I made it through the first week of my food sensitivity elimination diet! I found the second half of the week a little more challenging as I started getting a little bored with the 25 foods I was allowed. Still, it was interesting to get creative and I’ve had plenty to eat.
The biggest challenge came on Saturday, day 6, when we hosted our book group meeting. Our group focuses on food and eating even more than the book, and everyone brings something to share – so I knew I’d be surrounded by tempting foods.
My strategy was to make enough things I could eat so that I’d be satisfied. It worked very well. Can’t say I wasn’t tempted, but it wasn’t hard to stick to my allowed foods.
For starters, I made a punch blend with pure pineapple and orange juice, mint water and plain sparkling water. The juice was diluted by at least 50%, reducing the sugar content, and the sparkling water made it festive.
I also made myself some corn tortilla chips by soaking plain corn tortillas (only corn and a trace of lime), slicing them and then baking (350 degrees for about 30 minutes). They come out pretty good, and were good to scoop my homemade “hummus” (pinto beans, tahini, cumin, cayenne and onion thinned with a little sesame seed oil and OJ).
Since beef is one of my low reactive foods, we barbequed London broil (marinated in pineapple juice and soy sauce). And I made a buckwheat groat salad, similar to the rye salad I described in the last post.
So far the buckwheat salad is the only thing that hasn’t turned out very well. I’m just not fond of buckwheat. It is bland and gelatinous. The rye berries make a better salad, but a couple bookgroup members avoid gluten, so buckwheat was the better choice.
Ironically, I’m sensitive to several gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa (although I think I’ll be able to eat a small portion eventually), millet and amaranth.
I even made a dessert I could eat: 1 cup sesame seeds, 1 cup chopped walnuts and 3-4 tablespoons honey. The ingredients are heated in a saucepan to soften the honey and stirred until well mixed, then pressed into an 8 in square pan. I forgot to cut into squares while warm, but they cut just fine after being refrigerated. They were surprisingly good! Store them in the refrigerator to keep them firm.
One of my friends brought steamed asparagus for me (after reading my last blog post! Thanks Deborah!), and cantaloupe. So I had a good meal, even if I couldn’t eat all the other stuff.
There were two things I found really interesting. I usually eat too much at meals like this, but not this time. I had very normal portion sizes and felt satisfied. Eliminating half the foods available really did help me eat a reasonable amount.
The other thing that amazed me was how energetic I felt at the end of the day. I thoroughly enjoy our group – and I’m usually pretty tired by the time we finish. This time I enjoyed it just as much, but wasn’t tired. I always thought it was the fun and excitement that made me tired, but now I suspect that it is really the wine and overeating.
So now I’ve started into phase 2 of the elimination diet, and I can add one new food each day. Yesterday I added goat milk (which I ate in the form of goat cheese), and today I’m adding potatoes. Tomorrow it will be mushrooms.
The process continues on like this for a month – I’ll keep adding one new food a day, from a list that keeps expanding as I move into phases 3 through 5. After that I can start adding foods that were untested.
The reason for adding things slowly is that if something upsets my gut, I’ll know what it is. So far I’m a little suspicious of fresh pineapple, but it might be too much fresh fruit in general. With such a limited diet, it is easy to eat more of a thing then I normally would.
I’m even drinking some juice – which is normally rare. Mostly I’m using juice (often with sparkling water) as an interesting drink when I can’t have a glass of wine with Bill.
Eventually I’ll get back to a pretty normal diet – with a few exceptions (my reactive foods). I can’t quite picture my long term diet yet. Maybe it’s just as good, because for now my main job is to keep noticing how different foods feel to my gut.
For those of you that have been on elimination diets or special diets, you already know what it’s like. For me this has been a valuable experience getting to see what it is like first hand. Hope you can take some ideas from the post that will work for you!
Find more nutrition information, my Mindful Eating CD, and my monthly newsletter on my website: http://healthyhabitscoach.com. Eat well!