Jaime Hartman blogs at Gutsy By Nature, where she shares recipes and research relating to her story of healing and managing Crohn’s disease through a grain free Paleo-style diet. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two pampered pets. By day she works in literacy education and is a part-time yoga teacher. Be sure to connect with Jaime on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.
For almost one whole year, I didn’t eat anything.
After a decade of dealing with Crohn’s disease mostly by ignoring it, scar tissue in my large intestine finally built up to the point that I needed surgery. That surgery went badly and so did a couple more follow up surgeries, so my guts were literally full of holes and the contents spilled out into ostomy bags (read more about my story). To allow my intestines to rest and perhaps heal a bit before another surgical attempt to repair them, I was what they call NPO, which is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase nil per os and means “nothing by mouth.” No food, no drink, not even water. Instead, all of my nourishment came from a chemical concoction called total parenteral nutrition (TPN) pumped into a special IV in my chest, bypassing my digestive tract completely.
After bowel surgery or any condition that requires you to be NPO for any length of time in the hospital, they will slowly advance your diet starting with sips of water, then clear liquids, including frozen non-dairy sorbets.
Though I had almost no appetite and was still in a lot of pain, I remember those sorbets bringing me great happiness! The sweet-tart combination activated my slumbering taste buds, the iciness was refreshing on a throat that was still raw from the NG tube that had only recently been removed. And after so long without a true food experience, I was giddy to be using a spoon and even chewing once or twice before swallowing!
Of course the mass produced sorbet cups served in the hospital were full of nasty artificial flavors and colors, refined sugar, and who knows what else. This recipe for strawberry rhubarb sorbet is all fruit and has little in common with those sorbets, except for being icy and perfectly sweet-tart.
It is also totally autoimmune protocol friendly and is made with strawberries and rhubarb – both low-FODMAP fruits – so this is a great dessert for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or any other condition that causes FODMAP intolerance. Note that dates are high in fructose, but the per-serving amount here is quite small so most people will be fine with the addition of four dates. If you are very sensitive, try cutting back to just two dates.
Today I am happy to report that the final surgery successfully reconnected by intestines, my Crohn’s is mostly under control, and I’m managing the effects of having lost large pieces of my bowel – thanks in large part to the nutrient dense Paleo diet I follow.
And you better believe that I enjoy every bite of food I get to eat!
- Serves: 8-12
- Prep time: 15 minutes, plus time for chilling and freezing
- 4 cups strawberries, fresh or thawed from frozen
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 4-6 medjool dates (depending on desired sweetness), pitted and chopped
- 1 cup water
- If using an ice cream maker with a freezable insert, be sure to place it in your freezer at least 24 hours before you plan to actually make the sorbet.
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until rhubarb is very soft and the mixture is very sauce (about 10-15 minutes). Allow to cool slightly and then use an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a countertop blender to puree until smooth.
- Put mixture in a bowl or other container, place in refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 8 hours.
- Freeze using an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions and transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze until solid OR follow the directions below:
- Place mixture into two loaf pans and chill in the freezer until mushy but not frozen solid (about 30-45 minutes).
- Remove and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and light but not melted.
- Repeat steps A and B.
- Scoop into a refrigerator container and freeze solid.
- Allow the frozen sorbet to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before attempting to scoop and serve.