It’s been awhile since we had an elimination diet adventure post. Several weeks ago, I started the stage that I was most excited about, food reintroduction. It’s the phase of the elimination diet where you slowly and methodically begin eating the foods that may have been causing our bodies to react negatively.
This part, while fun, has also been very challenging. It’s basically a scientific test and I’ve found that it requires a lot of attention, planning and determination. This is how it’s supposed to go down:
- Continue eating hypo-allergenic foods from the elimination diet.
- Take one day and eat 2 – 3 servings of a possibly offending food, e.g. eggs.
- Note any digestive disturbances throughout the day.
- Wait 1-4 days and choose another food to try, repeating the process until you’ve tried all possibly offending food groups (wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, sugar and nightshade).
The problem is that life tends to happen, plus it’s terribly difficult to go against the grain. For over three months now I’ve been turning down social invites left, right and center (I think people were starting to take my no’s personally). I only started going out again (where there was food) since this reintroduction stage.
So while I’ve tried a few foods, most of it has come in the form of pizza, sushi, pasta, sandwiches, etc. where I’m trying many of the possibly offending foods all at one time. If I’m sensitive to say, gluten, there’s no way I’d be able to differentiate it between say, the tomato in the nightshade family. I’d just feel yucky and still don’t know why.
There are several other factors that make this reintroduction phase difficult, as well. The biggest interfering culprit, and our most destructive and common enemy, is stress . Stress impedes proper digestion, as well as how you eat and how much. I know for myself, when I’m stressed and I eat, I tend to eat faster and in bigger portions than I would if I was taking my time and enjoying my meal. (Look here for 3 ways to improve your digestion without changing your diet .)
So those are some of the obstacles in the reintroduction stage I’ve discovered. Now that I’m aware of these and other challenges of the elimination diet , I consider this a successful first attempt! I admit that I’m disappointed that I haven’t yet discovered my food sensitivities, but I’m satisfied that I’ve done my best under the circumstances and faired well with this intensely restrictive diet. I can let it go (for now) and enjoy the summer with all its glorious BBQs and patio dining. My elimination diet adventures are officially on pause until the fall.
Don’t get me wrong, though, my digestion is important to me and I’ve learned a lot on this elimination diet. I will continue to find and make elimination diet-friendly recipes (and post them here) for most of my meals. This will help me manage my digestive troubles until I continue my adventures in the cooler weather, starting with a safe, enlightening 3 day fast . I just won’t say no to a big, juicy barbequed sirloin steak with baked potato, sour cream, chives & bacon bits (NOT an elimination diet-friendly meal , my friends).
If you have any recipes or elimination diet adventures of your own to share, please comment below!
Enjoy these 3 yummy, healthy and easy-to-digest, elimination diet-friendly recipes:
Cuban Black Bean Dip
This garlicky, hearty dip is found in the CCNM ’s Brown Rice Cookbook:
1cup canned black beans, rinsed
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp flax oil
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
Pepper, to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine beans, chopped onions, vinegar, flax oil and garlic. Blend until smooth. Season with pepper and place in serving bowl.
Broccoli, Spinach & Sweet Potato Stir-Fry with Coconut Milk
This tasty and unusual stir-fry is taken from The Vital You’s Ultimate Holistic Cookbook:
1 small broccoli, cut into florets
½ lb. sweet potatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick and salted
1 bunch green onions
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. chili flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large bunch spinach
1 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
sea salt to taste
- Separately boil the potatoes & broccoli in salted water until tender, then drain.
- Set aside 2 tbsp. each of the green onions & cilantro and puree the remaining green onion, cilantro, turmeric, chili, 1 tbsp. oil and coconut milk.
- Heat a wok or a large skillet, then add 1 tbsp. of the oil and swirl it about the side. When hot, add the onions & stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Add the spinach & stir-fry until wilted and tender. Add the broccoli & potatoes, season with sea salt & cook until heated through. Pour in the coconut mixture.
- Bring to a boil & simmer for 2 minutes.
- Serve garnished with the reserved cilantro and onions.
Spicy Stewed Apples
An interesting breakfast alternative from The Vital You’s Ultimate Holistic Cookbook:
1 cup apple juice (organic)
8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
5 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon (or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon)
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
Place all ingredients in saucepan and slowly bring to boil. Then turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes until apples are tender. Serve hot or cold, topped with rice milk or almond milk if desired.