Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Archive for September, 2011

Beet and Carrot Salad


Marnina had not eaten a salad in almost 8 years….until last week.  And no, we are not talking about tuna salad, egg salad, or any of those ‘salad’ imitations.  We are talking about the traditional salad—lettuce mixed with veggies.   We have known that iceberg lettuce is low fiber and has a high water content, but Marnina had been too nervous to experiment with it because it is still roughage, and the mechanical and chemical digestion that occurs in her body may not break it down enough for her already diseased intestines.  Last week however, Marnina decided she would try it.  We ate a small bowl of salad as the first course of our meal.  Eating a salad before our meal was weird but at the same time comforting. Our salad comprised ONLY of iceberg lettuce and salad dressing (Marnina cannot eat cucumbers or any other raw vegetables).  Marnina made sure to pair her salad with the rest of her meal so that the lettuce would not be digested alone. Then she entered what she likes to call “the waiting period”—the period up until 24 hours after eating a certain food to see if she will get sick. She had succeeded! She did not get sick.

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Marnina’s Story

February 2004, Children’s National Medical Center

A girl who was happiest when she helped others.  A dancer.  A runner.  A Girl Scout moving up the ranks of leadership.  And pretty much an ordinary kid who wanted to make a difference in someone else’s life.  All of a sudden, this ordinary kid became special.

Tenth grade, 15 years old.  It started with symptoms that could have been anything, but wouldn’t go away.  Doctors not quite sure what to make of it, but “we’ll keep an eye on it.”  Then the weight loss, despite the intake. 5 foot 6, down to 88 pounds.  Teachers noticed (how could they not?), concerned about an eating disorder. But it didn’t make sense. It just didn’t fit Marnina.  More medical input and more tests.  One more?  Now we’re getting somewhere, a clue, some evidence.  Make an appointment to see a specialist.   She wasn’t taking new patients right now, but we could wait and see.  It turns out, we couldn’t.

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Spinach Cilantro Quesadillas

Every now and then, Marnina and I reminiscence about our lives at Brandeis University.  We especially enjoy recalling certain aspects of Brandeis that are etched into our memories. One of our most vivid memories is of delicious cafeteria food (can you sense my sarcasm?).  Brandeis food tended to be very friendly to Marnina – they have a kosher dining hall and lots of fish and cooked vegetables.  However, after the first 2 months at Brandeis, you could have eaten just about every dish that you would see for the rest of your 4 years of your undergraduate career.

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Artist Spotlight

Shari Bodofsky, Camp Oasis veteran and artist extraordinaire, is the creator of I Be a fooDie’s logo.  Shari speaks out about her experiences with Crohn’s Disease.

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A Sweet Potato Breakfast

A strange thing happened last Tuesday.  Marnina and I looked out our window and noticed one lone tree that had a streak of orange leaves near its top branches.  During our four years at Brandeis University in Boston, the Fall foliage always seemed to quickly appear; within the span of a week or two, most of the leaves would be a beautiful mixture of yellow, orange, red, and every color in between. Here in Maryland, we had forgotten how slowly the foliage arrives.  It might take weeks for the foliage to really be noticeable.  At first we were saddened by the inevitable arrival of the Fall season, but our sadness quickly diminished when we thought of the many Fall-inspired dishes we would be cooking in the near future.  While Marnina will still go through peaches (peeling each one prior to eating them) and other late-summer fruit until the very last one is harvested, we wanted to cook a ‘transitional’ dish that incorporated some elements of both Summer and Fall.  In the end, the finished product definitely recalls the colors of Fall, which is appropriate as we must acknowledge the arrival of a new season.  We decided on a Sweet Potato-Apple Breakfast – there is nothing like breakfast for dinner!

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Greek Moussaka

One of the first things you might notice from this blog is our propensity to try dishes we have never cooked before, and to experiment with different cuisines.  Similar to the Shepherd’s Pie from two weeks ago, we decided to cook another culture’s traditional dish.  This week, we once again ventured outside of our comfort zone and cooked the most widely known variation of a traditional eggplant casserole dish – Greek Moussaka.  This eggplant based dish can be found in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, but the most popular version is the Greek version, which traditionally has three layers: a bottom layer of sautéed/roasted eggplant slices; a middle layer of ground lamb cooked with onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, herbs, and spices; and a top layer of béchamel sauce or egg custard.  Obviously those ingredients are inherently not kosher (mixing milk and meat), and so as usual we made some substitutions.  We hardly had to modify the dish to accommodate Marnina, but for those of you who have trouble digesting veggie skins and/or veggie seeds, we will explain how to make this dish more IBD-friendly.  The end result? An egg, meat and dairy-free conglomeration of healthy foods. (more…)

Wine Grapes – An IBD Wonder Fruit

Over Labor Day Weekend, Seth and I drove up to the Finger Lakes to visit Josh, one of our Brandeis friends. We rented a cabin on Seneca Lake and spent the greater part of the weekend wine-tasting.  As Josh’s commute to the Lake was far shorter than ours (we had a 5.5 hour drive in addition to the time when we drove around the wrong lake for an hour and a half), he volunteered to pick up food for the weekend. We sent him a shopping list so that I could be sure to have my Crohn’s friendly breakfast food (yogurt, Special K, eggs etc.).  He also picked up some fruit—plums, bananas, and what I like to refer to as the “grapes that changed my life.” (more…)

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