Tag Archives: blueberries

“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.

Confession Time…

Bless me, fellow GPers, for I have strayed!  It’s been about a month since the Vitamix entered my life and I’ve been indulging “off diet”.  There have been dalliances with berries, onions, peas and greens other than spinach…and I’m not the least bit repentant!  My instruments of debauchery: Vitamix blender, fine mesh strainer, rubber scraper and ice cube trays. Would you like to hear more?  Discontinue reading now lest you be lured into similar mischief!  You’ve been warned.

All kidding aside, as I have mentioned a few times already, I was told that all baby food is considered acceptable for Gastroparesis because it’s pureed and strained.  So, why can’t I make my own pureed and strained fruits and veggies, season them according to my taste and press them through a fine, mesh strainer for further peace of mind?  With that in mind I have been enjoying Fresh Strawberry Puree and Five Berry Puree poured over my daily plain Activia yogurt and I’ve even taken some berry puree with me to pour over frozen yogurt at Red Mango (my favorite frozen yogurt spot).  I’ve also been indulging in cups of pureed veggie soup including Spring Pea & Lettuce Soup with my dinner.

I’m in no way advocating that these recipes are appropriate for everyone.  Remember, if in doubt, just leave it out.  You know your tolerances best and your personal judgment is still your best guide.

Fresh Strawberry Puree/Five Berry Puree

Perfectly portioned for individual servings of yogurt (just defrost one or two cubes) or dropping into smoothies (no need to defrost).

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and hulled or

frozen mixed berries, defrosted (I used a bag of mixed berries containing cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries and augmented with a bag strawberries from Trader Joe’s)

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Puree berries thoroughly and press through a fine mesh strainer.  Stir in a squeeze of fresh, strained lemon juice.  Spoon puree into ice cube trays (2 lbs of strawberries fill approximately two 12 count trays generously).  Freeze then pop out puree cubes and store in a Ziploc bag.

Spring Pea & Lettuce Soup

Adapted from Epicurious.com.  Makes 6 Servings of 2/3 cup each

To put things into perspective, a 3.5 ounce serving of Gerber 2nd Foods peas contains 45 calories, o grams fat, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of protein.

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 head Romaine lettuce (approximately 1 pound) including dark green outer leaves, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced

10 ounces frozen baby peas, rinsed

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 teaspoon salt

pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

fresh lemon juice

Spray the interior of a large soup pot with cooking spray, add olive oil and saute onion until soft (approximately 5 minutes).  Add garlic and saute an additional minute.  Stir in lettuce and cook until wilted (approximately 3 minutes).  Add peas, broth, water, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  The lettuce should be very wilted and the peas should look “puckered”.   Stir in dill during the last minute of cooking.  Puree thoroughly then press through a fine, mesh strainer before returning to the pot.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Season each serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

77.6 calories, 2 grams fat, 3.5 grams fiber, 10.4 grams carbohydrate, 3.26 grams protein