Things are Looking Up…slowly

Day 3:
Today, I started out with the remnants of yesterday’s migraine, so that was definitely not a fun way to begin the day.  However, as the day progressed, I’m not sure if it’s from the cleanse or simply post-migraine euphoria, but I was feeling significantly better.  I’m also already starting to notice my tastes changing.  I found myself actually getting excited for celery and almond butter or for a refreshing berry smoothie.  It’s amazing – when you’re not constantly filling yourself with foods that high-sugar, highly processed, etc, you find yourself relishing in the natural flavors that these whole foods exhibit.
I will say though, that I am still really craving a good drink.  I was off from work today and it was BEAUTIFUL outside.  Finding a nice sunny spot for a glass of wine sounded pretty sweet.  But, alas…sigh… I will say though, a little trick I’ve discovered is infusing my own mineral water, and it’s definitely making great strides in holding me over.  I don’t know about you, but tap water all day, every day just doesn’t do it for me.  However, muddle a little fresh mint and cucumber in the bottom of a glass and fill with some sparkling water… It treats me just fine. (You can find all sorts of recipes scattered across the internet.  Just remember, no citrus.)

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TIP: If there’s a time in the day/week where you are in the habit of enjoying a cocktail/snack (for us it’s when we get home after work), consider planning something else during that time.  We’ve loved driving into the city for a walk – Just watch out for the temptation of outside patios and live jazz music 😉
We also had an AMAZING dinner tonight, and no recipe was needed.  We found these great little lamb chops at Costco that my husband cooked up in a cast-iron skillet with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Let me tell you, delicious!  If you like lamb, I feel like it’s a must to get you through this diet.  Serve it with a sweet potato and sautéed Brussels sprouts, and it gives you a wonderful, savory, satisfying meal.

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TIP: If you have a membership to a wholesale club (Costco, Sams, etc) USE IT! It’s especially great for your meats, but they also have a nice selection of fresh fruits and veggies.  They are offering many organic options now too, which is nice if you can swing it.
All-in-all, Day 3 has been pretty good to me.  Things are certainly looking up.
LifeIs4Tasting…naturally

What They Say Is True

Though many of the sources that I read disagreed on many technicalities of the Elimination Diet, they almost all suggested one truth.

 

Day 1: Won’t be too bad.  It’s a time of adjustment, but you’ll feel like you’re actually going to succeed at this thing.

Day 2: SUCKS!

 

So what I’m saying is, prepare yourself, and be ready to push through.  

Day 1 really is OK.  I discovered an AMAZING salad dressing (nourishingmeals.com) that I will continue to make even after completing the Elimination Diet.

ImageGreen Apple Salad Dressing
1 green apple, cored (Granny Smith)
1/2 cup filtered water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 to 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
Sea salt, to taste

 

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. Add salt to taste and blend again.
 
I made a green salad with “safe” veggies and fruits (cucumbers, carrots, onion, blueberries, etc), pan-seared a small piece of salmon, and added some of the apple dressing. YUM!!  The best part is, I made it all the night before, and it was fantastic the next day.  
 
TIP: When in doubt, do as much slicing and dicing the night before.  Also, left-overs always make a great lunch.  This diet is going to have you feeling like you’re cooking/doing dishes ALL the time.
 
Dinner on the other hand… not so much a success.  I realized I could make pesto on the diet (brilliant!), so I tried baking chicken breasts with the pesto.  Now, I didn’t throw it out or anything, but it was certainly nothing to write home about.  I’m seeing that it’s going to be a struggle to figure out ways to make the chicken exciting.  However, it’s something I need to figure out because salmon (and lamb) get expensive, and certainly aren’t something I’m going to be able to eat everyday.  We did chop up the left over chicken and added brown rice and roasted broccoli (stir-fry style) to take for lunch the next day.  And, it was actually considerably better than the dinner version.
 
However, one side dish I made for dinner was life-changingly good.  
(Also from Nourishing Meals)
 
Kale with Red OnionsImage
– 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
– 1 small to medium red onion, cut into crescent moons
– 1 large bunch kale, thinly sliced
– Sea salt to taste
 
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the oil (use coconut oil! Trust me!!) and then the onions and a dash of sea salt which helps draw out moisture and caramelize the onions.
 
2.Sauté onions for 7 to 10 minutes or until browned, and very fragrant. 
3. Add the kale and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the tenderness of the kale and desired doneness. You can add a few tablespoons of water, or vegetable broth, to quickly finish the cooking by steaming if desired.
 
4. Season with sea salt to taste. Serve warm. 
 
Cut to Day 2:
If you’re doing this diet to try and understand your migraine triggers, here’s the tough part.  If you have them especially frequently, like I do, the massive shock to your system has a pretty high chance of actually triggering a migraine (or at least have you fighting one) on day two. And yes, I found myself fighting a pretty rough one.  I tried this diet once before and quit because Day 2 and 3 made me feel so lousy. However, this time, I forced myself to stick to the diet – even though all I wanted was buttered noodles – and I’m hoping that this will be the worst of it.  Also, because I knew it was coming, I made sure to have my meds on hand, and was able to mostly keep it at bay.  I pray for you that this is not the case, but just a forewarning so you may be prepared.
 
TIP: Keep some vegetable broth on hand.  It’s a savior when your stomach feels out of sorts on Day 2/Day3. 
 
Here’s hoping that Day 3 leaves me feeling more positive and on the right track!
 
LifeIs4Tasting… veggie broth?

This “Foodie” Tries an Elimination Diet

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Stocking the fridge

So, I know it seems a bit strange to come back to my blog after all this time and not be talking about a delicious food and drink adventure.  But, as I’ve been researching and reading in preparation for starting an Elimination Diet, I felt a need to share my experience.  From one blog and webpage to the next, it can become very overwhelming.  What can I eat? What can’t I eat?  How long do I need to stick to this super restricted diet (read, “when can I drink wine again, please?!”), and will I possibly be able to make food that doesn’t taste like cardboard?

Well, I hope my blog doesn’t add to the confusion.  If you come across this post in your search, I just want to say – don’t stress about it.  While trying to cleanse our bodies with our diets of clean and “safe” foods, it’s also important to cleanse our minds by not adding unnecessary stress.  Take all that you find, look at the big picture, and make it work for you.  Also, be sure you find people who are doing the Diet for the same reason as you.  If people are trying this diet purely as a cleanse, they may be able to eat far more foods (i.e. dairy, bell peppers, whole grains) than those who are doing the diet to shed light on possible allergens or illness triggers.

For me personally, I deal with almost weekly migraines.  And, long story short, I’ve discovered many of my triggers, but know that there are still many answers that I need to live a happier, healthier life.  This Elimination Diet is the next step on my quest for those answers.

So… finally, now that I’m committed… how can I make this experience anything short of miserable?  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share my struggles, and hopefully triumphs, in giving this thing a go.  

To start, here’s what I’m eliminating.

Citrus Fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, etc)

Nightshade Vegetables (Tomatoes, Eggplants, Potatoes)

      * sweet potatoes are OK! (Yay!!)

      *see http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/06/23/nightshade-free-survival-guide/ for a great resource

All Starches except Brown Rice and Buckwheat (no Wheat, Corn, Barley, Rye, Oats, etc)

Legumes

All Animal Protein except Fish, Turkey, Chicken, and Lamb

All Dairy

All Oils except Olive Oil, Flaxseed Oil, and Coconut Oil

All Beverages except Water and Herbal Tea

Corn (which is in EVERYTHING these days)

Soy (speaking of being in everything…)

Spices and Condiments except Salt, Pepper, Fresh Herbs and Spices are OK

All Sweeteners

 

I know, right?!?!

 

Now, some people suggest you stick to this extreme diet for as long as 3 weeks, though most I find say that a solid week is enough. Needless to say, I’m starting with a week, and we’ll see how it goes after that. 

After a week, I’ll reintroduce one potential allergen/trigger (i.e. nightshades or dairy) for a whole day, then go back to the clean diet for two days and see how I feel.  Then I’ll introduce a second trigger for a day, and then back to the clean diet for two days.  I’ll continue this until I’ve tested all triggers, and hopefully discover something along the way.

So… here goes nothing. 

LifeIs4Tasting… I hope

**I want to be sure to say that, as I’ve been doing my research, I’ve found many resources linking me to many different Elimination Diets.  I’m taking what appears to be the most sound information from those different resources and making this diet work for me.  I am not a doctor or an expert, just someone sharing my own experience.  By no means take anything that I say as medical advice.