In this series of posts Sally shares the first stages of her lifestyle change to a gluten-free, potato-free and low sugar diet, as one of the ways to manage her fibromyalgia symptoms.
Here she is trying to make life easy: repeating some lunchtime dishes, cooking some old favourites and missing cake.
Easy Days . . .
(Another tub of soup from the freezer)
Salmon, broccoli and carrots
(. . . and boiled potatoes for my husband)
This is my version of convenience food and a method I have used for some years.
I buy a pack of two salmon fillets from the supermarket.
Peel back the shrink-wrap cover and pour a little olive oil over the fillets, which are still in the packaging.
Next cut a large end off a lemon (you don’t need as much as half a lemon).
Squeeze the juice over the salmon, then, cut the remainder into chunks and place around the fish.
Add 4/5 black peppercorns and herbs of your choice. Here I’ve used parsley, thyme and bay.
Place the shrink-wrap covering back over the fish and leave to marinade for as long as you want. If I’m organized, I’ll do this during the day and put the fish back in the fridge. If I’m not, I only marinade for as long as it takes me to prepare the vegetables or salad and I’m ready to cook.
Once the vegetables are cooking, if you’re having vegetables, start cooking the salmon. I have a wonderful pan for this. It’s one of those that doesn’t need any fat or much liquid and comes from a set my husband found for me when I first had fibromyalgia and found it difficult to pick up saucepans – more about them another time.
So for my pan, I place the pan on the heat, flick it with some cold water (if it sizzles I know the pan is hot enough), place the salmon skin side down in the pan and pour the juices from the marinade over it. Pop the lid on, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 -7 minutes until the shade of pink has changed colour. We like ours just cooked, so slightly darker pink inside, but you can cook yours however you like it. Once the fish is cooked turn off the heat and leave to rest in the pan until everything else is ready. The cooking process does continue, so if you don’t want it cooked anymore take it out of the pan.
I like mine with a little mayonnaise (from a jar is fine) and my husband likes his with some sweet chilli sauce. Easy!
Any leftover skin is a treat for the dogs.
You can use this method with other types of fish. You can cook it in a frying pan or on a griddle, even wrapped in foil in the oven or on the barbecue. If you have more fish than you need, that’s a bonus: it’s great cold with a lunchtime salad or in a sandwich for the bread eaters in your house.
Lunches are often repetitive. Just think, how many times a week you used to eat sandwiches. Anyway, I liked this and the addition of some smoked salmon was a bit like changing the filling in your sandwich.
I haven’t mentioned tea time before because, usually, I just have a cup of herbal tea. Today was different. Today was the third day that I hadn’t had any cake with my morning coffee and I was in urgent need of sugar. I resorted to the gluten-free aisle of our village Co-op store where, thankfully, I found some Mrs Crimble’s Chocolate Macaroons – one of the few ‘off-the-shelf’ gluten-free products I don’t mind eating. So, . . .
Chamomile tea and 3 (I really needed sugar) chocolate macaroons
Chilli and Rice
Another dish I’ve been making for years, which doesn’t contain gluten, so long as you’re careful with the sauce. I use Swiss Bouillon powder to make my stock and a teaspoon of Marmite for depth and flavour. Otherwise, use your normal recipe. I’ll write up my method next time I make it to share with you.
Moving into Week 2 but it’s still the weekend
I have chocolate macaroons with my morning coffee – sugar craving satisfied.
Oh dear – same as last Sunday. We are creatures of habit. This is one of my husband’s favourites which is why we have it at weekends when he’s home.
Tea time (sugar craving not satisfied)
Chamomile tea and the last chocolate macaroon
Did I mention that I had bought two packets? Good job too – one packet was consumed by my husband and his visiting son.
Roast chicken with roasted vegetables (butternut squash, peppers and red onion), spring greens and carrots
(and, of course, roast potatoes for my husband)
So, one week and one day without eating gluten, potatoes or hydrogenated oil, although I’m not sure about the oil content in the chocolate macaroons, and very little sugar. Remember I only have a handful of berries and drizzle of honey on my breakfast.
How do I feel? . . . good.
No dramatic reduction in pain or increase in energy but I’m not expecting anything too soon – I’m a realist. There have been some noticeable improvements in other symptoms that are worth mentioning:
My body seems happier
My digestive system feels more settled – very little gurgling, no stomach cramps, no nausea and things are definitely better when I go to the loo.
My brain fog is less dense and my muscles feel less lethargic.
Encouraging signs! BUT . . .
There are TWO difficulties with this new way of eating:
- It requires a huge amount of cooking. That in, itself, is not a problem, I quite like cooking. The problem is the time and energy required.
- I’ve seen many things I want to try but the ingredients aren’t available in a lot of shops. More time and energy required.
Perhaps I should add a third difficulty: COST. This is not a cheap way to eat.
Easy day means less satisfying food (and no sugar)
Less satisfying food means feeling weak.
And then there’re pastries, which brings me back to morning coffees again. I miss having a croissant with my coffee. I miss having a pain au chocolate with my coffee.
If my husband wants something sweet we can go and buy it. If I want something sweet I have to make it, and that requires planning.
I MUST sort out my store cupboard and I MUST MAKE CAKE!!