When I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in the hospital, I decided I was going to cook my way out of this horrific event. It was a noble thought and one I settled into with conviction while laying in my hospital bed.
“We think you have the skills to deal with this.” The doctor said as he handed me my discharge paperwork.
The man must have seen something I didn’t, because at that particular moment….I was totally clueless.
It wasn’t until I was in the middle of a life altering sick moment 2 days later (in the middle of the night, it’s always in the middle of the night when the *super serious stuff* happens.) I realized, I truly did have to figure this out…or…I may not make it without a feeding tube (a j-tube to be exact…I’ll explain those details in another post).
I’m stubborn you see, and I decided at that moment after living through a night of unadulterated hell (the moment was 6:30am on a Wednesday morning, Christmas Eve to be exact) that I truly was going to cook my way out of this. A wonderful woman, Skylar, from a health food store in my area (Life Source in Salem, OR), introduced me to a book called Nourishing Broth, by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel.
This was a massive game changer!
This is a rather technical/medical book instead of a recipe book. I dug in like it was oxygen. Read the entire book in one sitting and was convinced I was on to something. You see, our stomach is primarily muscle and it is made up of a high percentage of collagen. My mind was telling me to feed myself what I was made of – weird huh. (Nothing like a little Divine intervention to get me pointed in the right direction.) But, let me tell you. It made the difference between suffering and living.
When you feel like you simply can’t function…a couple days on broth…and your world might look and feel a little different…I’m gonna jump out on a line and say…..you might even feel a smidge better.
Notice I didn’t say this will solve ALL your problems. Notice I didn’t say you will be cured. There is no cure for this disease. It’s symptoms ebb and flow like a river. One day could be good, the next day could be crappy….but let me tell you…bone broth definitely gives you a shot at feeling *ok*.
After reading Nourishing Broth, I did some serious research and found the best bone broths for the condition of gastroparesis consisted of the following: pigs feet, chicken feet, ox tail, and big beef knuckle bones that are cross cut to expose the marrow. (Go to your butcher and have him hook you up…or pick his brain on where to find this stuff.)
Bones go in the pot, fill the pot with filtered water and set it on low. (You don’t want it to boil.)
Throw some veggies in for flavor like an onion (quartered), a head of garlic (just toss the whole head in), Toss in some celery and carrots if you want (just for flavor, we will strain them out at the end), and I always like to throw some herbs in (thyme, basil, oregano). As it heats up, you will need to skim the crud off the top every few hours. Let it cook all day (and even all night) on low.
The next morning, strain it. Leave the bones in the pot and refill it with water – you can get a second cooking out of this and you will get even more collagen the second time. Repeat the entire process one more time if you’re looking to stock up.
Take your newly strained broth and put it in mason jars or plastic containers and freeze it. It will also keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.
Now you’ve got a little stock pile (no pun intended), and you can begin cooking some of your favorite soups – easy does it at first. Heat up your broth and throw some veggies in for flavor. Use whatever spices you know you can handle and really season it up so it tastes good to you. Then simply ladel broth into a bowl or mug and sip away. Just drink the broth, don’t eat the veggies (unless you are able to handle solid foods). It’s like a hug for your belly — and that’s no joke.
It’s the collagen that really helps your stomach start functioning again. Within 3-4 helpings of broth I already started to feel better. Within a couple days, my belly started growling again–not just hurting and sitting there in a tight little ball in my belly, but I could actually feel a little movement in there and some growling. The growling got me really excited! I knew I had my recovery by the horns when I heard and felt my stomach start to wake up again.
My body actually craves this stuff now. It is seriously the best thing I have ever discovered that helps with this condition. Especially if you find yourself in a tough spot (like….figure out how to eat or schedule the surgery for the feeding tube…ugh! I’m just too darn stubborn for that.) Truth be told, before finding this broth solution, I probably should have been on a feeding tube. I dropped to 100 pounds and I looked like a walking skeleton. Not my sexiest moment.
But…my stubbornness paid off! The collagen in the bone broth started working it’s magic. Two weeks after being released from the hospital and drinking bone broth daily – I was able to eat tiny amounts of solid food (each little meal consisted of 3 tablespoons of broth several times a day, and then I added a table spoon of Cream of Rice a couple times a day to begin easing my belly into receiving solids.) Baby steps people…tiny little baby steps.
I must say – it’s not that I’m a picky eater, but hey – if it tastes like crap – I’m just not going to eat it. So I have fine tuned this whole broth experience to be seriously yummy. Like, holy smokes…the best thing you have ever tasted in your life….yummy. I promise to expand on my preparation tips and recipe tricks that really turn this broth from some weird *witches brew* into down home good eating that will seriously change your life.
We have just scratched the surface, I have so much more to share. Stay tuned!
Here’s to really chewing our food!