“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Virginia Woolf

grapes

Image by Donnie Nunley

I never would have guessed that I would have to limit the types of food I could eat.

I don’t have any allergies or food intolerances so count myself lucky. But for the last 4 months I’ve had a condition called LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease), also known as silent reflux.

First two disclaimers:

1. I’m self-diagnosed. I’ve scoured the internet to find what is wrong with me. I’ve read all the medical opinion and many many pages of commentary in forums. My symptoms have included reflux in the early stages, hoarseness, throat clearing, sore throat, coughing, mucus, globus, difficulty burping and swallowing, stinging in throat and post nasal drip.

2. Anything I say about how to fix this problem is particular to me and I understand that from what I have read everybody’s LPR condition can be different.

I will post more about LPR at a later stage, but I thought I would just share a few things that I have done to rid myself of some symptoms. A lot of people talk about eating alkaline foods and cutting out highly acidic foods. I didn’t find it quite so cut and dried so below is a list of foods that I have avoided, and those that I found OK. I’m still trying to analyse why these lists have worked for me.

Foods I avoided:

  • citrus fruits
  • berries
  • rice
  • whole grains in general
  • tomatoes
  • chilli and most spices
  • onions
  • garlic
  • vinegar
  • most sauces
  • salt and pepper
  • processed meats
  • processed foods in general (goes without saying that anything with trans fat, high level of sugar and/or artificial sweetener are poison anyway)

Foods I favoured:

  • grapes
  • rock melon
  • bananas
  • gouda cheese
  • avocado
  • rye bread
  • organic oats
  • organic yogurt
  • mushrooms
  • cooked green vegetables
  • lettuce and radicchio
  • potatoes with skin on
  • kumara and carrots
  • soy and almond milk
  • almonds
  • seafood
  • eggs
  • organic chicken
  • lamb and beef
  • miso
  • ginger
  • soy based sauces
  • olive oil

I’m a tea-aholic so couldn’t give up my tea but I have reduced caffeine to 1/4 of previous intake. I also love red wine but found it very problematic so swapped it for camomile tea and the occasional glass of sake.

I miss cooking and eating so many of the recipes that I previously took for granted. My Asian repertoire is severely reduced because I can’t use chilli, rice wine and vinegars, some oils and rice or noodles. My favourite Italian recipes all have tomatoes. You can only go so far before you ruin a recipe because you leave out certain ingredients. Mainstays like salt and pepper are usually critical to success.

I’m not over the LPR yet, but I do see some light at the end of the tunnel. I have also seen a Naturopath who is treating me with a probiotic and Intestamine for gastrointestinal support. When I’ve worked out what happened to me, I’ll post some more thoughts and some recipes that might help others similarly afflicted.

Good luck!

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Breakfast compote

It’s been a long time in-between drinks (posts) so to speak. We’ve been eating too well and I’m always too hungry to think about getting the camera out to take some pics. We’ve also renovated our kitchen, and with that comes added impetus to post some more stuff about food.

Breakfast is huge in our day. We alternate between a regular breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and nuts; fruit smoothies and egg dishes/omelettes.

C likes a mix of fruit compote, oats and yoghurt with fresh fruit and nuts. Here is a super-quick fruit compote:

compote_cook

Ingredients

berries (blueberries and raspberries shown above), fresh or frozen
apple
2 tblsp raw sugar
squeeze of lime
2 tblsp water
* other ingredients as desired (see below)

Method: Chop apple and combine with all other ingredients in a pan. Bring to boil while stirring, then simmer on low heat until the mixture is thick and jam-like. Watch and stir intermittently to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Serve for breakfast with yoghurt, or mixed with oats and served with nuts and fresh fruit.

compote_yoghurt  compote_oats

About fruit compote

A compote (French for “mixture”) is a dessert originating from 17th-century France. It is generally made of fruit cooked in a sugar syrup. *The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamonsticks or powder, cloves, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit, or raisins. The compote can be served warm or cold.

Source: Wikipedia

 

I like to make a fruit compote and then use it in different recipes for breakfast and for desserts. It’s particularly good when served with fried banana bread and chocolate or caramel sauce (or both!)

This recipe’s food promise

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I don’t like to add too much sugar when cooking the compote. The fruit is often sweet enough. Therefore this sweet alternative to breakfast cereals, jams and other store-bought options is much healthier. The berries, which are a feature of this dish, provide the following nutritional features:

  • high in antioxidants, micronutrients and fibre
  • B vitamins
  • anti-inflammatory
  • potential protection against cancer and ageing

Chocolate cake promise?

Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting

Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting

What’s the promise in chocolate cake?

How does this food adhere to my rules of thumb? Well … it sort of fits into ‘options to suit your health and lifestyle needs’ … sort of.

I actually don’t like chocolate. People who know me are used to that fact, but strangers often won’t believe me. We were browsing recently in the Makana chocolate factory  and were offered a sample which I declined, and had to justify by saying I didn’t really like chocolate. The woman seemed astonished. I did explain that I was looking for gifts for friends and family, hence I wasn’t crazy. This place, by the way, has the most beautiful chocolates, in both taste and presentation.

Sorry for the digression. My husband, C,  does like chocolate, so it shouldn’t be up to me to tell him not to eat it. And dark chocolate is good for you in moderation.

So I have started baking little cakes, that C can enjoy occasionally. The food promise is in a few of the ingredients—chocolate, organic eggs, organic flour—it’s in the look and smell of the cake; and it’s in the upgrade possibilities (serving suggestions).

My first baking effort was this chocolate cake. I found the recipe on Epicurious and have made it 3 or 4 times so far. It always comes out well. I particularly like the fact that it is not too sweet, and not too rich. Just right! Here’s the link to the recipe:

Giant Chocolate Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and Edible Flowers

Upgrades

Slice of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting

Serve with strawberries and cream

This recipe’s food promise

heartchocweb

Dark chocolate has:

  • antioxidants (flavonoids)
  • some benefits for heart health (lowered blood pressure)
  • potential to regulate stress hormones
  • potential as a mood booster
Creamy corn-cauli chowder ingredients

Creamy corn-cauli chowder ingredients

About chowders

Chowders are thick soups that generally contain seafood or vegetable, often with milk or cream. You can thicken a chowder with flour, potato or cheese. In this recipe I have thickened the soup with cauliflower and corn, which makes it healthy and hearty.

Ingredients

Olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
2 brown onions
1/2 head of cauliflower (in flowerets)
Chicken or vegetable stock
Tinned creamed corn
Tinned corn niblets
Seasonings: salt, pepper, chilli flakes, thyme, shallots, parsley
Cream

Method: Saute garlic and onions in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add chilli flakes, thyme and some parsley together with the cauliflower flowerets and sauté further 5 minutes. Add stock—bring to boil then simmer until cauliflower is soft. Let cool then puree with stick blender. Add creamed corn, corn niblets and shallots. Heat through. Add cream and season to taste. Heat and serve.

Upgrades

Serve with spicy tomato relish,

or sautéed prawns,

or crispy bacon and parsley.

This recipe’s food promise

heartyellowveg
The main ingredients in this soup are white and yellow vegetables. These combine to provide:

  • fibre
  • vitamin C and folate
  • antioxidants (flavonoids)
  • immune system boost
  • potential protection against cancer and ageing