What to eat when you can’t eat

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Linda Morel | Special to the JT

Recently a friend from my sisterhood circulated an email, saying she was nauseated and had no appetite. Because most of what she ate made her feel worse, she was hardly
eating at all.


Ginger tea
Ginger Tea (5second / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

She asked what foods would go down easily, so she could keep up her strength.

When you ask three dozen Jewish women for advice about food, you know you’re reaching the source of wisdom. But you will get enough opinions to fill a book:

Stick to plain pasta or rice.

Boiled potatoes are even better.

Avoid fried foods and spices.

Have toast with no butter.

Stay away from milk products.

Roasted chicken without skin is easy to digest.

Peppermint tea or sucking candies will settle your stomach.

Ginger root tea works well, too.

Try poached apples without the skin.

Eat chicken broth — preferably homemade.

Boil skinless chicken and vegetables. Serve them over couscous.

Go back to basics — eat Saltines and drink flat soda.

From time to time, all of us have suffered from stomach upsets, whether they’re caused by a virus, morning sickness during pregnancy or a reaction to chemotherapy. Each family has its remedies for this common ailment.

When nausea struck our family, my mother was a great proponent of cinnamon toast, butter and all. Although that may not be helpful for everyone, I have fond memories of her making it for my brother and me. Her advice about nausea was simple: “If you don’t feel like eating something, then don’t. It will probably make you sick.”

Ginger Root Tea | Pareve

Yield: 1 cup

1½ cups water

1 inch of ginger root

Pour the water into a small saucepan.

With a sharp knife, peel the skin off the ginger root and discard. Dice the ginger finely; then chop it. Move the ginger to the saucepan, and cover it. Bring it to a boil on a high flame for 5 minutes.

Place a small sieve over a coffee mug. Carefully strain the ginger root tea through the sieve into the mug. Discard the ginger. Cool the tea momentarily before drinking so you don’t burn your lips and tongue.

Cinnamon Toast | Dairy or Pareve

Serves 1-2

2 pieces of challah or white bread

1 teaspoon butter or dairy-free margarine

⅛ teaspoon cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon sugar

Toast the bread until it’s golden. Move it to a plate, and immediately spread
the butter or margarine evenly over both pieces of bread. Sprinkle the toast with the cinnamon and sugar. Eat it while warm.

Poached Apples

Serves 1

1 baking apple, such as Gala or Fuji

1 cup water

1 teaspoon honey

⅛ teaspoon cinnamon

Cut the apple into eighths. Cut off the skin, core and pits and discard them. Place the apple slices in a small saucepan along with the remaining ingredients. Cover the pot, and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the flame to a fast simmer. Simmer it until the apple slices are soft and the poaching liquid has thickened, about 10 minutes.

This can be eaten hot, cold or at room temperature with or without the poaching liquid. If you have no appetite, the apple can be consumed a little at a time over many hours.

Homemade Chicken Broth and Couscous | Meat

Serves 2

2 skinless chicken breasts with the bone in

3 carrots

3 celery stalks

1 small onion

1 teaspoon dill, chopped

Kosher salt to taste

Uncooked couscous for 2 servings

Place the chicken in a medium-large pot. Reserve.

With a vegetable peeler, scrape the carrots and celery. Then dice them. Peel the onion and dice it. Add the carrots, celery, onion, dill and salt to the pot. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients by an inch, about 4 cups.

Cover the pot, and bring it to a boil. Then lower the flame so the soup maintains a fast simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot, and place it on a plate. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred the chicken with a fork, and return it to the soup.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to the directions on the box. Divide the couscous in half, and place it in two large soup bowls. Spoon the soup over the couscous. Serve immediately.

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