eat right and enjoy it

moving away from GERD to surviving and thriving on a plant-based diet: follow me and learn from my challenges and as I take this journey


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Stocking My Pantry

I have no patience for wasted space and I’m constantly tweaking and pruning my pantry.  It is important to me to fill it with healthy plant-based options, and nothing that might aggravate my stomach.  Some of the items I keep on hand may not be beneficial for the O Positive Diet.   I’m trying hard not to offend the diet but my stomach comes first.  It has been a challenge because I am still trying to figure out which foods help or hurt my GERD.  Some are very obvious while others are found through trial and error.  Below is a list of the main foods I currently stock and why.
I stock the beans (carbs), because they are so versatile but I eat them in very limited quantities, since many believe carbs, especially complex carbs can cause GERD to flare up.

  • Black Beans (chili, burgers, brownies)
  • White Beans (faux alfredo sauce, chili)
  • Chickpeas (hummus, chili, salads)
  • Black-eyed Peas (chili)
  • Pinto Beans (chili)
  • Canned Salmon (salad)
  • Canned Mackerel
  • Canned Crabmeat
  • Tahini
  • Chicken Broth (sautéing, soup)
  • Beef Broth (sautéing, soup)
  • Vegetable Broth (sautéing, soup)
  • Bone Broth (soup)
  • Miso Soup
  • Quinoa
  • Carob Powder
  • Celtic Salt (increase minerals, seasoning)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (increase minerals, seasoning)
  • Liquid Smoke (seasoning black bean burgers)
  • Garlic Powder (seasoning)
  • Onion Powder (seasoning)
  • Popcorn (low calorie filling snack)
  • Coconut Oil Spray (used on popcorn so seasoning will stick)
  • Nutritional Yeast (seasoning, popcorn, B-12, pizza crust)
  • Coconut Oil (cooking)
  • Pumpkin Puree (bread, pancakes)
  • Gluten Free Flour (bread, pancakes)
  • Flaxseed Meal (crackers, pizza crust)
  • Pumpkin Seeds (snacks, crackers)
  • Chia Seeds (crackers, pudding, pizza crust)
  • Walnuts (snacks, salads)
  • Pecans (snacks, salads)
  • Watermelon Seeds (snacks, salads)
  • Nori Sheets (sushi, snacks, salads)

 

 

 

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What Had Happened Was . . .

I have been suffering with GERD which is short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease for several years. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus.

In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus.  The symptoms I have been experiencing because of GERD are:

  • a very sore and painful throat (like someone hit me in the throat feeling) this was constant
  • numerous sinus issues (2 very bad sinus infections in the past 3 years) itchy nose, post nasal drip
  • slight cough and throat clearing
  • sensation of having a lump in my throat
  • constant burping
  • pain in my chest
  • feeling like my stomach was taking too long to digest my food
  • at night I could feel the acid gurgling in my throat, every night

All of these symptoms were ongoing – they never stopped, despite the fact that I was on prescription medication for GERD for over 5 years – this was prescribed my Gastroenterologist.  Twice within a 2 month period, my severe sore throat sent me to the doctor, one was an Internist the other a specialist, an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) doctor.  Both prescribed a one-week course of antibiotics – I took this medication and there was no improvement either time.  Two months later I went to a different ENT who ordered a scan of my sinuses and the scan came back showing that I had nothing to be concerned about.  That confirmed that the GERD was causing my sinus problems.  By now I was sick, tired, and fed up.  I was sick of the sinus issues and the feeling the acid in my throat at night, I was tired of not finding any relief, and I was fed up that the medication that I had been taking for so long was no longer working and I’m not sure if it ever did.  On top of all that the last ENT I visited said that the medication I had been taking was found to cause dementia in patients with long term use and that I should consider surgery – I was done.

I immediately made an appointment with my Gastroenterologist because the last time I was there I did not have the throat issues I have now, so I wanted to have an Endoscopy (a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person’s digestive tract) in order to find out the condition of my esophagus and stomach. I made my appointment 6 weeks away because I wanted to take time to try a few things on my own. 

I did some research online and came across this: Until the Thin Lady Sings – I-cured-myself-from-gerd-acid.html, so I decided to do a detox and then after the detox I would tweak my diet so that I was not just eating right for my blood type but for me more importantly for my GERD.  I went to the book store and found a book on an Acid Reflux Diet – Dr. Koufman’s Acid Reflux Diet.  In this book there was a section on doing an Acid Reflux Detox.  I bought the book and did the two-week detox.  During this detox I used the Dr. Schulte’s intestinal cleansing supplements formula’s 1 and 2, and I basically subsisted on fresh vegetables that I juiced each morning and ate as salads for dinner and I also a vegan lunch.  Some details for those 2 weeks:

  •  I juiced a wide variety of green vegetables
  • I avoided any vegetable that was or might be a trigger for acid reflux such as:  garlic, onion, tomatoes, peppers (whatever was listed in the book)
  • or course no caffeinated or carbonated beverages or alcohol or tobacco
  • no animal foods or by products such as dairy or eggs
  • If I wanted fruit I only ate bananas and melons (per the book), and I did not eat them with anything else and preferably an hour before or after anything else I ate
  • I primarily drank highly alkaline water PH9-10 and I drank a lot of it (get the book and you’ll find out why)
  • I used Manuka Honey  – this is a medicinal type of honey to soothe my irritated throat (it costs a lot more than regular honey but I didn’t care if it was going to help)
  • I did not eat anything after 6:00 pm – even  if my last meal was at 3:00
  • I elevated the head of my bed and slept in a semi sitting position

Note:  2 weeks before the detox I had already starting reducing the amount of meat I was consuming, If I ate meat at all, it was just on the weekends, so it made it easier to do the detox.

Results:  immediately after the detox my throat felt a whole lot better, I no longer had the pain in my chest, I felt a lot better in general and I lost 10 pounds.  I am still suffering with the post nasal drip and sore throat but they have both definitely improved.  I have an upcoming appointment with my Gastroenterologist in the meantime I will continue my plant-based diet avoiding meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods. I am still juicing my vegetables in the morning, drinking the alkaline water, using the Manuka Honey, not eating past 6:00pm (this gives my food at least 4 hours to digest before I retire for the evening) and sleeping with my upper body elevated. I know there is some controversy as to whether O positive blood types should be vegan/vegetarian or not, but I try to take the best from both worlds with an emphasis on doing whatever helps my GERD.

 

 

 


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Chili with Cucumber Salsa

Sometimes the weather drives what I cook for dinner.  It’s really cold out today so it’s Chili time.  I believe Chili is one of those dishes that can be very personal.  We add the ingredients we like and we omit the ones we don’t.  This is my version I hope you can use something from it.grassfed_beef

Tips:
I always use grass fed beef.  I know it costs more but it is worth it, it just tastes better.

chocolate

Baking Chocolate

I use 1 oz. of 100% cacao.  It gives the chili a depth of flavor and some body.

I prefer to use beef cubes over beef broth.  The cubes seem to intensify the beef flavor.

I make a cucumber salsa and add that to the chili.  It gives the chili that taco-ish flavor that compliments the chili and the cucumbers give it a texture that I love.

Because the beef granules have their own salt and there is salt in the salsa I don’t really add salt to the chili.

IMG_0940

Cucumber Salsa

CUCUMBER SALSA
1 or 2 Cucumbers chopped

1 or 2  Small cans of green chilies

1 or 2 Tomatoes chopped

1 Onion chopped

Cilantro (dried or fresh)

Lime Juice

Salt

Add the ingredients together to your taste!  Make enough for at least 2 cups.  This salsa is even better if allowed to sit overnight before adding to the chili.

CHILI
Olive Oil

1 Onion chopped

1 Bell Pepper chopped

2 lbs. Ground Beefchili_seasonings

6 Beef Cubes

2 Cups of Cucumber Salsa

4-5 Cups of Water

1 oz. Baking Chocolate 100% Cacao chopped

Chili Powder to your taste (I use about 2-3 tbsp.)

Cumin to your taste ( I use about 1 tbsp.)

Chipotle Powder to your taste (I use about 1 tsp.)

1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 Can of Pinto Beans (optional) (one of our beneficial foods)

cooked_beef

Cooked Beef

LET’S GET COOKING!
Cover the bottom of a pot with the olive oil

Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes

Next add the grass fed beef and cook for 10 minutes

Add the beef cubes, use a large spoon to break up the cubes as they cook down, do this until the beef is thoroughly cooked

Mix in 2 cups of Cucumber Salsa, and the water then bring to a boil

Add the chocolate, once the chocolate has melted add the next 4 ingredients to your taste

Finally, let the chili simmer for 10 minutes

If you want to add the pinto beans do it at the very end and simmer until the beans are thoroughly heated

You can top your chili with green onions and or mozzarella cheese.  Serve it over quinoa or gluten free noodles.  Put the chili inside a taco shell made from a grain that doesn’t offend your diet.  Layer the bottom of the shell with spinach leaves and top it off with some of the cucumber salsa.  I could not find a shell that didn’t offend my diet so I used a corn shell (oops!)  beef_taco


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Oysters, Oysters, Oysters!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Oysters.  If you feel the same way you might like this little appetizer. Traditionally it would be made with parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella, but parmesan cheese is on the avoid list for
O Positive dieters.  You could also try feta or goat cheese.

Ingredients:

Oysters without the shells

1 Stick Butter  (softened)

2 cups Mozzarella Cheese grated or chopped fine

1 tbsp. Minced garlic

1 cup Gluten-free seasoned bread crumbs

1-2 tbsp. Seafood Stock

Chopped Green Onion

Olive oil

Crushed Red Pepper

Lemon Juice

1. Mix the butter, bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese, green onion together then set aside

2. Cover the bottom of a small saucepan with olive oil then add the minced garlic and let it cook for a couple minutes. Add crushed red pepper to your taste and then the seafood stock.  Let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes

3. Add the butter mixture to the breadcrumb mixture

4. Add more bread crumb if necessary  – the mixture should be moist but not too wet

5. Rinse and check the oysters for bits of shell and debris.   Layer a baking dish with the Nori sheets then cover each sheet with  the oysters.  Use your hand to cover each oyster-topped Nori sheet with the breadcrumb/butter mixture.  Broil until the tops are browned  – no more than 10 minutes. Spritz with lemon juice after removing from the oven. Enjoy!

Nori Sheets

Flavored Nori Sheets   (Wasabi)

I used the pre-cut Nori snack sheets.  They come in a variety of flavors:  onion, wasabi, chipotle and plain.

oysters_on_nori

Cleaned oysters on top of Nori sheets

oyster_breadcrumb

breadcrumb mixture on top of oysters

Use your hands to firmly press the breadcrumb mixture on top of the oysters.

baked_oysters

broiled oyster appetizer

The finished product


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Gumbo

It’s the weekend and I’m feeling a little like GUMBO.  Gumbo is a great dish because essentially you can add whatever you want to it.  I made my roux using buckwheat flour, olive oil and a little butter to give it a rich depth of flavor!  This dish is a lot of work but it’s worth it.

i gumbo_4 gumbo_3 gumbo_5

I used turkey smoked sausage, and I seasoned the salad shrimp with Old Bay seasoning.  Delicious!

 

gumbo_1