A Note from Gabriella: I am excited to share with you all the 4th post for a series I am hosting on Beyond the Bite for the month of November called “Food That Heals.” In a nut shell, this series highlights individuals who are actively living out Hippocrate’s famous quote “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” You can view other posts here.
Martine Partridge is an eater of real, whole, nourishing food. She is also a combatter of Crohn’s Disease. Martine is an enthusiastic advocate for using food as medicine since food has become her strongest ally in living a full and happy life in spite of autoimmunity. When Martine isn’t ogling food photos or creating scrumptious grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, and refined-free dishes to share with friends and family, she is practicing yoga, reading a novel, or hanging with family, friends and her sweet pup, Henry. She is forever grateful to her parents for their unconditional love and incredible support, especially through the darkest days of dealing with Crohn’s Disease. Martine also admires and applauds the strength and inspiration of her fellow autoimmune warriors who refuse to let disease define them and who continue to fight against the symptoms chronic illness. For more food and lifestyle ideas, follow Martine’s blog, eathealthrive.ca. Martine welcomes and looks forward to engaging with her readers on social media as well. Find her on Instagram @eat_heal_thrive, Twitter @Eat_Heal_Thrive, Pinterest Eat Heal Thrive, and Facebook Eat Heal Thrive.
When Gabriella approached me about contributing to her blog for a series that focuses on food as medicine, I was happy and excited to participate! The food as medicine movement is close to my heart…and my colon. I’ve used food as medicine to some degree in the 20+ years I’ve been battling Crohn’s Disease. In fact, when the doctors were advising the complete removal of my large intestine, using food as medicine saved me from undergoing that life-altering surgery, and I’m happy to report that I live a full and happy life today with my digestive tract intact. At the time I, fortunately, had life insurance from an insurance company similar to Special Risk Managers (see here – https://www.specialriskmanagers.com.au/crohns-disease-life-insurance/) and my rather expensive medications and potential surgeries would have been covered. I attribute my wellbeing to a continued focus on food as the fulcrum for good health. This is not to say that I am cured. I still have days in which I struggle a bit, but they are few and far between. Eating whole, nourishing food gives me back the control. I no longer live in fear of Crohn’s and its horrid symptoms. Focusing on the consumption of nutrient density and anti-inflammatory foods allows me to carry on with life relatively unimpeded by what can be a viciously serious and chronic illness. So let’s chat more specifically about some of the food that has aided me in my healing journey.
About Fresh Ginger
Keeping inflammation at bay is the name of the game when gaining the upper hand on Crohn’s. As such, I’ve come to love ginger, not just for its flavourful zip, but also for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is also known to protect and heal the gut, reducing digestive woes like bloating and cramps. And, fortunately, ginger is relatively easy to source in that it is available all year round. Here’s a great kitchen hack for you: ginger keeps in the freezer for six months if it’s tightly wrapped and unpeeled. I have several 1-inch knobs of ginger frozen and on-hand, ready to be microplaned.
About Soluble Fiber
My colon appreciates the soothing qualities of cooked soluble fiber (I’ve learned this from weathering the storm of Crohn’s). Soluble fiber absorbs water and becomes gel-like when moving through the digestive tract. This gelling quality is precisely what makes soluble fiber perfect for a digestive system that needs some extra TLC because soluble fiber can help the colon reach a balance, maintaining healthy bowel movements and guarding against either extreme of constipation or diarrhea. Two foods that are particularly high in soluble fiber are apples and pears, both of which I adore!
Putting the Pieces Together
So given my love of fresh ginger as well as my adoration for apples and pears, I’m sharing this Gingered Apple-Pear Sauce because it maximizes the yumminess of all three. This recipe is a healthy treat option and one that contains a good dose of that valuable, soothing soluble fiber.
Gingered Apple-Pear Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
(Yields 2.5 cups)
- 5 medium apples – peeled, cored, and sliced (about 5 cups)
- 4 small pears – peeled, cored, and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1/3 cup apple juice (or water)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey (optional)
- 3-4 dried apricots, chopped fine (optional but a very nice addition)
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the apple and pear slices over medium heat. Pour in the apple juice (or water). Add the fresh ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, and optional maple syrup (or honey) and dried apricots. Bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat and allow to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until all fruit is tender and slightly caramelized.
- Remove from heat and mash by hand for a chunkier, more rustic sauce or use an immersion blender to purée to desired consistency.
- Serve warm or cool. Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.