January 4, 2015

New Root Soup for a New Year!

New Roots Soup Recipe (see below for recipe)

Cranky Gerd is back!  I've updated the description of my blog to include Gastroparesis -- also known as "slow stomach emptying" or that unfortunate phrase, "lazy stomach."   After months of assuming I was suffering from "GERD,"  my doctor and my own self-observation realized it's not quite GERD that's the problem -- it's the more ambiguous gastroparesis.   In short, things don't move quickly enough through my GI tract.  Sometimes things get log-jammed in the stomach itself.  Other times, my intestinal tract is sluggish and there is "no movement" -- despite the healthy amounts of fiber, liquids, dried fruits, caffeine, and other traditional remedies.   This results in bloating, pain, gas, and overall feeling awful!  On a bad day, nausea can join in the fun. 

Gastroparesis is not just a physical discomfort -- it's a ridiculous waste of time, an annoyance, and emotionally draining.  Like right now, for instance.  I am supposed to be out the door in 10 minutes to have a relaxing Sunday, but my GI tract feels bloated, gassy, heavy -- I have to "go" but nothing is working "out."  Argh!  Do I leave the house like this and suffer for hours?  Or hang around for hours, possibly (most likely) for nothing but more waiting around until my guts decide to take action? 

This year, Cranky Gerd will continue to share my GI journey, and as in the past, recipes and tips for a healthy gut (or what works for me, in any case).   I'll also include "off topic" posts from time to time because 1) it's my blog :)  and 2) these things may be of interest to others here too, as we are not just our GI tracts!   :) :) 


The first recipe of the year:  new root soup.   Inspired by the new roots emerging in the greenmarket these days, and the need to "de-tox" a bit after the holiday onslaught of treats, I tossed this soup together this morning.   Stay clear of salt, be stringent with oil, and enjoy the roots' naturally mineral-rich flavors and nourishing goodness. 


This amount makes soup for a few portions -- depending how much you want to eat in one sitting.
Easily doubles or triples -- use a large pot to give the vegetables plenty of space to simmer.

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled as needed, and cut into small chunky slices
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into thin slices (any non-Russet potatoes would work best)
  • 1 celeriac root, trimmed and cut into small chunks
  •  2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 small leek, trimmed and sliced into small pieces  
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • water

1.  Heat garlic and oil in soup pot at very low heat.
2. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, celeriac, and potatoes.  Cover pot and leave over low heat for 5 minutes to "sweat" the flavors together.  Mix occasionally to prevent sticking.
3. Add water -- use enough to cover about an inch above the vegetables.    Add the leek.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
5. Stir occasionally throughout the simmering.   Add more water if needed -- you want the water to cover the vegetables just a bit so there is a nice broth going.
6.  The soup is done when the potatoes break up easily and the other vegetables are softened.  You can cook more or less to your taste.    Take a wooden spoon (or potato masher if you wish) and "mash" on section of the veggies in the pot to thicken the broth and add texture.
7.  Enjoy!   This is a nourishing but "light" root soup -- great as a prelude to any meal, or a snack between meals, or a light meal in itself.

June 18, 2014

On Hiatus! (See you in September!)

Cranky Gerd is on hiatus until mid-September!   Until then, browse the old entries, send me links or suggestions for future posts, breathe and nurture your guts and your whole bodies!   :)

May 16, 2014

Report From My Gut: Let's Talk Motility!

This blog entry is not for the faint of heart!

Time to talk "motility."   For people with GERD, gastroparesis, and other GI conditions, "not going" is not just uncomfortable -- it's a crisis.   One "slow" day can easily spiral into a few days, making my already challenged intestines and slow stomach even more cranky.   And, I have found that when I am constipated, nausea often follows.

This morning, I am on day three of feeling not my best.  

I do all the advised things.  I've done most of these in the last 24 hours:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits (Veggie diet -- check!)
  • Eat more fiber (that's ALL I seem to eat some days…)
  • Take probiotics (done -- in the form of pickles and Puehr tea…)
  • Exercise (stair-climbing daily, a few big walks each week, Tai Chi, stationary bike…)
  • Drink more liquids (water, non-caffeinated tea, caffeinated tea, more water)
  • Relax (trying!!  trying!!  trying!! but easier said than done when the clock is ticking and I need to leave the house for work -- bloated, again!)
Now it's less than 40 minutes to my departure time and I need to shower, get dressed, pack my lunch, and head out -- but who wants to schlep to work feeling like you've got an extra 29 pounds in your gut?  Gassy.  Crampy.  Psychologically bloated.   I don't like using public restrooms (who does?) and with "gut issues" it's just better dealing with things at home, trust me.

So, this remains an ongoing issue for me.  For months, I had somehow settled into a routine and constipation was occasional.  It is upsetting to be back in this situation, worrying where and when my next bowel movement will be!   If I "take too long" in the morning, that can prevent me from meeting my exercise goals -- a 45 minute walk before work, or my Tai Chi class.   It's a daily struggle.

One comfort:  If you are reading this and experience the same issues, you are not alone.  Constipation is one of the most common concerns, and one of the least discussed.  It may not be "life threatening" but it is definitely life-impacting.


A few interesting and helpful online resources:

Silent Struggles: The Ugly Truth about Gastroparesis and Constipation

Gastroparesis FAQ:  Constipation Causes & Remedies.  Video from Living With Gastroparesis blogger Crystal Saltrelli, Certified Health and Nutrition Counselor

Excellent graphics and information are included in this Constipation Fact Sheet by the Bladder and Bowel Foundation 

Australian Government Initiative: Looking After Your Bowel -- A Guide to Improving Bowel Function.  A whole government-issued document on the subject!  More good graphics here.