December 17, 2012

GERD and the Holidays -- My Latest Lessons

Leftovers, December 15, 2012


Several weeks ago, I had a revelation.  While cooking a healthy, GERD-friendly meal, I spent much of the prep time sampling, tasting, adjusting the seasoning and tasting it again.  By the time I served dinner, I realized I had probably eaten half of what would be my portion!  This is not as difficult to do as it sounds -- several small tastes that don't seem like very much can quickly add up to a small portion size, when your small portion consists of a half cup.  When I ate my usual modest plateful, it was to my downfall -- of course I was bloated and refluxy after what was actually too much food.

Lesson 1:  Feel free to taste and sample as you cook, but account for this later when you have your "meal."  (As for cooking and snacking -- I think it is essential to taste as you go.  To prevent over-eating, use smaller tastes, and recognize this will be part of your portion.)


What happens after a meal is as important as what happens before it.  Along with acknowledging I needed to adjust my portions to account for food prep tastings, I also realized I was stealthily expanding my portion size while cleaning up.  How many times did I leave the table feeling perfect, satisfied, guts content, only to gobble down "a spoonful" of leftover potatoes and finish off the rest of the pasta because "there's just a few strands," replacing my gut bliss with bloat, clenched throat, and reflux?  How many times do I need to ignore listening to my body before changing my actions?   

Lesson 2:  Leftovers are left-overs -- don't eat them, snack on them, or otherwise put them into your mouth.   Because what goes into your mouth winds up in your guts.   Just put them into your cute Pyrex container, seal it up, and into the refrigerator it goes for a nice small-portion lunch.


The photo at the top of this blog entry shows what was left of our recent vegetable side dish success- braised parsnips and carrots.   I usually roast root vegetables and the braising method was a happy revelation.  (Thank you, The Joy of Cooking!  And Seasonal Eating, another good locavore blog featuring the JoC's oven-braised roots recipe.)   Here is my version, which uses olive oil instead of butter.  Parsnips and carrots always digest well for me, with no GERD triggers, so I am happy to include them often in my meals.


3 parts parsnips to 1 part carrots (from the Greenmarket, if possible)
Water or vegetable broth
Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel parsnips and carrots.  Trim ends, and cut on an angle into 1inch slices.  For parsnips with a thick core, cut slices off the core.  You can also slice carrots lengthwise if you prefer.
  3. Place in one layer in roasting pan.  
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and stir well.  I just use my hands to "massage" the oil in.
  5. Sprinkle with salt to taste, if desired.
  6. Pour water or vegetable broth over parnsip/carrot mixture so veggies are just barely sticking above the liquid. 
  7. Braise in oven for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft, easily pierced with a fork.  Halfway through, stir/turn vegetables.  Stir once or twice throughout to evenly cook them.  You may need to add more water/broth if it evaporates; there should be enough liquid in the pan at all times to prevent roasting/burning.
  8. Serve as side for practically anything!   We had this with red beans; pasta or other grains would be great, as would other kinds of beans, or veggie burgers/sausages.
Note:  This dish was so delicious -- it was hard to stop eating it!  I am pleased to report the leftovers in the pan in the above photo were all stored away -- I did not take one extra bite! -- and felt good all evening for it.  Small steps, small portions, stay mindful!  

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