Day 4 & 5 - Sorry Excuse for a Stomach
At certain times in the month mother nature likes to give me a big strong kick to the gut. When this hits, a simple dish of sauteed green veggies and roast chicken will revolt and just sit in my belly. Mingling with each other, I imagine they are drinking wine and complaining about politics while I become bloated and uncomfortable. No fun.
One of the best remedies for me is to take some Bao He Wan which is a Chinese herbal formula for food stagnation. The herbs act like digestive enzymes and break up the stuck food. The other thing that helps is a little bit of manuka honey mixed in water.
So, when my stomach got all in a funk this week, these two things came in like super heros to calm my stomach and help the food to move through. Sadly though, I could tell my stomach wasn’t recovered enough to be of any better use at my next meal.
I had to turn to my “weak tummy” foods which include very soft and easy to digest veggies (mostly pureed squashes or pumpkin), bone broth (of course), rice porridge (aka congee) and oats. For protein, eggs (especially the yolks) work very well and flakey white fish seems okay if it‘s steamed and not too rich. Fortunately, these foods are all on my list for the diet. Unfortunately, they can be kind of boring so I did my best to make them a little more interesting while still soothing and medicinal.
Here’s some of what I ate:
- Roasted butternut squash soup (recipe below)**
- Roasted spaghetti squash with steamed flounder
- Congee (see note below)*
- Oat bran with a poached egg
Squash and pumpkin is very easy to digest and also is believed to help remove extra fluid in the body (good for my bloating!). Congee is medicinal in nature and can help build up your digestive energy, reduce inflammation in the stomach, and help you to digest other foods. Oats are very calming in nature and are a more easily digestible fiber than my green veggies.
By the next day, I was feeling better enough to try a smoothie with berries and coconut water and some pureed beans and more eggs. Things were looking up!
Cravings were still here. STILL. HERE. Ugh. It was really tempted to go to sugar because I do feel like it can help me digest. Just a mint - that would help, right? While tempting, I was pretty sure it could also be a good excuse to open the door to other sweets (Mints - a gateway drug. It's like a reality show waiting to happen.)
I realized that I also seem to crave salt when I’m not digesting well. I never wanted chips so much in my life! I took a little extra sea salt on my food and that seemed to help.
Oh, and I still wanted dark chocolate, damn it.
Maybe in a few more days the cravings will pass. They will pass. They will. Won't they?
Ah, meanwhile... see below for a note on plain but healing congee and a very tummy friendly butternut squash soup recipe. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some Q&A inspired by readers so if you have any questions, send them to me! I’m happy to answer them!
Have a great weekend!
*Click here for a link to my friend Lorelle’s basic congee recipe. I like to add some broth to this thick congee when my stomach is upset. You can thin out your congee as much as you like - there’s really no rules on the thickness. I also add any bits of meat from the bone broth into my congee as well. I then just add aminos (like coconut aminos or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos) for a little flavor and a little scallion and ginger. When my stomach feels better, the congee becomes a great base for a meal with chinese greens, mushrooms, and more (as Lorelle explains). But when my stomach is upset, this more plain version is still very delicious and incredibly soothing.
Butternut squash soup is really simple and easy to make if you have a Vitamix. This version removes any sauteed shallots or onions that typically would be added in. They are a little harsh when my stomach is upset. You can add those items into the mix before blending. Otherwise, here’s the basic recipe:
SERVINGS: 4 - 6
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil, plus more for oiling the squash
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups bone broth (chicken or beef)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond or cashew milk (optional, but it creates creaminess)
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (optional garnish)
Cut a butternut squash in half and place into a baking dish that has been oiled with coconut/avocado oil. Allow to bake at 400 degrees for approximately an hour. You will know it’s done when the skin easily comes away from the squash and the insides are scoopable.
Remove any seeds from the squash after removing it from the oven. Take all of the flesh and place it into a blender. Add the broth and optional cashew/almond milk, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon. If you are using a Vitamix, you can just put it on high for 7 minutes and it will heat the soup making it read to serve right away.
If you don’t have a Vitamix, take the scooped squash and put it in a pot. Add the broth and optional cashew/almond milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and put into a blender or food processor along with nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon and puree until smooth.
Serve immediately or chill and serve reheated within two days.
Pine nuts or pumpkin seeds make an excellent garnish.