Racing, Traveling, and Picky Stomachs

Eating while traveling is always tough when there’s a picky stomach involved, but adding to that the challenge of running a race while traveling, and wow!  I had a really rough time figuring out what to pack and what to plan to eat, etc.  I was almost frozen with indecision and even though it was a short four hour drive, I decided not to pack anything for dinner.  At the last minute, I threw in a big container of homemade coconut yogurt with some strawberries and granola to eat for lunch.  It felt pretty sad pulling that out to eat at the Mall of America, sitting in front of Johnny Rockets!

this is totally normal to eat at the mall of america, right?

this is totally normal to eat at the mall of america, right?

The rest of the day, basically I ate pecans, walnuts, and raisins.  I ate so many nuts that day that I’m surprised I didn’t turn in to one!  But I was so fearful to eat just about anything else..  For dinner, I had decided I would go somewhere that I could make my own salad, like Subway, so that’s where I went.  Problem: I accidentally ordered balsamic vinegarette, thinking I was ordering JUST balsamic vinegar.  Plus, she of course poured way too much on, and so by the time I got my salad, it was the saddest, limpest looking spinach, tomato, tiny slices of cucumber, and black olive salad I had ever seen.  I tried to eat as much as I could, but the vinegarette was overpowering and I kept thinking about how it surely had a bunch of crap that I shouldn’t eat.  I threw most of it away and went to my car, where, horrifically, I decided to straight shot warm apple cider vinegar in an attempt to fend off any potential ill effects from the vinegarette.  I tell you, I love vinegar more than any normal person should, but straight shotting warm apple cider vinegar might be the grossest thing I’ve ever done.  This is why having a picky stomach and being a runner makes me a little insane.   I know that I have to fuel properly the day before a half marathon in order to have energy, but if 90% of what I eat causes stomach problems, it’s a really tough battle!!

For my pre-race “breakfast” (hardly qualifies), I had dry brown rice crispies and two clementines.  Luckily, those seemed to be enough so that I wasn’t starving but also not too full.  The race went decently, though I still got a side cramp despite all of my best efforts!  It’s hard to tell if side cramps are caused by upset stomach or not, I sure get them a lot but they feel much different than a usual upset stomach.

The rest of the weekend I just decided to eat what sounded good, since with the race behind me I didn’t have to worry quite so much about an upset stomach holding me back.  I munched on a banana, trail mix, and a bag of potato chips post race, and then after a nice nap, I ventured out to find something for lunch.  My first try at a salad shop turned up empty, so I went in hunt of something like Au Bon Pain or Panera and found Cosi.  I had a yummy salad with chicken, bacon, and gorgonzola that hit the spot!  Dinner was a bit more of a problem, I searched yelp for something but nothing was sounding good.  I finally found a place and went out to find it, and again came up empty!  So I wandered aimlessly, also waiting to see if the hubby would be able to join, and let my hunger get away from me and got to that scary place that is beyond hunger.  It is the spacey, I need to eat but everything sounds horrible phase that usually ends with me crying and/or getting very angry.  Hangry, as it were.  Luckily, my hubby came to the rescue and we found somewhere quickly that had some good options.  I scarfed down almost the entire plate of sweet potato fries that were smothered in turkey gravy, cheese curds, sage, and cherries.  I know it sounds weird, but it was SOO tasty!  We also got dessert, chocolate torte, which was yummy!  I didn’t feel that great going to bed, but woke up feeling fine.  In fact, for brunch, I decided to try out an egg white omelette (with quinoa, spinach, tomato, and goat cheese) and I have felt fine all day, surprisingly!!

Only new food I have to share was something I whipped up before we left because I was afraid my coconut milk was going to go bad.  It was Coconut Milk Panna Cotta and it was very yummy!!  I didn’t have any cardamom (which I remedied today), but otherwise I followed the recipe.  I would say it makes four servings, I put it in to two bowls, but it was very filling and I only ate half.

coconut milk panna cotta

coconut milk panna cotta

More travels are ahead of me and I plan to bring at least lunch for the first day.  Some of the meals are included, so while that doesn’t always mean there will be something that I can/want to eat, I also don’t feel like trying to pack three days of food with me.  So I will just have to try my best and make sure I have trail mix handy at all times to avoid turning in to Hangry. 🙂

Testing out the diet

Yesterday I woke up feeling like total crap.  I had two thoughts: is this the flu? Or was it something I ate last night?  Either way, I declared it a sick day and went back to sleep till 9.  I felt a bit better after a few more hours of sleep, but still a touch nauseous.  So I moved downstairs and contemplated what would be the best way to move forward as far as eating.  I started with some watered down 100% Grape Juice and turned on the TV, delighted that a Law & Order: SVU marathon would be keeping me company (gotta love USA!).

I decided making some homemade jello would be a good next step, so I used some plain gelatin and did half water, half 100% Grape Juice and let that set.  I was feeling a bit better, so decided to make up the whole chicken for dinner that I bought for this week.  At this point, I started to actually feel a bit hungry, so I decided to give the FODMAP diet a test run!  Since my jello wasn’t ready, I thought about what I could make from scratch and decided on oatmeal.  I used plain rolled oats and cooked them with my homemade coconut milk, then added a swirl of maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and a small handful of chopped pecans.  It was sooo tasty and really hit the spot!  I also got to peeling and chopping carrots and celery for both the chicken and for snacks.  The carrots I cooked and mashed, since that was recommended for the “intro SCD diet,” I figured it couldn’t hurt to have some of those this week.

For the chicken, I cooked it in the crock pot following this recipe (minus onions/garlic per FODMAP): Crockpot Chicken
I came across this recipe first because of her entry about the benefits of bone broth, so I bought the chicken with the end purpose of also making bone broth!  The chicken was very tasty and the broth is currently simmering.  I also chopped up and baked some butternut squash with just some olive oil, s&p and powdered ginger and it was yummy- definitely buying some more of that to have on hand!

For a late lunch, I made up very plain turkey burgers, again getting the idea from the “intro SCD diet” but expanding a bit to make them not too boring.  I really just made up what to put in it based on what sounded good and fit in to the FODMAP restrictions:

FODMAP Turkey Burgers
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
Smoked paprika
S&P
Ground sage
Ground mustard
A few tablespoons of my homemade coconut flour

I mixed all of this and formed five patties, then dusted the outside with a little more coconut flour, then slapped them on the George Foreman for three minutes.  I thought they turned out great, a little dry but I wasn’t really surprised by that.  The one thing that dawned on me as I was eating it plain was that with the FODMAP diet, I can’t have ketchup because of the fructose!  Booo I love ketchup!  I promptly hunted down a DIY FODMAP ketchup recipe, so I hope to give that a go sometime soon.

My hunger grew throughout the day, so when I got hungry in between meals I had my grape jello, and for dessert I added some blueberries.

All in all, I’m feeling MUCH better today!  Today I’m still trying to be careful about what I’m eating, I still had my usual smoothie because it is mostly FODMAP friendly (aside from the yogurt, but I feel like it is pretty low lactose..).

I gotta say though, I was pretty disappointed with my coffee today.  I brought some of my homemade coconut milk mixed with a good bit of maple syrup to add to the coffee and it just wasn’t enough.  I only got through about half the cup and had to toss it because it was just too bitter for me.  So it looks like I’ll probably be giving up coffee for awhile, which isn’t such a big deal really.  Aside from the fact that I have like 20 k-cups hanging out in my drawer.. might just have to donate those to co-workers!

DIY Coconut Milk & Flour

I decided to tackle making my own coconut milk after seeing this post on pinterest:
DIY Coconut Milk

I’ve been buying coconut milk from Trader Joe’s for a long time now because it is a pretty reasonable price and I have always liked that it is shelf stable, so I can stock up on a whole bunch and not worry about crowding my fridge.  Well, even at good ol TJ’s, there are some not so great additives in the coconut milk :-/ The only way to buy a more “pure” coconut milk is to buy the canned kind, which can get pretty pricey if you’re drinking it a lot!

So I thought I’d take a stab at making it myself.  I bought organic shredded coconut from the bulk aisle at Hy-Vee, I got 0.7 lb for about $4, which ended up being about 3.5 cups.

I soaked 3 cups of the coconut with 6 cups of water for two hours.

Coconut soaking

Coconut soaking

Then it was time to blend it!  I had to do two batches in the blender.  I bought a “nut milk bag” and strained the coconut milk using this, making sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible because the leftover bits can then be used to make coconut flour!!  I ended up with 1.5 pitchers, each pitcher being 41 ounces, so my estimate would be probably close to 50 ounces of milk.

coconut milk!!

coconut milk!!

Then I spread out the coconut leftovers on two sheets and baked them at 170 degrees for over an hour (the blog said 45 mins but I didn’t think it felt dry enough).

soon-to-be coconut flour

soon-to-be coconut flour

Once this seemed dry enough, I put it through the food processor and tada, coconut flour!!

coconut flour

coconut flour

All in all, it was a fair bit of a work (especially when I made a few messes *ahem*), but I am pretty pleased with what all I got for $4!  Especially knowing that there is nothing funny added to any of these products- just organic coconut and water!