A Thanksgiving Gastroparesis Feast

Holidays are hard with an illness like gastroparesis. Not being able to enjoy the yummy spread of food that’s taunting you at the table seems like a cruel joke. After 7 years of hating Thanksgiving, this year I became determined to partake in all the traditional foods I ate growing up.

Before I go any further please let me remind you that these recipes are low FODMAP friendly but that doesn’t mean they’re a guarantee “safe food” for every person with gastroparesis. They are simply foods that may be tolerated by some people. As most of us know, everything is trial and error and varies by each individual. Tailor these recipes to suit you best.

Now onto the feast!

Not Your Grandma’s Mac and Cheese

1 box gluten free rice pasta (my favorite brand is Bionaturae)

2 packets Daiya Cheddar Cheeze Sauce

1/2 cup Daiya Smoked Gouda Style Block (you can use the mozzarella for this if you prefer)

2 tsp salt

2 tsp paprika (if tolerated)

1. Cook pasta according to box instructions but undercook by 2 minutes

2. Strain pasta and stir in the cheese sauce, salt and paprika

3. Scoop the mac and cheese into an oven safe dish and top with shredded smoked gouda

4. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes

Butternut Squash Soup

A tasty premade butternut squash soup option is also available: Imagine Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

2 lbs cubed butternut squash

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper (if tolerated)

2 tbsp cooking oil (I like extra virgin olive oil)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk or 13.5 oz of unsweetened almond milk

1. Preheat oven to 425°

2. Put cubed squash on a baking sheet and toss with oil, salt and pepper

3. Roast for 35-40 minutes

4. Transfer squash to soup pot and add broth bringing mixture to a simmer

5. After simmering for 5 minutes, use an immersion blender (or in a countertop blender) until smooth

6. Stir in milk

7. Add more salt if needed

Scalloped Potato Crisp

3 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 lbs russet potatoes thinly sliced with no skin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper (if tolerated)

6 tbsp Earth Balance butter

9 tbsp gluten free flour

1. Preheat oven to 375° and lightly grease a baking dish

2. Warm the milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat

3. Lay 1/3 of the potato slices over the bottom of the baking dish followed by a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sprinkle 3 tbsp of flour over the potatoes and top with 2 tbsp of butter cut into small pieces. Repeat all layers two more times.

4. Pour the warm milk over the potatoes until it reaches the top layer and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the milk has turned into a creamy sauce

5. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before serving

Simple Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

About 1 cup of almond milk

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Earth Balance butter

1. Place cubed potatoes into a pan and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (about 15 minutes)

2. Drain potatoes, mash and add in butter, salt and just enough milk to make it smooth

5 tbsp Earth Balance butter

5 tbsp rice flour or tapioca flour

4 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat

2. Add in flour and whisk vigorously until a smooth paste forms. Continue to whisk until it turns into a light beige color (2-3 minutes)

3. While continuing to whisk, slowly add in broth, salt and pepper until thick

Everyone’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie

A tasty premade pie crust option is also available here: Kinnikinnick Pie Crusts (please note this does contain chickpea flour)

1 1/3 cup gluten free flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup Earth Balance butter

1 egg (beaten and mixed with 1 tsp of water)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 can pumpkin purée

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1. Mix flour, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl

2. Crumble in butter

3. Add in egg/water mixture and mix dough

4. Chill dough in fridge for 20-30 minutes

5. Roll out pastry dough to .5-1cm thickness and place it in pie dish

6. Preheat oven to 400°

7. Combine brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a bowl

8. In a separate large bowl, beat your eggs together and add in your sugar mixture

9. Add in pumpkin purée, almond milk and vanilla

10. Mix until smooth and pour filling into pie dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 400° then another 50-60 minutes at 350°

11. Allow to cool completely before serving

I hope you can enjoy some of these twists on holiday favorites this Thanksgiving. Maybe your family can start a new tradition with one of dishes. If not, I hope you can still enjoy a day full of gratitude and nourishment (no matter how you get it). I look forward to sitting at the table this year with a small plate of mac and cheese with my tube feeds running. Happy Thanksgiving!


Must Haves for Tubies (revisited)

When I first became feeding tube dependent, I was totally lost. My doctor put the tube in, wrote me a script for formula and sent me on my way. With no guidance on how to care for my tube and what I might need, I turned to other tubies. Through them I’ve learned a vast amount of knowledge about different products and tips to help make having a feeding tube easier. But now that I’ve had a feeding tube for 4 years, I’ve developed my own preferences for certain brands and I’ve figured out what I use on a daily basis versus what I don’t tend to reach for anymore. Here’s a revised list of my must-haves for tubies:

•tubie pads – Soft, absorbent, cute and unique are my criteria for a great tubie pad. I’ve tried almost every brand out there. While some check a few boxes, only a couple check them all! – try my favorite tubie pads by Turkey Tot Customs and TubieContinued.

•port covers – I didn’t begin to use port connection covers until I got a button tube and realized the connector of the feed line and the extension to my feeding tube didn’t exactly stay in place all the time. After many spills and disconnections, I now swear by them! – try my favorite port connection covers (made by me!) here. Turkey Tot Customs and TubieContinued sells awesome ones as well.

•tubie clips – I pulled my feed line too many times to count. So many times, in fact, that these clips quickly became my favorite invention! I began making them for myself and fellow tubies. I love matching these practical accessories to my tubie pads and port covers – try my favorite tubie clips (made by me!) at Crafting For A Cure Co.

•split gauze – Split gauze is super useful for the days my stoma is extra leaky or when I need to use a thick barrier cream that would stain tubie pads. – split gauze should be provided by your home health supply company but you can get more here on Amazon.

•barrier cream or powder – I prefer powders over creams because they’re less messy and pair with a tubie pad but sometimes a cream is needed to help irritated skin around the stoma. – try a few of my favorites: Stomahesive, Aquaphor and Calmoseptine.

•no rinse stoma cleaning spray- This product is truly a game changer. I used to clean my stoma with bar soap and warm water twice a day in the bathroom but now I can clean it anywhere with a piece of split gauze and this spray. It cleanses and also takes away odor. – try my favorite stoma cleanser here.

•medipore tape – Tape can be so harsh on the skin. The best tape I’ve found is medipore tape. You don’t even need scissors to cut it. It’s perforated, holds well, and removes gently. – medipore tape should be available from your home health supply company but you can get more here.

•wedge pillow or incline bed – I now sleep in an adjustable bed but before that, I used a wedge pillow for years. I still use that same wedge pillow for travel. The wedge pillow is great for feeding at night. – try my favorite wedge pillow here.

•feeding backpack – I personally don’t mind the plain black backpack given to me by home health, but you could always DIY a backpack or buy a converted one online. Using a feed bag allows you to feed on the go and also be more mobile in your own home. – a feed backpack should be provided to you through your home health supply company but you can get a fun one at Taylor Hart Designs.

•extra syringes (if you take a lot of meds via tube) – If you’re like me and take dozens of pills a day, the small allotment of syringes that home health gives you isn’t enough to get you through the month. I dissolve my pills right in the syringe and put the cap back on until it’s time to take the medication. – 60mL syringes should be provided by your home health supply company but you can get more here.

•tegaderm – If your tube is extra leaky and gets your clothes wet or if you’re worried about keeping your stoma dry in stagnant water, Tegaderm is a dressing that keeps leakage in and water out. It’s a great solution for both problems. – try tegaderm waterproof dressing here.

•emergency kit (extra button if available/for straight G or J tubes, syringe, gauze, extension, tape, extra tubie pad, hand sanitizer in a medical bag) – I take an emergency bag with all the extra supplies I may need anywhere I go. You never know when you may need something regarding your tube. Being unprepared is the worst. – try my favorite bag for emergency supplies on the go here.

•granulotion – Going to the doctor to get your granulation tissue burnt off with silver nitrate is inconvenient and painful. A lot of people use a mixture of alum spice and barrier cream to get it to go away at home. Granulotion is a product made specifically for getting rid of granulation tissue in a gentle manner. It’s a great product and a little goes a long way. – try my favorite solution to granulation tissue here.

•cream or powder for yeast infections – Yeast infections can happen around the stoma site. I always keep a powder for athlete’s foot on hand to help with that. It usually clears it up in a few days and I avoid a trip to the doctor and a costly prescription. (Please consult your doctor before trying this) – try my favorite OTC powder used for athlete’s foot here.

•hand sanitizer – Before I do anything regarding my tube, I always sanitize my hands. Hand sanitizer is also helpful for on the go cleaning. – try my favorite rinse free hand cleanser here.