1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!

food tips

Blog entry posted by Andrew, Aug 11, 2011.

This article offers tips for dealing with food, including shopping and preparation. Because everyones circumstance is different, there is no one size fits all solution. For example, some people can only eat certain types of organic food, while others can eat a wide range of food. What I will cover here is what Ive found helpful for me in the hopes that it can help some of you.

Shopping in a Market. When I first became ill I was still able to shop at the market. But I had to pace myself. I never went to two stores in one outing. And when I got home from shopping, Id only carry one load of food into my apartment. I left the rest in the trunk of my car, and brought the rest in as health allowed. And, of course, this meant I had to limit how many refrigerator items I bought in one outing. I also avoided buying too many heavy items.

In Store Pickup. I recently noticed a market that has this service. With this you tell them what you want to buy via their website and a time you want to pick it up. I assume they gather the items and bag them for you. This type of shopping is offered at albertsons.com.

Home Delivery. I can no longer do my own shopping, so now I use home delivery. I order from safeway.com. If you need organic food, search Google for organic food delivery. There are national and local services. Also, see if there are food staples you use that could be ordered from amazon.com or various sites that sell food.

Food Services. There are food preparation services like Project Angel Food and Meals on Wheels. They prepare meals for you and deliver them to your home. You will have to research if/how they apply to your situation. Ive never used them.

Restaurant Delivery. This can be very cost-effective depending on the size of the meals. And it is also possible to get fairly healthy food. For example, I order steamed vegetables and steamed chicken from a local Chinese restaurant, and the portion they send is big enough for three meals.

Food Preparation. In my case, food has to be prepared with as little standing as possible. So I bought a drafting chair, which is high enough for me to sit at the kitchen counter or sink. Even with this, I eventually realized I had to spend less time being in an upright position. So I started buying prewashed lettuce and spinach for my salads. Sometimes lunch is just an unheated can of soup, rice cakes, and some V8 juice. Or dinner might be some heated frozen veggies with a small can of chicken mixed in.

Caregiver Help. Of course, a lot the problems can be solved if you have someone to help you. A caregiver can prepare meals and shop. One of my caregivers would prepare several meals and put them in the refrigerator for use over several days. See my blog about caregivers.

If you have any tips you would like to share, please add them as replies to this blog.
  1. jace
    Crock pots are great, but remember dried beans should be soaked overnight, and then they need to be boiled hard for at least ten minutes before adding to the crock. If you don't do this step, harmful enzymes in the beans will not be broken down, and at best you will have extra stomach pain.

    Red kidney beans are the worst.
  2. alex3619
    I was told how to get low-fat steaks cheaply, and I now do this regularly. Buy a lean roast beef cut, and then slice it however thick you want. Freeze the portions. The fat content can be very low, but it still has good protein. Sometimes it can be a little tough of course, the quality of the roast beef is still important.

    I also use Lebanese breads to make quick "pizzas'. Take a wholemeal Lebanese bread, cover in tomato paste and whatever spices or topping you want, then top with reduced fat mozzarella. I usually don't bother with the oven, it only takes three minutes in my microwave.
  3. jimells
    I wonder if muscian's earplugs would help folks tolerate noisy restaurants. I bought a pair a few years ago before I had to give up playing in community bands. They only block loud sounds. When the conductor was talking I could still hear him just fine.

    I also use the ear plugs at home when I have a migraine. My little cockatiels high-pitched whistles can really bore into my brain at times. With the ear plugs I can still hear the radio but their cheerful calls don't hurt.
  4. markmc20001
    Oh yeah. Something called a crock pot is easy to use. Just throw your ingredients in during the AM. 4 to 8 hrs later it's cooked. Great for tough cuts of meat, stews, and beans.

    It cooks on low heat and is safe to leave the house with it on. Veggies don't get overcooked.
  5. Misfit Toy
    I buy hummus and instead of cooking the veggies, I just dip cucumbers in the hummus or zucchini. Saves time and you can sit and do it or sit and peal the carrots, cukes, etc.

    Carrigon, you and I have the same recipe for chicken soup. I will just throw the chicken in a pot with a lot of water, let it cook and then put veggies in and set it on low. Sometimes I literally take a nap. I freeze the rest of the soup.

    I always have organic turkey lunchmeat with no nitrates and make myself a sandwich. Not the worst thing in the world! It's food and I use gluten free bread.

    Kefir is a good meal in the morning. Just pour it out of a bottle. I always have nuts on hand. Yogurt is great too and you can use coconut kefir or yogurt.

    I use Emergen-C as a drink and it gives me vitamins.
  6. Carrigon
    Noise in restaurants is a huge problem for me. I hate places that now blast music while you're trying to eat or talk to whoever you are with. It's horrible. Alot of the places here have added video game rooms and then you get the noise from that on top. The last time I ate at Pizza Hut with my friend, all we did was complain the entire time because they had a jukebox blasting awful music while we were eating. We could barely hear each other over it. And we swore we weren't going back there again.

    I mostly cook at home now. I'm tired of doing it, but at least I know what goes into the food and how it was prepared.
  7. PNR2008
    I can't eat at chipotle because of the noise but I stop on the way home and always get extra salsa because it's great on tuna w/mayo on rice cakes or any sandwich or omelet that needs a little zing. It's good even on broccoli. The beef barbacoa lasts me two days. Also if possible grow basil and cilantro in pots closeby. These fresh herbs help the most bland food and I feel like I've gone some where good for food. Another trick: I like ice tea but not the ton of sugar in most bottles so I put instant tea in water half way in a 28oz drinking container and add store bought natural lemonade. It has sugar but you use alot less and by the bedside it lasts all day. Breakfast is my worst, so to take pills I put a few slabs of butter in the middle of a dish surrounded by the most nutricious crackers I can buy and dab the crackers in butter to get the pills down with the tea. Butter and pills work great on the dog too.
  8. markmc20001
    Here is a good one. I buy a 3-4lb turkey breast. put a little olive oil, salt, and Mrs Dash seasoning on it. Bake it for 40-50 minutes at 325 degrees F until firm. It is about $3 a pound for super good quality unprocessed meat and I make sandwiches for about a week out of it. The trick is not overcooking it to the point it dries out.

    veggie scramble. eggs, green onion, zuccini, little salt and pepper and your done.
  9. Carrigon
    When I do make homemade chicken soup, which is rare for me to do now, I make a whole pot of it, so I can eat off it for a few days. But it is a big deal to make it the way I make it. And it's not cheap at all. I use a whole raw chicken, carrots, celery, parsley, onion, garlic, egg noodles, salt and pepper, water, and alittle chicken broth for flavoring. It takes a good three and a half hours or so to cook it right. But it's worth it. Right now, it's pretty much too expensive for me to do and too much of a pain. But it's healthy.
  10. sensing progress
    Some good ideas Andrew, thanks for posting. I wish I could eat canned meals but almost without exception every canned soup I've looked at has autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, or some other hidden form of MSG. Either that, or they taste like crap. The problem is making good tasting soup takes a lot of time and these companies are all about fast and cheap. I've found I eat at Chipotle far too much; they have fresh, healthy food that is relatively affordable.