Category Archives: Travel

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!

Been Travelin’

I won’t lie.  Since my gastroparesis diagnosis I’ve had to travel three times and I find traveling very stressful.  How am I going to manage my food?  My eating schedule?  What if I get sick?  I’m lucky because two of those trips-including this past weekend-have been to family where I have an understanding for my needs and access to a kitchen.  I’m at an age now where I’m not shy about informing people of my needs.  This is first and foremost a gastroparesis recipe blog but it’s also a tool for adapting to a new way of life.  If you don’t inform the people around you of your needs (diet, schedule, exercise) you can’t expect them to automatically understand what those needs are.  These are some practical tips for traveling as well as a few food ideas that will integrate into family meals.

Travel with as much as you need and leave nothing to chance.  Unfortunately, airport security doesn’t make it easy and I’ve had to check a bag each time.  Frankly, I could research what is allowed through security but I prefer to draw as little attention to myself when flying as possible.

I travel with my smoothie ingredients (dry) all pre-measured and individually bagged, a Cuisinart stick blender with its measuring/blending cup, liquid vitamins and supplements in a Ziploc bag with a freezer pack, my lunch box, all the baby food fruit I’ll need for yogurt, cans or envelopes of water packed tuna, pita bread (because believe it or not there are parts of the U.S. where it’s not easy to find) and Boost nutrition drinks.  I always wrap one or two bottles of Boost in bubble wrap and place them in a Ziploc bag in the outside pocket of my suitcase for easy access upon landing.  They have never said no to me at any Starbucks when I’ve  asked for a cup of ice for my nutrition drink.

My shopping list for perishables is completed before I even leave the house for the airport and we shop on the way to our final destination.  Good traveling snacks for  carry-on are envelopes of Carnation Instant Breakfast (milk is available in any airport past the security line), animal crackers, mini pretzels, graham crackers, poptarts and I’m never without my Gin-Gins ginger hard candies.

The one occasion we were traveling to a hotel my husband booked us a room with a refrigerator and microwave and I was fortunate enough to have family arriving ahead of us who shopped for my perishables.  If you are unable to get a room with a refrigerator most hotels will hold perishables/medications for you if they are able…just make sure you call ahead to confirm.  Above and beyond what I pack normally I included disposable cutlery, plates and cups for the room.

While away this past weekend I packed a snack and lunch each day.  My two GP friendly protein sources at dinner are chicken and fish.  I was in North Carolina  about 3 hours from the nearest ocean and was still able to find beautiful fresh fish (turbot fillets which are part of the flounder family).  The family was already having mashed potatoes with dinner and I simply asked for my serving before the butter was added.  A defrosted box of chopped spinach went along with them.

Perfectly Cooked Fillets of Fish

The rule for fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness at 400 degrees.  Place fillets on a sprayed baking sheet.  Season as desired.  Coat with cracker, bread or panko crumbs and spray with cooking spray.  Roast until fish flakes easily and breading is golden brown.

My brother is a master griller and bbq’d bone in/skin on chicken breast for me on my next night.  A microwaved sweet potato with spinach rounded out the meal.  Neither of these dinners made a huge mess or inconvenienced my hosts terribly.  We ate much earlier than they usually do so that I could go for a walk after dinner.

My latest mottos are “Nothing tastes as good as being well feels”…especially when away from home and “GP doesn’t take a vacation just because you do”.  I politely declined wine, beer, shakes at Chik-fil-a and beautiful red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…but the ginger Moravian Cookies were delicious…crisp, sweet, spicy and GP friendly at 3 grams of fat and <1 gram of fiber per 12 cookies.  Definitely something to remember for the holidays!