Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tasty Thursday: Penniless Parenting's Swiss Chard with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I love Penny's recipes.  She's not afraid to use something 'past prime' so I was very happy to find this recipe on her blog for the once-beautiful bunch of chard that was now a week old in my fridge and beginning to wilt.  I modified her original recipe very little which was also a very happy surprise.  I usually have to modify out so many things that I find it hard to achieve the same level of spice as in the original recipe when I have to modify out a bunch of different peppers.  It was nice that the only peppers in this spicy dish were a 'sprinkle of pepper flakes'.  The spice in this yummy meal comes from garlic and ginger, both of which we use often in our home.  I encourage you to enjoy this very tasty and easy to make dish.

1-2 Tbsp. oil (I used some olive oil, realized I didn't have enough and added some coconut oil.  Don't cringe, it tastes great.  Next time I'll use all coconut oil.)
1 onion, sliced thin (I used a large Vidalia)
2 organic farm carrots, sliced thin
1 bunch organic farm swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and sliced
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used  organic smooth but in the future I'm going to use crunchy.  I think the little bits of nuts would be a great addition but I'm not cleared to eat nuts yet.)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used coconut aminos because we recently learned that soy is my daughter's migraine trigger)
1 Tbsp. honey or sugar (I used a teaspoon of local honey)
1 tsp. garlic powder (I used a tablespoon of dried shaved garlic)
1 tsp. ginger powder (I used organic purchased from my local HFS' bulk jar)
1 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)

Cook onion and carrot in oil until onion is translucent, stirring as needed.  Add chard stems, continue to stir as needed for about four minutes until stems are softening.  Add chard leaves, cook another four minutes in the same manner.  Add all other ingredients, stir well to mix, cook until peanut butter and honey are melted and all items are well blended and veggies are coated.

I ate the three tablespoons of food my sleeve can hold without any other accompaniments and served this to my family over a bed of rice and lentils.  It got good reviews all around.  I plan to try this sauce on other vegetable combinations very, very soon!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tasty Thursday: 86 Lemons' Vegan Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Zucchini Bread Oatmeal, what could be nicer to wake up to on a Saturday morning?  This was my first foray into eating oatmeal post-sleeve, despite having been told quite a few times that it was an option.  Oatmeal, prior to surgery, was giving me stomach bubbles and pushing my blood sugar up and it's a grain, why eat a grain post-surgery?  But it looked so good and I planned to boost the protein so I gave it a try.  I measured four tablespoons into my bowl, added a little extra 5X protein almond milk and a couple of drops more vanilla stevia then mixed a half scoop of unflavored protein powder into it.  I was able to eat two and a half tablespoons.  It filled me up but didn't give me the uncomfortable feeling I sometimes get.  Three hours later I took a little spoonful of it for a snack and did get that uncomfortable feeling so I know it was still in my stomach.  It kept me pretty much full from 7am until 1pm when I had a low blood sugar and needed to have something to bring my number up.  I think that a two and a half tablespoon serving that keeps me full for hours and hours, even if it is a grain is ok now and then and will plan to make this recipe again.  Here is how I modified from 86 Lemons' recipe.

I did not oil my crockpot.  There was a little bit crisped on the top edge on one side but I mixed things up before serving anyway and it mixed right in.  I'll note that I made a double batch, not realizing how much the steel cut oats would puff up.  Even feeding three of us full portions we have some left over.  I plan to freeze two and a half tablespoon servings and hopefully they'll do ok defrosted and popped in the microwave.

1 cup organic steel cut oats
3 cups 5X protein almond milk
2 small farm carrots, grated
1 small farm zucchini, grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground clove
1 teaspoon cinnamon
splash of Grade B maple syrup
2 droppersful vanilla stevia

We like vanilla and I would have wanted to use the optional vanilla extract but at 9pm last night when I put it together I discovered my choices were whole vanilla beans, vanilla sugar or vanilla stevia.  It was too late to get to Trader Joe's to get alcohol-free vanilla so I made do with what I had, reduced the maple syrup and subbed the vanilla stevia.  Next time I plan to use vanilla extract and maple syrup.  I used no nuts because I'm not at the stage where I can have whole nuts yet and I didn't think adding nut butter would work for this.  If you try it with nut butter won't you please share your results with me?

I cooked this on low overnight and we were very happy to wake up to it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sharing Saturday: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

I don't normally share personal information so freely online but perhaps other vegans who are considering or have had gastric sleeve surgery will find me through this post and we can share ideas.

All my adult life my weight has been a concern.  In 2001 I was exploring the idea of gastric bypass surgery.  I was 260lbs. chronically ill and quite frankly housebound for a year and a half, leaving only to drive the kids to school or activities and to go to physician appointments.  Needless to say I was in pain, uncomfortable, lethargic and quite unhappy.  Praise God, the last person I saw in the process of pre-surgical evaluations was a very gifted RD/CDE, Natalie Dickstein.  I will forever owe her a debt of gratitude and respect.  Thirty minutes into our first appointment she figured out that I had celiac disease, something I had never heard of.  Who had back in 2001?  Certainly not all the physicians I had seen who failed to pick it up.

Five days later all  my pain and discomfort had vanished.  I began to lose weight without effort.  Through the removal of gluten from my diet I lost 40lbs. without trying.  Once that 40 was gone I started going to yoga and later removed some other items from my diet as a result of allergy testing and my heart leading me to evolve from vegetarian to vegan.  This took off another 50lbs. 

I maintained my weight at 170lbs. for ten years.  It might not sound light but it was fine with me.  My health was good, I ate reasonable portions and felt satisfied, I exercised, went to work at a sometimes very stressful job which I commuted to.

In 2012 I started to struggle.  I began gaining and couldn't understand why.  I was treated by a naturopath with an elimination diet and with homeopathics for multiple parasites.  I noticed I'd lost the ability to feel satisfied which freaked me out.  I had western medical physicals, blood work, the whole routine.  Long story short, almost two years later what I kept hearing was that as people get older their metabolism slows down and you just have to accept it.  Well, at 212lbs. I could not accept how I felt so I did something about it.

Truthfully, I had embarked on this second dalliance with weight loss surgery because I had hoped the same thing that happened the first time out would happen again - one of the pre-surgery evaluating professionals would find the magic solution as Natalie had for me in 2001 and I wouldn't need surgery.  That was not to be.  But another wonderful thing that happened was that the sleeve surgery has come about in the years since I first considered bariatric surgery.  A 45 minute surgery versus a surgery of several hours.  I guess God had always known that I would need some kind of surgery and he provided Natalie to me so that I could hold out long enough for the sleeve to be commonly performed.  I don't know what would have happened if I'd had the bypass with undiagnosed celiac and I shudder to think where I might be today if I'd done it then.

My surgeon, Dr. Eric Sommer, is a wonderful guy and was worth me traveling to see. 

You will be seeing more recipe posts here as I explore which foods sit best in my new sleeve and I hope other bariatric patients will share with me here.