Friday, April 26, 2013

Youbars =)

At this point I'm pretty good knowing what I can and cannot eat with the wheat and dairy sensitivities. I know my tolerance levels and where companies hide ingredients, etc. But the fructose malabsorption is still relatively new and I'm learning. For instance, who knew that practically ALL gluten free products are either made with brown rice flour or sweetened with brown rice syrup...brown rice being on the maybe list for fructmal...That alone has made things challenging.

One food that I have been having the hardest time replacing are granola bars. All the "non-healthy" ones are made with tons of sugar in the form of honey or molasses and usually contain wheat or dairy, and the "healthy" bars often have, you guessed it, brown rice flour or fruit. So replacing the bars I used to eat has been slow going.

BUT I recently discovered youbars and they are fantastic!! It's a build-your-own granola bar website. They have all sorts of different combinations that you can make. It was really cool because you can pick everything from which nut butters you want to adding extra protein powder (they have DF and GF options?!?!) and different types of sweeteners. I was super excited when I first tried it.

Unfortunately, Attempt #1 crashed and burned...it ended up tasting very earthly and exactly like what you might think sawdust would taste like. Youbar has a 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy though, so I called them and told them my problem. I had chosen 3 different protein powders thinking more is better since I'm always looking to add protein, but the rep said the combination of those powders can give the bars a dry/dusty taste. So I dropped 2 of the 3 proteins and added a second nut butter in Attempt #2 (which they sent me free of charge =D).

Attempt  #2 was a success! They came yesterday, and I've already eaten 2 =) The bars still have a bit of dryness too them, but that is probably because I can't use dates in the base of the bar like they recommend. So in this case it's probably good that my taste buds often like things other people don't... Haha, I will definitely be ordering another batch when I finish these...which at my current rate will probably be this weekend... =P

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Foods!!

I'm finally at the point where the days that I'm in pain are less frequent than the ones where I feel good! Woohoo!!

I have actually had a stretch of a few days now where I haven't had any pain at all! I'm excited, encouraged, relieved, all of the above. But as I'm starting to feel better, I'm also starting to add foods back into my diet. I've been pretty strict with what I'm eating so I can get to this point where I'm not in pain anymore and am feeling good. Now it's time to begin trialing foods that are on the "maybe list" for fructmal to hopefully add some more variety to my diet.

So, the big foods that would be really nice to be able to add in are peanut butter, brown rice, bananas, black beans, and tomatoes. The black beans and peanut butter are both two of my favorite foods, but also good sources of protein since I'm always fighting to get enough protein in my diet. Bananas are just good =) and having another fruit option would be nice. The brown rice is a tricky one...I am fine with white rice, so it's not essential that I can eat brown rice. BUT I had no idea how common brown rice flour and brown rice syrup are in gluten free products. So even if I can't tolerate brown rices itself but can have the flour, that would make finding a GF cereal (or any other GF product) much easier. The tomatoes are more a convenience. Most of my crockpot meals that I love have salsa or tomatoes in some form in them...and now that some restaurants have GF pasta, it's often served with a marinara sauce (not to mention it's often brown rice pasta...). Even though I don't particularly like tomatoes by themselves, being able to have salsa or a tomato based sauce would be fantastic!

I started with black beans because I'm a huge fan...and it would at least allow my family to eat out at Chipotle or Moe's or something like that if we are out somewhere. The black beans have been going well so far. I seem to be okay up to 1/2 a cup which is fine because I usually eat them mixed with rice or quinoa anyway. I just started with peanut butter a few days ago, and so far have been doing really well. I've only been having about 1 tbsp at a time, usually on celery or with pretzels, but that amount has not given me any problems. I had peanut butter twice yesterday, at lunch and right before bed and had not had any problems yet...hopefully that will hold! Next on the list are bananas, so maybe Thursday or Friday assuming all continues to go well with the peanut butter.



Monday, April 15, 2013

Avocado Chicken Salad

So I'm not much of a cook. I LOVE my crock pot, but actually using the oven...not really my thing. But I found a cool recipe for chicken salad made with avocado instead of mayo and though I might have to try it. I never really like chicken salad because I'm not a fan of mayo, and I AM a huge fan of guacamole, so I though this recipe might be really good. Since my parents recently sent me a Magic Bullet, I figured this recipe would be a good one to break in my new blender!

It came out really good! I was a huge fan and will definitely make it again, even though I don't really like cooking =) I'm actually thinking about making the same recipe but trying tuna instead of chicken because that cuts out the baking time (can you see I'm not a fan of cooking...).


Avocado Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts
1/2 avocado
2(ish) tbsp chopped scallions
1/2 lemon - juiced
salt/pepper to taste

1) Bake chicken breasts in the oven at 350 until cooked through.
2) Chop into small pieces and add to the Magic Bullet.
3) Add the 1/2 avocado and scallions to the blender on top of the chicken
4) Squeeze half a lemon over the ingredients in the blender
5) Blend until them mixture is the desired consistency
6) Salt and pepper to taste
7) Can serve warm or refrigerate for a few hours and serve cold

Like I said, it was really good! I will probably make it again, and am definitely considering trying it with tuna. Adding chopped celery and/or carrots or some nuts could be a nice addition for a bit of crunch.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cravings

You know how most people see the Entenmenn's bakery trucks and immediately want donuts or coffee cake...I see produce delivery trucks with pictures of fruits and vegetables all over the side and start craving grapes and bananas and apples and any other fruit.

The other day I was running one of my normal routes, but because it is now getting light in the mornings, it was at a different time of day. It was probably about 7 or 7:15 and I was running past a Jimmy Johns. They were getting their daily delivery of produce (at least that's what I'm guessing considering the truck...) and I started wishing for lots and lots of fruit =P

I'm hoping that as my stomach settles down I'll be able to increase what fruit I can eat, at least in moderation. Right now the only fruit I'm eating is a couple strawberries and half a grapefruit...it would definitely be nice to be able to eat a bit more...

But on the positive side, a few days ago I tried green peppers and seemed to do well with those. Then yesterday I tried black beans which also seemed to go well! I'm going to try black beans again tomorrow and hopefully won't have any problems. I was kind of nervous because some people have said beans and legumes can cause issues with fructose malabsorption but that's another major food group for me and a good source of protein. So hopefully day 2 of black beans will cooperate and then I can move on to some other foods!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's for dinner??

I'm not creative...at least I don't consider myself creative when comparing myself to friends and family (especially my brother, he puts everyone else to shame...) Growing up I was never really into art or music or theater, it was always sports like soccer or horseback riding or even basketball for a couple years...

I've also never really been into cooking. Although I do LOVE my crockpot, and I mean LOVE my crockpot, did I mention I have a crockpot?? And I'm a huge fan?? =) Anyway, it's so nice to be able to take a bunch of ingredients and toss them in the pot and hit "go!" No thinking involved, no creativity required...until now...

Since being diagnosed with fructose malabsorption and changing my diet, I'm realizing just how much of what I ate is (at least for now) off limits.

Example: one of my favorite crockpot meals - Chili:
ground beef/turkey - ok
beans (black/kidney) - debatable but probably ok
tomatoes - not okay
onions - not okay
peppers - also debatable but green seem to be okay

So for now, chili is out. Okay fine, I have other crockpot meals I can make - Chicken Salsa:
chicken - ok
corn - ok
black beans - again, a maybe, but probably fine
salsa - nope...

Strike 2...okay, now what? As I've been going through my "recipes" (I use that term loosely...I cook/bake like I did chemistry, one reason I'm no longer a chemistry major...) I'm realizing just how often I used fruits, tomatoes, onions, etc. In some ways I'm discouraged because I'm really struggling to figure out what I can and will eat, especially now that all my leftovers from spring break are gone...but at the same time I'm encouraged!

I was in so much pain and having such a bad time eating, the fact that the majority of my diet had been coming from foods I cannot absorb means that I should get better! Even if I do have to cut out a lot of my favorites, I am hopeful that the severity of my symptoms correlates to the amount of "bad" foods I was eating prior to the diagnosis. And there are reports of people healing from bad fructose malabsorption! While I may not be able to go back to my prior diet of 10 lbs of grapes, 10 lbs of carrots, 5 lbs of strawberries, 8 grapefruit, 2 lbs of blueberries, and 10 apples a week (yes, that was just me...) I *hope* that once my stomach settles down I can at least add some of my favorite food back in at least in small amounts (maybe just 5 lbs of grapes and carrots per week =P).

In the mean time, I still need to figure out what I'm having for dinner tonight...