I haven’t done a Foodie Friday in awhile now! It is good to be doing the old standards again.
I am not going to feature a specific recipe today, though I will give you a link later. Instead, I want to talk about how chronic illness affects diet as much as anything else in my life.
- I have to stay away from ALL processed sugars because it affects my blood sugar, inflammation, moods and pain levels. Having been addicted to sugar for most of my life, this is not an easy one to deal with.
- I am not classified as celiac but am gluten intolerant. I can only eat so much gluten before I start feeling really crummy. I fought this one for a long time but, like sugar, it has to go.
- Dairy products are pretty well fine for me, though they can give me phlegm problems. I do have problems with cheddar and all yellow cheeses as they trigger my migraines; however, I can have moderate quantities of other cheese and most milk products without too much trouble.
- I have been having a lot of dental problems in the last year or so and the process of getting it all cleared up (My “Project Smile” posts) is a long one. I have had 4 extracted molars so chewing is not easy. Before I can get my partial plates other work must be completed.
- Along with the dental work, I have an issue with my throat that makes swallowing difficult. I have been known to choke on water or even air and pills are the worst. I am having this dealt with; however, I need to eat in the meantime. So, soft creamy foods are the best for both problems.
- Soft, creamy foods have a lot of carbs. When I have severe spikes in my chronic pain I also turn to comfort food such as potatoes, rice, cream soups, pierogies, etc.
- I am having some minor surgery done in March or April and need to lose weight. I need to lose it for my pain issues as well. Unfortunately, the foods listed above are not conducive to weight loss.
- I have liver and kidney problems as well, and since I had my gallbladder removed, I don’t tolerate very much fat. Lean proteins such as beef and pork (even some poultry) tend to be more difficult to chew and swallow. So, I drench them in sauce or gravy, adding more carbs.
- My husband has a genetic blood disorder called hemochromatosis where his body produces too much iron and so he can’t eat a lot of iron-rich foods. He needs to watch levels of iodine and certain vitamins as well. So, often we are having very different meals.
- I do have food allergies/intolerances to pineapple, tomatoes, and eggs. I am able to have small amounts of them once in awhile so I make my choices wisely.
So, finding foods that are good for all my chronic illness problems is not an easy task. But it is not impossible either.
- I have been making salads with small amounts of meat, cheese, nuts, and seeds. Yes, I need dressing on that but I only put on as much as I need to swallow.
- I have soups other than creamed ones as often as I can, such as vegetable, chicken noodle, wonton, etc.
- I love fish so have different types and recipes often. It is easy to eat and healthy.
- I tend to eat several small meals throughout the day because of certain chronic conditions. I don’t want my stomach to be totally empty or my blood sugar to go down too low. This can help with eating “wrong” things as I have a smaller serving.
- I went to culinary school, catered and I worked as a special diets cook so it is easier for me to figure things out – that is when I am feeling well enough to want to cook.
Today, I made some Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies and will make some other healthy snacks over the weekend. I made a few changes to the recipe, using regular dark chocolate chips (cutting it back to only 1/2 cup), and I used Rainforest Nut Butter (Brasil nuts, cashews, and coconut) instead of the peanut butter just because that is what I had.
I allow myself some cheats but am mostly hoping I can get us on a completely clean-eating lifestyle by the end of the year. That is not a resolution, just something to work towards.