March 16th: cooked a bunch of new stuff, ate way too much, felt sick all night.
March 17th: diet!
Wait, how could I start a diet on St. Patrick's Day?
Honestly, it wasn't a problem. I didn't want to eat anything on St. Patrick's Day. I felt so miserable I was compelled to do something. A huge internet search led me to a new gastroparesis blog with some good suggestions.
Since the 17th, I've had protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, and then whatever we're having for dinner, although I've been watching portions, especially carbs. I decided to do this for two reasons: first, because I felt so very sick on the night of the 16th. It really upset me that just eating what for many people would be a normal dinner would make me so sick. Second, on the morning of the 17th, I stepped on the scale and looked at a number I hadn't seen since my pregnancy days. Clearly I had to do something to get things under control. I wasn't paying attention to what, when, or how much I was eating, and in spite of occasional bouts of misery, I had been gaining weight. A pound here or there every three or four months doesn't seem like much, but they were creeping up.
My gastroparesis seems to be responding well to this regimen. Not having to digest solid food for most of the day seems to make handling dinner not as much of a problem, although I am nibbling Trader Joe's candied ginger or Ginger Chews nearly every evening. The ginger was a piece of advice I picked up from Crystal's Living with Gastroparesis blog (linked above), and it has really helped.
So my stomach's doing better and I'm back to the weight on my driver's license, down 9 pounds since the 17th. It has been quite a while since that was true. (I'm not sure it was true on the day I got the license.) I'd like to lose a little more for bathing suit season (here's hoping we have some beach weather this summer), but mostly I'm happy I don't feel like puking all the time. Now that I'm back down to what is technically my "normal" weight, I'm curious to see what happens. Since I've cut back my carbs my appetite is pretty much gone -- but at the same time, I don't get that horrid nausea I used to get first thing in the morning when my stomach was empty.
Interestingly, I seem to have the worst gastroparesis symptoms when I eat more starches. I'm still taking digestive enzymes and omeprazole (Prilosec acid-reducer) twice a day. I tried peppermint oil but that seemed to make my reflux worse (a noted side effect), and I experimented with Betain to see if my problem was insufficient acid as opposed to too much, and that was definitely not the case. I've ordered some Iberogast after reading what Crystal had to say about it, it will be interesting to see if it helps when it arrives.
You'd think after nearly two weeks I'd be sick of the shakes, but I try to vary them. I'm also like them because they are fast and easy, and they don't make me sick. That last is a huge plus, and explains a lot of my fondness for them. Also, the Gold Standard Whey is a very good tasting whey protein shake mix, with a pleasant mouth feel (some leave the inside of your mouth feeling like it's coated with plastic.) Some shake recipes:
- coffee instead of water, sprinkle with cinnamon
- coffee, add a scoop of cocoa powder for a mocha
- add a scoop of cocoa powder and a tablespoon or so of peanut butter
- add a scoop of cocoa powder and some sugar free black cherry syrup (I have been corrupted by Starbuck's new Black Cherry Mocha. It's insanely delicious, I just wish they had a no-sugar option.)
- orange Powerade Zero instead of water to make a creamsicle shake
If you use cocoa powder or peanut butter, you have to leave it on the blender for a while. I usually throw in a couple of ice cubes and let it blend while I'm puttering around in the kitchen -- a good 3 or 4 minutes, at least. It gets nice and frothy, which makes it easier for me to drink. I'm thinking of trying cream cheese to see if I can get a cheesecake flavor.