Lost a fight with onion rings . . .

So I know eating fried food is never a good decision when you have IBD, but whenever I visit my mother she never has safe food for me to eat and I was too broke to buy anything. Late in the evening I was still hungry and didn’t think the frozen Nathan’s onion rings that I’ve had before would hurt, I was soo wrong. After 20 minutes  my stomach was sooo tight and I felt so nauseous. Then the stomach cramps started, I felt miserable for a good 2 hours. Exactly a week later I had my first experience with food posioning.

Now as I sit waiting to see my GI for a follow up and realizing I’ve been on Humira for 7 months and still have symptoms, I’m starting to wonder will anything work? 

Why is eating so hard?!?!?!

Photo credit: http://nizuma.deviantart.com/gallery/
I took a risk today and regretted it. Since I was short on time for lunch, I went to the convenient shop in my building and bought a pre-made Italian cold-cut. So not freshly made, full of preservatives, and definitely not gluten-free.  Within 20 minutes of consuming the sandwich, I became severely bloated and my stomach was hard. I was so uncomfortable and miserable at my desk. I contemplated asking my boss if I could leave early, especially when I started to feel nausea, but I was resilient. To ease the discomfort I walked around the office and chugged water until I had to “go”. And once my body was ready, I went to the restroom and felt sooo much better. Thank god for #poopourri 🙂

Honestly, I haven’t been eating the healthiest lately, barely cooking due to fatigue and I chose to stop eating gluten-free bread.  It’s such a waste of money for those tasteless little pieces of bread. So I’ve invested in artisan bread which thankfully my body has accepted. I’ve also discovered I can eat cheddar cheese and been consuming it like it’s water.  The predinsone makes me want to eat everything in sight so I’ve been bingeing on bread and cheese because it fills me up. My guilty snack lately has been nachos . . I know the worst!! but it’s not what you think. It’s corn tortilla chips, pico de gallo, and medium cheddar cheese. It doesn’t bother my stomach . . so I love it, but I can imagine my blood pressure from all the salt.

I’ll see my GI in a month, should be interesting.

FODMAP Diet challenges – Weeks 7 & 8 . . . .

For weeks 7 & 8 I was given challenges and if I was successful, I could incorporate another high-FODMAP item back in my diet, so exciting!

I wrote all my challenges for the past 3 weeks on a piece of paper and of course I misplaced it! My challenges for the past few weeks are all from memory, I hope I did it right . . .

Dairy Challenges

1st week – Add aged cheeses to your diet, if no bad symptoms move to next challenge. My choice was cheddar cheese and I ate it almost everyday. No tummywoes!

2nd week – If cheese was successful eat a slice of pizza, but be smart. My pizza of choice was &pizza. It’s a very popular pizza chain restaurant in the DMV that is known for their organic ingredients, gluten-free dough, and the option to make your own pizza. I created my pizza with the following ingredients:

  • gluten-free dough
  • basil/spinach pesto sauce
  • spinach
  • homemade mozzarella
  • mushrooms (one of my challenges)
  • chicken
  • bacon
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil leaves

pizza

It was delicious and I had no stomach issues! I was so happy I almost cried lol Before I started this diet my goal was to eat an ‘&pizza’ again, mission accomplished 🙂

Week 3 – If pizza was a success, try ice cream.  I have not tried this challenge because I have grown to love  dairy free coconut milk ice cream. I prefer coconut milk ice cream from Trader Joes, don’t feel the need to buy Breyers.

Fruit Challenge

Week 1 – Cherries. Cherries are one of my favorite fruits and to discover that they are high-FODMAP I was surprised. It was a wonderful coincidence during this week a co-worker brought in a big bag of cherries and I ate half the bag. Unfortunately, after eating the cherries I had gas and minor bloating. Since I did not successfully pass this challenge, I skipped the next challenge for week 2.

Week 3 – Kiwis. I believe my memory has failed me. I swear Kiwi was my next challenge, but looking it up in my FODMAP app, kiwi is a low-FODMAP item so I could have been eating kiwis all this time. Oh well! I added kiwis to my diet by adding it to my strawberry banana smoothies, pretty tasty and no tummywoes.

Vegetables Challenge

Week 1 – mushrooms.  I bought raw mushrooms and added them to my sandwiches, salads, and pastas. No stomach issues! Glad to have mushrooms back in my diet.

Week 2 – onions.  Cooked onions did not bother my stomach, but consuming raw onions gave me gas and a lot of belching. Since I did not pass week 2 challenge, I did not move forward with the next challenge of avocado!! Such a bummer.

It’s been great adding things back to my diet.  I  look forward to updating my nutritionist on the immense progress of my gut in the past 8 weeks. I enjoy eating again!

FODMAP diet weeks 5 & 6 . . .

In the past couple of weeks I have basically been eating the same things so I will only list my newest additions.

Drinks –  I realized I have never mentioned what I drink since starting this diet. I have tried to eliminate soda and juice cocktails from my diet, but of course it’s easier said than done. In regards to juice I have drink pure cranberry, grape, or pineapple juice. Cranberry cocktail is NOT pure cranberry juice because it contains many other fruit juices including apple juice.

Alcoholic beverages is something new I’ve added to my diet because the past couple of weeks have been stressful! I stick strictly with dry wine (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc) and vodka. I have had cocktails where the only type of liquor is vodka and avoided juice and fruit flavored vodka that was not FODMAP friendly. So watermelon juice or flavored vodka is a NO. In my social outings I have had only 1 drink and I was fine, no tummywoes.

Smoothies – Being completely dairy free for the past 6 weeks has been difficult for me because I was a smoothie junkie. However, I have figured out a delicious alternative, key ingredients are a frozen banana and vanilla flavored coconut milk. I had a pineapple, banana, coconut milk smoothie and it was delicious! No need to add sugar, just popped those three ingredients into a blender and it tasted better than a smoothie you can buy. I also tried the same recipe with strawberries and raspberries, got the same result. The frozen banana provides the creamy texture that yogurt usually provides.

Soy Sauce – I love sushi and to completely eliminate it from my diet is a joke, so I have cheated. But you can’t have sushi without soy sauce right? WRONG! I found an alternative called Coconut Aminos that I could only find in Whole Foods market. I will admit it does taste sweeter than regular soy sauce, but adding a little wasabi to the sauce did the trick for me.

coconut amminosTofu – I decided to try tofu as a protein alternative and I discovered i do not like it . . .at all lol Since I never like to throw out food I decided to be creative and made a tofu scrambled wrap for breakfast or a light dinner, kind of like scrambled eggs. My recipe is as follows:

ingredients:

  • Firm tofu
  • sweet peppers (3-4 mini sweet peppers)
  • chopped tomato (half of 1 tomato)
  • cumin
  • turmeric
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil
  • gluten-free tortilla

Saute the sweet peppers and chopped tomatoes in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes or until peppers start to soften. Toss in tofu, add salt/pepper, cumin or turmeric seasoning to your liking and stir like you’re cooking scrambled eggs for about 2-3 minutes. In a separate pan heat gluten-free tortilla with butter for about 4 minutes or until tortilla starts to brown. The dish came out pretty tasty, but I did not have a bowel movement for a day.  When I told my nutritionist she said, “Krystal you freak out about soy in skittles but you eat tofu?!? Tofu is made from soy, that’s probably why you had mild constipation”  . . OMG! I felt like an idiot lol . . . . .  But, according to my FODMAP app (I highly suggest everyone to download), it said tofu was FODMAP friendly. So in regards tofu, to each its own. I discovered tofu is not good for me.
fodmap diet appfodmap diet app

Since I am now starting week 7, my nutritionist has given me challenges by slowing putting dairy, onions, garlic, and other high FODMAP items back in my diet. The thought of having a slice of pizza in two weeks is scary and exciting! I’ll list my challeges in a future post and as always keep you updated 🙂

FODMAP Diet Week 3 – My recipes . . .

I added a couple of items to my breakfast routine. Eating a banana, steel-cut oats, and a boiled egg everyday gets boring. I found the below items that are all gluten-free, wheat, dairy, and soy free. Also,”So Coconut milk” is my jam, haven’t had any issues with it.

cereal blueberry oatscoconut milk

 Apologies for the quality of the pictures, my iPhone sucks!

This past week was the war of the meatballs for me. I made homemade ground turkey and beef meatballs. Turkey meatballs were way better. I seasoned both with the following fresh ingredients:

  • chives
  • sage
  • oregano
  • Basil
  • parsley
  • salt/pepper
  • paprika
  • garlic infused olive oil

In the turkey meatballs you can taste the flavor, not so much in the beef meatballs. I made the turkey meatballs for spaghetti using the same sauce recipe from last week. It came out pretty good and lasted for 4 days. Then I made the beef meatballs with sweet peppers and rice. I tried to make a gravy out of the drippings with the gluten-free flour, I was NOT successful and cheated.  I added ketchup to the drippings and anything else I had, and as a result I made my first ever BBQ sauce! I did not complain, it was my lunch for the week at work. Since it was such a heavy lunch,  for dinner I made turkey sandwichs with gluten-free bread, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and Dijon mustard. I bought the turkey lunch-meat from Trader Joe’s, no garlic or onion, all natural herbs.

turkey breast

By Friday I was all meat out! When I return from vacay, I’m going to do only fish, shellfish, and try tofu for a week. Sick of meat and potatoes. Friday night I made amazing tuna cakes with items I had sitting around. My recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of tuna in water
  • Half a lemon (for the juice and zest)
  • Dried basil, parsley, oregano
  • 1/2 cup of cooked cold quinoa
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of water (used tuna water)
  • Salt/pepper

Mixed all ingredients in a bowl (except the egg) and tasted. I like a tangy taste so I added a little more mustard. Once it was seasoned to my liking, I added the egg and formed 4 tuna cakes and placed in the fridge for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I cooked the cakes in a non-stick pan using 2 tbsp of olive oil and a little butter.   Cooked each cake 4/minutes per side. They were delicious and moist!  Using quinoa instead of breadcrumbs is my new thing.

tuna cakes

Yesterday I went out for dinner for the first time in a while, and yes I was worried I would not be able to eat anything. But! I’ve noticed lately many popular chain restaurants now serve healthier, gluten-free, options and provide nutritional information on their website. I had dinner at BJ’s restaurant http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/menu and had their chicken and spinach quinoa. Of course it had onions, mushrooms, and I’m pretty sure garlic. I requested no onions and the waiter said “sure, no problem”. . . I sighed with relief lol  I could have asked without mushrooms too,  but I decided to just push them to the side. I definitely tasted the garlic but hey, I removed one of the two evils.  😉 Overall it was a tasty meal and no tummywoes! 🙂

This next week should be interesting since I will be eating out everyday, but might may a trip to a local Whole Foods near the hotel. Should be an adventure!

FODMAP Diet Week 2- My recipes . . .

FODMAP Diet week 2 was a little easier. I decided to be adventurous by making a shrimp, bacon, and tomato based pasta. It came out sooo well, I had to pat myself on the back.

bacon pastaThis was the first pasta dish I have had in 6 months, and it did not irritate my stomach at all.  No cramps, bloating or urge to go, stomach was silent. I almost cried! lol  Below are the ingredients I used for the sauce:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (plain)
  • 1 can of tomato paste (plain)
  • fresh herbs recipe size: basil, thyme, sage,
  • olive oil infused with garlic 2TBP
  • balsamic vinegar 1tsp
  • dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt/pepper & sugar

All ingredients except for the tomato paste, bay leaves, and sugar were put into a blender. After my sauce was blended I put in a pot, added the bay leaves, and let simmer for 30 minutes. I eventually added the sugar.

For the bacon & shrimp I did the following:

  • 6 slices of thick slices bacon chopped
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, size depends on you

Sauté bacon in garlic olive oil, cook for 5-7 minutes (I like my bacon crunchy). Add in shrimp, a splash of balsamic vinegar , salt/pepper, fresh basil and cooked the concoction for another 3-4 minutes until shrimp is pink. Once done add the bacon and shrimp to the sauce and include a little bacon juice :). Stir and served over quinoa linguine.

Gluten-free pasta is something I will never like lol so I was grateful that I had ample sauce, but below was the brand I used.

quinoa

Unfortunately, the pasta only lasted over the weekend 😦 So for the week I baked a turkey breast with the leftover fresh herbs I had (basil, thyme, sage, oregano) and stuffed it under the skin. As sides I cooked white rice and green beans. Left over turkey made some tasty, gluten-free turkey sandwiches with dijon mustard, yummy!

I saw the nutritionist again this past Friday, she was very impressed by the variety of my recipes and how I have tackled this diet. But she added a few challenges. I was complaining how I’m sick of drinking only grape and cranberry juice, her response was well let’s get off the juice all together , and do fruit flavored water. . . . . that was not what I wanted to hear! lol I reluctantly agreed, and told myself I’ll do “no juice days” I can’t survive off of just water, that’s craziness. She also suggested a couple of supplements. Omega-3, 1000 mg with EPA and DHA, aka fish oil right? And I told her how I’ve been stressed and can’t sleep, she stated my magnesium levels might be low. She suggested I try a magnesium supplement called “Natural Calm”.. I ordered both online, much cheaper. Lastly, she wants me to drink benefiber with every meal . . . . yeah . . . I decided to do it with just dinner. I had benefiber with every meal Saturday and I think I lost 5 pounds Sunday morning, can’t imagine doing that everyday lol

I stated how I’ve been cooking with so much butter and salt she suggested to substitute the butter with coconut oil. So I found the brand below at my local Giant.

coconut oil

Also, I found some treats!  Check it out below, all found at my local Giant or Food Lion grocery store.

lemon burstpecan cookiesmultigrain crackers

So far week 3 has been a struggle 😦 I’ll give an update next week.

FODMAP Diet Week 1 – My recipes

FODMAP week 1 was a struggle, i felt like I was always hungry and quickly realized I needed to almost double my portions to prevent snacking.  I had the following meal plan this past week:

Breakfast

  • 1 boiled egg – Sunday evening I boiled 5 eggs and every morning I heated a egg in warm water
  • 1 banana

with  one of the below choices:

  • 1 gluten, soy, wheat free cinnamon raisin bagel with butter. – Udi’s http://udisglutenfree.com/  is the brand I bought, pretty tasty.
  • 1 bowl of Steel Cut Oats with cinnamon, sugar, coconut milk, strawberries, and banana.

Pretty tasty and filling.

Lunch/Dinner

Since I like to make meals for the week I baked a whole chicken with potatoes and carrots. I seasoned the chicken with the below ingredients:

  • Fresh Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, and Chives (recipe size)
  • Lemon juice (squeezed from a lemon)
  • Salt/pepper
  • Garlic Olive Oil

I blended the fresh herbs, lemon juice, oil, salt/pepper to create a paste to put under the skin of the chicken. Baked the chicken at 375 degrees, 20 minutes per pound of chicken. I added the leftover lemon, potatoes, carrots and butter to the baking dish in the last hour.

cooked chicken 1
Final product
Chicken came out pretty tasty and the meat fell off the bone, but I will admit the garlic/onion was missed. I’ll use more herbs next time.

By Thursday the chicken was bare so for an end of the week meal I baked tilapia fillets. Topped the tilapia with gluten-free breadcrumbs, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt/pepper. As a side I cooked quinoa and seasoned it with salt/pepper, dried oregano and basil, garlic olive oil, and lemon juice. Pretty tasty but not filling, so I added a small baked potato with the meal and I was finally full! Prednisone is horrible lol

I tried really hard to make the above meals FODMAP friendly, which is a challenge itself.  As a result, I had very few stomach issues this past week, so I think I’m doing something right 🙂

Looking forward to the challenge of week 2 and have a follow-up with my nutritionist next Friday.