Healthy v Clean eating: where I stand

The mini controversy caused by Dr Giles Yeo’s recent Horizon programme ‘Clean Eating – the Dirty Truth’ was a welcome distraction from the world melt down documented daily.

The programme focused on the new Instagram driven trend of ‘clean eating’ and explored the work of women who advocate healthy eating: Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella), The Hemsley Sisters (Melissa & Jasmine) and Natasha Corrett (Honestly Healthy). Dr Yeo expressed concern that there is no evidence base for encouraging consumption of real food (over processed food).

This was interesting viewing for me because diet is an essential part of managing gastroparesis. After my virus in 2014, eating anything was problematic for me. Even water caused me fullness, pain and reflux. Before my diagnosis, I initially thought that eating more roughage would help my body process food. I ate bowels of granola and fruit for breakfast, salads for lunch and lots of vegetables at dinner. Ironically, I was doing the worse thing possible because those with gastroparesis should follow a low fibre diet to ease digestion. Then, following my diagnosis, I followed the specialist’s advice for a typical low fat/low fibre ‘white carbohydrate’ gastroparesis diet: lots of potatoes, white bread, steamed puddings. But this did not help either. It meant my body was getting minimal nutrition, it was boring and not satisfying to eat, it exacerbated some symptoms such as fullness, hunger (yes, you can feel full and ravenous simultaneously with gastroparesis) and nausea. Continue reading

Spiced apple cake

apple-cake

Autumn is my favourite season. And this has been a particularly glorious autumn: crisp and sunny days, trees burning with autumnal hues, polished conkers lying on the ground. Yes: I am feeling poetic and creatively inspired. ‘Tis the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and maturing sun. I even managed a drink (hot) in a pub garden last weekend after a long morning walk. My seasonal fervour has seeped through to my cooking and I’m particularly proud of this spiced apple cake which was/is a veritable success. Friends, family and colleagues that demonstrate culinary prowess have been asking me (frequently) “what can I make that you can eat?” Especially so at work where it sometimes feels as if I’m in an episode of Bake Off: our office kitchen is a daily delight and danger with so many skilled bakers about! So here is something that I can eat which you can also enjoy (I hope that others with gastroparesis are also able to sample this too):

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Personal update: travelling outside my comfort zone.

July 1st marked my 31st birthday. I naturally found myself reflecting upon the last year and thought it would be appropriate to share a personal update with you:

Some of my happiest memories in life have been whilst travelling; enjoying new experiences and embracing different cultures. Since my diagnosis, I lost the travel bug. This was mainly because a huge part of travelling (for me) is sampling the host country’s cuisine but I also became quite anxious of not being able to eat whilst travelling. This is a legitimate fear for anyone who has to follow a particular diet but gastroparesis adds a further layer of complexity because there is no such thing as a ‘gastroparesis diet’. I cannot tell a restaurant or hotel that I am gluten free, or dairy free or nut free. It is hard enough to explain to friends, colleagues and family what I can and cannot eat:

Not very spicy food; low-ish fat (40g/day); low-ish fibre (15g/day); I also try and avoid refined sugar, dairy and eat low-gluten foods when possible. All vegetables (including potatoes) must be well cooked (soft) and peeled. I cannot eat the following: seeds, nuts, granola, beans/legumes (except red kidney beans), brown or wild rice, raw vegetables, salad leaves, berries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, coconut, corn, green beans, kale, figs or oranges.

I can see them (understandably) thinking: ‘Well, what can you eat then?!’

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