Tag Archives: elimination diet

Chicken Visit

Here we are, in the final week.  (Okay, final half week… I’m a little late; the beginning of this week was kind of hectic.)

[Side note: This kind of experience/experiment really makes you think about time.  I’m feeling both ‘wow, 6 weeks already?’ and ‘wow, that thing I did after just starting the elimination diet feels like it was so long ago!’]

Actually, there’s a plot twist, because Mer’s doctor told her to continue this way of eating for another month.  So, the plan from here is a little up-in-the-air.  But one thing we do know is we’re trying eggs this Saturday!

Speaking of eggs, I’d like to introduce you to Winnie Jr.  She came in for a visit Monday night because her crop (the section of a chicken’s gastrointestinal tract at the base of the esophagus where food is stored prior to digestion) was empty (meaning she hadn’t eaten) for the second night in a row.  We are especially sensitive to this because we just had a chicken die, and we aren’t sure why, but she was emaciated when we discovered she was sick.

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[Winnie Jr. and observer, Buddy]

Winnie Jr. had a healthy appetite, so perhaps the reason she hadn’t eaten that evening (nor the evening before) was due to some sort of pecking order bullying?  We aren’t sure.  One thing’s for certain: she’s cute.

The variety in protein options will be great to have.  I’ve been eating more fish than usual, which is probably good for my health, but bad for the environment…

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 [Salmon salad, pre-mixing.  Canned salmon, mustard, celery, carrot, olive oil, S&P]

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[Salmon salad on kale.]

Speaking of kale, I’m going to go full nutrition lady on you.  Would you look at these micronutrient stats?!!

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Way to go kale 🙂  It’s foods like this which are why a vegetarian diet can provide plenty of iron and protein (the main nutrients people tend to express concern about for vegetarians).  Green leafy vegetables are key (it’s always going to be true).

I think I’ve been getting more iron on this diet than I would be on my usual diet, since I have replaced dairy (which does not contain iron) with other proteins like beans, and am eating more grains like amaranth and quinoa.

I’ve posted about puffed amaranth here before, but probably haven’t done it since that post!  (It’s another technique I learned from Ashley at Edible Perspective).  We’ve made cookies with puffed amaranth in them, as well as just eating it like cereal.

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[Puffed amaranth with walnuts, cinnamon, and cherries]

The texture is so light and fluffy.

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I’ll be back next week, with eggs!

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Caring About Sharing

It seems that sudden changes bring on a whole lot of noticing.  Maybe it’s the data-nerd I was brought up to be by my father, or just that I notice food-related things, but changing how I operate food-wise has made me think a lot about how I would be operating if nothing had changed.

This past week contained my birthday, and so there was more socializing.  It is a well-established social phenomenon that human gatherings center around food more often than not.  On this elimination diet there is nothing that prevents me from eating when I gather with friends and family.  However, I am often not eating the same dishes as everyone else, and it feels different.

There is something about having the same foods that you have chosen to nourish your own body be the same foods that are nourishing those you love.  If we want to get symbolic: it is as if the building blocks that I am consuming to become a part of me are the same building blocks that are becoming a part of you, and so by sharing the same food we are building a (hopefully) delicious bridge between us.  We are becoming closer together not only in this experience we share, but in the very material we are made of.  If this is too hippie (or creepy?) of a concept for you, let’s just back up and imagine the difference between a lunch table where each individual brings their own brown bag filled with food that only he or she will experience, and a lunch with dishes of food being passed around and shared, where nourishment comes from a common source.  The intimacy of sharing not just the space you are eating in, but also the food you are eating, cannot be denied.

I am grateful for this time I have apart from the communal eating experience, to appreciate the role it plays in the non-elimination life I normally lead.  It has also added another dimension to the culinary challenge — can I make things that my friends and family, who can generally enjoy any taste they please, would be happy to share with me?  Not pity share, but share because it’s just as good as the cheese they could be eating.

For my family birthday celebration, I made a roasted cauliflower dish with a pumpkin sauce my housemate, Meredith, made up during our first week as a ‘cheesy’-sauce-substitute for (quinoa) noodles.  It is velvety and savory, and while no one would mistake it for cheese, it fills the creamy comfort shoes quite well.  I roasted cauliflower, then topped it with the sauce (made of sautéed onions, thyme, salt, pepper, pumpkin puree, and olive oil), chopped parsley for brightness, and toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch.

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And then, the ultimate challenge – a birthday cake with no chocolate (or gluten or eggs or refined sugar…).

I decided to base it on a sticky toffee pudding, since it already features dates, which are allowed in the elimination diet.  I found a recipe that was already gluten, dairy and egg-free, and altered it so that the only sweeteners were the dates and some honey (instead of maple syrup), substituted almond milk for the coconut milk, and un-dairy-freed it a little by using ghee instead of ‘buttery spread’ (ghee is okay on the ED because the milk solids have been removed).  Mer used her gluten-free baking expertise to replace the tapioca flour/potato starch combo with a tapioca flour/arrowroot powder combo, and lo and behold it was good.

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Super good.

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It may not be quite in line with the ‘honey (in moderation)’ specifications we should be aiming for, but if there’s any time to not really break the rules but kind of nudge at them a little, it’s your birthday.  At the end of the day, I had a cake I could share.  AND I didn’t even notice I wasn’t eating chocolate =)

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Week One: Done

Week 1 of our elimination diet is complete!  The novelty of this new challenge has worn off a little, but no “I’m going crazy without ____” cravings to report (yet).

Eating at home has been easy enough since we have been keeping on top of having food easily-accessible.  Eating elsewhere takes a little extra thinking ahead.  I’ve had two out-of-house eating experiences so far.  The first was great because I arrived prepared.  Friday I got together with friends, and beforehand we decided on make-your-own taco salads (since we have a few different food preferences/situations represented, but everyone enjoys their own version of the dish).  It sounded like a great idea – I love the colors, textures, and flavors of this Tex-Mex staple, and it’s totally customizable.  I just knew I wouldn’t be able to eat the tomatoes or cheese.  Or corn chips.  Or sour cream.  Or peppers…. Or guacamole, if it contained lime juice…. Or lettuce…

Turns out Tex-Mex is not elimination diet friendly.

However, I packed myself some provisions, and ended up with baby spinach topped with black beans, crushed rice cake (salty and crispy like chips), charred red onions (so good!), smashed avocado, and homemade hummus (with no lemon juice or tahini and extra garlic) as a dressing.  It exceeded my expectations!

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 The second event was the Superbowl and I arrived after work, hungry but empty-handed.  There was a full spread, but it is just so amazing how much food contains gluten/dairy/sugar/citrus/tomatoes/peppers (okay, maybe it’s not amazing, that’s a pretty broad list..)  Luckily, Mer had made crispy chickpeas, so I combined those in a bowl with cilantro and green onion and had a little crispyherbysavory salad.  I probably ate a whole can’s worth of chickpeas… But it was delicious and filled me up.

There’s always next year for cheese dip.

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And cute little guacamole football fields with cherry tomato teams.

At home, I’ve been eating things like millet with almond butter, cinnamon, and honey stirred in, topped with blueberries, raspberries, and walnuts.

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And sautéed red rice and spinach topped with avocado, sprouted lentils and hummus.

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And I have definitely been branching out and trying new things .  Tonight with dinner I made this gluten-free savory quick bread, with a few substitutions (half chick pea flour/half brown rice flour instead of oat flour, “chia eggs” instead of eggs, canned pumpkin instead of applesauce, and onion instead of garlic – because I was too lazy to roast garlic, not because of the elimination diet).   Not exactly a crusty artisan loaf, but satisfying in a corn bread kind of way.  Definitely something to experiment with!

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