This post is going to be all about being able to eat well with dietary restrictions, and loving your food at the same time. Who would have thought?!
I cut out a lot of food, to help with reflux as a result of having EDS and being born 2mts early; with dysphagia and a permanently subluxed jaw thrown into the mix. I’ve had reflux and swallowing issues my whole life.
About three years ago, my mum told me about trying a high-alkaline, low acid diet to help with the reflux. I had been on so many reflux medications and none of them worked. I did the research and gave it a shot. It was a lot of food to cut out at the time, but I was able to find really good substitutes. The diet I follow isn't the diet mentioned above; but I found what I need by process of elimination and re-introduction. If I pretty much avoid the following things, I'm fine...Wheat, meat, corn, dairy, oats, barley, preservatives and some fruit/veg. Also, anything fried or processed. For some reason pastries make me reflux like crazy, even if they don’t contain restricted ingredients. Then there's the list of things I can't eat from having dysphagia, woot!
I cook pretty much all of my food, I don't eat out often and if I do, it's almost always some really delicious ethnic restaurant. I cook simply, I'm single and eat the majority of my meals away from home. EDS has also been a factor in terms of being able to use my hands to cook from scratch. Keep in mind this is coming from a girl who lives in Toronto, has easy access to this stuff and isn’t a picky eater.
TIPS (I know there are a lot but it will make life easier for you)
- Adding lemon slices to your water makes it not only taste better, but the lemons help break down food to deliver the nutrients more effectively. Raspberries or strawberries are also good in lemon water too.
- Try to buy from a bulk store, they generally have a lot of basics that are hard to find and expensive in a grocery store.
- Buying produce from fruit stands is cheaper and offers more variety. You’re also supporting local economy and small businesses
- When you get home, start chopping your veg. I cut everything up one day and store it in containers, using it all throughout the week. This will be more convenient and makes meal prep a breeze, esp. when your body doesn't like you that day.
- The same goes for cooking grains, noodles, rice... cook it all!!!
- Pre-cooking veggie meat is also a good idea
- Have a lot (like an insane amount) of leak-proof containers, that way you're not limited.
- To keep celery crunchy: once it’s cut up, fill the container with water.
- Keep healthy/unrestricted foods around for snacking
- Try substituting spinach for lettuce. Spinach is packed with nutrients whereas lettuce is pretty
much just water.
- Brown rice noodles taste just like regular noodles, they’re softer and are more nutritious.
- Chia seeds are also something that can be added to any meal. They’re full of Omega 3’s, protein and fibre. It can be cooked with things like rice and quinoa easily. When in liquid they turn into little balls like tapioca. http://www.living-foods.com/articles/chia.html
- Sol Cuisine makes really good gluten-free veggie meat products that can be added to any meal
- Always have a snack with you...My best friend is peanut butter and rice/almond crackers. That way it can live in my backpack and I can break out a restriction free snack anytime.
- Don't be afraid to experiment. None of what I make is from a recipe, except the basics that don't need a recipe.
-Don't be afraid to try new foods. Who knows, you might end up loving it and will wonder why you’ve been missing out your entire life!
- Change it up! Eating the same things over and over gets boring really quickly then, you lose motivation to eat what you should.
- Some ethnic foods you just might love : Thai, Ethiopian (my top two favourites), Korean, Japanese, Chinese (real Chinese), Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern and anything else the world has to offer.
- Lastly, don’t use Xanthan Gum as a thickener...It gets too thick and turns into gross-looking slime that coats everything. Adding water to thin it back out, or trying to rinse it off veggies doesn’t work either. Learn from me.
Peanut butter on celery...An awesome classic. It's healthier if you use almond butter or raw peanut butter instead of the yummy Kraft brand.
Cheese and crackers...Another classic. I use Almond Thins rice and nut crackers with goat cheese.
Almost nachos...Almond Thins with a layer of shredded goat cheese, chopped veggies and a dash of hot sauce. Nuke it for about 30 seconds and you're done! Another yummy variation includes using soft goat’s cheese and salsa to dip.
Crackers and/or veggies with hummus or baba-ghanouj is always good.
Fruit salad My favourite combination is mangos and mixed berries.
Peanut butter on a banana. I don't use bread just put a small scoop of PB on the banana before you take each bite. Just think of it as veggies and dip, when you don't have to share and are technically not double-dipping.
Cereal with fruit and almond milk (or any milk substitute) is always good. I add a tsp of chia seeds to get the omega's in too. Mmmmm rice crisp cereal with vanilla almond milk and raspberries is my favourite. I eat it on the subway, and get the "I'm jealous" looks especially in the mornings (Yeah that's right, keep eating that muffin...)
Smoothie-sicles.. it’s just a smoothie in popsicle from.
Throw the following things in the blender:|
- Chunks of your favourite fruit
- 2 tsp’s of chia seeds
- Almond or preferred milk substitute
- Blend, pour into popsicle moulds and freeze.
Peanut butter and banana smoothie
- Throw the following things in the blender:
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp of peanut butter (or other healthy nut equivilant)
- 1 tsp of chia seeds or 1 tbsp of flax seed oil
- 1.5 cups of almond milk or preferred milk substitute
Meals and Side Dishes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes...So simple, healthy and delicious! This can be added to anything.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
-Use a large cassrole dish, coat bottom with olive oil.
- Wash and cut up potatoes into 1/4 inch slices
- Throw them in the dish dish, and mix it up to get the oil on top. If you like spice add crushed chillies
- Keep an eye on it, and stir about every 20 min
- Cook until soft, and golden around the edges.
Quinoa is full of protein and contains other deliciousness. It goes well with anything too.
- Cook as per-instructions. I'm lazy and cook it just like rice.
- I eat it in salads, soups, and use it like rice.
Coconut rice is also good with almost anything, and it makes meals less boring.
- I cook it like normal rice, except substituting one part of the water for one part coconut milk
- If you have trouble swallowing, try sushi rice. The shape is more rounded which can help.
Pizza, it's pretty easy to find spelt crusts or alternatives. It is very possible to make the dough from scratch but it's messy, time consuming and hard on the hands. I haven't quite mastered it, without having a funky texture and falling apart. I just use the spelt crusts.
- Don't forget to brush some olive oil on the bottom so it doesn't dry out in the oven.
- I use spaghetti sauce instead of going out and buying pizza sauce, I think it tastes the same.
- I then sprinkle chillies on top of the sauce, then add a thin layer of goat cheese.
- I like to throw on spinach, tomatoes, yellow peppers, mushrooms and pineapple.
- Throw on second layer of cheese and stick it in the oven.
- Cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom is a golden brown.
Best Sandwich Ever!!!
- Toast two slices of Kamut bread (or whatever other bread you want to use)
- Break out the hummus and soft goat cheese, spread one slice with hummus the other goat cheese.
- Throw some spinach, tomato slices and red/yellow pepper slices in the middle.
- Block goat cheese
- Goat butter or lactose free margarine
- Do the same as you would for a normal grilled cheese.
Peanut butter and spinach sandwich...It’s full of nutrients and doesn’t taste boring. I won’t bother with the instructions.
I never make as good as the restaurants but it's not bad either.
-Cook thick rice noodles the same way as pasta
-Cut up tofu into 1/2 inch chunks, and stir-fry 'em with a little bit of olive oil
-Because I'm lazy.........I totally cheat and use the pre-mixed stuff you can get at the store
- I used the Sol Cuisine veggie ground for my “meat”
- Chop up spinach, and any other veggie you’d want and mix it over low heat with spaghetti sauce (My hands don’t like to make the sauce from scratch anymore, so I buy the organic stuff)
- If you like it spicy add crushed chillies to the sauce when you’re warming it with the veggies
- Serve over brown rice noodles
* This is where all the prep-work comes in very handy, you can have a healthy/delicious meal in about 5-10 minutes*
Mango and Spinach salad
- Cut up a mango into small slices, using desired amount in salad
- Add spinach, chopped red onion and cashews
- Mix balsamic vinegar and a little bit of olive oil for dressing
- You can also add some stir-fried tofu chunks for added protein
- Warmed rice noodles is really good with this
Strawberry and Spinach salad
- Cut up strawberries into quarters
- Add spinach, red onions, mushrooms and yellow pepper
- Mix balsamic vinegar and agave nectar for dressing
- That pre-cooked quinoa, rice noodles or tofu chunks go well in this salad
Quinoa and veggies
- Cut up tomato, yellow peppers, bean sprouts, mushrooms, small pieces of goat cheese and throw in some spinach
- Add desired amount of quinoa (good both hot and cold)
- Mix balsamic vinegar and agave nectar for dressing
- Sol Cuisine T-Ribs are great in this, and you won’t need any dressing
Coconut rice, mandarin and spinach salad
- Heat up some coconut rice (because you are awesome and already pre-made some)
- Cut up desired amount of mandarin oranges into ½ slices
- Add spinach, red onion and cashews or almonds