Hi there! Happy 2015.
I’ve decided to get back into this blog for the new year. Part of the impetus the ‘new year, new eating pattern’ I’m starting up today. My housemate has many an allergy, and though she did the elimination diet years ago and found that soy is a big problem for her, she has been experiencing symptoms when she is sure she didn’t consume soy. So she is embarking upon another elimination diet, and I have decided to journey alongside her.
What is an elimination diet, you ask? You eliminate all of the common allergens and foods that are distressing to the GI tract for a period of time, then add foods back in, one-at-a-time, observing your symptoms as you go. We will be in the elimination period for 6 weeks, because our naturopatic doctor friend said there is the potential to heal your gut during that amount of time. This would be amazing for Meredith (my housemate), since she gets wicked heartburn. We will be avoiding the usual suspects, such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol, dairy, soy, chocolate, and gluten-containing foods; however, there are also some lesser-known irritants, such as nightshade vegetables (including tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant), citrus, eggs, and some nuts (peanuts, cashews, pistachios), as well as some surprises (at least to me), such as bananas (which are often treated with ripening chemicals that are allergenic), strawberries, and mushrooms. This is the website that details the full regimen, in case you are interested.
I don’t think I have any allergies (though, who knows??), but I am interested in the experience. I am interested in seeing how I feel when I remove foods that can be irritating to the system, and also the differences they may make when adding them back in. I am lucky enough to enjoy most foods, and there are a lot of things that we don’t have to eliminate that I love to eat. I expect it to be a relatively painless process, with social eating being the biggest challenge. I recognize that a lot of things we are eliminating are perfectly healthy foods – supplying important nutrients – and I believe there is a place for (a moderate amount of) the least nutritive foods in every balanced diet, however I am looking forward to this brief detour off the beaten path of my day-to-day eating routine. I am interested in gathering enough information about the intersection of what I eat and how I feel as possible!
Enough yakking though, let’s move on to the food.
For breakfast this morning I had quinoa with garlicy sautéed spinach and sunflower seeds. I have made a transition over the past few months to tending towards savory breakfasts, since we now get eggs from our own backyard chickens! No eggs allowed for the next month and a half, but I’ll be fine with bowls like this one:
It was snowing gently today, so I went for a short run before lunch (it was a little icy in my eyes, but beautiful). I’m hoping to fit some consistent running into my schedule this semester, as well as regular yoga.
The picture I took of lunch was not so good. It looked similar to breakfast, though, so we’ll just imagine it. I had quinoa again, this time with split peas, spinach, avocado, and some leftover vegan caesar dressing (which is AMAZING but actually doesn’t fit into this diet – it was the single ‘transitional’ item I ate today, because it needs to be used up).
My afternoon snack included more quinoa (grain of the day!). I made a quick almond milk in the VitaMix, then added cooked quinoa for a few seconds so it creamed up a little, but still had texture. I heated that mixture on the stove with some blueberries and cinnamon, then topped it with walnuts. It worked out great!
I didn’t take a picture of dinner, but I made a sweet potato and cauliflower stew with warm spices (cumin, garam masala, ginger, garlic, turmeric), served with quinoa (surprise!) cooked with onion and split peas.
Dessert was half a rice cake with homemade cinnamon-vanilla sunflower seed/walnut butter and raisins. I have been wondering how my sweet tooth will do, but this I actually ate because I was still hungry — dinner was sweet enough that I wasn’t craving anything afterwards. We’ll see how 6 chocolate-free weeks go!