Twelve days into our Elimination Diet and we are definitely establishing a rhythm, and are over the initial Hell Week that anyone who’s done this can attest to.
And while I do occasionally daydream about my homemade sourdough bread with a gooey melted slice of cheese on top? There are some tremendous benefits I thought I’d share, such as…
- We have taken our seasoning/flavoring skills to new heights. Seriously! Because there is no sugar/honey/syrup allowed, it’s forced us to focus more on what brings out the beauty in the foods we are eating, and either a) not rely on sweetness to make something good, or b) find other ways to add it.
- We’ve found ways to move beyond Asia in our menu planning. Bless all those wonderful Japanese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Korean recipes that initially saved us, but we are global folks here, and after almost a week straight the term ‘stir fry’ brought a slight bit of terror to my eyes. From Italian (Mushroom and Sunchoke Risotto made with veggie stock) to Indian (Sweet Potato Curry) to Cuban (Frijoles Negros with rice & avocado), to American (Elaine’s “Big Salad” with chopped turkey, garbanzos, blueberries, sunflower seeds, currants and oil/vinegar dressing), we’re covering a lot more territory!
- Everything tastes more intense. My husband pointed this out last night when I made a vegetarian charcuterie plate (seed crackers with marinated red peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, pickles, hazelnuts, apples and cashew ‘ricotta’) and everything was just POPPING with flavor. And when I made the curry* I actually thought I’d accidentally put sugar in it because it was so flavorful and – get this – almost too sweet!
Along with these good things, we also decided to make some minor clarifications and adjustments (hence the * above next to curry) for our the Elimination Diet list:
- Clarification: We refuse to eat processed foods, even if the ingredients technically fit the bill. The only things we have allowed ourselves to buy are those with 5 ingredient or less, following Michael Pollan’s Food Rules which we love. And considering most processed foods have way more ingredients than 5? Super easy. Basically, the only ‘pre-made’ item we bought were chickpea spaghetti (3 ingredients – haven’t tried yet) and rice/seed crackers (4 ingredients).
- Adjustment: We added back chicken and tomatoes. The tomatoes started out getting eaten by accident when I tossed some chunky salsa into the chili on Day 1, then I forgot all about them with ingredients until last night when I was making a modified version of this Sweet Potato Curry recipe, and there was literally nothing to substitute for tomatoes (curry paste has sugar in it, so that was off the table). So, considering it’s our #1 crop in our garden, and life will not resume without tomatoes in our diet, we’ve added those back. As per my * note about sweetness – dang! They absolutely were the reason for it! Lesson Learned? While I haven’t purchased a grocery store tomato in over a decade, as the flavor just doesn’t compare, this has taught me to use the tomatoes I’ve canned slightly more sparingly and deliberately. As for chicken? I couldn’t find any other elimination diet that banned this nor any ‘reactions’ to it in my online research…and considering we have 35ish heirloom chooks in our freezer that we raised? They also aren’t leaving our diet.
Biggest Success To-Date? Breakfast!
While husband was fine with buckwheat cereal in the AM before work, on our weekends together he was getting a bit tired of eggs and such. So after a few attempts at following grain-free waffle recipes (first with buckwheat that I ground, then with rice flour) and simply omitting the tablespoon of sugar in the recipe, I decided to do two things: follow my regular waffle recipe and sub rice flour 1:1 (I already use unsweetened hazelnut milk with a spoonful of ACV to mimic buttermilk), then tossed a small apple into the grater in my awesome Breville food processor and stirred it in – voila!!). That with a gorgeous bunch of strawberries I’d frozen last year and let thaw til there was both fruit and that yummy juice at the bottom of the jar? Heaven!!
Next Up…Traveling While on the Elimination Diet…
(hint: bringing ’emergency’ food with us!)