Tag Archives: chocolate

Mmm Milkshake!

Like a good GPer I eat several small meals a day…six to be exact. Yes, it’s a hassle and requires planning but I find it’s the easiest way for me to fulfill my nutritional needs as well as ward off unpleasant shifts in blood sugar. Most recently (and at least three times a week!) my last meal of the day has been a No Ice Cream Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Milkshake inspired by a recipe I found at The Kitchn  Anyone following on Twitter during my hiatus got a Retweet I was so excited to share it. By the way, keep an eye on the Twitter feed…sometimes there are a few gems there.  Back to the milkshake! It is YUMMY, easy and satisfying…and for anyone looking for packages of discounted bruised bananas in my neighborhood…I’ve already been there and you’re out of luck because they’re all in my freezer! Cool, creamy and just a tad bit savory thanks to the salted peanut butter this milkshake is “Hubster Approved” so it appeals to everyone.

Originally, I made the milkshake as published (click on the link above for the original version) then streamlined it a bit. My version is as follows:

Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Milkshake

Makes one modest milkshake but I usually double it for Hubby & I.

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon peanut butter (Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted-just salt and peanuts)

1 frozen banana*

1 square Lindt 85% Extra Dark chocolate**

Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

263 Calories, 14.15 grams Fat, 5.1 grams Fiber, 6.1 grams Protein, 33 grams Carbohydrate

A few of the variations I’ve tried include:

Substituting unsweetened chocolate almond milk.

Adding a small container of baby food prunes for an extra serving of fruit, some additional sweetness or for their “magical properties”.

Substituting a squeeze of chocolate syrup when I was out of chocolate squares.

Adding a 1/2-1 scoop of whey protein isolate to make it an “I’m too hot and tired to cook dinner” milkshake. It does contain protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat plus at least two servings of fruit depending on how big the banana is and if you add some baby food prunes.

*Based on a medium banana (7-7 7/8″)

**1/10th of a 3.5 oz bar=50 Calories, 4.5 grams Fat, <1 gram Fiber, 1 gram Protein, 2 grams Carbohydrate)

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Valentine’s TruffleTreats for My Sweets

Nothing says “I love you” like a box of rich chocolate truffles for Valentine’s Day.  Food is love after all!  For all GPers who can tolerate their chocolate in the form of cocoa powder I have a recipe (thanks to an old Weight Watchers cookbook) for low fat Chocolate Valentine’s truffles.  Yes, I was skeptical at first, but these really are little bites of chocolate bliss…and the best part…each truffle has only 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber!  So raise a truffle and toast someone you love.

Chocolate Truffles

Makes 24 truffles

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (use the best quality you can afford)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces or 1/2 brick) of reduced fat cream cheese (Neuchâtel)

Flavoring of your choice-I divided the truffle mixture into 1/4’s, left 1/4 plain then used 1/2 teaspoon each Grand Marnier, Chambord, Frangelico to flavor the remaining 1/4’s (only if you can tolerate very small amounts of alcohol).  The flavoring will be subtle.  Non-alcoholic options are extracts (1/2 teaspoon almond extract) or seedless jam.

Combine 1/2 cup coca powder, confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor.  If you are using one flavor add it now.  If you are making multiple flavors wait.  Process until blended.  The texture will be like damp beach sand.  If you are making multiple flavors divide mixture evenly (a kitchen scale is your best tool to portion properly by weighing out and dividing mixture evenly) and reprocess each flavor separately.  Portion by rounded teaspoons (or a small ice cream scoop) and roll then place each truffle on a sheet of wax paper.  You should get 24 truffles. Roll each truffle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Truffles taste best when allowed to warm slightly before enjoying.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 1 truffle

46 calories, 1 gram fat, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein

NOTE: To the kind GPer who participated in the poll and checked “other”- the comment you posted in the box was truncated after the first sentence.  I care about what you have to share.  Please post your thoughts as a “Comment”on that page if you wouldn’t mind.  Thanks, Mary

Tasty Find! Red Mango Frozen Yogurt

I find a stroll after dinner helps with digestion.  In mild weather Hubby and I walk our neighborhood or take the dog for a walk at a local university campus. Since the evenings have turned cold and dark we’ve had to get creative with our post prandial strolls.  I like to do my errands on the weeknights and a stroll around Target or a quick walk around Whole Foods is usually all I need to help get my dinner moving and take my mind off that feeling of lingering fullness.  Then there’s window shopping at the mall and with 2 million square feet of floor space its the perfect location to walk off a meal on a cold winter’s night.  It also just happens to be the locale of my new favorite frozen yogurt place!

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really like frozen yogurt.  It’s like soft serve ice cream and I don’t like that either which is why I usually opt for sorbet when we’re out for “ice cream”.  Red Mango has changed that opinion!  It’s still soft serve frozen yogurt but unlike the ubiquitous Dannon frozen yogurt it retains its yogurt-y twang.    Red Mango is all-natural, certified gluten-free, contains no artificial sweeteners (including high fructose corn syrup) and is fortified with an exclusive probiotic.  All Red Mango frozen yogurt is no-fat with approximately 100 calories per half-cup serving.

They offer flavors like Original (plain yogurt), Pomegranate, Madagascar Vanilla and the Flavor of the Day…usually several flavors.  So far I’ve tried the Original, Pumpkin Spice and new Dark Chocolate flavors.  YUM!  Several toppings are available and potentially GP-friendly options include sliced fresh banana, honey, graham cracker crumbs and fun cereals like fruity pebbles, cocoa pebbles and Cap’n Crunch.

Their menu lists Parfaits, Smoothies, Hot Chocolate Chillers and Probiotic Iced Teas…some may or may not be GP-friendly depending on your tolerances and how you order.  Red Mango has locations in 25 states.  Hopefully you have a location near you!

Eat Well! Be Well!  Enjoy!

Fat is Flavor! Fat Delays Gastric Emptying!

Fat is flavor!  That’s one of the first things I learned in culinary school.  Fat delays gastric emptying!  That’s one of the first things I learned after I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis.  As I’ve been learning, some GPers can eat all the fat they want and some cannot.  Just as some GPers can tolerate more fiber than others.  Right now I would consider myself “middle of the road” as far as fat and fiber are concerned.

Before GP, I was living a very “clean” life…plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and most importantly, healthy fats by way of olive, canola, fish and flax oils, avocado, peanut and almond butter, nuts, dark chocolate, egg yolks, naturally raised grass-fed meats and cold water fish.  Healthy fat helps with the absorption of many nutrients, keeps skin and hair healthy, improves cardiovascular health, reduces the symptoms of hypertension, depression and inflammation in the body and as we’ve all been told, delays gastric emptying.

After my diagnosis I shied away from fat altogether.  The GP diet is low-fat NOT no fat and I have to keep reminding myself of that.  We’ve all been there.  Newly diagnosed and still in the flare that was responsible for the diagnosis or just out of a flare and experiencing the fear and paranoia of putting ourselves back into one while being completely clueless as to what is safe to eat.

Food allergies and Gastroparesis have made me a very cautious eater.  You all know my motto: “Nothing tastes as good as being well feels!”.  I’m a “baby steps kinda gal” not a “leap before I look gal”.    While trying to safely and responsibly introduce foods back into my diet (healthy fat in particular), I’ve been using what I’ve nicknamed the Three Cs Method…Caution, Conservatism and Calculation.

Caution: I carefully choose meals I tolerate easily which are already very low or contain no fat to “improve” with a little healthy fat.

Conservatism: I add fat very slowly, in small increments until I feel I’m at a healthy and tolerable level for me.

Calculation: I keep in mind the other meals and fat contents I’ve already consumed that day when deciding how much fat to allow in a meal.

Examples of introducing more healthy fat into my day are:

Adding a tablespoon of strawberry banana flavored flax oil supplement to my morning Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie adds 5 grams of healthy fat including Omega 3 fatty acids.  On the mornings I’m out of Barlean’s Omega Swirl I add a heaping teaspoon of smooth almond butter to my smoothie.  The recent addition of one tablespoon of natural cocoa powder in each serving of Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder adds an additional two grams of healthy fat to my breakfast.

Spreading mashed avocado onto my sliced turkey or chicken sandwiches has been another easy way to incorporate some healthy fat into my lunch when I’m not enjoying chicken, tuna or egg salad made with one tablespoon of Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise (50 calories, 5 grams fat).  According to www.avocadocentral.com, 1/5 or 1 ounce of a Hass avocado contains 50 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber and 1 gram protein.  Avocado is also part of the menu that was provided by the dietitian and was suggested by a fellow GPer on the GP Yahoo group I belong to.  They are a friendly, kind and informative group I might add!

I juice my fresh fruits and veggies almost daily.  I find fat in liquid form or fat diluted in liquid much easier to tolerate.  I add 1 teaspoon of Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil to my juice.  It adds a pleasant orange flavor 45 calories and 4.5 grams of fat including healthy Omega fat.  Recently, when I was out of fish oil I quickly pureed a quarter of an avocado into my juice with my stick blender for an Omega boost.

I try to consume most of my eggs whole (with the yolk) and only make sacrifices when trying to bake a low fat, GP-friendly treat…remember treats and sweets after all nutritional needs are met.  Although the yolk is a significant source of cholesterol, it is full of important nutrients including fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids (according to www.cholesterol-and-health.com).

In keeping with advice I received during a webinar sponsored by G-PACT back in August, I try to introduce one new food back into my diet each week or so.  My most recent addition is poached salmon and I’m happy to announce it was a success.  I went the lazy route and purchased a package of wild pacific salmon prepared with salt and lemon from the refrigerator case at Trader Joe’s.  Each 3 ounce serving contained 90 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 18 grams protein and a whopping 1,000 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.  It was delicious mixed with a little olive oil mayo, Penzey’s Mural of Flavor salt free seasoning and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

The very first meal I tinkered with was the Three Cheese and Spinach Pita Pizza which is almost fat free.  Each time I made one, I drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil over the fat free cottage, ricotta or feta cheese starting out with a 1/4 teaspoon and working up to 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil which adds 40 calories, and 4.7 grams of mostly monounsaturated fat.  I enjoy the flavor of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and just a teaspoon makes my pita pizzas taste more like the real thing.

During a quickie impromptu dinner.  I divided a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into thirds and drizzled it over each layer of a sweet potato I filled with 1/4 cup seasoned fat free ricotta cheese and cooked spinach.  Along with the 1/3 teaspoon of olive oil I salted and peppered each layer and finished with a dusting of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  It was a simple, delicious and healthy dinner!

While I’m not an expert on GP, I’m becoming an expert on my own GP.  Right now, I feel most comfortable consuming 5 grams of fat at a time.  This isn’t a race…it’s a journey.  GP is a chronic condition so I have the rest of my life to tinker with my diet until I get to my most healthy and tolerated way of eating.  How are you able to incorporate healthy fats into your day?

Breakfast Smoothie Revamp

My original Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie has served me well.  I make one every morning without fail.  It’s still an easy and nutritious way to start my day.  Recently, I had to buy the Carnation Instant Breakfast variety pack because the market was out of the big tub of milk chocolate flavor and I discovered something…although I still hate the vanilla and strawberry flavors, the dark chocolate variety is far more rich and delicious than the milk chocolate.  There’s a hitch though.  The dark chocolate flavor ONLY comes in the variety pack.  I’ve been a big fan of CIB powder…it’s helped me get well and be well fed over this past year with Gastroparesis.  All of us GPers know that frankly, when we’re really sick, have no appetite and are having trouble maintaining weight, sugar content is the last thing on our minds, getting enough to eat is the first but I’ve always had a nagging concern about all the added sugar in CIB (its second on the list of ingredients).

I’ve developed my own version of CIB powder using instant nonfat dry milk and dark, rich natural cocoa powder and not a stitch of added sugar.  The fresh milk, dry milk and banana in the smoothie already provide carbohydrates without the added sugar of CIB.  I already take a quality, high potency, daily liquid multivitamin supplement by Now Vitamins so the 10-25% RDA of vitamins and minerals found in CIB powder seems insignificant and redundant by comparison.

According to the Hershey’s website, natural cocoa powder (not dutched or dutch processed) contains healthy fat, antioxidants and a small amount of fiber (cocoa like coffee, is derived from a bean).  These antioxidants, called flavanols, are associated with good cardiovascular health, healthy cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure.  Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup blueberries and 1 1/3 cups red wine.

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, heart function and promoting bone health.  A simple mixture of banana and milk creates an antacid effect by suppressing  stomach acid production.  Bananas also contain pectin, a soluble fiber, called a hydrocolloid that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation…yes, you heard that right!  Although bananas are best known for treating loose bowel movements (think BRAT diet:bananas, rice, applesauce and toast…all coincidentally GP-friendly…something to ponder) they also can promote healthy bowel movements by providing soluble fiber to relieve constipation.

Milk and whey protein powder are excellent and easily digestible (as long as you’re not intolerant!) sources of protein.  Milk contains most of the nutrients essential for the body to carry out its daily functions.  According to Barlean’s, the makers of Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement, flax oil is nature’s richest source of vegetable-based Omega 3 fatty acids and promotes heart health, healthy cholesterol levels, joint mobility and bone density, energy, healthy blood glucose and skin, hair and nail health.

Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder

Approximately 12 servings at 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) per serving

2 1/4 cups instant nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup natural cocoa powder

sweetener of your choice, if desired, I like mine unsweetened

Mix milk and cocoa powders thoroughly…a wire whisk works well.  Store in an air-tight container (I’m using my old CIB tub).

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

68 calories, 2 grams fat, 1.6 grams fiber, 6.8 grams protein

Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie Revamp

Serves 1

1 cup skim milk

4 tablespoons Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder

1 scoop chocolate flavored whey protein powder (I use Whole Foods brand)

1 large ripe banana*

1 Tbl Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement- Strawberry and Banana flavor (available at health food stores and on-line @ http://www.barleans.com)

Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on a large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long)*

433 calories, 7.4 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 33.3 grams protein**

*Small banana (6″-6 7/8″ long): 90 calories, 0.3 grams fat, 2.6 grams fiber, 1.1 grams protein)

Medium banana (7″-7 7/8″ long): 100 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.1 grams fiber, 1.3 grams protein

Large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long): 121 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.5 grams fiber, 1.5 grams protein

**If either of the fat or fiber numbers concerns you, reduce the cocoa powder by half in the Mary’s No Added Sugar Instant Breakfast Powder, omit or reduce the flax oil supplement or choose a smaller banana.

Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!

My favorite cookie tin originally housed rich, French butter biscuits from Brittany (where the butter contains extra milk fat!) and it was feeling very empty, lonely and forgotten.  In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t exactly been shy about sharing my frustration with low fat baking.  Not one to give up easily, I thought I’d give it another try.  I was so hopeful, I even purchased a bag of Nestle’s Semisweet Chocolate Mini morsels the last time I was marketing…and I’m glad I did.  These Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies are like cakey, little baby chocolate chip banana muffin tops!  Thanks to the Taste of Home’s website only slight adaptation was needed to make it a Gastroparesis-friendly recipe.

I bake with parchment paper…it guarantees there will be no sticking and no clean up.  No spatula is needed-just carefully pull each sheet of baked cookies onto an awaiting wire rack for cooling.  Once cool, cookies will lift off the parchment easily.  And a word about portioning: this recipe makes 36 cookies so to ensure the correct portioning I placed four sheets of parchment out on the counter and dropped the dough until I had 36 relatively uniform servings before baking. Remember to start each sheet of cookies with a cooled sheet pan in order to get the best results.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup Nestle semisweet chocolate mini morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix first 5 ingredients (butter through sugar) until well combined.  In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients.  Combine liquid ingredients with the dry.  Drop by scant tablespoon measures 2 inches apart onto parchment paper lined baking sheets*.  Bake 11-13 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned around the edges.  Remove parchment sheet to a wire rack to cool.  Remove cookies from parchment.  Store in your favorite wax paper lined tin.

*I measured out all 36 on 4 sheets of parchment paper before baking to ensure good “portioning”.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

1 cookie per serving

50 Calories, 2.2 grams Fat, 0.4 grams Fiber, 0.8 grams Protein

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