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Help! Any good recipes for someone with a really bad appetite due to illness?

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Hi, I’ve got lupus and kidney disease and as a result a REALLY bad appetite and and an easily upset stomach. Sometimes I don’t eat for most of the day, everything seems so unappealing. I’m also hypoglycemic so I need a fair amount of animal protein in my diet.

Any suggestions or recipes for a healthy fairy simple LOW SODIUM and easily digestible diet (I’ve just discovered congee) like soups, stews, porridges that include chicken, beef and fish (veggies welcome too)? Anything else is fine too.

Also how do you make chicken and beef really tender and yummy? My diet must be tasty otherwise I just won’t eat! I plan on going to grow an herb garden (basil, oregano, mint, cilantro, etc.) I hear using the crockpot is simple and really brings out the flavor in food. Any suggestions are very much appreciated!

DIETARY RESTRICTIONS: eggs, hot peppers, black pepper, dairy (unless a recipe calls for just a little dairy), white rice/flour/pasta/bread. I’m allowed some but not a whole lot of tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes. I can use some cheese, such as parmesan, as flavoring. I also cannot digest beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Thank you for your suggestions!

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  1. i cant wait to see the replies - as i have the exact same problems as u. good luck - it's a real shame when true hounds cant eat - aint it?

    1. This is fairly basic, but what about whole roasted fish? I get several different types from the local Asian market where they clean them for me and then I stuff them with lemon grass and fresh herbs, wrap in foil and toss in the oven or on the grill for...oh...I don't know...maybe 20-30 minutes? You could season with some Mrs. Dash for more flavor without the salt. I also love roasted beets/carrots/sweet potatoes.

      1. First of all, I am sorry that you aren't feeling well....heartfelt wishes to you for better days ahead!
        My son has been on a low-sodium diet since last December. Vinegar is a very good flavoring for most meats, so are fresh herbs and lemon juice. Do you have access to a grill?
        I do have a marinade for chicken recipe using vinegar, mustard, lime juice, fresh rosemary, etc., if you have a grill to use for cooking the chicken--that was his favorite grilled chicken recipe. I'm going to attach a link to a Balsamic Chicken recipe from Giada...it says to add S&P to the marinade, but you can easily sub in some Mrs. Dash, that's what we do. I'm sure you know to READ ALL LABELS of prepared foods such as mustard & ketchup. I think the lowest sodium dijon mustard we found was Boar's Head! They all vary greatly!!! Heinz makes a No Sodium Ketchup, by the way. Good luck! You'll do fine as long as you take time in the grocery store and read those labels--it matters! I see that tomatoes are somewhat restricted for you but honest to God, tomatoes don't need ANY salt--the "no salt added" canned tomatoes are really great...think about it...when you cut a ripe fresh tomato, it does taste somewhat salty in and of itself...that's one item that really tastes great without salt, in my opinion. If you think you want the chicken vinegar marinade recipe, let me know...otherwise, here's Giada's recipe:
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

        I'm adding this website just in case you are interested--it's run by a medical doctor who looks so dweeby in these photos, I always laugh out loud, but his recipes are pretty good--you might find some recipes you can use here--look on the right side of the screen for his low-sodium offerings:
        http://www.drgourmet.com/

        1. Sorry to hear about your health! I know how stressful it can be with such restricted diet.
          These below are couple suggestions - of what I ate during my bad appetite during chemo:

          Like Jen76 suggestion, simple baked fish, fillet or whole. There is low sodium soy, and you can add ginger and green onions (and any vegetables, bokchoy, sweet peppers) wrap in foil and put it in oven.

          Soup - tons of vegetables and I like to use chicken wings (yep) - give it a good whack to crack the bone joint. Drop it to broth/water, and its meat falling off the bone has much delicate/ easy to digest texture than any other part of chicken.

          Crockpot is superb too!! Basically you just 'dump' everything in there and it'll cook on its own. If there is any special dish you like - usually, you can find the crockpot version of it online.

          Oh, since you mentioned congee. Isn't it yummy?!! :) Anyway, you can always make Asian style chicken steamed rice. My aunt succesfully cook it in her rice cooker (I don't have rice cooker) - but basically you are just cooking rice (use brown rice, since you aren't allowed white rice), low sodium broth, chicken pieces, ginger (tons of it), garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce (low sodium or you can substitute with sweet soy sauce), dash of sessame oil. You can add carrots in there too. For this dish, I actually cook it it a little more liquid than regular rice cooking. I like it in more softer texture, not quite mushy, but just about.

          Best wishes to you!!

          1. The crockpot could be just the ticket, since you don't have to be hungry when you're preparing things, and then it fills the house with wonderful smells to give you lots of time to start getting hungry thinking about eating the results :) (That is, if the smell of food cooking doesn't turn you off when you're not hungry...) Things like brisket (one on epicurious called "my mother's brisket" is super-tender and no-fuss), hearty chicken soup, etc., all work well in the crockpot.

            I'm not sure if it would work with brown rice (I'd try brown glutinous rice), but the Filipino version of congee (lugaw) is more flavorful than some, since it has ginger and garlic and is often cooked with meat stock. In a similar vein, if you can have barley, look for "oshimugi" (pressed barley), which can be used to make a sort of risotto-style barley dish that complements simple vegetable or meat additions well.

            1. My sympathies about the lupus; I have 2 sisters who have lupus as well.

              To go with the congee (or steamed rice): get a whole pickerel, stuff with green onions and fresh ginger. Steam till cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate. pour soy sauce liberally over. Pour hot peanut oil over (BE VERY CAREFUL AS THE OIL WILL SPLATTER). The delicate flesh will go very well with the rice.

              1. good thoughts to you while you are un-well. I'm happy to hear you are trying to take good care of yourself. Lupus is a cruel disease, eating well and getting rest is your best defense.

                can I recommend a cookbook? the mayo clinic has a great cookbook for renal patients... and the american heart association has a decent one (though you will need to make your own modifications for chow-ish reasons... e.g. fresh herbs for dry,e tc.).

                are you potassium & fluid restricted as well due to the kidney disease? I find that chilled fresh fruit can be a refreshing, hydrating and appetite stimulating... but can be problematic if you are potssium restricted. if that is not a problem... you are at least feeling un-well in a good season for fruit.

                I also recommend a veg filled, summer minnestrone... if you omit the beans & add chicken it can be be "light" but filling and nutritious.... you can use a chicken broth base instead of veg for a little extra body. I like to make my own broth, but to save time the "healthy valley" no added sodium broths are great...

                simple, lightly grilled veg & meat are always simple.. and a nice way to get protein and vitamins without too much hassle.... they are also filling and you don't miss the starch as much.

                overall, try and focus on what you can eat, instead of what you can't....

                good luck and good health..

                1. Thanks everyone for your help! Reading these boards is making me hungry and more motivated to cook....:-)))