Posts Tagged dyspepsia

VeganMoFo: Dyspepsia Diet Stage III

As I mentioned in the first post about my dyspepsia diet, I stayed in Stage II a bit longer than originally planned, because I didn’t feel ready to move on.  By this point in the plan I was feeling much better and had the inflammation/acid issue under control, so it was more about adding healing and soothing foods like miso, lemon, turmeric, root vegetables, and fruits.  I was able to reintroduce most foods at this point except the major culprits.  I also started taking papaya enzyme and artichoke leaf extract since they are supposed to help with digestion.

I welcomed acidic fruit back into my life in the form of kiwi, on yogurt topped with Nature’s Path cereal.

Oatmeal is good for the stomach all the time, so I made a savory oatmeal bowl with tempeh, greens, roasted mushrooms and Oh She Glows’ Butternut Cheese Sauce, which I loooove.  I usually use canned pumpkin instead of the butternut, just for ease.

I had some fennel from the CSA to use up, so I sauteed it with carrots, peas, and chickpeas and seasoned it with ginger and turmeric.  Served over Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction.

Asparagus was in season at the time, so I used some in the Asparagus and Spinach Soup from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, subbing kale for spinach.  The soup also contained wild rice, mushrooms and summer squash, and was light yet hearty at the same time.  On the side are Cheese and Herb Corn Muffins from the same book, which are quite good and freeze well.

To use root vegetables and lentils, which are supposed to be good for the stomach lining, I made the Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Dal from Appetite for Reduction.  I really liked the texture of this dish, but the flavor was a little off for me.  The recipe calls for parsnips and turnips OR rutabaga.  I went with rutabaga, and I think the root vegetables were a little sour when combined with all the spices.  I love turnips, so I’m sure I would like the dish more that way.

Stage III eating was very similar to how I usually eat, just without the more acidic/irritating ingredients like vinegar, mustard, tomatoes and pepper.  It wasn’t difficult to find delicious food to eat in this stage, and by the end I was feeling much better!  Afterward, I incorporated ingredients I had been avoiding very slowly back into my diet, and I am happy to say that in the six months since then I haven’t had any tummy troubles!

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VeganMoFo: Dyspepsia Diet Stage II

Stage II of my dyspepsia diet allowed me to add certain foods back in, like high-fiber foods, beans and seeds.  I still had to avoid the big aggravators like caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and fatty foods, as well as the more acidic fruits and veggies, but there was a lot more freedom of choice than stage I.

I was missing cruciferous veggies after a few days of not allowing them in stage I, so I doubled up with this Soba Slaw from Quick-Fix Vegan.  In addition to soba noodles, it calls for cabbage, carrot, cilantro, ginger and peanuts.  I left out the scallions, and substituted raw red bell pepper and plain yogurt for the vinegar and oil called for in the dressing.  I also added shelled edamame and blanched romanesco to make it a nicely filling meal that was gentle enough on my stomach.

I had a bunch of random vegetables to use up, so I made this melange of brown rice, kidney beans, mushrooms, celery, spinach, zucchini and parsley, with sprouts and avocado.

Baked tofu sandwich with a tiny smear of reduced-fat Vegenaise, lettuce, and sprouts, with pan seared (no oil) squash and zucchini.

Since most of the foods in stage I had been soft, I was missing some crunch in my life.  I tried these Kettle Bakes chips, which were a new product at the time.  I really like them!  You get the satisfaction of a salty munchy snack without all the fat, and the texture is nice and crisp.

I was also missing my morning pick-me-up, so I tried dandelion tea.  It didn’t trick me into thinking I was enjoying anything close to coffee, but in its own way it was good.  The closest thing I can think of to compare to its flavor is toast.  So yes, toasted bread tea.  This was what I had instead of my precious caffeine.

Lastly, the reflux cookbook Dropping Acid had said specifically that beets were good for those with too much acid in their bellies, so I got a can of ’em.  Just cooked beets, not pickled!  They went well alongside this chickpea salad with carrot, celery, and a yogurt-based dill dressing.

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VeganMoFo: Vegan Dyspepsia Diet Stage I

Stage I of my vegan dyspepsia diet was all about foods that were easy to digest, in order to give my stomach a break as much as possible.  This included soups, porridges, smoothies, juices, cooked veggies, soft fruits, and carbs such as white bread and mashed potatoes.  Think baby food, but for adults.  In addition to the things to avoid for the whole plan (spicy, fatty, caffeine, alcohol & chocolate), in this stage I avoided high fiber foods, cruciferous vegetables, nuts & seeds, and beans & legumes.  If you look at my regular diet it’s pretty much founded on those four categories, so it was not easy!  Luckily, this stage only lasted two days.

(Click here for the full plan.)

For breakfasts I cooked up a big crockpot full of porridge.  The mucousy nature of porridge is supposed to be good for the stomach lining.

I don’t remember the exact grains that went in to this, but I’m sure it contained at least amaranth and quinoa.

I topped a small serving with unsweetened applesauce, almond milk, and cinnamon.

I had to really brainstorm for smoothie ideas, since the berries, mango, and pineapple I usually use were too acidic for this stage.

Yogurt is pretty much always good for digestion due to the probiotics, so I started with Trader Joe’s cultured coconut milk, which was a new product at the time.  To the yogurt I added pumpkin puree, banana, hemp protein powder, and stevia.  This was very tasty, filling, and easy on my stomach.

For snacks, I bought a jar of pear halves.  I actually really like canned pears but never buy them, so this was a good excuse to have them.  I rinsed them off before eating, since grape juice was off limits.

For the first night’s dinner, I made a big pot of vegetable soup including potatoes, green beans, zucchini, carrots, and swiss chard, being sure to cook the veggies well.  Although I was supposed to avoid onion and garlic, I figured using vegetable broth would be okay since the solids were strained out.  I knew the soup alone wouldn’t be enough to keep me full, so I got a loaf of white Pugliese bread from Trader Joe’s.  I don’t have white bread very often, so this was kind of a treat.  The bread was soft and fluffy and soaked up the soup perfectly.

To avoid eating soup every meal for two days, and to have something to actually chew on, I made this meal of white rice, dry-fried tofu, and steamed carrots.  It was weird to not add any seasonings, but despite the plainness it was a tasty meal!  Much like the white bread above, the white rice was kind of a treat since I usually only eat brown, and the carrots were a nice sweet contrast to the tofu.

For beverages in this stage, I stuck to water and chamomile and ginger teas.

Now, let’s talk about the real issue with this plan:  caffeine withdrawal.  When the doctor told me I needed to avoid caffeine in order to get better, I knew I was in trouble.  I was addicted to caffeine and honestly didn’t have a problem with that since I only have about two cups of coffee or tea per day, but I knew I was going to go through withdrawal.  The first day wasn’t too bad, I got a headache, but nothing that put me out of commission.  Second day was the same.  The third day, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was a Monday and I was at work.  I got a headache in the morning, and as the day went by I became cranky and irritable to the point where I couldn’t stand being around anyone or anything.  It was probably the worst mood I’ve ever been in in my life.  I left work early, went home, and just laid down for the rest of the day.  On the fourth day I was really un-energetic but better, and it improved from there.  Truthfully, even after a month my energy levels never recovered. I never felt like I had a good level of natural energy upon waking, and I always knew that I’d go back to caffeine as soon as I could, and I was okay with that.  I have great admiration for people who quit caffeine for good!

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VeganMoFo: Dyspepsia Diet

To me, VeganMoFo is supposed to be a happy time to post about delightful vegan things, and it’s not delightful to post about being sick.  But, I hope that this can be a useful resource to someone else who goes through the same thing, and ultimately it’s all about healing.

As a long-time vegan who eats a ton of fiber daily and just about every type of food and cuisine, I like to pretend that i have an iron stomach.  So when I woke up one Monday morning in February with a mild tummy ache I didn’t think much of it and assumed it would pass.  It did go away, but after my morning snack of fruit and nuts it came back.  Again, it went away and came back after eating lunch, along with feeling a little dizzy and “out of it”, for lack of a better phrase.  My first thought was that maybe I had developed a sudden intolerance to something.  I’ve never had a problem with gluten so I didn’t think it was that; I realized I had eaten a lot of nightshades (eggplant, tomato, potatoes, peppers) in the preceding days, so I cut those out for a few days to see if it helped.  It didn’t.  I continued to get a mild stomach ache after eating anything, even just an apple.  I never felt like I was going to vomit, but was feeling tired and weak and it was definitely affecting my ability to work.

I made an appointment with my doctor, and after ruling out anything more serious she diagnosed me with dyspepsia, which is basically a medical term for an upset stomach or indigestion.  We traced the issue back to the weekend before, when I had indulged in a good amount of wine one night, then ate too much Chinese food the next day.  She explained that my stomach lining had become inflamed and hadn’t been able to heal on its own.  She gave me a prescription for an antacid, saying that it wasn’t that I was producing too much acid, but by lowering the regular amount of acid it would help my stomach to heal.  She instructed me to avoid caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, spicy foods, and chocolate until I was feeling better.

I was a little perturbed at a diagnosis that seemed so generic, but she is the one with the medical degree, so I resigned to try things her way.  However, I felt like cutting out the five things she mentioned wasn’t quite enough.  If I was going to heal myself, I was really going to heal myself in the best way possible.  So I did some research and put together a plan using information I had learned during Natural Chef training at Bauman College, a reflux cookbook named Dropping Acid (clever, eh?), and what I could find online.  There was plenty of information on the basics to avoid while healing from dyspepsia, but nothing relating to a vegan diet.  Here is the plan I came up with.

Click here for full size pdf of Vegan Dyspepsia Diet

I initially planned to do the first phase for two days, the second for five, and the third for seven (for a total of two weeks), but I stayed longer in both the second and third phases because my stomach didn’t feel ready to move on.  So, if you follow this plan listen to your gut (literally) and don’t move forward too quickly if you’re not ready.

See what I ate while following this plan:
Stage I
Stage II
Stage III

Please note:  I am not a medical professional.  This is just what worked for me to heal what was diagnosed as dyspepsia.

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