Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Gastroparesis “Vacation”

That is the first time I’ve typed the word “Gastroparesis” let alone said it in about a week. I didn’t blog about it, think about it, tweet about it or talk about it because I treated myself to a “Gastroparesis Vacation”. Friday was my birthday (no, I won’t tell you which one as a lady never discusses her age!) and because I’ve been feeling a little saturated recently my birthday gift to myself was a gastroparesis-free week…a vacation of sorts.

Can I tell you it was ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, GLORIOUSLY FREEING and exactly what I needed! Now, anyone who even follows occasionally knows that I most certainly don’t live in denial about my life with gastroparesis. My “vacation” still included all the gastroparesis-friendly meals, exercise and “self-care” that I practice daily (and just so you know I wasn’t symptom-free during my “vacation”)-I just acted as if they were (are) a normal part of day to day life…because they are!

What my “Gastroparesis Vacation” did was take all the power away from my gastroparesis! For an entire week I refused to let it occupy the center of my Universe. I refused to allow it to define who I am. I refused to allow it to make me feel limited. I wasn’t stubbornly pretending that I was normal by eating and doing things that would make me sick and miserable nor was I lying to myself in any way. I chose to live my new normal as my normal…because it is my normal! I highly recommend this “vacation destination” as another stop along the gastroparesis journey!

As always Eat Well! Be Well! Enjoy!

PS Just in case you missed them- 2 good reads from the Twitter stream:

Are You Addicted To Suffering and Ready To Quit?

If-Then Thinking

I hope you find them as interesting and illuminating as I did.

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The Little Tree That Could

I’ve been picking peaches all week. This has been a bumper crop and I’m still amazed that its been 15 years since a horribly misshapen, scrawny little twig rescued from a compost heap came to us unexpectedly one October afternoon. “He” was a cast-off from a friend’s father’s garden and literally came as a “Y”-shaped twig with a single root…no pot, no dirt. We planted our unexpected gift just as it was getting dark on that chilly October Sunday. The rest, as they say, is history.

Despite “his” unfortunate start in life and a shape that makes him innately weak and vulnerable to splitting, he has consistently produced peaches year in and year out as if “he” has no idea that “he’s” ugly looking and defective. Now, they’re New England peaches so they’re never really bigger than raquette balls, aren’t the freestone variety and are a little tart- which makes them perfect for cooking. I rely solely on the birds for pest control and nothing makes me happier than bringing in a tray of just picked, organic, sun-blushed peaches that fill the kitchen with their warm, sweet, peachy perfume.

Last summer I was still getting my head around this new life with Gastroparesis. Backyard peach picking always signaled the start of Peach Crumble season. I spent days peeling and pitting pounds of peaches to be topped with generous fist-fulls of dark brown sugar, butter, oats and pecans then baked off in lasagne-sized pans and enjoyed by Hubby’s coworkers, neighbors and ourselves, of course. There were always a few crumbles destined for the freezer so that we could enjoy some of summer’s sunny bounty come cold days.

I had no Peach Crumble last summer and enjoyed the bulk of my peaches juiced but this summer has been different for as I learn more, do more and tolerate more I try more. This week there has been Peach Crumble of a sort. It may not contain all the butter, oats and pecans of previous years but I think it’s a perfectly peachy GP-friendly alternative. Oh, and by the way, our peach tree’s perfectly proportioned “siblings” have never produced nearly what our imperfect tree has accomplished!

Gingersnap Peach Crunch

6 “normal” portions. This recipe is slightly higher in fat than the usual posts at approximately 5 grams per serving. This Crunch tastes of peaches-the ginger is subtle. For a spicier version feel free to add some extra ground ginger. Cooking the fruit before baking does two things: ensures that the peaches are fully cooked (aka GP-friendly) before going into the oven and uses a minimum amount of oven time during the hot summer months. Adapted from Food & Wine.

4 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced*

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour

pinch salt

1 cup coarsely crushed gingersnaps (used 60 Trader Joe’s Lowfat Ginger Cat Cookies for people)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Add peaches and cook over high heat until softened (about 10 minutes). Add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and lemon juice and cook until juices get thick and syrupy and peaches are soft (approximately 5 minutes). Pour into a 10″ deep dish pie plate or 1 1/2 – 2 quart baking dish.

Meanwhile, pulse butter, flour, salt and remaining dark brown sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the gingersnaps and pulse just to incorporate.

Press the topping into clump and sprinkle over peaches. Bake 15-20 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is bubbly.

*My peaches are smaller than commercially grown therefore there are more pits. You may need less if your peaches are bigger.


Links Galore!

Anyone who follows along on Twitter knows that when I stumble upon something “good” I share it. Sometimes its an article relating to digestion, inspirational wisdom for coping with life’s challenges or food and recipe ideas. The great and not so great thing about Twitter is that the stream is ever flowing so some of the fantastic information I was excited to share quickly becomes just a memory. Here are just a few of my favorites!

A fantastic article about FODMAPS – Fermentable Carbohydrates that can cause bloating. Check out the chart at the very end of the article.

Clever Frozen Baby Food Treats – Easy, instant “sorbet-like” treats.

Super Easy Lasagne Roll-ups  – Just sub out the chopped tomatoes for sauce.

Frozen Hot Chocolate – 150 calories, a dose of calcium and a chocolate fix.

Smoothies 101 – Just omit any non-GP-friendly ingredients!

Foods You Can Carry On A Plane – Great ideas to inspire GP-friendly travel meals.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. So check in on Twitter periodically for a little pearl and stay tuned…easy Gingersnap Peach Crisp is the feature of my next post!

As always: Eat Well! Be Well! Enjoy!

Do Less. You’ll Live Longer.

Do less. You’ll live longer. That’s a piece of advice my Grandmother gave me a long time ago. Now, before anybody gets their knickers in a twist, “do less” does not mean “do nothing”. It is simply deciding exactly what things are most important then prioritizing those things. Everything else gets done when it get done…no guilt allowed!

Saturday was a “Do Less Day” at my house. Hubby had just put his mother on a plane back to Florida and I used the day to relax before playing catch up on Sunday. My “Do Less Day” included my morning speed walk around the neighborhood which, as my only form of “medication”, is absolutely, positively not negotiable and a healthy dinner…another “not negotiable”. Everything else waited for later. It was my day to recharge and refuel. Dinner was easy, delicious and nutritious straight out of the toaster oven!

So, in the spirit of doing less, recharging and refueling here is my super simple, “free form” recipe for Do Less Day Marinated Roasted Wild Salmon.

Do Less Day Marinated Roasted Wild Salmon

Serves 3-4. This is a “free form” recipe so all measurements are approximate. Tasty marinade additions are a few drops of toasted sesame oil or a small spoonful of good Dijon mustard…sadly, I’m allergic to both.

16 ounce wild Coho (Silver) salmon fillet*

Marinade:

thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cloves garlic, germ removed, peeled and grated

splash Ponzu Sauce (or Soy Sauce)-Ponzu is a citrus infused soy sauce.

1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate

splash dry French white vermouth

Topping:

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

salt and pepper

Combine marinade ingredients, pour over salmon and marinate for about an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove salmon from marinade and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with dark brown sugar, salt and pepper. Roast until just cooked through-approximately 15 minutes.

*A few words about salmon. Personally, I consume only wild fish and seafood. Wild salmon is the term used for all varieties of wild caught salmon (Sockeye, King, Coho, etc). The fat content of salmon varies with the specific variety. Coho (Silver) salmon contains 7 grams of fat per 3 ounce cooked serving. Other varieties have varying fat contents with King being the highest at 11.5 grams per 3 ounce cooked serving and Pink the least at 4 grams . So, if you think salmon might be Gastroparesis-friendly for you keep in mind the fat content (and protein!) of each variety when shopping: Wild Alaskan Salmon Nutritional Information.

By the way, Grandma outlived all my other grandparents by at least a decade and had a longer life by decades than my parents. Just sayin’…she may have been on to something. Slow down. Do less. You’ll live longer.