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Portion Sizes are a Challenge in a CF Family

It’s summer BBQ time! We have to spend a little extra time buying our grilling meats because I need to be sure that Beautiful gets a normal person portion and I get a “are you seriously going to eat all of that?” look from any number of service personnel, including wait staff at restaurants. When I was younger, they would warn my parents that something was a really big portion, to which they informed them that my nickname was “The Insinkerator” and to just bring me what I ordered.

My PlateHere is an example of a portion that I give myself in the evening. I believe I took some photos of spaghetti dinners with my phone, too – those should go at the bottom. What we have here is 1/3 of a 4-serving bag of steam-in-bag corn, a 12oz pork chop, and 3/4 of a bag of rice. If you have CF, I don’t know how you can make it without moderate culinary skills, and grilling is an essential skill to learn to get good protein in a new and palatable method after a long, cold winter. We do love our grilling recipes, and I do love my grill that Beautiful everyone pitched in and got me for my 30th birthday almost two years ago! I even got a BBQ recipe/tip hardcover book for Christmas the year I got the grill, and it’s got some good rubs in there and makes me feel grilling equipment inadequate. There sure are a lot of toys to go with my shiny grill that I don’t have yet.

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Eating With Cystic Fibrosis: It’s a Full-time Job

I realized this morning how much of my day is spent contemplating my next meal or two, snacks, and whether or not I think I will meet my daily caloric goal. Today, Beautiful suggested that I explain how much I need to eat just to maintain my weight, so here it goes.


According to a nutritional calculator at Mayo Clinic’s website, with my lightly active lifestyle, I should only need 1,900 Calories per day to maintain my weight as a 31 yr-old, 5′ 4″ male weighing ~120lbs. That would be nice! I also calculated Beautiful’s daily requirement as being 1,750 Calories. You’ll see the problem with that in a second.

If I go through a normal day of eating (pre-Fatboy) to just get through life without paying attention to eating enough, I’ll probably encounter 2,000-2,500 Calories and lose 2-3lbs by the next morning. If I make an effort to be sure I get enough to eat to get in the neighborhood of 4,000 Calories, I’ll break even. It’s not unless I intake 5,000-6,000 Calories that I can have any expectation of seeing the scale budge upward.
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Simple Tips for Extra Calories

Once you realize how easy it is to add hundreds, if not thousands, of calories per day, you’ll never look back. One of the most tiring parts of having cystic fibrosis is the massive amount of food that must pass through our bodies each and every day, just to maintain weight. Gaining weight is a whole new ballgame. The best way to turn the tables on this overwhelming task is to add calories to the food you’re already eating. Here is a run-down of my tips and tricks. Some are not going to be the best if you already have CFRD or are on a serious diabetes diet to avoid full-blown diabetes. Any massive amounts of sugar and starch in my diet is enjoyed as a treat rather than a staple.

  • Drink milk with your dinner? Add chocolate syrup to tack on an extra 200-300 Calories.
  • Cook with a bit more oil than usual. Olive oil is a huge source of fat calories. If you’ve got a “normal” spouse, this may necessitate preparing food in separate pans, but it’s well worth it to gain weight.
  • Drink extra calories with something like Boost Plus or Ensure. I hated the taste of so many drinks, but I finally found one I like. At 350 Calories each, three per day adds 1,050 Calories that can chase down a meal no matter how full you are.
  • Mayonnaise can be your best friend. 1Tbs of mayo is 110 Calories. It can go on sandwiches and makes a creamier sauce. Same goes for:
    • Sour cream
    • Butter
    • Ricotta cheese
  • If you snack with low-cal or empty calorie items, replace them with things that get you the most calories per ounce (or even per dollar). Chips, Combos, Oreos, and Hot Pockets are my favorites at the moment. Roll with your taste.

What are your tips for adding extra calories without feeling like a human garbage disposal?