Tag Archives: almond butter

“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.

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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!

Kissin’ Cousins

As you all know by now this is a Gastroparesis recipe blog but it’s also meant to be my vehicle for being well by eating well and living well with a chronic digestive disorder.  This is the time that I would be irresponsible if I didn’t remind everyone that I’m not a Registered Dietitian, nutritionist, medical professional, therapist or personal trainer…just a trained chef and amateur nutrition sleuth who happens to have Idiopathic Gastroparesis.  Everything that I develop or write about is based on my own research and experiences with GP.

Recently, during my internet travels, I came across a local Registered Dietitian’s Webinar presentation and article regarding GI disorders including Gastroparesis.  When I dug a little deeper I discovered another article that stated she had gastroparesis.  What better source could there be?    In her presentation and article she stressed the importance of protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and getting enough daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  According to her, most women (GP or not) don’t get enough protein in their diets.  She stressed protein is important because it builds antibodies that build the immune system.  Women should aim for 50 grams of protein per day along with Omega 3 fatty acids, two to three servings of fruit and two to four servings of vegetables per day.  Anyone with GP knows that there are many days when this is a challenge so I thought I’d do my best to map it out using foods from the Gastroparesis Diet.

Examples of Protein Sources and Servings:

These are all averages.  Individual items may vary.

Dairy Protein:

1/4 cup fat free cottage cheese:  6.5 grams

1 cup fat free milk:  9 grams

Low fat/ fat free yogurt/greek yogurt:  3 to 16 grams depending on brand, serving size and variety

1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese:  9 grams

1 scoop whey protein powder:  16 grams

Animal Protein:

1 egg:  7 grams

2 ounces cooked chicken breast:  18 grams

3 ounces cooked white fish (haddock/cod):  20 grams

1/2 5 ounce can of solid white albacore tuna in water:  6.5 grams

Vegetarian Protein:

1 tablespoon almond butter: 3.5 grams

soy protein powder/rice protein powder:  12 to 20 grams per scoop

1 cup almond milk:  1 gram

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato:  2.5 grams

1/2 cup cooked white rice:  2 grams

1/2 cup prepared cream of wheat:  1.9 grams

1 slice white bread:  2 grams

Nutrition Drinks:

Depending on the brand (Boost, Ensure, Orgain, Isopure, Slimfast, Carnation Instant Breakfast):  Up to 15 grams per serving.  Servings can be halved and/or diluted with water for snacks.

Examples of Omega 3 fatty acid Sources:

flax oil, fish oil, canola oil

fish

almond butter

omega 3 eggs

Examples of Servings Sizes for GP-friendly Fruit:

1 4″  banana

1/2 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup canned pears in juice

1/2 cup canned peaches in juice

4 to 6 ounces fruit juices

Examples of Serving Sizes for GP-friendly Vegetables:

1/2 cup sweet potato

1/2 cup mashed white potato

1 cup winter squash

1/2 cup cooked veggies: beets, carrots, spinach

1/2 cup baby food peas

6 ounces vegetable juice

I worry about getting enough nutrition on the GP diet and mapping out my nutrition give me some piece of mind that I’m doing the best I can for myself given the constraints of this condition and lifestyle.  I hope this information is helpful for everyone who shares my concerns.

This whole ‘nutrition tangent” inspired me to create Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Power Pudding…a “kissing cousin” to the original Chocolate Almond Protein Power Pudding.  I’ve swapped out the pureed cottage cheese for almond butter and upped the whey protein powder.  This might be an easier recipe for anyone who is dairy intolerant to adjust.  One little custard cup offers significant protein, calcium, and Omega 3 fat.  Slice half of a large banana on top and you’ve knocked one fruit serving off your day.  Caution: unlike his cottage cheese infused cousin, this version is not fat and fiber free…each serving contains 4 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber due to the almond butter.

Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Power Pudding

Serves 2 but can be multiplied

1/2 3.9 ounce (4 servings) box chocolate instant pudding

1 cup fat free milk

1 tablespoon almond butter (softened if refrigerated)

1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder

sliced bananas (optional)

whipped topping and cocoa power (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl starting with softened almond butter.  Whisk for 2 minutes or until smooth and stating to thicken.  Refrigerate until firmed and ready to eat.  Garnish with sliced banana, whipped topping and a dusting of cocoa powder if desired.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on 2 servings.  Does not include banana, whipped topping or cocoa powder.

248 Calories, 4 grams Fat, 2 grams Fiber, 14.25 grams Protein