Confession: I don’t always eat as well as I know I should. Every now and then, I have a rough week and end up eating out too much, or drinking too much coffee (or alcohol, to be honest), or just forgetting the rules of nourishing my body. I have a super sensitive stomach because of a medication I took in college, so I really do have to be careful what I put in it.
Last week was harrowing. With an altered work schedule due to a hurricane followed by a snow storm, I didn’t make time to cook much and ended up drinking gallons of coffee and tea. At work I ended up eating loads of the nasty “kid foods” I try so hard to avoid– white pasta, a wedge of a grilled cheese sandwich, crackers, scrambled eggs, buttery toast. Add to that some celebratory wine (Obama!), and party food (potato chips!), and my stomach was getting very grumbly by Wednesday. To top it all off, when I finally got to cooking, I was so stressed out about a personal problem that I turned to my favorite comfort food: cabbage and onions fried in butter, served with pierogis. All of this combined with overindulgence Friday night at the bar left my poor tummy in tatters.
I spent Saturday napping, watching Mean Girls, and hoping I’d be able to keep food down (I did, but it was a struggle) while sipping ginger tea and broth. Sometime in the evening, I realized I needed something stronger so I called on my brother, who is something of an amateur herbalist. He suggested baking soda and lot of water to neutralize the acid, and chewing cardamom and fennel seeds after eating. I downed a half teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water (blech!) and went to bed early.
Upon waking today I still had the tummy rumbles, but I was determined to eat properly to heal it. I breakfasted on 1/4 cup of oatmeal with raw honey, ground cardamom, fennel, ginger and cinnamon When I was sure that that was going to stay put, I made a smoothie out of a big hunk of raw ginger, banana, and soymilk.
Lunch was a bit heartier, but still simple, easily digestable, plant-based fare. I made mashed potatoes (no oil, I subbed a bit of tahini) and this Kale Slaw (holy delicious Batman!). I used shredded raw beets in place of the fennel. So far, so good! I’m still a tiny bit nauseous, but I feel ten times better and more energetic. Nothing like plants for what ails you!
I consulted Dr. McDougall today as well (online of course). He agrees with me on the source of my troubles: “Fatty foods with low fiber content, alcohol, caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages, and irritating foods…and medications are the leading causes of stomach distress.” Not many people realize that fatty foods can irritate your stomach, but it’s certainly my experience that they do. Solution? “Frequent meals focusing primarily on starches will bring quick relief to people with esophagitis, gastritis, and ulcers.” So that’s it for me: No coffee, no alcohol, no chocolate, no oil, no dairy, no fruit juice or fizzy drinks. Definitely no processed kid foods or potato chips!
I’ll keep you all posted on what’s cooking this week. It’s going to be a busy one, since I’m cooking for a big party on Friday, but I’ll do my best! Staying healthy is a journey we should share.