Well we made it through the majority of the February Elimination Diet and while there were no real surprises, there were some interesting aftershocks I thought were worth sharing…
- Dairy, Sugar and Red Meat are Killers for me. Just as I’d anticipated, the first two still wreak havoc on my body and the third challenged it more than I’d guessed:
- VERDICT – Dairy: Cheese is now relegated to “dessert”. Dan has always been much more apathetic towards cheese, and I reminded him that when we were in France, it was primarily part of dessert rather than mixed into everything. Like good quality sustainably-raised meat, the concept of cheese will be treated as a treat rather than a staple.
- VERDICT – Sugar: The best finding for me was substituting shredded apple into breakfast items like pancakes and waffles that usually ask for a tablespoon or two of sugar. I have always already used one-half the sugar that any recipe asks for, but wanted to go next level with this. Another interesting development? My husband announced that he – the Australian! – is no longer interested in drinking tea. He realized that without sugar, it’s a waste of time, and so that’s come off our bulk aisle shopping list.
- VERDICT – Red Meat: My intestinal fortitude was challenged after reintroducing pork and beef (y’all, if it’s got a hoof, it’s red meat, no matter what the ‘other white meat’ campaigns say). While beef is a rarity for me (I am not a burger as I always prefer to sub a big beautiful portobello mushroom, and steak is, just gross to me) beyond having a pastrami sandwich two or three times a year (why? it doesn’t taste like beef!), I was surprised after enjoying a small amount of my husband’s sustainably raised, home-cured lomo (charcuterie made from pork tenderloin) that my tummy was quite sensitive. Another reason for making meat a ‘treat’ instead of a ‘main’, I must say.
- Emotional Eating ended it early. While I was tough as nails in the first two weeks, when we suffered an unexpected disappointment as a family, I found this to be my Achilles and proposed a cheat moment to my husband our local whiskey bar. Which led to a charcuterie plate. Even though we each just had one drink and there were no reactions to the salumi or cheese, it was definitely a reminder that I need to use all the tools in my kit to deal with grief, not just what can be physically digested.
- It’s Easy to Revert Back. The first thing I said yesterday to my husband was how I noticed how immediately less diverse our plates looked. We made some really insanely good homemade butter chicken that took me weeks to find all the ingredients for (amen for a specialty spice store here in town for the Kashmiri chili powder and fenugreek leaves!), and served it on brown rice…but realized after we had nothing green on our plates! So we’ve definitely amped that priority up because we recognized how seriously great we felt physically with the pure vitamin rush of veggies!
- It Made Us Rethink our Garden Planning. Talk about a perfect time to do an elimination diet! Here on the North Coast, we learned last year that planting comes a couple weeks after it used to in Portland, and with that, I’m just starting to look at seeds and think about planting peas in the next couple of weeks. And with all that we found we ate the most of? We’re definitely planning more biodiversity in the various greens, get better at succession planting, as well as thinking about how we’ll preserve the harvest.
So, there ya go! While it was not easy, and we didn’t do the full length of time we had committed to (I didn’t want to jump back on and restart the calendar after the ‘cheat’), it was absolutely worthwhile and gave us not only more mindfulness around our food, but a much needed creative boost in the kitchen!