Saturday, September 10, 2011

Emergence of a Foodie

I have always loved to cook. I would have been a chef but I thought that I'd then hate cooking at home. And while I love to cook and experiment with new recipes, I'm not the best at it. But I do have a love for food (sometimes too much) and I enjoy experiencing new flavors (though most will tell you, I'm also a very picky eater).

However, my relationship with food has changed a lot over the past few years (thanks cancer) and I'm having to learn to readjust my eating habits. Right after I was diagnosed I had a total colectomy with an ileoanal anastamosis... which is a technical way of saying I had my colon removed. When your colon, aka your "holding chamber", is taken away food stays in your body a much shorter period of time. That means I absorb less nutrients, less fluids, and if I eat the wrong kind of food I will be having a not so fun night. My surgery was about 3 years ago so you would think that I would have it together by now, but really the opposite is true. About a year ago I was hospitalized with pancreatitis... it came on very suddenly and I was sick for about a week and a half. Normally it is caused by alcohol (I don't drink) or gallstones (which I don't have), so they have concluded than mine was caused by oxidative stress from my abdominal surgery.

Normally pancreatitis is acute and doesn't effect your daily life but mine has become chronic. It's something I haven't really let my family in on... they have so much to worry about in their own lives. Plus I try to hide my medical issues when I can because I know it is disrupting... they like to go out to eat, cook southern food, drink wine... all things that I can't (or shouldn't) do. Though I must admit I give in to temptation way too much and I definitely pay for it. After eating out for days I tend to start having issues and about a week ago it started getting really bad to the point I almost left school (did I mention I'm in school again studying molecular biology and cancer genetics??) and went to the hospital. Every time I eat I am in a tremendous amount of pain. It's hard to even describe but it's a combination of sharp pain and cramping pain that travels from my upper abdomen to my back and down to my lower abdomen. There are times I just have to curl up in the bed or retreat to a public restroom to cry and wait until it subsides. So why am I doing this to myself??? I have complete control over whether or not this gets better, yet I keep allowing myself to kill my body. I have to change my habits and my thoughts about food. Regardless of whether or not it will inconvenience someone else I have to choose what is right for me and what is healthy or me, especially because I know that no one in my family would want me to do any different.

So I'm going to try to start sharing some recipes that are yummy and are great for those who have had colon resections. Though I am also trying to stick to a diet to help pancreatitis which includes low fat foods, nothing fried, no caffeine (oh this will be the hardest...), no spicy foods, no eggs, and no red meat. So here is my first recipe that I happen to love.

Caribbean Black Beans and Fried Plaintains


· 2 large ripe plantains

· 3 T Olive Oil

· 4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

· 2 15oz cans of organic black beans, drained and rinsed

· 2/3 cup orange juice

· 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice (or ½ a lime)

· Salt (optional)


Cut off the ends of the plantains and then peel off the skin with a sharp knife, trying not to cut the flesh. Discard the peel and slice the plantains into approx. ½ inch circles.

Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add plantains and cook until browned but not burnt, approx. 6-8 minutes. Repeat on both sides. When they are done, transfer them to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add 1 T of olive oil to pan and sauté garlic. Then add beans, orange juice, and lime juice. Stir often until the beans have absorbed most of the juice, approx. 4-5 minutes. Then add the plantains and toss. Serve hot. Sprinkle with salt if desired.

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"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting..... 'WHAT A RIDE!'"