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Apr 28, 2010 09:40 PM

Help with Restricted Diet?


So I'm hoping to get some ideas on how to vary my limited list of bland "tolerated" foods. I have a digestive disorder and other chronic health problems which have slowly weeded out many of the delicious foods I used to enjoy. I'm starting supplemental IV feeding soon so I'm not worried about well-balanced meals. I just want to enjoy eating again.

I'm fine for breakfast (oatmeal) and don't eat lunch, so it's dinner that gets me. I tend to eat the same two or three things every night on rotate. I'm not supposed to eat raw fruits or veggies due to immuno-suppression from my meds. So I know this leaves limited options, but any help would be greatly GREATLY appreciated. I'm 25 and have been sick more of my life than not at this point, but food is one thing I really wish it didn't affect.

Anyway, I hope this doesn't sound silly. Was just hoping someone out there could help with some new ideas or recipes to vary the following foods. Thanks in advance!

Foods I can eat:

No meat, tofu, or "fake" meat products, but I do use chicken stock for soups

Produce (must be cooked): Potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, peas, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, corn, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, cauliflower

Rice, pasta, and bread (or "bread-like" things--crackers, panko, cornmeal, pita, flatbread, tortillas, etc.)

Small amounts of seeds or certain nuts (almonds/peanuts)

Very small amounts of harder cheeses

Olive oil, garlic, and cooked herbs (parsley, oregano, basil, bay, etc.), lemon juice, pepper and salt.
Definitely nothing rich or heavy like cream, wine, or butter, and no spices like curry or turmeric.

Thank you (times a million) in advance!

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  1. search the home cooking board for the recipe for chickpea cutlets. They are very good and will fit into your foods profile. I like to do them in a parmigiana style, so you can make a very tasty tomato-veg sauce within your guidelines and then garnish with a little bit of good parmesan on top. Serve with roasted broccoli and a good chewy Italian bread on the side.

    You can make a lot of nice stir fry style dishes, but you may need to steam your veggies first to just barely cook through before adding them to the stir fry to make sure the cellulose is broken down enough for digestion.

    6 Replies
    1. re: weezycom

      Sorry to hear that.

      I love these oven sweet potato fries:

      which just use olive oil and a bit of Parmesan.

      It sounds like fresh baked bread would be a great thing for you. This is my easy beginner bread:

      1 pkg yeast _ 1 _ cup lukewarm water _ Pinch sugar _
      3 1/2 cups regular or bread flour _ 2 1/4 tsp salt

      Put water in a small bowl. Stir in sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. After 10 min, add liquid to flour mixture and combine thoroughly with your hands. If mixture is so sticky that chunks stick to your hands, add more flour. If it's so dry that it won't form a ball or it's hard to knead, add more water. Knead for 8 minutes, let the dough sit for 8 minutes, then knead another 8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and put it on a cookie sheet. Let rise to double its size. Sit the pan on a heating pad on low if you're in a rush. Preheat oven to 450. When you put the bread in the oven, throw 1/4 cup of water onto the bottom of the oven. Bake at 450 for about 30 minutes, until it looks done.

      Once you get how the dough is supposed to feel, there are about a million exciting options for bread.

      Tomatoes are great roasted. You could make a killer guac with avocado, sauteed garlic, and roasted tomatoes. If the fat in chips bothers you, quarter some corn tortillas, spray or brush with oil, and bake. I believe I do 350 degrees for about 7 minutes, then flip the chips, and another 7 minutes. Just until they're a little bit brownish.

      Nuts are also great roasted-- 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

      Sounds like you could also do an awesome vegetable soup. I like to sautee garlic and onions and then drain off the oil-- saves calories-- if your body is sensitive to fat you might want to too. The sauteed onions and garlic makes a great base for pretty much any soup. Add whatever veg you can get your hands on (I'd add beans, too, if you can eat those) along with pasta or potatoes. I like a splash of marsala if you keep any in the house.

      1. re: jvanderh

        thanks jvanderh! i have been wanting to make some homemade bread but have instead been lazy and picking up from la brea bakery here in LA. having some dough on hand would be great for making a variety of dishes.

        your roasted tomatoes sound awesome too. i could use them for all sorts of things.

        i love veggie soup. it's one of my favorite meals. easy on the tummy and comforting. i'm going to look into some more recipes. garlic and onion is a great flavorful base, hadn't thought of marsala.

        thanks for your help!

        1. re: jvanderh

          I like to saute onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and potatoes when I'm making soup. I use barely a tablespoon of oil, and scrape up the brown bits with water if it starts to get dry. Very simple meal and great flavor. I like to top it with a bit of parmesan or a splash of soy sauce.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              I do that sometimes too, in a pinch, although I much prefer the taste of slow-sauteed garlic/onions that have been completely covered in oil-- hence the draining.

        2. re: weezycom

          thank you! someone else mentioned the chickpea cutlets and i am going to look into some recipes. would be great for making veggie burgers too. i avoid all processed/frozen foods too as they don't sit well for whatever reason.

          the stir fry is a great idea. i'm thinking of getting a nice cast iron wok. thanks!

        3. can you do a roasted medley of veggies, then toss them in with pasta - i'll always keep about 1/4 cup of the pasta liq to add back to the mix. I roast often with just olive oil, s&p and it's excellent.

          one of my fav meals is stir fry veggies (cabbage, cauliflower, brocolli, carrots, mushrooms, peppers) in Braggs Liq Amino (check out the link) over brown rice - then top with whatever cheese you can do or not. Its so good!

          I could also make a meal of just grilled veggies and grilled polenta squares. or graines like quinoa or couscous.

          Can you do fish, seafood? I could live off that alone.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            thanks lexpatti. i love roasted veggies. can't wait for all the fresh summer produce.

            i hadn't heard of braggs liquid amino, but will definitely be picking up a bottle for stir fries.

            i have actually never eaten polenta but will look into that too.

            i don't eat seafood. never have, even when i was a kid. i never liked the smell. can't get past it. but thank you regardless!

            1. re: nothingswrong

              I definitely second the polenta suggestion. I have GI issues as well and that's one of my go-to comfort foods when mine are flaring up. Polenta's also good because it goes with so many different meals.

            2. re: lexpatti

              Another condiment in addition to Bragg's that works for some people with immune issues is Nama Shoyu. It's a traditionally made soy sauce that isn't pasteurized, so you'd have to store it in the refrigerator. It adds a lot of flavor used sparingly, and because it's aged for more than four years, rather than made with the newer quick processes that utilize autolyzed yeasts, many people tolerate it better than other soy sauce. Your mileage may vary, of course, but most places that sell it are good about returns if it doesn't work out for you.

            3. Carrot or winter squash soup - pureed with a bit of peanut butter in it, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, garlic and a bit of ginger. Doesn't need cream at all. You can adjust the spices as desired or leave them out. If you cook the squash in chicken stock you will get additional flavor.

              Quinoa salad is great, again, you can add cooked peas, avocado, cauliflower, broccoli, as you would like. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

              Second the idea for polenta grilled with a simple veggie based tomato sauce on top. If you can eat eggs, you can put an egg on top for a full meal (although i realize you are not worried about that). Small amount of hard cheese is a nice addition too.

              I bet you could tolerate Asian rice noodles. Look at a "fake pho" broth - chicken broth simmered with ginger, anise, etc. It isn't spicey or particularly heavy, add the rice noodles in and it is what I eat when I am recovering from the tummy flu.

              Pureed peas spread on bread or crackers.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jsaimd

                oh i used to love pho before the stomach went bad and i stopped eating out. growing up in west LA, we frequented all of the restaurants in the sawtelle area. we ate lots of pho! i think it would be a great alternative to my "american" veggie soups and the rice noodles are delicious and easy on the stomach. thank you for the suggestion!

              2. Based on the list, I'd suggest you study the art of "strata". Built on a foundation of bread, a variety of strata can be prepared using most (if not all) of the items you listed. Depending on how you mix the ingredients, the bread can satisfy some of the desire for "meaty" textures in your food and meat flavors (using stock) are also possible.

                1. If it's the actual meat and meat proteins that are the problem, check out most of the boullion cubes. They typically don't actually contain real meat products, just flavors. While normally this would not be a good thing, in your case, it might. You could add meaty flavor to things through the use of these cubes. But if sodium is also an issues be cautious!