Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Elimination Diet

Otherwise known as the anti-inflamatory diet or the so-restricted-you-can't-believe-it diet.  ;-)  For one month, I must avoid:

*Vegetables from the nightshade family - potatoes, green peppers, tomatoes
*Gluten - in most bread, cereal, pasta, crackers
*Starch - wheat, oat, spelt, kamut, rye, barley, malt
*Red meat, eggs, cold cuts, sausages, hot dogs
*Dairy products
*Strawberries and citrus
*Tea, coffee, cocoa
*Margarine, shortening, butter, refined oils, vinegar
*Peanuts, pistachios
*Sweeteners - white and brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, fructose

At the end of a month, I can add one prohibited food at a time for three days to see how it affects my body.

What worked well last week was to make a soup that I had for one meal each day.  Another meal was sort of a taco salad.  I ate a lot of cauliflower, because it's easy to make and the only vegetable I love to eat by itself (ok, not quite by itself - I added a butter substitute and sea salt).  Breakfast was usually a smoothie.  The first few days were pretty rough.  I was spending a lot of time researching recipes.  Poor Greg has had to take me shopping to health stores further away than usual, and we've had to do a lot more food preparation and dishes.  But after a week on the diet, I'm feeling more positive and learning to like new flavors that weren't very palatable to me at first.  For example, I now like agave syrup enough to use it daily as my primary sweetener.

Several years ago when my health was very poor, there was a lady who asked if she could come clean for me.  She considered it a blessing to serve and only accepted enough money to cover her gas and cleaning supplies.  I think it was she who brought me a batch of this soup and gave me the recipe.  It also called for two tablespoons of tomato paste and 1/2 cup green beans, both to be added with the cabbage.  But I can't have tomato and don't care much for green beans in soup.

Vegetable Soup
2 med. carrots, sliced
1 med. onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth (tried 4)
1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
1 tsp. dried basil or cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini or squash (try squash next time)
Small frozen shrimp, thawed

Put some olive oil in the pan.  Saute carrot, onion, celery, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, cabbage, and seasonings; simmer, covered about 15 minutes.

Stir in zucchini and shrimp; heat several minutes until zucchini is soft.  Serve hot.

Vanilla Smoothie
1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp. plain cashews
1 tbsp. almond butter
4 pitted dates, chopped
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. ground flax seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
6 ice cubes

Put everything in the mixer; blend until smooth.  I don't know that I'd want to drink this every morning, but it's pretty good.  I leave out the ice, because cold smoothies aren't appealing to me first thing in the morning.

Rice Cake & Apples
Plain unsalted brown rice cakes with almond butter
Sliced apple

I alternate taking a bite of the rice cake and then a bite of the apple.  The juicy apple helps the dry, sticky rice cake go down!  Lol!

Rice & Shine
We found a box of this at Safeway.  It's similar to cream of wheat, only grainier.  I like cream of wheat and cream of rice better, but I think I'll be able to get used to having this for breakfast regularly.  Lots of things can be added: milk substitute, fruit, nuts, agave nectar.  I stirred in raisins, a butter substitute, and some brown rice syrup.  Not too bad!

This recipe was adequate for meeting my craving for a dessert.  The corn-free baking powder I tried was disgusting.  It had a terrible odor and gave the muffins a weird taste.  Next time I make it, I'm going to try omitting the baking powder.  I'm guessing the "heaviness" won't bother me much.  I'm also going to try a different fruit, maybe frozen cherries.  I enjoyed the muffins in almond milk with agave nectar for added sweetness.

Great Site
I'm slowly working my way through some recipes on this site.  I typed "elimination diet phase 1" in their search box to help me find some of the dishes I could have.


Rachel said...

I find that when I start eating relatively healthy than normal for a period of time, I begin to not even want the other bad-for-you stuff.

Don't loose hope :) You'll find things that can be replaced...just like your agave syrup!

Farrah said...

Thank you for your encouragement! =)

katrina said...

Going to try some of your recipes and suggestions! I will be anxious to hear at the end of the month how you felt the diet helped. mfc has arthritis and it is just starting to cause trouble so he is very interested in dropping foods that are anti-inflammatory.