Cooking for Those with Dietary Restrictions

Chicken Feta Salad

Chicken Feta Salad

I just want to put this up front so there’s no confusion – I am not a medical professional, dietitian or nutritionist. I’m a Personal Chef who is employed by individuals to prepare meals for themselves, friends &/or family members.

Lately, I’ve been asked to prepare meals for more and more seriously ill, chemo and cancer patients.
Things become even more complicated when you have to come up with a menu for someone requiring multiple dietary restrictions. Such as: High Blood Pressure (Sodium Restrictions), High cholesterol (Low fat) Diabetes (low carbohydrate) Constipation due to pain medication (High Fiber) and Chemotherapy (Bland diet due to nausea)… The list can go on & on.

To complicate things even more, clients currently taking chemotherapy treatments can have a good appetite with no restrictions one day and be extremely nauseous and suffering from mouth sores, making it difficult to swallow the next.

If you or a loved-one has a medical condition that requires dietary restrictions, please, if your doctor has not already done so, ask to be referred to a Registered Dietitian. They are your best source for nutritional information. They can guide you to trusted web sites for everything from menu suggestions to recipes that are appropriate for your condition.

When I started my Personal Chef business, I knew I’d have clients on restricted diets. From working as a Pharmacy Technician, I knew the most prevalent health concerns, which can be controlled with diet are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. I scheduled an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to discuss how diet can affect “The Big 3” and how to accurately count calories, carbohydrates and fats in the foods I prepared. Next, I searched out recipes that not only tasted good but were good for you.

Whatever your reason for needing a restricted diet, the best thing you can do is broaden your taste in food.

Honestly, I went from not eating vegetable soup at all to getting second helpings of soups such as Garden Vegetable & Tuscan Chicken.

I thought I didn’t like fish prepared anyway but fried. I now have baked, roasted and grilled seafood every week.

I swore I didn’t like meat cooked with fruit. Pineapple Chicken and Key West Shrimp with Lime quickly became two of my favorite dishes.

Before, I never served broccoli or cauliflower unless it was swimming in cheese sauce. Spinach and other greens had to be cooked to death with a large glop of bacon grease. Quinoa? That stuff looked like bird food not people food.
All are now on a weekly rotation.

You see, I learned it wasn’t the food I disliked – It was the way it was prepared.

I don’t serve anything to my clients I’ve not sampled in my own home. For this reason, I’m constantly trying out new recipes which are low in fat, calories and carbs. Needless to say I’ve lost a LOT of weight while eating very, very well!

A recent check-up at my doctor also showed that in less than 7-weeks I lowered my A1C (blood sugar) a full point. I’m not diabetic but Type 2 does run in my family so lowering my levels now is a good thing. *My cholesterol levels were not so bad as to require medication, but they did need some improvement.

My total cholesterol count dropped from a slightly elevated 221 to 181 (Normal is <200) That’s a 40 pt drop in less than 7-weeks! Triglycerides have gone from 141 to 108 (Normal is 0-149) HDL was 50 and is now 54 (Normal >40)
LDL has moved from 143 to 109 (Normal < 130)

I credit my 33lb weight loss and change in blood sugar/cholesterol levels to healthier, cleaner eating. Let me stress, I am NOT on a diet. I’m not following any sort of commercial diet plan that tells me what I can and cannot eat or when to eat it. I am cooking healthier meals with fewer carbs, less fat, and practically no processed foods. About the only thing we eat that isn’t fresh, made from scratch, is cheese, Greek yogurt and some commercially prepared breadcrumbs now and then.

Bottom line – If you want to improve your health, lose weight and feel better, ditch the processed foods and expand your menu to include more fresh fruits and vegetables, less red meat. Cut out Canola, vegetable and other highly processed oils in exchange for pure olive, peanut and tree-nut oils.

One thought on “Cooking for Those with Dietary Restrictions

  1. Pingback: Cooking of those who are taking Chemotgherapy or Radiation Therapy | It's All Good Personal Chef Service

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