Specialized Meal Plans
Sukha Technologies Inc. is a Montreal-based company that helps Canadians plan and prepare healthy meals tailored to their individual dietary requirements through the website, www.soscuisine.com. SOS Cuisine offers specialized menus for several gastrointestinal (GI) conditions right now, with more in the planning stage. Registered dietitians develop meal plans for a variety of specific dietary needs using the evidence-based recommendations of respected organizations, including the GI Society, International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, and the Mayo Clinic, among others. All meal plans also adhere to Canada’s Food Guide, except where this is in conflict with condition-specific recommendations. Currently, there are meal plans for those with GERD, diverticular disease, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and constipation, as well as for those with specific allergies or intolerances, diabetes, pregnancy, and for many more dietary requirements. There are also meal plans for a balanced vegetarian diet.
SOS Cuisine’s talented engineers and software developers have created a sophisticated website that is extremely easy to navigate. Users can easily choose the meal plan that suits their needs and view a week’s worth of meals. Each meal plan comes with recipes, a grocery list, a how-to action plan, and complete nutritional information. Recipes include ingredient lists and step-by-step instructions for preparing healthy and nutritious meals tailored to specific dietary requirements while accommodating allergies and preferences.
By indicating the province in which you live, the SOS Cuisine software provides recipes based on foods that are in season in your region. The SOS Cuisine team has access to most major food market and grocery store flyers in advance of publication, so you can discover which of your favourite stores have the best prices for the items on your customized grocery list. The program will even break down the how-to action plan for you, based on which meals you’ll need to prepare ahead, freeze, or defrost.
SOS Cuisine truly has thought of everything!
For those who have celiac disease, a substance called gliadin (a grain protein in gluten) triggers an unusual immune response that leads to flattening and altering of the millions of microscopic finger-like projections (villi) that line the inner wall of the small intestine. When the damaged villi do not work properly, the body cannot obtain enough of the essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals from food that are necessary for good health. Individuals who have celiac disease should never eat any product containing even the smallest amount of gluten that contains gliadin, as it takes only one molecule to trigger the destructive response. Some individuals may have gluten intolerance or allergy without having celiac disease and they prefer a gluten-free diet.
The SOS Cuisine gluten-free meal plan includes a thousand recipes, none of which includes an ingredient containing gluten. Oats do not normally contain gluten but they are commonly cross-contaminated, so oats are also not included within any of their gluten-free recipes. The consumer is still responsible, however, for checking packages carefully at the supermarket to ensure they are not purchasing a product containing any gluten at all.
Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are two distinct conditions. A food allergy involves inappropriate immune reaction to a seemingly harmless, non-pathogenic substance. Milk allergies are more common in children, who sometimes grow out of them. If affected individuals consume milk, symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening.
Lactose intolerance is much more common, affecting up to 70% of the world’s population. Typically, the human body produces the enzyme lactase, which helps digest the sugar found in milk (lactose). People who are lactose intolerant do not produce a sufficient quantity of lactase, causing undigested lactose to linger in the intestine and ferment. The main symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence. The SOS Cuisine lactose-free meal plan contains 500 recipes that are strictly lactose-free as well as numerous other recipes that include limited amounts of parmesan cheese, which you can exclude if necessary. Even if you are lactose intolerant, it is likely that you can handle small amounts of lactose, so for this diet it is not as important to eliminate every molecule of lactose, as is necessary in the gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease.
It is normal to have a bowel movement anywhere from three times a day to three times a week, as long as the stool (products of digestion) is soft and comfortable to pass. A person experiencing constipation has hard or lumpy stool that is difficult to pass. A meal could take anywhere from 12-72 hours to travel through the digestive tract, but if someone has a long transit time, meaning food passes slowly through the colon, then too much water is absorbed, hardening the stool. The increased length of time during which stool remains in the colon causes increased pressure on the bowels, leading to abdominal cramping and bloating.
One common factor in having a long transit time is an inadequate level of fibre and fluid in the diet. The SOS Cuisine meal plan for constipation has two phases. The first three-week phase gradually increases fibre and fluid intake while limiting the temporary discomfort, such as flatulence, that can result from this modification. The second phase is for the long-term maintenance of a balanced, high-fibre diet to help prevent occasional constipation.
Please Note: Occasional or mild constipation is distinct from chronic idiopathic constipation, for which diet modifications alone are not sufficient. Visit our constipation page for additional information on chronic idiopathic constipation and the treatment options for this serious disorder.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the upper portion of the digestive tract does not function properly, causing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Symptoms include heartburn and the sensation of food or liquid coming up the throat into the mouth. Physicians normally prescribe medication to bring chronic GERD under control, and they may also recommend a number of dietary and lifestyle recommendations that could help reduce symptoms. Foods that trigger reflux and its symptoms vary from one person to the next, but commonly include alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, and some spices. Avoiding large portions at mealtime and eating smaller, more frequent meals may also aid in symptom control.
In addition to avoiding common GERD trigger ingredients, the SOS Cuisine recipes include mostly unprocessed foods that will also help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight, especially around the abdomen, puts pressure on the digestive tract and can contribute to GERD symptoms. To help reduce acid production before bedtime, the evening meal for these plans is also smaller than for other plans.
Within the GERD weekly meal plans, users can choose different calorie levels and numbers of servings for each recipe, making family meals easier to manage. Balanced, nutritious, and tailored to relieve and prevent GERD symptoms, the recipes are also delicious, because the SOS Cuisine team wants everyone with GI conditions to enjoy their meals as much as anyone else. Because some foods will trigger GERD symptoms in one patient but not in another, it is important to avoid your individual trigger foods, even if they appear in an SOS Cuisine meal plan. The good news is that you can easily edit your weekly plan to cater to your specific needs, by indicating your preferences.
Diverticular disease (also called diverticulosis) is the presence of small sac-like out-pouchings (diverticula) of the colon lining, which balloon through the outer colon wall. Symptoms can include constipation, diarrhea, or alternating between the two stool extremes. Many individuals have no symptoms and do not realize that they have diverticular disease until they experience a flare-up (diverticulitis), in which the diverticula become inflamed and/or infected and cause pain, fever, or other symptoms.
Recommendations for the ongoing dietary management of diverticular disease include consuming well-balanced meals and snacks, ensuring high-fibre content and adequate fluid intake.
The SOS Cuisine weekly meal plans for diverticular disease consist of three phases. The first phase is for individuals who are currently experiencing diverticulitis. It is low in fibre and in high-residue foods, in order to allow the recovering bowel to rest. The second phase is for those who have recovered from an episode of diverticulitis and now need to reintroduce fibre in increasing levels. The third phase is a healthy high-fibre diet for individuals with diverticular disease who have not experienced any recent flares.
The SOS Cuisine program for diverticular disease guides you through these vital transitions.
IBS – Low FODMAP
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease with no known causes. Symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramping and pain. The SOSCuisine Meal Plans provide a solution proven to be effective for 3 out of 4 people with IBS; the Low FODMAP Diet. FODMAP are sugars found in foods and are fermentable in the digestive system and can cause symptoms for people who are sensitive to them, mainly people with IBS. FODMAP is an acronym meaning:
- Oligosaccharides (fructans and GOS)
- Disaccharides (lactose)
- Monosaccharides (fructose in excess of glucose)
- Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol and isomalt)
The meal plans are made to help you during the elimination and challenge phase of the diet. Once the individual FODMAP that cause you problem have been identified, tyou have the possibility to exclude any individual FODMAP from all meal plans offered by SOSCuisine.
What if I don’t like to cook or bake everything from scratch?
Most SOS Cuisine recipes are easy to make and do not require a lot of time; however, not everyone can, or wants to, prepare meals from scratch every day. These individuals may find the SOS Cuisine website nonetheless very helpful for finding information on healthy food options for specialized diets, fresh foods that are available locally, and which items are on sale.
The website also includes detailed dietary information about GERD, diverticular disease, other GI conditions, and generalized health and nutrition gathered from reliable sources such as the GI Society. This information is not intended to replace the counsel of a medical professional. If you have a GI condition, it is very important that you consult with your physician or health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.
A Natural Pairing
The site offers some weekday dinner meal plans at no charge while a paid membership provides complete access to condition-specific meal plans that ensure that all dietary recommendations, including calorie level, daily macronutrient distribution, and micronutrient intakes, are consistently met. These premium meal plans cover 7 days/week and 3 meals/day plus snacks. Subscriptions currently range from $1.99-$3.99 per week, depending on the specific plan and its duration.
SOS Cuisine is a proud new supporter of the GI Society. If you do decide to subscribe to a meal plan, Sukha Technologies Inc. will give a percentage of your subscription cost toward the charitable work of the GI Society.
The GI Society is pleased to collaborate with an organization whose mission and values interconnect with ours. Diet plays such an important role in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and the resources available on the SOS Cuisine website help you work toward achieving your health goals.