Thursday, February 19, 2009

What am I Really Missing?

A lot of people stare at me, aghast, when I tell them I can't eat fat. They can't fathom it. The especially wonder how I get through the day without fast food. So today I'd like to show you what they think I'm missing, and what I'm really "missing," courtesy of This is what the ads show, versus what you're actually given.

McDonald's McSkillet burrito

Wendy's Chicken Club

McDonald's Sausage Breakfast Burrito

Burger King Enormous Omelet Sandwich

Arby's Beef 'n' Cheddar

KFC Famous Bowl

Wendy's Southwest Taco Salad

Burger King sausage, egg, and cheese croissant

McDonald's Big Mac

Taco Bell Nachos Bell Grande

McDonald's Filet O Fish Sandwich

Burger King Whopper

McDonald's Sausage McMuffin

Still hungry? I'm making a Subway run if you want in...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Healthier living = less stress = less symptoms!

I am not fat. Just getting that out of the way quickly to preempt anyone yelling at me for the following information: I am dieting. Keep in mind, dieting just entails having a certain eating pattern and/or certain foods that you adhere to.

My big problem that requires a diet (aside from just eliminating fiber & fats) is that I don't have good eating habits. I forget to eat, or blow it off because I'm busy. Then, when I get a minute to sit and realize how hungry I am, I eat everything. I also eat when I'm bored and when I'm watching TV. Worst yet, I have clean plate syndrome and will eat everything someone else puts on my plate unless it's outside of my medical ability to consume.

Because of the above, I have put on 15-20 pounds in the last few months. Clearly I'm not eating fats, so portion control and spacing out meals are my big problems. Before the IBS, I would have eaten a lot of fruits, veggies, and fiber. That, in fact, is my overwhelming instinct right now. That, of course, is impossible. I would lose weight if I did, but in a very unhealthy way. I have, however, found a solution:

On this website (which, dear readers, is FREE to join), you can put in your goals, whether that's just to be healthier or to lose a certain number of pounds by a certain date. There is then a page where you can track your calories by meal and get a total (as well as total fats, carbs, and protein:

A section where you can track your water consumption (this also shows the button to add foods to your calorie count):

And a section where you can track exercise and calories burned:

And yes, the above are screenshots from my personal profile. The workout is for today, which is why there's nothing in it yet. On my break I'll be doing 20 minutes on the elliptical machine in my apartment's workout room.

I think my favorite part of the site is that it gives you a range of calories to eat per day. I'm sure I was around 2,000 before (although I never counted), and going straight down to 1,200 calories would be too great a drop. But I can handle 1,550. In fact, as you can see, yesterday I managed with 1,495.

One of the biggest bonuses of eating proper portions and eating less is that it also encourages me to go to bed earlier (the later I stay up, the more I'm going to eat). And getting 8-9 hours of sleep for the last two nights has been amazing.

In short, I think this is going to be a great thing for me, and I'll be a lot happier with myself. And now that you all know I'm doing this, I have even more incentive to stick with it. I highly recommend this site to anyone who wants to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Product placement

On days when I have class, I'm at school for 11 hours. Usually that's Monday and Wednesday, but they rescheduled classes to today because we missed yesterday (President's Day). Because I'm not going to have time to cook today, I'm going to cheat a bit and just tell you about a product I've come to absolutely LOVE.

My drink of choice is usually green tea, or some sort of flavored water. However, these have a lot of sugar. With my IBS, I'm not allowed any artificial sweeteners, so I can't just switch to the sugar free kinds. With that in mind, I've found my liquid soulmate in SoBe 0 calorie Life Water. No sugar, no calories, and the sweetener is derived from the stevia plant: No aspartame here! My pick: Fuji Apple Pear. Refreshing, with just a hint of tartness.

Alright, class is about to begin (again), so that's all for today. I'll shoot for an actual recipe next time!

***Addendum - I realized after I posted this that I'm not cheating. I never said this would just be recipes***

Monday, February 16, 2009

"That makes my bowels explode" and other things you can't say at dinner parties

Every time I go to someone else's home for a meal, I begin with the same worry: what is the proper way to politely turn down food? For many people, it's as simple as saying, "no, thanks - I'm not hungry." But my family is Italian. That never works. So here is a list of phrases I've honed over the last two years.

"I had a late lunch"

"That doesn't agree with me" (this one can backfire when someone asks me "which part? I can take something out" and I have to respond with "all of it.")

"I didn't realize you'd have so much food - I ate before I left"

I've found though, that there is one sure fire way to make sure I don't have to deal with all that rigmarole. Bring a dish! You know what you can eat, and I'm sure that no matter how simple it is, you can make something your stomach will be happy with. One of my favorites puts an ethnic spin on a mix that's easy for everyone to follow.

Tastefully Simple Italian Beer Bread with marinara dipping sauce


1 pkg Bountiful Beer Bread

12 oz pale ale
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
pinch of basil
pinch of oregano

Preheat oven to 375. Pour beer into a large mixing bowl and add herbs & spices. Pour in bread mix and stir for 30 seconds (batter will become lumpy if stirred too long). Pour into greased bread pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

Dipping sauce:

1 sm can plain tomato sauce
pinch baking soda (neutralizes acid)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil
pinch of chives
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Combine ingredients on low in small sauce pan. Cover and simmer until warmed throughout. Dip bread, and enjoy! I guarantee you can bring this to any party and it will be a hit!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Butter, butter everywhere, and not a bite to eat

I know this isn't the case with everyone's IBS, but with mine I'm not allowed to have fat. No oil, no butter, no fatty meat. Woe unto my intestines if I forget to cut off a piece of fat from a chicken breast. This makes dining rather difficult. Even "steamed potatoes" come with butter on them at Applebees. So today I thought I'd explore a favorite recipe of mine that generally uses butter, and give a couple of alternatives.

Fat-free Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2-3 medium sized red or yellow potatoes per person (or per serving, if they're all for you - yum!)
1 small-medium bulb of garlic

These really are just that simple. You can use good ol' Russet potatoes or any other variety you like - I just like the taste and texture of the red & yellow potatoes better.

Peel potatoes and cut into small chunks. Place chunks in a pot with enough water to cover them. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat (though still bubbling a bit) and cook until potatoes are tender enough to begin breaking apart with a fork. While you're doing this, place the bulb of garlic on a baking pan and put in the oven on 350 for about half an hour.

Peel garlic and put through food processor. (Alternative, if you don't have a food processor - use a garlic press or a very sharp blade to chop the bulbs into tiny pieces.) Mash potatoes, and slowly add in the garlic, continuing to mash. If you'd like, you can add a splash of milk to give them a smoother consistency. I like mine a bit chunkier, so I generally don't.

Flavorful Fat Free Mashed Potatoes

2-3 medium sized red or yellow potatoes per person/serving
1/4 c. milk*
1/4 c. prepared chicken bouillon or fat free chicken broth*, whichever you prefer (the bouillon is a bit saltier)

Prepare the potatoes the same as you would for Garlic Mashed. Mix together the bouillon and milk and add to the potatoes a little at a time until they reach the consistency you like.

And there you have them - delicious, moist, fluffy, fat-free potatoes that never touch butter. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've made myself hungry. Time to get out the potato peeler!

*I have so much trouble measuring when I cook. I've been cooking since I was 8, and measuring cups have never figured into it. Try these, and then settle on whatever amounts work for you. Everyone likes their potatoes different.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love your guts - the beginning

Hey everyone, my name is Stephane, and I'm a 23 year old law school student with IBS. I just found out I had it a couple years ago, and it's been a huge learning experience. Throughout the course of this blog, I'll share with you stories, tips, and recipes that I've come across (or made up) that have helped me through it. Hopefully you'll find it useful!