When you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you may find that many nutritious foods make symptoms worse during times of disease activity – and therefore meal preparation seems to be a arduous task. Depending on the severity of the disease and the part of the gastrointestinal tract affected, you may have difficulty digesting and absorbing foods such as fruits and vegetables. These foods are important to eat because they contain vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and phytochemicals that selectively feed the good gut bacteria, called prebiotics. Prebiotics promote a healthy gut microbiome and help reduce inflammation in the body.
Luckily, there are a variety of kitchen appliances that can help you tolerate these foods by breaking them down into a form that’s easy to digest, won’t aggravate irritation, and, perhaps most importantly, tastes great. .
For IBD patients, flare-ups are a part of life, and when your intestines are inflamed, the last foods you want to eat are raw fruits and vegetables. As a result, you may be lacking in essential healing nutrients, as well as fiber that feeds good gut bacteria to ultimately promote a healthier gut environment. The blend allows you to reap the benefits of these nutritious but hard-to-digest foods by “pre-digesting” their fibers so they go downhill smoothly and with minimal irritation.
My blender is the most used appliance in my kitchen. It has both helped me through relapses and supported me in maintaining remission. From smoothies to soups, sauces and dips, it’s extremely versatile and allows me to pack many nutrients into one meal.
Blenders can range from $20 single-serve machines meant for college dorms to industrial-strength varieties costing a few hundred dollars. I was initially reluctant to spend the money on a fancy blender, but once I invested in a powerful model I found it pretty much paid for itself within a few months as I use it so often. Investing in a quality blender helps ensure that fruits and vegetables will be properly liquefied or pureed for optimal digestion.
Cleanblend Classic Blender, $179.99; Cleanblend.com
Steaming is my favorite method of cooking vegetables during UC flares. It softens the texture of vegetables that would cause irritation if eaten raw, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini. When I am actively experiencing symptoms, I thoroughly steam vegetables so they are soft enough to mash with a fork. If I have a more serious flare-up, I can even puree some steamed vegetables in my blender to break them down further.
Steamer baskets are inexpensive and easy to use: just add an inch or two of water to a large pot, place your steamer basket inside the pot with vegetables, then cover the pot, bring it to a boil and simmer until desired texture is achieved. reached.
Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle, $20.99; Oxo.com
3. Vegetable peeler
The skins of fruits and vegetables contain insoluble fiber, a type of fiber that is particularly irritating and difficult to digest during times of active intestinal inflammation. This fiber speeds up gastrointestinal transit time, which means it speeds up the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract â usually the last thing you want during a flare-up.
Removing the skin from fruits and vegetables helps reduce their insoluble fiber content, which means you don’t have to give them up completely during a flare-up.
For starters, try removing the skin from the fruits and vegetables you cook, such as peeling the skin from zucchini before steaming it, from potatoes before roasting it, or from an apple before cooking it with cinnamon for a sweet snack or dessert. When you start to feel better and the inflammation goes down, try adding peeled raw fruits and vegetables like apples, peaches, pears, and seedless cucumbers to your diet.
Oxo Good Grips Pivoting Peeler, $10.99; Oxo.com
Crushing fruits and vegetables is another way to modify the texture so that they are better tolerated. Although you can use a regular fork for this, grinders are more efficient and they are relatively inexpensive.
Some of my favorite foods for flares include mashed butternut squash and sweet potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I also like to mash steamed cauliflower and add a pinch of salt, garlic powder, and plain Greek yogurt for creaminess. It tastes like a twist on mashed potatoes, and it’s an easy way to add more plant diversity to a temporarily restricted diet.
Zyliss Stainless Steel Potato Masher, $16.99; BedBathAndBeyond.com
5. Tea kettle
Tea kettles won’t change the texture of food, but they can play a different helpful role in managing IBD symptoms. A hot cup of tea isn’t just comforting when you’re not feeling well â many herbal teas have beneficial properties that can help with symptom management. For example, peppermint tea has antispasmodic properties, which can help relieve abdominal cramps, and ginger tea is believed to help relieve nausea. A research journal published in January 2020 in the Annals of Gastroenterology suggested that turmeric tea may even help reduce levels of inflammation in UC patients. Plus, drinking tea regularly can help you stay hydrated.
Chantal Vintage enameled steel kettle, $49.95; CrateAndBarrel.com
Investing in kitchen appliances pays off in the long run
Preparing your own meals gives you control over what’s in them and changes the textures so you can tolerate a wider variety of nutrient-dense foods during IBD flare-ups. By investing in a few key kitchen appliances and gadgets, meal preparation will become easier, you’ll be more likely to experiment in the kitchen and expand your food horizons, and as a result, you’ll be able to get all the nutrients you need. need. the body needs to heal and promote remission.