Tag Archives: smoothie

Goin’ Green Plus My Video Debut…

Anyone with Gastroparesis is aware of how “carb-centic” and potentially sugar-fueled a GP-friendly life can be. Pair that with a diet devoid of whole grains and  light on fresh fruit and veggie vitamins and its enough to make you throw your hands up in frustration…at least that’s the way I feel sometimes. My weeks “on hiatus” have been a time of gently pressing my GP boundaries and finding ways of maximizing my nutrition in every bite while minimizing sugar and processed foods. Don’t worry I haven’t become a complete kill-joy! There are still treats and sweets after all nutritional needs are met. Life’s short! I still save room for dessert!

With the help of my Vitamix and inspiration from Victoria Boutenko’s book Green for Life (which I found completely by accident at the bookstore) I’ve been enjoying two Green Smoothies a day! Now before you tune out, it wasn’t until I read Victoria’s book and visited her website Raw Family that I realized I just might be able to tolerate an adapted* Green Smoothie. I was especially pleased to learn that a Green Smoothie, didn’t need to be thick or lumpy.  My Green Smoothies are actually quite thin-thinner than fruit nectar, V-8 vegetable juice or tomato juice. The website has a section of Victoria’s Green Smoothie recipes and a 15 Green Smoothies in 3 Minutes video with recipes. Some Green Smoothies are as simple as peaches, spinach and water.  In fact, I use the term “sipper” interchangeably with “smoothie” because I take one out during each of my snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon), insert a straw and simply sip until its gone.

Anyone who has been following the blog knows I’m a baby steps kinda gal who looks more than just a couple of times before she leaps. About a year ago, I started by juicing my fruits, roots and veggies. When Hubby surprised me with a Valentine’s Vitamix I started to puree a handful or two of greens with my juice and eventually graduated to a completely pureed Green Smoothie. Remember, no where is it written that you must jump into the deep end of the pool on your first day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dipping your big toe in before wading in gradually from the shallow end. I’m still a huge fan of juicing. Having said that the normal caveat applies. My Green Smoothie works for me. I am in no way advocating that this is appropriate for everyone with Gastroparesis. You know your tolerances best and your judgement is still your best guide.

I was so excited to share my Green Smoothie with you as well as a few of the little tricks I’ve learned along the way (like minimizing the very unappealing foam that can form on the top of Green Smoothies) I’ve made a video! So come on, let’s make a Green Smoothie!

*A Vitamix is capable of pureeing a concrete block but I’m still careful about what I include in my Green Smoothies. I avoid really fibrous items and learned my lesson when I threw in half of a peeled orange because I was too lazy to put it through the juicer.  I was nauseous for a day and a half  because of the citrus fiber. Lesson learned! Victoria’s recipes are only a guideline for me.


Advertisements

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?

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!

Sneaking in Those Greens

Frozen, chopped organic spinach is a staple in my freezer.  I purchase it 4 boxes at a time and have a defrosted, drained box in my fridge at all times.  Spinach is one of the veggies on the recommended list provided by the Dietitian.  Recently, at Whole Foods, I grabbed one of the booklets out on the tables in the dining area.  It suggested a clever way to get more greens by adding baby spinach or defrosted frozen chopped spinach to your morning smoothie.  The author promised that you wouldn’t even notice the spinach.  I thought about it for a minute and decided to give it a try with my morning Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie.

I get the majority of my greens from juicing but for the days I know I’ll be out and about and not able to juice or know I’m going to be out for a GP friendly dinner of fish and baked potato, chicken and sweet potato or pancakes and scrambled eggs…all conspicuously devoid of greens it would be a great way to fill in the gap.  I’m happy to report that I put 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped, defrosted, drained spinach in my smoothie this morning and all I noticed was a few green flecks.  Everyone is different so add whatever amount you feel comfortable with.  Also, everyone’s smoothie recipes are different so lighter flavors might not cover up the spinach taste as well as chocolate flavor.

Other easy ways to sneak in those greens:

Mashed Potatoes Florentine

Makes 4 generous servings

1 bag Ore Ida Steam & Mash Russets*

1 cup skim milk, low fat buttermilk, fat free half & half, chicken broth or a combination

frozen chopped spinach-defrosted and drained (snipped with scissors or pureed if necessary)-whatever amount is desired

fat free sprinkle cheese or grated parmesan

salt and pepper to taste

*OreIda Steam & Mash is a convenience item with a price to match (up to $3.99 a bag).  They’re good for hot or busy days when you don’t want to peel, chop and boil.

Make potatoes according to instructions.  My microwave is underpowered and it takes 20 minutes to cook potatoes thoroughly.  Heat spinach in microwave.  Mash potatoes with milk and stir in spinach, cheese and salt and pepper.

“Creamy” Chicken & Spinach Velvet Soup

I’m almost ashamed to call this a recipe but it helped get me throw the puree and liquid days.  The “velvet” comes from pureeing the pasta in the soup. It is warm, smooth and the prettiest shade of green.

1 19 oz can Homestyle Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup*(not condensed)

frozen chopped spinach-defrosted and drained

leftover roasted chicken breast (for a little protein boost-optional)

*I use a local store brand because it doesn’t contain soy protein isolate.  I’m also, allergic to carrots and celery so I pick them out.  Leave the carrots in if you are able to eat them.

Thoroughly puree soup, spinach and extra chicken (if using) in a blender.  Transfer to a saucepan, heat and eat.

Breakfast of champions

Smoothies are a quick easy breakfast for me.  I find a liquid breakfast is an easy way to start the day as well as an easy way to get protein, calories and some healthy fat.  Everyone with GP has their own unique tolerance for fat and fiber.  I find that fat is more tolerable if it is spread out in a significant amount of liquid.

Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie

1 cup skim milk

1 envelope Chocolate flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast

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.  Makes one serving.  Approximately 480 calories, 32 grams of protein and a source of vegetarian Omega 3’s