As I type this we are on the last two days of our elimination “diet”. Today and tomorrow we re-introduce soy and wait for reactions. I’ve had my dinner planned for weeks: fried tofu spring rolls and a hunk of chocolate (indeed contains soy) for dessert.
You see, I have a bad gut. A very bad gut, as I’ve had awful, sometimes debilitating responses to meals (especially those out) since I can remember. As a kid, I just knew to expect it. As I got older, I played it “safe” with salads and basic foods that I thought wouldn’t have an effect on me. Many often still did. It wasn’t until recently when
we he discovered that these responses could very well be immune responses that were compromising my system as a whole, that we decided to do something about it.
So, the elimination diet. An Elimination Diet consists of 2 parts: Part 1 includes three weeks of cutting the most common major allergens out (in our case, we tested gluten, dairy, eggs, peanut butter and soy) and Part 2 is when you reintroduce the foods, one by one, for 2 meals per day for 2 days, and note any symptoms you have (if any). If there is a reaction, you go back to the “elimination” phase for a day or two to reset. Truthfully, Part 1 in far easier than Part 2.
For 2 days I was ravenously hungry and about to give up. Honestly, if you can get your spouse or even family on board while you do this it will be that much easier. You need support. That may sound a bit dramatic, but it is true. Especially if you have strong reactions to the foods later.
The big question is well what the hell do I eat then? I won’t lie, finding meals that are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free is a tall order. But after a couple of days we found ourselves thriving on this new regime.
Here are a few ideas to get you started. If your current diet is much different than this, it’s essential that you really plan out and shop for what you are going to eat. Do not let yourself be hungry. That’s what handfuls of pecans are for.
Breakfast This was the hardest one for me as for years I’ve had oatmeal for breakfast and oatmeal has gluten. I’m still working on more options.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes: mashed sweet potato topped with coconut oil, frozen cherries (defrosted), pecans, and a little bit of honey.
Rice “Pudding”– white rice mixed with almond milk, a bit of cinnamon, raisins, and your nut of choice (cashews are divine)
Quinoa Hot Cereal– Quinoa mixed with coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and a variety of dried fruits and almonds
Banana Pancakes– These are the best! A weekend meal to be sure, but a wonderful treat for your hard work. I used buckwheat flour.
Lunch Lunch is typically an extension of dinner the night before (i.e.: leftovers). Armed with lots of vegetables and a box of lettuce, we’re able to create the following each day as well.
Huge Salad– Filled container of greens followed by a starch (potatoes or rice most commonly), a protein (salmon, chicken, beef), fruits and vegetables (varied) and FAT (essential- olive oil and lots of nuts).
Dinner This was easier for us as we’d been eating meals that mostly complied to begin with. The one thing we found with this program is we relied a lot more on meat than we’d like. These are the most common meals
Fried Rice- The lone vegetarian option, we made this according to this recipe, omitting eggs, butter, and soy sauce.
Meatballs over Rice- Actually ground meat with spices molded into balls and simmered in tomatoes, but who wants to know?
Roasted Chicken– I use the Zuni recipe, with a couple of modifications that I’ll communicate at a later date. It’s divine, and we use the carcass for stock and giblets for crazy good gravy.
Rice Noodle Soup- Using the stock from the chicken, I add cooked rice noodles, lots of vegetables, and top with some kimchi and cilantro.
Duck Fat Potatoes-My favorite thing on Earth served with everything at anytime (red or yellow potatoes sliced into half moons and roasted in a heated dish with a scoop of duck fat on the bottom. Rosemary takes it to another level)
Fajitas- Corn tortillas, meat of choice, pico de gallo, avocado, lime…the best.
Baked Salmon- Drizzled with olive oil, topped with salt and pepper and popped in a 400F oven until done.
Snacks Ah, snacks. My days are long so these are essential. I’ve relied way to heavily on fruit and nuts, but I’m trying!
Banana Sundae-Banana sliced in half lengthwise, topped with almond butter, raisins and honey
Carrots with Olive Oil– Sliced carrots coated in olive oil and topped with salt
Hummus- Homemade by simply blending beans, garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon together.
Next up, how to navigate the “re-introduction” phase.
For the curious, here is the book we read and followed for the most part.