As foodies, we enjoy learning about different cuisines. Our ethnic culinary adventures have ranged from experimenting with a traditional Greek food to popular Korean dishes. Food was a big part of our travels this past July in Turkey and Israel. We encountered new ingredients and new flavors, and we gained a new perspective on cooking, as well as a renewed respect for specific ingredients. In Turkey, ingredients are simple and unadulterated. There are hardly any incredibly complicated dishes. The natural state of food is heavily emphasized, and this brought us back to the basics of cooking: using fresh ingredients. The Turks often love to take seasonal and local ingredients and cook them with some olive oil and a few spices. This method of cooking brings out the flavors in a way that is not complicated or overwhelming, but just perfectly balanced. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Tomato’ Category
We recently returned home from our global travels, and in many ways our trip was a gastronomic tour of Turkish and Israeli cuisine. We tried our best to sample as many mezes, main dishes, desserts, and other foods that we could fit into our stomachs within a 3-week time span. We were able to stay relatively svelte and fit thanks to walking an average of 8 miles each day. Our goal during the trip was to try all the authentic cultural foods that these two countries offer, and of course, to stay healthy. At times, Marnina was forced to expand her diet either because: 1) a Crohn’s-friendly dish was not available; 2) the language barrier caused confusion that led to Marnina biting into a food stuffed with seeds; or 3) she could not resist the temptation of ordering an authentic dish that contained some form of food that might upset her GI tract. However, thanks to proper plannning (over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, flushable wipes), Marnina was prepared for the worst. Luckily, neither of us got sick from the food and water in either country. It turns out that the water is unsafe to drink in Turkey (even for natives) so bottled water was incredibly cheap. (more…)
We are proud to present Part II of our IBD restaurant guide series! (To view Part I, click here!) The average American eats out several times a week, and those with IBD often have a more difficult time choosing IBD-safe foods at restaurants or even finding a restaurant that meets their dietary needs. In creating the guide, we wanted to provide the “average” IBDer with some practical knowledge of each cuisine, and to give tips on how to navigate a menu and order food when dining and exploring various cuisines. We hope the guide will become a tool for those with IBD to allow them to make smarter choices. We also hope to expand it to include additional information (by no means is this guide an exhaustive review of each cuisine!), and in the future we still plan to add more! Feel free to add your own thoughts about the guide, which cuisine you prefer, IBD-friendly restaurants that you recommend, or even certain dishes that you always order because they are “safe” for you.
Download a printable PDF of the entire IBD Guide To Eating Out by clicking here. (more…)
In the IBD Guide to Eating Out, we mentioned that typical Indian restaurants in the U.S. serve many dishes that are oily, creamy, and incorporate lots of fat (and sodium as well). In general, individuals with IBD need to be conscientious of the amount of fats/oils in their food, and must also be aware of the amount of spices used. IBDers should know, however, that almost any recipe can be modified to fit their dietary preferences. There is always an IBD-friendly version of a dish. Here, we present you with an alternative to the Indian dish Palak Paneer (farmer’s cheese in a thick curry sauce based on pureed spinach) called Palak Tofu, a vegan twist to the normal recipe. It tastes very similar to Palak Paneer, but is healthier, less oily, and more protein rich. The dish is basically tofu cooked in curried spinach, a very healthy dish that goes well with some rice or naan. You will love the green color, and your house will smell like an Indian restaurant for hours afterward….what could be better?? (more…)
Before we enter into the world of spices, we want to give you a “SKEWER IBD” update. We have run about 45 miles so far and are less then $75 away from raising $4,000. We will be mailing a copy of The Foul Bowel to the winner of our blog giveaway, Allison Finn. Congratulations Allison!! Our fundraising isn’t over yet though. We still need your help and donations to really “stick a fork” in IBD. Please consider donating today (click here). We are currently the 3rd top fundraiser on our team! Thank you to those who have donated so far!! Also, as you may or may not know, the Jewish holiday Purim (ready more about it here) begins tomorrow night. We will be rocking some pretty awesome I Be a fooDie costumes that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for pictures (and to see us make a fool of ourselves…)
Now, back to SPICES! We love spice. When we cook we often do not use measuring instruments to measure out spices. Instead, we add spices almost by the handful to the point where the spice aroma lingers for hours afterward. We used to just double the prescribed amount of spice in a recipe, but now we just go by instinct and smell. I have been able to convince Marnina that spices can replace unhealthy ingredients, such as salt and sugar. For example, I literally dump cinnamon into my cream of brown rice every morning because cinnamon has a sweet and warm taste that can replace sugar or any sugar derivative. We mostly omit broth and seasoning mixes from our soups because of the high sodium content and replace them with extra spices. Some of our favorite ground spices are curry, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin, all of which happen to be spices featured in Indian cuisine. We have recently started using fresh ginger and garlic, and have noticed that the flavors provided by these fresh spices are more intense than the ground versions.
Marnina loves to prepare stuffed foods. If you haven’t seen the pumpkin we stuffed, or read about the stuffed Zuccanoes, then hopefully you will now understand Marnina’s love for stuffing. For Shabbat dinner last week, we made Moroccan hamburgers, and stuffed tomatoes seemed like a suitable side dish. We even found a Moroccan-inspired recipe that uses couscous, a grain staple commonly found in Morocco, as the base of the stuffing. And on the topic of Morocco, Marnina and I are thinking of traveling there during the summer (any Morocco travel-related suggestions??). Wherever we go, we will definitely report back about the cuisines that we encounter.
An inflammatory bowel disease “attack” can be frustrating and exhausting, and sometimes even embarrassing (if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and don’t have immediate access to a bathroom). Recently, Marnina had an attack that caused her to use the bathroom about 5 times within a 3 hour span. She attributed the attack to not going to the bathroom the previous day, and then running 5 miles the next morning. Her intestines literally went into hyper-drive after running, and she nearly ran another 5 miler going to and from the bathroom! She decided to eat light the rest of the day because her stomach was on “the edge” as she says. If she challenged herself with something mildly fibrous, difficult to digest, or something entirely new, she would fall over that edge and risk the onset of stomach pain, or possibly another attack.
Invariably, the onset of cold weather leads Marnina and I (and probably most everyone else) to crave certain foods. Cold smoothies, garden vegetable dishes, and fish with a glass of white wine are replaced with warm soups, hearty chili, red wine and stews. This week, Marnina and I were in the mood for a filling stew that would last us the week – we often spend a large chunk of Sunday night slaving away in the kitchen to prepare our lunches and dinners for the upcoming week. Marnina had picked out a winter veggie stew with Moroccan spices, and after shopping for all the root veggies (we even found some purple carrots!), we were ready to begin the stew…until we realized that the recipe called for a Dutch oven…a tool that we did not have. Instead, we used a large cooking pot that would accommodate all the ingredients, but also require more work to ensure that the stew was evenly seasoned.
After a particularly fat-laden meal, Marnina will often complain that she feels irritated and bloated. Crohn’s disease often affects one’s ability to digest or absorb fat normally. When Marnina does occasionally eat red meat (that is not lean) for dinner, she will wake up the next morning and claim to feel like last night’s dinner is still sitting in her. Her body just does not digest fat very quickly and instead sits inside of her. While many fatty foods are trigger foods, there are some foods that are particularly troublesome, such as butter, margarine, ice cream, fried foods and fatty red meat, among other foods. Fat is harder to digest than other nutrients, plain and simple. (more…)