Monthly Archives: July 2011

Simple, Yet Sophisticated, Single Ingredient Sorbets

What if I told you that two cool, creamy and easy fruit sorbets were just a blend away?  That’s two sorbets with no peeling, pitting or poaching required? And the best part: no ice cream maker necessary! It’s true! Simple, yet sophisticated Pear & Peach Sorbet is that easy! All you need is canned fruit halves in heavy syrup, a freezer and a food processor or sturdy blender. Fruit packed in heavy syrup is what makes this recipe work as sugar syrup doesn’t freeze completely like juice. Avoid fruit packed in juice as it will yield disappointing results.

These sorbets are nice enough to serve as is or garnish with some very finely diced candied ginger, homemade or store bought berry syrup or diced canned pears or peaches for a little flavor alliteration. No matter how you scoop or serve  them these sorbets are keepers. And by the way, I’m happily eating candied ginger again. There was a time that even those fibers bothered me. It’s so nice to have a useful old friend back in my life.

Pear & Peach Sorbet

For best flavor allow sorbet to soften for approximately 5 minutes before serving

2 15-16 ounce cans pear or peach halves in heavy syrup

Freeze unopened cans of fruit for a minimum of 8 hours. Dip unopened cans in hot water for 20 seconds to loosen filling. Pour contents into the bowl of a food processor (I used my Vitamix) tearing at the filling with a fork to break up the pieces of fruit. Puree until smooth. Transfer sorbet to a covered container and refreeze. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and let soften for approximately 5 minutes.

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“Resistance is Futile”

No, I’m not a Star Trek fan but I catch myself using that phrase regularly and especially when talking about my life with Gastroparesis. It’s no secret I’ve come to appreciate the “path of least resistance”. Now before all you Sisyphus wannabes (those who get up every morning and push the same giant rock up the same steep hill only to watch it roll back down again) get yourselves in a uproar I’m in no way suggesting that the “path of least resistance” means giving in or giving up. For me it’s not wasting my energy whacking my head repeatedly against the same wall when I already know the result…a dented head and a headache!  It’s recognizing that which I have control over, acknowledging that which I don’t and practicing the fine art of living creatively within my limitations while still hoping for a cure. Yes, I do consider living my best life with a chronic digestive disorder an art and it requires letting go of what I had planned for life and getting creative within the confines of this life right here, right now. My reward for shifting my perspective…being well, feeling well, and doing well…within the confines of Gastroparesis. Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not cured, have good days and less than good days and I certainly don’t eat like a normal person (“Digestives” as Hubby and I have nicknamed them).

I routinely push myself to try new things…thoughtfully and cautiously. One of the biggest Gastroparesis-friendly things I’ve learned about myself is if it’s a fruit or veggie (raw especially) and it’s pureed to oblivion it’s most likely okay (for me!) provided I don’t do anything wild and crazy. My Green Smoothies were born that way as was my New Breakfast Smoothie below. My first post diagnosis experience with cantaloupe was just recently. I ate half a cup of very ripe cantaloupe and tolerated it okay…which means there was a little bloating. The second time I was up all night while it fermented in my tummy. Why am I doing this to myself? I asked when I already knew that I could consume three times as much if I just put it in the Vitamix and made a smoothie. The end result for me was more orange nutrients and less discomfort. How is that not a win/win? Sure, I missed out on the “experience” of eating cantaloupe but I also missed out on the unpleasant experience of fullness, bloating and a ruined night’s sleep.

My point is NOT that everyone should be pureeing their fruits and veggies! My point is that there are always creative solutions when one is faced with limitation and if one solution doesn’t work out don’t dent your head trying to force it to work. Spend that energy trying to find another. Recently, I had a follow-up appointment with my Gastroenterologist. It had been over a year since my first and only Botox treatment. He was sincerely interested in how I was doing on no medication and assuming the Botox had worn off long ago. I explained that daily exercise was my only “pill” and went on to tell him about eating six small meals per day, my Green Smoothies and this Blog (I regularly eat or use everything I write about here-eggs, chicken, fish, lobster, nut butter etc). The one perplexing question he asked was “But are you eating anything more challenging?”. I stifled all the sarcastic remarks that came to mind like “Oh thanks for reminding me! Friday is steak and broccoli night, Saturday is BBQ pork ribs with slaw night and Sunday is all you can eat donuts from Krispy Kream!” Thankfully, my face said it all for me because within an instant of asking he said “I assume feeling well is what’s most important to you.” BINGO!

My apologies for such a long post but I wanted to set the stage for my new breakfast smoothie…made with berries! I’ve gained eight pounds and no longer need to maintain my weight so a leaner, cleaner smoothie has taken my old smoothie’s place. So without further ado here is my New Breakfast Smoothie:

New Breakfast Smoothie (Kefir Berry Protein Smoothie)

I use blueberries and strawberries because they puree easily. I avoid unstrained blackberries and raspberries because even the Vitamix can’t pulverize the tough seeds to oblivion. This smoothie is “unsweetened” so feel free to adjust to your personal taste.  Makes one serving

1/2 cup plain low fat or non fat Kefir*

1/2 frozen banana

1/3 cup frozen blueberries (wild usually)

handful frozen strawberries (about 4 large berries)

1 scoop unflavored whey protein isolate**

1 tablespoon almond butter

Puree until smooth and there are no flecks.

*Kefir is cultured milk and is also considered a “fermented” food. I use Lifeway Kefir without added fiber. It has a sour, cultured taste that is stronger than yogurt. It also contains 10 probiotic strains and 11 grams of protein per cup. Click here to read more.

**I now use Jay Robb unflavored whey protein isolate. It has 26 grams of protein per scoop and has no other additives. I do not purchase the flavored powders as they are sweetened with Stevia which I have discovered makes me dizzy! I participate in their auto ship program and get one shipment per month at a 20% discount with free shipping. Click here to read more.

What’s In Your Bag?

Hubby and I were relaxing in our local Starbucks when I reached into my bag for a little treat to go with my first iced coffee of the summer. I’m one of those petite women who carries a bag that’s twice as big (and heavy!) as she is and as I fished around and started to “unload” the Hubster laughed and asked “Exactly what’s in that bag?”. “Be prepared” isn’t just the motto of the Boy Scouts. So, here’s what’s in my bag:

1. Individual servings of almond butter (flavored with honey, maple and chocolate) are handy if I’m out and about and get caught without a snack. All I need to do is purchase a bagel, roll, crackers or other “vehicle” for my almond butter. No utensil needed just tear off a corner and squeeze out the almond butter. Sometimes I carry peanut butter pouches and Justin’s also makes chocolate hazelnut butter in an individual pouch.

2. Ziploc snack bags of mini pretzels and low fat ginger cat cookies from Trader Joes’s. I find rather than avoiding food, eating just a small handful of something crunchy and salty or crunchy and spicy (gingery) can actually make me feel better when my tummy is a little queasy and uncertain.

3. Glucose Tablets and a Glucose Liquid Shot in case of low blood sugar. I’m not diabetic and am diligent about eating 6 small meals a day but have had two occasions when I’ve had an unpleasant shift in blood sugar. I sat in my car and ate 6 hard candies until it passed but never want to get “stuck” in a situation like that again. I picked up this helpful tip from Crystal’s Traveling with Gastroparesis Video Blog Post. I haven’t had to use them but having the glucose products gives me a little extra peace of mind that I won’t be caught unprepared if another sugar shift is in my future.

4. Ginger tea bags for “tummy taming”. I can ask for a cup of hot water anywhere. I’ve been enjoying Twinings Herbal Revive Lemon and Chinese Ginger lately.

5. Jelly Belly Sports Beans. I’m not kidding myself, although these claim to be “quick energy for sports performance” they’re nothing more than glorified candy. What I do like about them is that they’re portioned into 100 calorie packs and contain carbohydrates, electrolytes and a few vitamins. Each resealable packet comes in berry, lemon/lime, watermelon (contains caffeine) and orange flavor. I found them completely by accident when I was browsing through the food items at REI Sports.

6. Gin-Gins, Ginger Chews and Ricola Lozenges. I keep a handful of Gin-Gins ginger hard candies and Ginger Chews from the Ginger People as well as Original Ricola lozenges. Between the spicy ginger and minty-herbal flavors I always have something soothing to suck on.

7. Peppermint Gum. Not pictured because I just chewed my last piece! I find chewing gum helps with the feelings of fullness. I’ve never been quite sure if chewing gum helps move the food along or just takes my mind off a full tummy but either way it makes me feel better after a meal that won’t “move”.

So, I’ve shown your mine…what’s in your bag?

As always…Eat Well! Be Well! Enjoy!