbet when we’re out for “ice cream”.  Red Mango has changed that opinion!  It’s still soft serve frozen yogurt but unlike the ubiquitous Dannon frozen yogurt it retains its yogurt-y twang.    Red Mango is all-natural, certified gluten-free, contains no artificial sweeteners (including high fructose corn syrup) and is fortified with an exclusive probiotic.  All Red Mango frozen yogurt is no-fat with approximately 100 calories per half-cup serving.

They offer flavors like Original (plain yogurt), Pomegranate, Madagascar Vanilla and the Flavor of the Day…usually several flavors.  So far I’ve tried the Original, Pumpkin Spice and new Dark Chocolate flavors.  YUM!  Several toppings are available and potentially GP-friendly options include sliced fresh banana, honey, graham cracker crumbs and fun cereals like fruity pebbles, cocoa pebbles and Cap’n Crunch.

Their menu lists Parfaits, Smoothies, Hot Chocolate Chillers and Probiotic Iced Teas…some may or may not be GP-friendly depending on your tolerances and how you order.  Red Mango has locations in 25 states.  Hopefully you have a location near you!

Eat Well! Be Well!  Enjoy!

Fat is Flavor! Fat Delays Gastric Emptying!

Fat is flavor!  That’s one of the first things I learned in culinary school.  Fat delays gastric emptying!  That’s one of the first things I learned after I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis.  As I’ve been learning, some GPers can eat all the fat they want and some cannot.  Just as some GPers can tolerate more fiber than others.  Right now I would consider myself “middle of the road” as far as fat and fiber are concerned.

Before GP, I was living a very “clean” life…plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and most importantly, healthy fats by way of olive, canola, fish and flax oils, avocado, peanut and almond butter, nuts, dark chocolate, egg yolks, naturally raised grass-fed meats and cold water fish.  Healthy fat helps with the absorption of many nutrients, keeps skin and hair healthy, improves cardiovascular health, reduces the symptoms of hypertension, depression and inflammation in the body and as we’ve all been told, delays gastric emptying.

After my diagnosis I shied away from fat altogether.  The GP diet is low-fat NOT no fat and I have to keep reminding myself of that.  We’ve all been there.  Newly diagnosed and still in the flare that was responsible for the diagnosis or just out of a flare and experiencing the fear and paranoia of putting ourselves back into one while being completely clueless as to what is safe to eat.

Food allergies and Gastroparesis have made me a very cautious eater.  You all know my motto: “Nothing tastes as good as being well feels!”.  I’m a “baby steps kinda gal” not a “leap before I look gal”.    While trying to safely and responsibly introduce foods back into my diet (healthy fat in particular), I’ve been using what I’ve nicknamed the Three Cs Method…Caution, Conservatism and Calculation.

Caution: I carefully choose meals I tolerate easily which are already very low or contain no fat to “improve” with a little healthy fat.

Conservatism: I add fat very slowly, in small increments until I feel I’m at a healthy and tolerable level for me.

Calculation: I keep in mind the other meals and fat contents I’ve already consumed that day when deciding how much fat to allow in a meal.

Examples of introducing more healthy fat into my day are:

Adding a tablespoon of strawberry banana flavored flax oil supplement to my morning Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie adds 5 grams of healthy fat including Omega 3 fatty acids.  On the mornings I’m out of Barlean’s Omega Swirl I add a heaping teaspoon of smooth almond butter to my smoothie.  The recent addition of one tablespoon of natural cocoa powder in each serving of Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder adds an additional two grams of healthy fat to my breakfast.

Spreading mashed avocado onto my sliced turkey or chicken sandwiches has been another easy way to incorporate some healthy fat into my lunch when I’m not enjoying chicken, tuna or egg salad made with one tablespoon of Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise (50 calories, 5 grams fat).  According to www.avocadocentral.com, 1/5 or 1 ounce of a Hass avocado contains 50 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber and 1 gram protein.  Avocado is also part of the menu that was provided by the dietitian and was suggested by a fellow GPer on the GP Yahoo group I belong to.  They are a friendly, kind and informative group I might add!

I juice my fresh fruits and veggies almost daily.  I find fat in liquid form or fat diluted in liquid much easier to tolerate.  I add 1 teaspoon of Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil to my juice.  It adds a pleasant orange flavor 45 calories and 4.5 grams of fat including healthy Omega fat.  Recently, when I was out of fish oil I quickly pureed a quarter of an avocado into my juice with my stick blender for an Omega boost.

I try to consume most of my eggs whole (with the yolk) and only make sacrifices when trying to bake a low fat, GP-friendly treat…remember treats and sweets after all nutritional needs are met.  Although the yolk is a significant source of cholesterol, it is full of important nutrients including fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids (according to www.cholesterol-and-health.com).

In keeping with advice I received during a webinar sponsored by G-PACT back in August, I try to introduce one new food back into my diet each week or so.  My most recent addition is poached salmon and I’m happy to announce it was a success.  I went the lazy route and purchased a package of wild pacific salmon prepared with salt and lemon from the refrigerator case at Trader Joe’s.  Each 3 ounce serving contained 90 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 18 grams protein and a whopping 1,000 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.  It was delicious mixed with a little olive oil mayo, Penzey’s Mural of Flavor salt free seasoning and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

The very first meal I tinkered with was the Three Cheese and Spinach Pita Pizza which is almost fat free.  Each time I made one, I drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil over the fat free cottage, ricotta or feta cheese starting out with a 1/4 teaspoon and working up to 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil which adds 40 calories, and 4.7 grams of mostly monounsaturated fat.  I enjoy the flavor of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and just a teaspoon makes my pita pizzas taste more like the real thing.

During a quickie impromptu dinner.  I divided a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into thirds and drizzled it over each layer of a sweet potato I filled with 1/4 cup seasoned fat free ricotta cheese and cooked spinach.  Along with the 1/3 teaspoon of olive oil I salted and peppered each layer and finished with a dusting of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  It was a simple, delicious and healthy dinner!

While I’m not an expert on GP, I’m becoming an expert on my own GP.  Right now, I feel most comfortable consuming 5 grams of fat at a time.  This isn’t a race…it’s a journey.  GP is a chronic condition so I have the rest of my life to tinker with my diet until I get to my most healthy and tolerated way of eating.  How are you able to incorporate healthy fats into your day?

Tasty Find! Eats,Treats and Tummy Tamers

Not everything I enjoy is homemade.  I have plenty of store-bought favorite eats, treats and tummy tamers so I thought I’d take a moment to mention some of them…

EATS:

It’s no secret I’m a very cautious eater but I do eat out on occasion and on evenings that I absolutely, positively do not want to cook there are two places where I trust I’ll get a “safe” meal.  I’m currently trying to expand my dining out horizons so if anyone wants to share their safe meals and go-to restaurants please do!

IHOP I can most certainly make pancakes and scrambled eggs myself but sometimes it’s nice to have someone else do the cooking and clean up.  A stack of buttermilk pancakes and two scrambled eggs are a safe and simple dinner out.  I ask for the butter to be left off and sometimes (to the horror and embarrassment of Hubby) bring my own real maple or berry syrup for the pancakes.  I take the extra pancakes home for later.

Ted’s Montana Grill For a cozy, more up-scale dining experience we head to Ted’s for dinner.  My “safe” meal is one of the same meals I ordered before my GP diagnosis-Beer Can Chicken with a baked sweet potato (available after 4:00 pm) with the cinnamon butter on the side.  Once the skin is removed the chicken is still moist and tasty.  The baked sweet potato is tender and delicious and barely needs a small dollop of the cinnamon butter. I ask for an extra plate and use the room to cut up my chicken away from the pool of sauce at the bottom of the soup plate they serve it in.  I give my roasted asparagus spears to Hubby and ask for a take out box for the rest of the chicken and half sweet potato.  This is not how the meal is written on the menu.  I don’t ask I just specifically order it this way.  Ted’s has locations in Montana, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virgina, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

TREATS:

When I was trying to maintain my weight I started to snack mindlessly between meals and snacks…exactly what they tell you not to do when trying to lose weight.  Now that I’ve gained five pounds I need to be a little more mindful of my treats.  Remember treats and sweets are for after your nutritional needs are met.  These are a few of my favorites…

Trader Joe’s Low Fat Cat Cookies for People are available in ginger and chocolatey flavor.  They are modestly sized, crunchy, not overly sweet and are reasonably priced at approximately $2.49 per 16 ounce tub…oh, and very tasty too.

15 Ginger Cats: 120 calories, 2 grams fat, <1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein

15 Chocolatey Cats: 110 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein.

Kedem Tea Biscuits are made in Israel and available in the Jewish section of the market.  They are crisp, delicate, rectangular tea biscuits available in vanilla, orange, chocolate and plain flavor.  Each sleeve is approximately 79 cents and sometime 3 sleeves for a dollar during the Jewish holidays.  I enjoy them plain or as little sandwiches filled with seedless blackberry, strawberry or raspberry jam..and sometimes add a little almond or peanut butter.

2 biscuits: 32 calories, 1 gram fat, 0.2 grams fiber, 0.5 grams protein

Double Rainbow and Hagen Daz Chocolate Sorbet are both a refreshing change when I’m dairy-ed out at the end of the day.  The Double Rainbow sorbet (available at Trader Joe’s) has a fudgey flavor and is more reasonably priced than the Hagen Daz sorbet.  However, the Hagen Daz chocolate sorbet has a much richer dark chocolate flavor.  If you’re looking for a non-dairy chocolate fix both are up to the task.

1/2 cup of sorbet: 120 calories, 1 gram fat, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein

DelMonte Fruit Chillers are tubes and cups of fruit sorbet available in the canned fruit section of the market.  Each tube or cup is portioned and convenient and doesn’t need to be stored in the freezer until you’re ready for a frozen treat.  Each box is made with 1 pound of fruit and comes in flavors like strawberry snowstorm and grape berry blizzard.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans are downright addictive!  So be warned.  Measure out a small handful and step away from the bag!  Four calories per bean may sound harmless and 100 calories for 25 jelly beans seems modest but then 25 beans turn into 100 and so on and so on….until you’ve plowed through an entire bag.  Guilty as charged!

Min Pretzels and Baked Lay’s Potato Crisps hit the salty spot.  I find sometimes a small handful of mini pretzels or a few crisps is all it takes.

TUMMY TAMERS:

SoBe Lifewater…specifically the Yumberry Pomegranate flavor.  I generally take the claims on vitamin water bottles with a grain of salt but in this case the ginger and dandelion root extracts really have a way of soothing my tummy.  Even my non-GP Hubby sipped one during his last tummy bug and came to the same conclusion.  This is a calorie free beverage so if you’re trying to gain or maintain be aware that it may be soothing but filling you up without filling you out.

GIN-GINS Double Strength Ginger Hard Candies from the Ginger People are my favorite tummy tamer.  So much so, that I finally broke down and ordered a five pound box directly from them.  They are made with real ginger, sweet and spicy and naturally stimulating (as proclaimed on the package!).  I pop one in my mouth right after lunch and dinner to help kick-start the digesting process or when I get that wave of nausea we’re all so familiar with.

Those are all the eats, treats and tummy tamers I can think of at the moment.  Please feel free to share any of your favorites.  Eat Well! Be Well! Enjoy!

Cozy Afternoon

It’s been cold and snowy here and rather than staying in cozy hibernation I’ve done more shoveling than I’d like.  We’re simply running out of places to put it!  Gastroparesis and shoveling are not compatible companions and I have a specific window between my last meal and doing anything that requires bending over…this “sweet spot” is about 3 hours.  So in anticipation of the morning’s snow moving and removal I used my pre-sweet spot time to bake up a batch of Low Fat Cinnamon Buns from a recipe I’ve had in reserve…because as you know, I’m oh so enamored with low fat, GP-friendly baking.

These little gems are not the sticky, gooey Cinnabons from the mall they’re more like crumbly glazed cinnamon bun cookies and were just right apre-shovel with a steaming cup of Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea sweetened with a spoonful of local honey.  For those GPers who can tolerate a cup of tea the Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice is a delicious blend of black tea, three types of cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves.  I usually keep my tea and coffee unsweetened but the honey really makes the cinnamon, orange and spice sing.  Stir with a cinnamon stick for extra zing!

During my recent internet travels I learned a few interesting facts about cinnamon and honey.  Along with numerous other health benefits, cinnamon and honey, when consumed together, help improve digestion by removing gas from the stomach and intestines and soothing stomach aches and indigestion.  A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but in my experience a spoonful of honey soothes the tummy (and a cough and a sore throat too).

Too much of a good thing is usually too much…except for glaze!  I’m a complete nut for glaze and plan on doubling the glaze portion of the recipe the next time around.  They are delicious as written.  I’ll let you decide about the glaze on your own.

Helpful Hint: Portioning is easier when baking with a ruler.  An inexpensive plastic or metal ruler that can be washed between uses takes the guess work out of making the 10″x6″ rectangle as directed below and keeps the slices for each mini bun a uniform size.

Low Fat Mini Cinnamon Buns

These are not the ooey-gooey Cinnabons at the mall…they’re crumbly and cookie-like and go nicely with a warm cup of tea with honey.  If you’re a nut for glaze like I am double the glaze portion of the recipe and spoon with abandon!  Makes 24 – Serves 8 with 3 mini cinnamon buns each.

3 tablespoons sugar, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1/4 cup milk, divided into 3 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1-1 1/2 teaspoons water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 24 cup mini muffin plaque with canola spray.  Mix together 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon.  Set aside.  In another bowl mix together egg and 3 tablespoons of milk.  Set aside.  Mix together flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt and butter.  Blend with your fingers, pastry cutter or food processor (my favorite method) until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add milk mixture (while food processor is running) and mix until just combined.  Pour out onto a floured surface and roll dough out into a 10″x6″ rectangle about 1/2″ thick.  Brush with some of the remaining milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Roll to form a 6″ log and slice into 24 pieces.  Place one piece in each muffin cup (you will need to squeeze and crimp each slice to fit).  Bake for 13-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, stir together confectioner’s sugar, water and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle over warm buns.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

8 Servings of 3 mini cinnamon buns

142 calories, 3.7 grams fat, 0.7 grams fiber, 3.1 grams protein

(each Low Fat Mini Cinnamon Bun: 47 calories, 0.9 grams fat, 0.2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein)

Making The Most of Baby Food…The Sequel

Yes, I’ve been enjoying Noodle Kugel, Chicken Curry and even a small ham sandwich for lunch…my first red meat in over a year (anything with four legs is considered red meat, by the way)!  And, I’m still buying baby food fruits and veggies.  They’re convenient, already portioned plus they’re pureed and strained, making them easy on the tummy-tums.  Despite the progress I’ve made over this past year I’m still a very cautious eater because: chant it with me now…Nothing tastes as good as being well feels!  I periodically give my tummy a rest in order to enjoy a few more highly seasoned solids.  According to the Registered Dietitian I saw shortly after I was diagnosed, all baby food is considered acceptable on the Gastroparesis Diet and anything that spared me from some of the endless pureeing in those days was a blessing.

Back in September, I posted the original Making The Most of Baby Food with a recipe for No Puree Baby Food Sweet Potato Bisque and promised to revisit the topic.  I’m still enjoying my daily vanilla Activia yogurt with a jar of baby food fruit poured over the top.  My favorites are Gerber 1st Foods prunes, Gerber 2nd Foods peaches, peach cobbler smoothie, pears, pear with wild blueberries and pear with pineapple and Earth’s Best Organic pear with raspberries.  Except for the peach cobbler flavor, which is sweetened with white grape juice and thickened with rice flour,  none of the fruit has added starch or sweeteners and at approximately 60 calories each are considered a serving of fruit.  I’m allergic to apples so I haven’t been able to try the varieties that are cut with apple like Gerber 2nd Foods cherry and in my opinion anything mixed with mango is revolting.  Each flavor has one to three grams of fiber but since the fruit has been cooked, pureed and strained it hasn’t bothered me (which is why I use it as a very sneaky way to include a little “legal” fiber in my day).  I still buy canned peaches and pears packed in juice for when I want to enjoy fruit I can chew or use in a quickie recipe.

Baby food veggies are a different story.  Because they have no added sugar, salt or flavorings like adult processed food, they require a great deal of seasoning.  I stick to the veggies that are not considered GP-friendly except in baby food form like peas and corn.  I’m able to eat frozen chopped spinach and preferred it pureed (when necessary) to other forms of spinach.  I absolutely love crisp blanched french green beans so I haven’t been able to bring myself to try baby food green beans and am allergic to carrots so I haven’t been able to try any varieties mixed with carrots.  I heat up a package of Gerber 2nd Foods peas whenever I have fish or scallops for dinner.  They are especially good poured over baked or mashed potatoes but be warned, because we are all so used to processed adult food (even frozen and canned peas are packaged with salt and sometimes sugar) they are blander than bland without some serious salting and peppering, garlic powder or onion powder.  As far as fiber is concerned the same is true for baby food veggies as is with baby food fruit…each serving has one to three grams of fiber.  The veggies have been pureed and strained and I haven’t had any difficulties with the small amounts of fiber.

Recently, after a cold day out I wanted an easy cup of warming soup with a little substance.  No Puree Cup O’ Green Pea Soup was born.  Thicker and more substantial than a broth based soup and not tomato based it was savory and felt hearty and substantial without being overwhelming.  My newest baby food veggie find is Earth’s Best Organic corn and butternut squash.  It actually inspired me to develop (with a little inspiration from two Whole Foods recipes for Cod Chowder) the following recipe for Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder.  Unlike some of my more recently posted recipes with curry and cumin this chowder is warming, plain and comforting…yes, I said “plain” but I mean it in the most positive way possible.  The corn, potato and cod are gentle, simple flavors that make this mild soup very easy to eat.  I have found white fish very easy to tolerate even on more symptomatic days.  So if thoughts of curry, cumin or anything tomato based make you recoil this is the soup for you.  Hubby and I enjoyed it with Ritz-type crackers because I forgot to pick up the oyster crackers.

No Puree Cup O’Green Pea Soup

Serves 1

1 package Gerber 2nd Foods peas

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon onion powder

pinch Herbes de Provence or oregano, pulverized with a pinch of salt to form a powder (I use a coffee grinder specifically to grind spices or use a mortar and pestle)

1/4 teaspoon salt (can always add more but can’t take away)

pepper to taste

pinch Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

well-cooked or canned diced potato, carrots (if tolerated) and/or lowfat ham (optional)

Combine peas and chicken stock in a small saucepan.  Whisk in seasonings.  Bring to a simmer and adjust salt to taste.  Optional: add well-cooked or canned diced potatoes, carrots and ham if “Chunky”-style pea soup is desired/tolerated.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: (does not include additional potatoes, carrots or ham)

52.5 calories, .5 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein

Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder

Serves 4  (Can be easily halved.  For a true “dump recipe” if you’re too tired to peel and dice potatoes, drained and rinsed canned diced potatoes can be substituted for the diced fresh potatoes just reduce the chicken stock by half.)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, ground to a powder with a little salt

1 pound red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

4 4 ounce jars Earth’s Best corn and butternut squash baby food

1 pound cod, cut into 1″ chunks

salt and pepper, to taste

Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

Bring almond milk, stock, spices and potatoes to a boil.  Simmer until potatoes are very tender (approximately 20 minutes).  Stir in baby food and bring back to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and be generous with the salt as up to this point there has been very little added to the chowder.  Add cod chunks (do not stir) and cover.  Simmer until cod is cooked (approximately 7 minutes).  Dish up bowls of hot chowder and garnish with Spanish smoked paprika, if desired.  Serve with Ritz-type or oyster crackers.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

315 calories, 3.3 grams fat, 3.6 grams fiber, 29 grams protein

Breakfast Smoothie Revamp

My original Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie has served me well.  I make one every morning without fail.  It’s still an easy and nutritious way to start my day.  Recently, I had to buy the Carnation Instant Breakfast variety pack because the market was out of the big tub of milk chocolate flavor and I discovered something…although I still hate the vanilla and strawberry flavors, the dark chocolate variety is far more rich and delicious than the milk chocolate.  There’s a hitch though.  The dark chocolate flavor ONLY comes in the variety pack.  I’ve been a big fan of CIB powder…it’s helped me get well and be well fed over this past year with Gastroparesis.  All of us GPers know that frankly, when we’re really sick, have no appetite and are having trouble maintaining weight, sugar content is the last thing on our minds, getting enough to eat is the first but I’ve always had a nagging concern about all the added sugar in CIB (its second on the list of ingredients).

I’ve developed my own version of CIB powder using instant nonfat dry milk and dark, rich natural cocoa powder and not a stitch of added sugar.  The fresh milk, dry milk and banana in the smoothie already provide carbohydrates without the added sugar of CIB.  I already take a quality, high potency, daily liquid multivitamin supplement by Now Vitamins so the 10-25% RDA of vitamins and minerals found in CIB powder seems insignificant and redundant by comparison.

According to the Hershey’s website, natural cocoa powder (not dutched or dutch processed) contains healthy fat, antioxidants and a small amount of fiber (cocoa like coffee, is derived from a bean).  These antioxidants, called flavanols, are associated with good cardiovascular health, healthy cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure.  Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup blueberries and 1 1/3 cups red wine.

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, heart function and promoting bone health.  A simple mixture of banana and milk creates an antacid effect by suppressing  stomach acid production.  Bananas also contain pectin, a soluble fiber, called a hydrocolloid that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation…yes, you heard that right!  Although bananas are best known for treating loose bowel movements (think BRAT diet:bananas, rice, applesauce and toast…all coincidentally GP-friendly…something to ponder) they also can promote healthy bowel movements by providing soluble fiber to relieve constipation.

Milk and whey protein powder are excellent and easily digestible (as long as you’re not intolerant!) sources of protein.  Milk contains most of the nutrients essential for the body to carry out its daily functions.  According to Barlean’s, the makers of Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement, flax oil is nature’s richest source of vegetable-based Omega 3 fatty acids and promotes heart health, healthy cholesterol levels, joint mobility and bone density, energy, healthy blood glucose and skin, hair and nail health.

Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder

Approximately 12 servings at 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) per serving

2 1/4 cups instant nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup natural cocoa powder

sweetener of your choice, if desired, I like mine unsweetened

Mix milk and cocoa powders thoroughly…a wire whisk works well.  Store in an air-tight container (I’m using my old CIB tub).

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

68 calories, 2 grams fat, 1.6 grams fiber, 6.8 grams protein

Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie Revamp

Serves 1

1 cup skim milk

4 tablespoons Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder

1 scoop chocolate flavored whey protein powder (I use Whole Foods brand)

1 large ripe banana*

1 Tbl Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement- Strawberry and Banana flavor (available at health food stores and on-line @ http://www.barleans.com)

Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on a large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long)*

433 calories, 7.4 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 33.3 grams protein**

*Small banana (6″-6 7/8″ long): 90 calories, 0.3 grams fat, 2.6 grams fiber, 1.1 grams protein)

Medium banana (7″-7 7/8″ long): 100 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.1 grams fiber, 1.3 grams protein

Large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long): 121 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.5 grams fiber, 1.5 grams protein

**If either of the fat or fiber numbers concerns you, reduce the cocoa powder by half in the Mary’s No Added Sugar Instant Breakfast Powder, omit or reduce the flax oil supplement or choose a smaller banana.

Still Pukka Christmas Curry Redo

Christmas dinner took a fortuitous but unexpected turn this year…we enjoyed Chicken Curry made with my GP-friendly Christmas Chutney!  I respectfully withheld the recipe because I knew that with a little more time and thought (and some fresh curry powder!) it could be something special.  Hubby and I enjoyed a Chicken Curry redo this weekend and I couldn’t wait to share the recipe.  The Christmas Chutney adds and extra layer of flavor and texture because it’s already seasoned and savory with onion powder, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and sweet from the diced pears, peaches and baby food prunes…and GP-friendly with no onions, raisins or seeds.  At one tablespoon, I was conservative with the curry powder as some recipes call for up to three tablespoons.  Use the amount you’re most comfortable with.  Remember, unless you’re baking, a recipe is only a guideline.  Feel free to get as creative or conservative as necessary depending on your needs, tastes and tolerances.  Aside from the splash of fat-free half and half at the end this is a dairy free curry especially if you substitute some low fat coconut milk for the half and half at the end. We enjoyed our Chicken Curry redo with basmati rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes sprinkled with a little garam masala before roasting.  And now as promised…

Chicken Curry

Serves 4

This curry isn’t sweet.  If you prefer a sweeter curry substitute some of the chicken stock with apple or pineapple juice or sweeten with a spoonful of honey.  Serve a little extra Christmas Chutney on the side, if desired.

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces

1 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper to taste

1″ piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated, press through a sieve to catch fibers

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tablespoon sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup Christmas Chutney

1/2 cup fat free half and half

Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan.  Spray with cooking spray.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Saute chicken pieces until golden brown.  Remove to a plate.  Add canola oil.  Briefly saute ginger, garlic, curry powder and onion powder.  Do not burn!  Add  tomato paste, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, chicken stock and chutney.  Bring to a simmer then add chicken back to the pan.  Simmer for 20 minutes then stir in fat free half and half.  Cook until warmed through.

Helpful Hint: When you spray a pan with cooking spray first you can reduce the amount of oil needed in a recipe.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

298 calories, 5.8 grams fat, 2.8 grams fiber, 36 grams protein