“Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body.” ~B.W. Richardson
I can’t believe I am going to write this, but here it goes…being diagnosed with Gastroparesis (or GP for short) has been more of a blessing than a curse. A shocking statement I know. While GP has its challenges, what it is teaching me about REAL food and the benefits of eating healthy and balancing a supportive lifestyle far out-weighs the negative problems. I must add that my GP problems aren’t life threatening and I have so much respect for those who have more advance GP problems.
Gastroparesis is a difficult condition to manage when you are trying to lose weight and especially when you are diabetic. Those with GP can’t have fiber (or very little), but may have carbohydrates. Therefore, I was faced with a difficult challenge and no expert in our immediate area who knew about the condition. I was blessed when I found Crystal Saltrelli, a Certified Health Counselor, who was diagnosed with GP, learned more about condition and wrote a book so she could help others (www.livingwellwithgastroparesis.com). She teaches those with GP ways to live, eat, cook, and how to develop a comprehensive management plan. While it has taken months to develop my plan, thanks to Crystal and my endocrinologist, I have my plan in place. GP is an individualized program – what works for one person may not work for another, and it is constantly changing.
The GP diet consists of lots of juicing, puree vegetables and if you are one of the lucky people, a few solid foods. Following several months of eating and drinking things the consistency of baby food, my taste buds changed. I never knew the preservatives, additives and other junk in our foods could make such a difference in how foods taste, or rather what they do to alter the taste. I discovered I felt better when I decreased the amount of gluten I ate. While I don’t have Celiac Disease, my digestive system works more efficiently when I limit the amount of gluten I eat. After all, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species. Simply put, it’s what makes food stick together. Eating a gluten-free diet, or limiting gluten-free foods is easier now then it was a decade ago. I began searching for GP-friendly, low carb, easy to prepare recipes. And for those of you who don’t know me…I hate to cook, but it was something I had to do for my health.
Following a lot of researching, I found food blogger Carol Kicinski (www.Simply Gluten-Free.com). Carol’s recipes are varied so I was able to pick GP-friendly foods. I also like her cookbooks since she includes shortcuts, which makes it easier on my neck since looking down is a problem as well as having limited feeling in my right hand and arm (makes cutting and chopping things challenging!). While many of her recipes aren’t low in carbs, I found if I eat healthy whole foods, my carb intake doesn’t seem to matter, or at least my blood sugar is stabilized.
Once I began feeling better and learned more about whole foods, I began researching more about clean eating. Clean eating is based on the idea that the best way to eat is to enjoy whole foods — that is, foods as close to their natural state as you can get them. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins instead of pre-packaged, processed foods or fast food. Clean eating is a commitment to replacing saturated fats with healthy fats. However, be careful, once you experiment with clean eating and no longer eat high fructose corn syrup, refined oil, and MSG, your taste buds will change and you will no longer be able to tolerate fast foods, soda, or any other foods you may have enjoyed in the past. Your body will thank you by giving you more energy, becoming stronger and healthier.
I have learned to love REAL food again. And while GP limits many of the things I am able to eat, I am also enjoying experimenting with foods to help with different medical problems. It is amazing what good quality organic spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables can do for many common medical conditions. I like to say I am cooking myself to better health! About halfway during this process I stopped being concerned about the weight and more about my health. It was then when I really began to lose weight, my blood work improved and I was able to go off of several medications. Isn’t it funny how that happens?
©My Unplanned Life and http://www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2013