When I was diagnosed with gastroparesis (aka slow digestion), 4 years ago, the conventional doctors gave me guidelines for eating that basically consisted of Gatorade, saltines and soft drinks. If you’re as in shock as I was at these completely non-nutritional suggestions, you’ve come to the right place! Gatorade has tons of sugar (hellooooo diabetes?), saltines have gluten and no nutrition either (leaky guy, anyone?) and soft drinks contain both inflammatory sugar AND carbonation, which is like a double whammy, one-two punch to your already damaged gut.
First you might be asking, do I have gastroparesis? Here are some of the common signs and symptoms:
-feeling of fullness for a long time after you eat
-burping and bloating
-nausea and vomiting
These symptoms are usually worse after eating heavier foods like fatty foods, meats and fibrous foods. Often, processed meats and fish are easier to digest than whole cuts of meat.
When I found out that gastroparesis was the cause of my symptoms, I looked for actually healthy ways to feed myself while my digestion healed, and I found that there are absolutely nutrient-dense ways to do so! While many people can start the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) or a Paleo diet without any modifications, and both diets dramatically reduce illness and inflammation, when dealing with gastroparesis a typical AIP or Paleo diet might not be enough.
With that in mind, here are my guidelines for THE REAL GASTROPARESIS DIET. If you’ve found anything that works for you, share in the comments! And let me know if you try any of these!
- If you absolutely cannot eat anything, drink bone both. You’ll be getting fat, minerals and protein and you’ll help heal leaky gut in the process.
- Drink lots of water between meals (adding lemon and sea salt is a good boost too!) but don’t drink anything with your meal (or the minimum you can drink without choking).
- Use easy to digest, low fat cooking methods: baking, steaming and boiling are best for vegetables, and baking and steaming also work for meats/seafood. If you saute, use minimal oil (and use coconut oil or avocado oil).
- Puree everything. The more foods you puree, the less your stomach has to work to digest the foods. The less your stomach has to work, the more it heals! It’s easy to create delicious soups from just about any pureed vegetable! I don’t recommend trying actual baby food necessarily (though be my guest if you’d like to) but aim for the consistency of baby food.
- Only eat easily-digestible protein: fish and shellfish are the easiest (and very nutrient dense!), followed by deli/processed meats like prosciutto, ham and roasted turkey slices (look for high quality brands with natural ingredients and no nitrites/nitrates or preservatives).
- As you heal, add in other soft meats like ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken, or shredded, slow-cooked meats like pulled pork or shredded chicken.
- Avoid gut irritants like alcohol, spicy foods, coffee, and refined sugar.
- Transition to an Autoimmune Protocol diet to heal gut inflammation.
- Limit the amount of starchy foods that you eat at a time.
- Drink ginger tea for nausea and indigestion. Ginger tea is easy to make by boiling fresh ginger or pouring hot water over slices of peeled ginger and letting them steep for about 10-15 minutes.
- Focus on fruits that are naturally low in sugar and high in antioxidants like strawberries, blueberries and cranberries.
- Eat greens in whatever way you can get them without upsetting your stomach. Cook greens by throwing them into broth or hot foods to let them wilt, blend them in smoothies and drink small amounts of green juice. Avoid raw greens until you’ve healed.