Wednesday, April 26, 2017

easy, quick and safe GP foods...

As a gastroparesis (GP) patient and mommy of a very active toddler, some nights by the time dinner rolls around, I'm exhausted. My day may have consisted of cleaning out. I may have spent the day dealing with nausea or weakness. I may have spent the day just being a mom to my daughter and fulfilling those responsibilities. There is one thing about life with this disease, no two days are the same. Something is always changing.

Generally speaking at our house, two types of meals are usually fixed. My husband has "his food" and I eat my "GP friendly food". Our daughter's meal is usually a combination of the two of our meals. She's currently in her "toddler pickiness" phase which is perfectly okay. Regardless, she gets a variety of food options to help broaden her palette. Looking back over my life, I have come to realize that I wasted so much time being picky and close minded about food. If I could have one redo, it would be that, to be less picky and open to different foods.

Some nights when it is time for me to decide what I'm going to eat for dinner, well let's be honest; it is more like "What can my stomach handle tonight?" As I stated before, no two days are the same with GP. I have good days where my diet isn't so limited and other days where I can handle just a few types of food. On those rough days for me personally, it is about getting something into my stomach to help me get through the evening. I'm usually not looking for what is the healthiest option or most nutritious. I'm just looking for something that is easy and quick. It's real life and in the moment. We're all individuals who are in different places and situations in life. What works for you, may not work for me so let's please be opened minded.

MorningStar Farms Chik'N Nuggets

I am not able to properly digest chicken. It always gets stuck in my GI tract which results in it barely moving through. I discovered these vegetarian nuggets. I really like the taste of the Chik'N Nuggets especially when I use a type of sauce to dip them in. I have the option of baking them in the oven or putting them in the microwave. Either way, I feel like I am getting some type of "meat" with my meal without the repercussions of truly eating meat. MorningStar Farms offers a broad selection of meatless meal food options.

Uncle Ben's Ready Rice

I discovered this rice some time ago. It is really convenient to have on hand. I usually keep several backups in my pantry for whenever those rough days occur. It comes in a variety of 21 different flavors. My favorites are the Original and the Creamy Four Cheese. It only takes 90 seconds in the microwave to prepare. There are no preservatives in the rice so I feel comfortable about feeding it to my daughter.

For years now, whether it was during a flare up, after a surgery or after giving birth to my daughter, I would eat the takeout Japanese rice flavored with shrimp/Yum-Yum and soy sauces. It was one of my all time safe foods. It occurred to me one day to just use this Original rice along side of my sauces and I had QUICK and easy Japanese takeout rice without having to leave my house or exert a lot of time or energy. As we all know, some days you just have to conserve your energy.

$$ Here is a coupon I found on the company's website. $$
Who doesn't like saving money? 

Idahoan Fully Loaded Instant Potatoes: Buttery Delicious

I know, I know, instant mashed potatoes. Potato flakes! There is nothing when it comes to food that I love more than homemade mashed potatoes that have been boiled on the stove and whipped to rich, buttery perfection. However let's be real here for a moment. Some nights, I don't feel like waiting thirty to forty minutes for mashed potatoes, forget the energy that goes into peeling and preparing them. On those nights, I pull out these. They come in three different flavors but my favorite is the Buttery Delicious. They don't have the same taste and texture as my homemade mashed potatoes but they work on those nights. I usually dress them up by substituting the water for milk and adding some additional butter or cheese depending on my stomach and mood. After any GI tract related surgery, this is the first food that I go for, mashed potatoes. I know that regardless to what condition my stomach is in, I'm going to be okay eating mashed potatoes.

Campbell's Condensed Soup : Chicken and Stars

I absolutely love this soup. Personally I enjoy a thicker based soup so I don't add water to it like the directions say to. I just heat it in the microwave. I love anything that has salt in it so the saltiness of this soup is perfect for me. Whenever my intestines become inflamed and enlarged, I always eat the Chicken and Stars soup because the stars are already tiny so it just helps with digesting and moving throughout my intestines. The Campbell's soup brand offers a lot of different varieties of soup.

$$ Here is a link for a coupon that was found on the company's website. $$

So there are a few of my quick and easy go to foods that are safe foods for me to eat on those rough, real life days. I'd love to hear what some of your safe foods are!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gastroparesis and Dehydration...

How many times as gastroparesis patients have we had to go either to the doctor's office or to the emergency room for an IV to combat a horrible bout of dehydration? I honestly could not tell you how many times this has happened to me. Over the years, it has gotten to the point where I would rather feel awful and be miserable and just tough it out on the couch then to go sit for hours while waiting for an IV to rehydrate me. It has always been a game of "what if" for me whenever I consider going to the ER. I am always double guessing myself.

  • Maybe I'll start to feel better soon.
  • Is it truly worth exposing myself to something else like the flu or a stomach bug?
  • What if the ER doctor has a horrible bedside mannerism and thinks that the GP is "just in my head" or that I'm seeking medical attention or better yet, prescription drugs.
  • How much is this ER visit going to cost?

The majority of the time, I will just stay home and sip on Gatorade. At times, I have been so weak that I could barely walk to the bathroom. I will experience blacking out episodes, increased pulse rates, nausea, passing out and let's not forget the dehydration headaches that last for DAYS. The whole experience is awful.

A company reached out to me (*see the disclaimer below*) and told me about their new product called Speedlyte. It is "A New Generation Oral Rehydration Solution". It was developed by a biotech company for people with severe dehydration issues. It is FDA approved and recognized by both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They sent some samples of their product. I was somewhat skeptical at first because I'm not a scientific person. I don't fully understand the science behind the Speedlyte solution. Speedlyte really does work. It is something that I am going to keep on hand and have readily available for whenever those rough, dehydrating days happen.

Currently it is only available in an orange flavor but more flavors are being developed. Personally, I was not a fan of the orange flavoring. The taste of Speedlyte kind of reminded me of a prescription colon prep or Miralax. It has a salty taste to it. Whenever I'm really dehydrated and miserable, I'm going to pretty much drink whatever. At times like that, suddenly I am not so picky. I just want to feel better. There are no artificial ingredients and it has 46% less sugar than the leading oral rehydrating solutions.

As always, discuss with your doctors what will work best for you before trying something new and different. Use your own discretion. After all, I'm not a doctor and we're all individuals who have different bodies and systems. What works for me, may not work for you. I have linked the company's website below with all of the information regarding Speedlyte. If you have any questions regarding their product, contact them and ask. Their customer service is great. You can contact them and they will send you some samples to try. Who doesn't like a sample?! I have also provided a couple of links where Speedlyte can be purchased.

I am not a doctor. I am a gastroparesis patient. This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid for my opinions on this product. Please use at your own discretion.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Binge eating...?

Binge eating is a pattern of disordered eating which consists of episodes of uncontrollable eating. It is sometimes a symptom of binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating disorder. During such binges, a person rapidly consumes an excessive quantity of food. A diagnosis of binge eating is associated with feelings of loss of control.

How many times as gastroparesis patients have we felt that we have "binge ate"? To us the definition of binge eating is very different from the Wikipedia definition. I have discussed this numerous times over the years with my GI doctor. It is actually quite normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Each and every one of us have a different reason as to why we feel that we "binge eat". For me personally, I begin my day out with a small breakfast. I am not able to eat a normal sized breakfast due to my GI tract becoming so overwhelmed with that amount of food. To be honest, most mornings, I am still working on digesting my dinner. Anyway, it makes my medication less effective and I will feel the effects of that throughout the day. It simply is not a good combination so I try my best to avoid it.

I start my medication regime in the morning. Around two or three in the afternoon, I may have a few bites of a snack. It is mostly just to satisfy the need to chew something. If you've never experienced that, I realize how odd that sounds. By dinner time in the evening, I am usually pretty hungry. It all depends on how nauseous I am. I will eat a "GP sized" dinner and feel extremely full after eating it. Don't you just love the feeling of satiety? Your body feels full and satisfied before you're done eating your small meal but you're still hungry. It is one of the oddest feelings and sensations associated with gastroparesis. It took me a long time to understand exactly what was going on. I would feel full and have abdominal bloating and distention but I would still be hungry. 

After my daughter goes to bed at night, I consider this to be my "down time". I usually read, watch tv and eat a snack. Combine that snack with dinner, I usually go to bed feeling extremely full and bloated, almost to the point of being miserable and questioning why I "binge ate" that snack. However I'm still hungry. My GI doctor explained to me that basically I am just making up for not eating during the day. It is my body's way of catching up so to speak. So to all of us gastroparesis patients, we're not binge eating. We are just making up for those lost calories and nutrition.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring Gastroparesis Favorites...

I love watching monthly favorite videos on Youtube. As all of us gastroparesis patients know, each day can be different with our digestive systems; what works today, may not work tomorrow. Our lives are filled with a lot of uncertainty when it comes to food and it can be frustrating at times. I thought I would share some of my favorites that have been working for me over the past month or so.

Tropicana Essentials Probiotic Juice - Peach Passion Fruit

I have always been an avid fruit lover but let's be honest here, most fruits are not "GP friendly". This has a wonderful fruity taste with no added sugar or artificial flavors. Did I mention that there are probiotics in the juice? I have been having trouble digesting my probiotic pill each day so by drinking this, I know that I am getting some amount of probiotics in my system each day.

Gatorade G Series Thirst Quencher - Strawberry Watermelon

I have not always liked the Gatorade taste. Over the years, I feel that my tastes have changed and I have actually grown to love Gatorade. I prefer the Gatorade G2 Series because it has a lower amount of sugar but the G2 Series does not offer a strawberry flavor and strawberry is my favorite flavor. We stumbled across this flavor, Strawberry Watermelon in the grocery store so I thought that I would try it. It was a hit! I love putting a bottle in the freezer, letting it get really cold almost to the point of becoming a slushie and drinking it. I find it to be really refreshing and replenishing after a long day of cleaning out.

Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws - Zesty Ranch

These taste amazing and do not leave me feeling full and bloated after eating them. Over the years as my diet has varied, whenever I would be on a strictly liquid diet, one thing that I always missed was crunchy foods. These Veggie Straws are crunchy and full flavored. I love ranch flavoring so these definitely satisfy my need for something crunchy and savory. They contain no artificial flavors or preservatives, are gluten free and non-GMO. Whenever my toddler asks for these (repeatedly), I feel good about giving them to her for her snack.

Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt - Key Lime Crumble

I saw a commercial advertising this exact flavor. Whenever I saw that there were little white chocolate chips in it, I was sold. I love white chocolate and prefer to eat it over milk or dark chocolate. For those of us white chocolate lovers, foods usually contain milk chocolate so whenever I see something that contains white chocolate, it usually comes home with me. I really enjoy eating Greek yogurt because of the added protein. This product itself has 12 grams of protein. Whenever I eat it, I feel as if I have enjoyed a full size piece of key lime pie but haven't consumed something that had no nutritional benefit.

Spring Baking Championship 2017 on The Food Network

Just because my diet is limited, it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy watching a good baking or cooking show. I love watching the bakers on the Spring Baking Championship create and bake these amazing little desserts with such flavor and detail. They almost look too good to eat.

Food Whore by Jessica Tom

Whenever I was pregnant, I discovered novels that pertained to foods and the restaurant life. I immediately fell in love with this category of books. I came across this book while searching for my next "Food Novel" to read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is a light read but the food descriptions are so intricate and detailed. It was almost as if I was looking at the food myself.