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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Cooking for Someone Who is Sick or Incapacitate

Frugal Kitchens 101

Back in February I had an injury that took me out of the kitchen and off my feet for about three weeks.  Once I got back into the kitchen the issue was a motility issue in that I couldn't use the step stool to reach things I was used to reaching or doing things I was used to doing.  Our spring vacation presented a whole new kitchen issue and that was the sick kitchen.  We spent the first leg of our spring vacation in Las Vegas with him being seen in emerg during the eighteen hours we touched home before flying out again.  Our second leg of our vacation was spent at our vacation home.  We arrived home on May 25 and it has been a nightmare of emerg visits, a hospital admission, medical tests, and discovering underlying problems which bring up the whole issue of cooking for someone who is sick or incapacitated in any way.  The way do deal with this very much depends on the nature of illness.

My injury fell into the incapacitated category.  I was on crutches so mobility and motility was an issue.  Getting a steaming hot cup of tea from point A to point B was a huge issue.  Getting hot food from the microwave to the counter was a problem then getting it to where I wanted to eat was a huge problem  Anytime you are dealing with mobility and motility issues it becomes paramount to make access easy.  This allows the patient to keep as much independence as possible.

My husband's illenss fell into the sickness category.  He was diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis thought to have been contracted during the last day of our travels in one of the airports.  Tests revealed a couple of other problems but the primary concern in the initial days was dealing with the viral infection.  In this case it became very important to keep nutrition to help with the healing process but also to go with bland foods.  Any time there is any kind of gastointestinational problem the rules are:

  • clear liquids - If you can't see through the liquid the patient should not be drinking it!  That means no milk, coffee, soda and most juices.   Some herbal teas providing they do not interfere with any medications the patient is on may be fine.  Caffeine in particular is a stomach irritant to avoid any beverage containing caffeine.  If the patient is vomitting or has diahhorea an electolyte replacement is necessary.  There are homemade versions or you can use a sport's drink like Gatorade.  It is also necessary to keep the blood sugar level as close to normal as possible.  Jello is classic used and contrary to belief it can be used while still in liquid form.  Ginger ale can help as well to maintain the blood sugar level.  Stir it to remove the fizz. 
  • avoid dairy - All dairy with the exception of plain yogurt (helps re-establish intestinal flora) and poached eggs (provides easily digested protein) should be avoided.  Until all symptoms have subsided avoid all cheeses, any eggs cooked in fat or undercooked, milk and all milk products.
  • bland - Foods should be bland to prevent triggering nausea or irritating the stomach and intestines.  Seasonings including salt should not be used.  Bland foods include plain white rice, steamed or baked potatoes, plain pasta, and unseasoned broths. 
  • avoid white sugar - White sugar is an energy source for both bacteria and viruses.  White sugar will cause fevers to spike or worsen as well as increase both nausea and diahhorea.  Avoid anything with white sugar in it while ill.  If the patient really needs a sweetener use raw honey that has natural antibiotic properites.
  • avoid fiber - Fiber is nature's way of scrubbing out the intestines.  Normally this is a good thing, however, when the intestines are irritated the last thing you want to do is scub them.  Avoid things like vegetable peelings, legumes, pulses, beans, whole grains and that type of thing.


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