You know, it’s very difficult to be different – especially when it comes to eating food and having to follow a different lifestyle.
When I was put on the initial elimination diet back in April 2014 by my allergist, I just thought I was going to have to go through the motions and return to everything the way it was! That was NOT to happen. Not only did I have to eliminate a lot of my FAVOURITE foods, but a lot of them were/are to never return to my palate again. That is a lot of food that I loved and a lot of baking I used to do.
Now it’s going about trying to find things that can replace my favourites! No easy task unfortunately, but I’m hopeful, because there are a LOT of recipe bloggers out there who are working their little tails off trying to make my life and others like me happier in their lives.
OK, so why should I eliminate these foods? Well, when you have health issues, the first place you should look is at your diet. Because what you eat is responsible for almost everything that goes on in your body. Hippocrates once said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Well, that applies here. Our bodies are very intricate machines that need the right fuel to do the right jobs, with the right parts. If the parts aren’t working, then the wrong fuel has been added, and the machine fails, or soon will.
Well then, here is the list of things I loved to eat, but cannot any longer:
BREAD, BREAD and More BREAD – sorry, I used to eat a LOT of bread, but now have to find new recipes that are AIP compliant
Tortillas – I make an AIP version that is great
Cake – there are a few cakes I’ve made that would just pass the test
Bars and Cookies – these are fairly easy to make on AIP
Pies – there are a lot of pie crust recipes that are acceptable on AIP
Creamy desserts – have made a few acceptable ones
Do you get a bakers feeling about those items! Well, that would be because that was pretty much my specialty. I, however, did not devise the recipes, just followed most of them that I found, but enjoyed my baking immensely and have the books that prove it! I don’t, as a rule, eat a lot of desserts anymore, so I don’t go looking too often for those types of recipes now. Fruit is my go to dessert these days.
Now, that’s not to say those items are the only things I miss. The next bit probably won’t surprise some of you:
Eggs – instead I use gelatin eggs (not quite the same)
Dairy – instead I have to use an alternative and skip the items below:
Butter/Ghee – I make a non-dairy version or use organic virgin coconut oil
Cream – use coconut cream instead
Milk – instead I use coconut milk/water or tigernut milk
Cheese – make another version using nutritional yeast
Cottage Cheese – don’t use any more
Sour Cream – can use coconut cream instead
Yogurt – make my own coconut yogurt
Vegetables/Spices/Condiments – Nightshades – see my post about those:
Tomatoes, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, BBQ sauce – I’ve learned to make my own versions of ketchup and spaghetti sauce using beets and carrots, or fruit for the BBQ sauces
Regular Potatoes – instead I use sweet potatoes, both white and orange
I’ve learned to get along without peppers, eggplant, and some of the spices using other spices to take their place like ginger, mace, turmeric, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and garlic
Nuts, seeds, beans and legumes are a no-no on my journey, so I’ve learned how to manage to make things without them as well. So snacks have become an issue for me as well, as there are so many things I cannot eat, I have to find new things to snack on – you can only eat so much fruit!
Then there’s the other ingredients in things that automatically eliminate them from my diet:
Soy – I ate soy for 25 years not knowing what it was doing to me!
Corn – again kept eating this vegetable forever without realizing what its affects were on me
Barley, Rye, Wheat, Sorghum, Teff – all used in baking and all very detrimental to my health in particular
Rice – now I use “riced” cauliflower in place of rice for just about everything and am finding new alternatives all the time
Couscous, Quinoa – great instead of rice, but no grains in my diet
Amaranth (great cereal) again, no grains in my diet
But fortunately, as I mentioned above, there are a LOT of recipe/food bloggers out there to help. They are my lifeline to new and different recipes and they provide me with lots of options.
Instead of making a big recipe of English Muffins, I can make just one at a time and eat it pretty much like I would a regular English Muffin, except with different ingredients. Fortunately, Google Search is the best for things I need on a regular basis, and of course my favorite bloggers.
Recipes can and are at times a bit of a challenge because sometimes I will have to go out to shop for the ingredients. Or, I’ll have to place an order online at Amazon.ca to get what I need, so I may not be able to make that particular recipe for a couple of days. That’s OK, at least I know these things now. Another thing is that the ingredients are a big expense most of the time, so learning what can be done instead of purchasing a “finished” product is the best thing I could do. I spend a lot of time on-line looking for recipes for things I would never have imagined I could make myself – like spice blends. Who knew they put additives in spices of all things!
I’ve been making a milk out of Tigernuts (Canada) lately. What is a tigernut you say? Well, it’s actually not a nut, but a tuber that looks a bit like a chick pea (garbanzo bean). Has a nutty flavor, and packs a huge nutritional punch. So, I make a milk with the “nut”, then take the leftover pulp and use it like flour in baking, or add it to my smoothies instead of “nuts”! It tastes great and adds lots of nutrients to my food/drinks. The tigernuts are a bit on the expensive side, but the milk and pulp are well worth the expense. I store both of these in my fridge. The tigernut itself is quite tasty as a snack as well, albeit a bit chewy – it’s still a great snack.
Another thing I make is coconut “butter” (from my friend at Food To Heal Ourselves) that can be used in a lot of recipes, just by using unsweetened shredded coconut (very good, and very addictive!). It actually turns to a liquid that can be stored in the cupboard (without taking up valuable fridge real estate). The “butter” will solidify once cooled – when you need to use it you just warm it up. My next quest is to make my own coconut milk (also on Food To Heal Ourselves). The coconut milk you buy at the store in those tetra packs contain so many preservatives/additives, that aren’t for me as my body tends to react to those, so I have to look for other alternatives. Canned coconut milk is best, but again they are expensive for the quantity, and you have to look for the ingredient list to see if there are any preservatives or additives, which most have. So, it’s back to the kitchen to make my own.
Other things I miss, but have learned how to make are – mayonnaise – (from Slightly Lost Girl) it’s an AIP version without eggs, and dairy free butter (from Predominantly Paleo) – an AIP version uses coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and salt (or not). So there are ways to make things work in your diet if you need to.
I will admit though, that over the past couple of years, since being thrown in this arena, I’ve lost 40+ pounds, feel pretty good (except for RA flares), and eat pretty good. I do miss my bread, but am finding new recipes all the time that are helping me get past that part of my life. And, I do eat really well – I eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, and meats that are keeping me healthier than I’ve been in a very long time.
I do buy bread for my hubby to keep him happy and I’m good with that. I just know that if I eat those types of things what is going to happen, and I in no way want any of that.
At some point in time I will be trying to add some of the “do not eat” foods/spices back into my diet – however, that isn’t going to be for a while as they do cause me a lot of pain and agony at the moment. Hopefully, that will change and I will be able to reintroduce some of these foods back into my life.
I’ll be posting some recipes in future that will reflect the way I have had to and will continue to eat, so look for them in future postings.
Have a blessed day!