Tips to manage or avoid gastroparesis:
- Avoid raw vegetables and fruits,
especially those with hard to digest, fibrous skins. This is contrary to what
you have always been told, but it works. The fibers can actually start to
form a hard ball of undigested food in your stomach. Instead, eat low-sodium
canned or frozen vegetables and canned fruit packed in water. Cook vegetables
thoroughly so they are soft. My downfall in this area was the raw veggie tray
- Raw carrots, celery, bell peppers,
cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower should be eaten very sparingly,
if at all. Cook these very well and eat in proper portion.
- Avoid high-fat red meats such
as prime rib and steaks. These kinds of meat are very hard to digest and the
high fat content just makes matters worse. If you have to treat yourself on
a rare occasion, order the petit filet and take half home for leftovers. Less
is always better for any of these foods.
- When eating chicken, remove the
skin. Deep fried chicken with the skin on and all the breading can do you
in at one sitting.
- Eat smaller meals more often.
The sheer volume of food in your stomach from any one meal makes it harder
- Chew your food thoroughly. Yes,
chew thoroughly. Chewing can be a great aid to digestion because the stomach
has small particles to break down.
- Drink plenty of water during
a meal. It will aid digestion and will fill you up so you will tend to eat
less naturally at each meal.
- When blood sugar is very high,
your stomach slows down. If your blood sugar is running high, or if you are
either very excited or stressed, completely avoid these foods and eat very
plain, easy-to-digest foods. This can be a challenge at a party, but trust
me, it is worth it.
- If you are going to eat a heavier
meal with some of the foods listed here, don’t overdo it. Try to completely
avoid these foods for several days afterward and eat smaller portions. If
you know ahead of time of an upcoming party or big meal, like Thanksgiving,
make sure the day or two prior, you give your stomach a good rest.
- Finally, learn to listen to your
body. If you have diabetes you should learn to do this in any case, but it
can pay great dividends here. If you notice your stomach is staying full longer
than expected, take a walk and don’t eat anything solid for the next
meal. Have a bland soup and yogurt and perhaps some saltines.
Thomas Ley has had type 1 diabetes since he was seven and has been blind since
he was 17. He is a manager and senior software support analyst for UPS and has
a strong background in the field of accessible technology for the blind. He
is the technology writer for Voice of the Diabetic.