Category Archives: Advice

Living with no gallbladder: My food do’s and don’ts

Time for a bit of a side story on my blog. I do talk about this frequently within my bento posts, but I’ve recently been thinking that a couple of specific posts on it would help some people. When I first had my gallbladder out, it would have been such a help to me if I could have found a range of blogs and websites about specific transitions in eating after a gallbladder removal, but alas, it’s mainly medical sites out there :S

This blog post will be specific to my food do’s and don’ts; what I eat and don’t eat, why I eat or avoid those things and other tips. This may help some of you, but please excuse my rambling if it doesn’t 🙂

My food do’s:

– Do always have breakfast – as bile is constantly dripping into my digestive system, not eating for long periods of time makes it uncomfortable (like acid burn), so I always eat breakfast, even if it is just a banana.

– Do up the protein – processed carbs cause me issues and comfortableness if I eat them too often, so I make sure I eat more protein. The protein I eat includes cottage cheese, low fat natural and flavoured yogurts, edamame, fish, chicken, chickpeas (hummus), lentils and quorn.

– Do enjoy your fruit and veg – I can eat all fruit and veg, bar one or two things (although when my stomach isn’t feeling great, I avoid raw vegetables). I’m not able to eat radishes as it was one of my trigger foods, but I always get my 5-a-day in so many different ways; smoothies, soups, snack pots, dipping, baked, roasted, stir fried, steamed 😀 I especially like baked apples with a sprinkling of oats on top!

– Do snack – again, due to the bile, it is better for me to never have an empty stomach for too long, so, snack it is! I love home popped popcorn, with paprika and pepper on it, or hummus and veggies, or good old rice cakes. I even like sliced apple with a small amount of choccy spread!

– Do exercise! – exercise is a fantastic non-medical way to help with digestive problems. Running, for me is what keeps things moving (apologies for the term!). If there is anyone who has digestive problems after a gallbladder removal, then exercise!! It will solve it!! Exercise how you are able to though, so even a short walk in the fresh air or a nice swim will help.

My food don’ts:

– Don’t eat high fat items often – high fat items, for me, include peanut butter, most nuts, full fat dairy (including cream, milk, cheese and yogurt), fast food (especially battered items), fatty meats and high fat carb items (like pastries) and whole eggs. I have some of these very occasionally but if I eat them too often or eat too much of them, my digestive system does not cope so well and it isn’t comfortable.

– Don’t overeat! – no-one should overeat anyway, it’s not good for you, but having no gallbladder to control the flow of bile means that a very large meal can take a very very long time to digest, which equals the very full feeling for a very long time (for me). I do eat large meals sometimes, but I am a lot more conscious of how overeating affects me.

– Don’t worry! – Stress exacerbates a lot of conditions, and it also makes for a unhappy digestive system. By stress I mean worrying about eating the right foods or too much of the not so good foods. Don’t worry! Your main aim should always be to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I have found all the rest will balance itself out due to being full up on all the good stuff!! Exercise also helps all forms of stress, so get moving!

Overall, just be happy. I get aches and pains sometimes, that are directly to do with the scar tissue from the op. But guess what? They are small aches. Not the excruciating pain I was in when I had my silly gallbladder. I can cope with these, I can enjoy my life, and I am happy and healthy!

Have you got any food do’s and don’ts that are specific for yours or your familys needs?

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Surviving in a hotel room…

1 week: no fridge, no oven or microwave, only a kettle; limited money and far from home.

timon-s-scared-face-timon-25886614-640-380

What to do?

Shopping list:

– Apples

– Granola

– Instant Cous Cous

– Tinned/jar Carrots and Peas

– Jar of Olives

– Instant Noodles

– Food Doctor instant soup/quinoa pots

– Crsipbreads/Crackers

– Oatcakes

– Chocolate Spread

– Marmite

– Jars of Salmon paste

– Popcorn

– Cofee and Tea!!!!

Did I survive?

Of course I did 🙂

Preparation is the key!

I said I’d do some batch cooking at the weekend and…well..it went to plan in simpler ways than first anticipated.

I batch prepared instead.

Do not under-estimate the importance of preparing certain items in advance!! For example, recently, I have, nearly every single day, put sliced peppers, cucumbers, and carrots in the bentos.

So, I prepared them for the whole week 🙂 Ta Da! Easy grab, place and go to add to the rest of the yummy lunches (I make 3 bentos each day: mine, the bf’s and my brothers’). I also had a brainwave of listing all the items (that I use) that are safe and ok to eat at room temperature.

Current Food List:

– Cheese (including non-processed cheeses)

– Bread, Pasta, Potato (cooked), Oats, Quinoa, Couscous, Noodles (any)

– Nuts (any)

– Chickpeas, Lentils (cooked), Butter beans, Kidney beans

– Cucumber, Peppers, Carrots, Radishes, Peas, etc (most vegetables, apart from Lettuces)

– Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Pears, Satsumas, Tomatoes (all fruit apart from frozen or tinned), including dried fruit

– Quorn, Vegetarian mince/sausages, etc

– Pickles (any)

 

I do put other items in bentos, but I wouldn’t class them as ‘safe’ or ok to eat for all people at room temperature. Those items include meats, fish and lettuce

If you have any more to add or different ideas, let me know and I’ll add them to the post!

Do you like making lists? I’m a sucker for it!!

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Intermittent Fasting Muses

Afternoon all. I thought I’d let you know whats on my mind…as it’s, well, on my mind 🙂

Today is a fasting day, and I have done things differently again. This lead me to thinking of any extra pointers I’d give someone that was going to start doing, or is already doing the 5:2 fasting diet:

Don’t try and limit yourself to as little as possible on the fast days (you can use all the 500/600 calories). You’ll get hungry, and grotty and may end up breaking the fast for no reason.

Listen to your body – If you are ill, and feel you need to eat something to get through the day, then fast tomorrow. Just don’t get used to saying that everyday!

– If you usually get really hungry on fasting days, try and evaluate what your eating and try to get “more for your money.” For example, I can have an egg, or two egg whites for breakfast (if I’m hungry), half a box of Passata (sieved tomato) with salt and pepper for lunch, and steamed veg and tuna or salmon for dinner. This sounds like a reasonable amount of food for a ‘fast’ day, but it totals at under the calorie limit for the day, bonus! I would’t try and survive on one pasta dish, or sandwich which would be on the limit for the day with only one meal. I will do a post on food ideas for fasting days soon.

Listen to your body – Again! On both fasting and non-fasting days, do not eat whatever is on the side/cupboard, or whatever is in the fast food joint, listen to how your body is feeling. So far this year, with the fasting, I have learnt that my stomach appreciates lighter meals, more vegetables, and less sugar. The fasting days have given me chance to ‘hear’ what my stomach says when I eat certain foods, helping me eat what makes me feel the best. That does not mean I always avoid the pizza ( I love the pizza!) or donuts (Krispy Kreme!), but I now do not over stuff myself on a regular basis.

 

So, I hope my thoughts have provided a little advice to someone 🙂 I feel better for sharing.

Bento and Fasting, what could be better?

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Firecracker Rice Yo Sushi Recipe

As promised, here is the recipe for Firecracker Rice from the Yo Sushi Cookbook. It is so good!

Firecracker Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 red pepper, deseeded and diced

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tablespoons frozen edamame (details at end of article), cooked for 5 minutes and shelled (you can substitute 4 tablespoons cooked green peas)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

600g cold, cooked rice

4 tablespoons light soy sauce

½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

½ teaspoon shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice

chilli powder available in oriental stores)

4 teaspoons spring onions, finely chopped, to garnish

Method

Heat a large wok or non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Allow the oil to heat up before adding the chopped onion. Stir-fry for two to three minutes, then add the carrot, red and yellow peppers, garlic and edamame (or peas if you have substituted them). Cook for three minutes, then remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the remaining vegetable oil, if required, together with the sesame oil. Add the rice, separating the grains with a wooden spatula so that there are no large lumps, and stir-fry for two to three minutes.

Return the vegetables to the pan, tossing and stirring to mix them thoroughly with the rice. Pour the soy sauce along the edge of the wok or pan, season with the white pepper and shichimi togarashi and stir to mix well.

Remove from the heat, divide the rice into four equal portions, garnish with the chopped spring onion and serve.

YO! Sushi tip

It’s best to use light soy sauce so as not to discolour the vegetables and rice. If you only have the dark variety, you may need to add a pinch of salt.

Edamame are actually green soya beans and are available from Birdseye. They can be found in most leading supermarkets.

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Intermittent Fasting Update

I mentioned that I was starting Intermittent Fasting the other day, and it is my second week and fourth day of fasting.

I’ve drawn up a list of the current pros and ‘issues’ of fasting. I don’t want to call the issues ‘cons’ as you normally would because they are issues that need to be worked through and sorted, it is not directly linked to the type of ‘diet’ the intermittent fasting is.

Pros Issues
I am learning to eat when I’m hungry, not for the sake of it Get bloated on non-fasting days due to still eating my ‘normal’ portions, not what I’m hungry for
Less food needed for the week First day was difficult as I was so hungry, but now the fasting days are easy (for me)
Still have plenty of energy on the fasting days The day after a fast I don’t really like milky drinks
Doesn’t feel like I’m calorie counting
I drink much more water on fasting days (over 2 1/2 liters)
I consume less sugar overall

Pros still out-way the issues, and most of the issues can be worked through and sorted. It’s all looking pretty good 🙂

I’m looking forward to keeping it up!

How are your New Years resolutions going?

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Top 5 Japanese Super Food

I love Japanese food, and I love how healthy and nutritious a lot of the cuisine is.

Here’s a list of the Top 5 Japanese Superfoods from Japan Centre:

Top 5 Japanese Super Food.

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Intermittent Fasting

Before Christmas, I began trying to get used to the idea of intermittent fasting. Yes, a lot of you may be thinking ‘fad diet’ and I wouldn’t blame you, if you haven’t read up on it. I am not a fan of fad diets, or any diet for that matter. What I care about is fitness and health. I know that what I put in my body affects how I feel, so I try to eat what makes my body and insides feel the best. I also love keeping fit and exercising as I know that the fitter my body is, the better I feel.

I wanted to look into fasting for while, but I was skeptical, and only used to the idea of fasting for Lent and other religious holidays. I also did not want to go without food at all, my body does not cope well without food, even for a day. So, I found out the few basic facts, and started to plan a possible trial of it prior to Christmas.

Here are the basic starting points for Intermittent Fasting:

1. Fast for 2 days out of 7 (5 normal days and 2 fasting a week)

2. For the two fast days, eat a quarter of your normal calories (so 500 for women, 600 for men)

3. Exercise as you would normally every day of the week

4. For the remaining 5 days of the week, eat as you usually would

For my Intermittent Fasting trial, I decided to try it 1 day a week, to see if I could cope with a full day of reduced calorie intake (once again, my body does not cope well without food).

Here was my ‘menu’ for those trial fasting days:

Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs

Lunch: Mug of miso soup (with wakame seaweed)

Dinner: Steamed vegetables with either salmon, or in miso soup (I love miso soup!)

Snacks: Mug of miso soup, raw veg (cucumber) and an emergency banana (if needed)

I’m not sure exactly the calories of the ‘menu’ but I know it is a greatly reduced amount of calories from my usual eating day.

Verdict: I completed 3 trial days, getting better each time. I am looking forward to continuing it this year and increasing the trial 1 day a week to 2 days a week.

I did not measure my weight over the period of trial days, as weight loss is not my aim, but here are a few pros (and cons as you can’t have one without the other) that I observed.

Pros:

Did not feel bloated once on any of the trial days

I was still able to exercise (had the same amount of energy) whenever I wanted

I did not feel deprived of food during those days

I ate when I was hungry, not for the sake of it, on both the fasting days an the other days

One less lunch to pack!

Cons:

I craved sweet things on fast days (fruit)

I’m the only one in my house that would do the fasting so on some of the fasting days, I would still have to cook for everyone else

I am now staring to do the intermittent fasting for the full 2 days a week. I will keep updating you all on my progress (only on how I am feeling – no weight loss goals), and let you know what I think of it 😀

Have you tried Intermittent fasting?

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Bento improvisation!

I can’t really count this as a Bento post, as it is only a picture of a snack Bento that accompanied soup and cheese toasties, but it included an ingenious idea from moi!!

This snack Bento included sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sliced Quorn sticky fillet and a ‘cup’ of nuts. Have you noticed the cool idea yet? Well, I was round the BF’s, so I had limited Bento equipment (limited to only the Bento boxes D: but I needed something to put some nuts in. Hence the ‘cup.’ It is actually an old scoop for his protein powder stuff, and it was just sitting in the cutlery drawer, just waiting for a new purpose. Ta Da! Works just as well, if not better, than a silicon cupcake case!!!

How do you like my idea? Do you use anything different in your bentos that has been re-purposed from something else??

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No-Bake Cookie Dough

Another one to cross off my Food Bucket List!!

I made No-Bake Cookie Dough the other day and it is DEVINE!

I’m not sure whether I will ever eat baked cookies again.

The recipe is basically a shortbread or sugar cookie recipe:

Which I’m not going to share with you 🙂 (family secret ;))

Add anything you want, like sprinkles, chocolate chips, raw cacao nibs or just eat on its own. It is amazing mixed with yoghurt!!

Sorry it’s a rubbish picture, It was so yummy!!

I baked some too:

Cookie cups!! Yummy!

The un-bkaed cookie dough was still superior 😀

Have you made raw edible cookie dough? And did you love it!!???

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